For Students, Alumni and Employers

DAT Exam

Exam Information

Department of Testing Services
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1846
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
(312) 440-2500

Exam Preparation

Introduction and Overview

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) and has been in operation on a national basis since 1950. The Dental Admission Test is administered on computer on almost any day of the year. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability.

While all dental schools require candidates to participate in the Dental Admission Testing Program, test results are only one factor considered in evaluating the admission potential of a candidate.

Validity studies conducted by the testing program have shown that test scores in conjunction with collegiate records are useful in predicting performance. The relative importance of these predictors in the admission process is determined by the dental school.

Scope of Examinations

The examinations are comprised exclusively of multiple choice test items presented in the English language. Each edition of an examination is developed according to the examination outline. There are four examinations included in the Dental Admission Testing Program. The entire program requires just over one half day for administration. The examinations included are:

Part I - Survey of the Natural Sciences (90 Minutes)
Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry

Part II - Perceptual Ability (60 Minutes)
Angle discrimination, form development cubes, orthographic projections, apertures, and paper folding.

Part III - Reading Comprehension (60 Minutes)
Ability to read, organize, analyze, and remember new information in dental and basic sciences. Ability to comprehend thoroughly when studying scientific information. Reading materials are typical of materials encountered in the first year of dental school and require no prior knowledge of the topic other than a basic undergraduate preparation in science. The Reading Comprehension Test contains three reading passages.

Part IV - Quantitative Reasoning (45 Minutes)
Mathematical Problems

Retaking the Test

A candidate can apply and retake the test as many times as the candidate wishes. Candidates are required to submit a new application and fee for each re-examination.

A candidate must wait at least 90 days before retaking the DAT. The candidate and the Prometric Candidate Contact Center will be notified of the candidate’s eligibility for the retest after 90 days have lapsed since the previous testing date. Once notification of eligibility for retesting is received, the candidate is to call the Prometric Candidate Contact Center to schedule a retest appointment for a date after the 90th day. Candidates who retake the DAT without waiting at least 90 days after their previous DAT will cause their most recent test scores to be rendered void.

The results of the four most recent DAT’s are released on the official transcript of scores and forwarded to dental schools. Also, the total number of DAT’s is listed on the official transcripts of each candidate. You may wish to consult an institution’s admission office directly for information about its procedures for handling multiple scores.