The Dental Admission Test (DAT), developed by the American Dental Association, is the exam you must take if you're planning to enter dental school in the United States or Canada. It is used by dental school admissions departments to compare students by using a single, standardized test.
The DAT is administered nearly every day of the year.
The DAT is 5 hours long including scheduled breaks.
The DAT costs $430. Low-income students can request a partial fee-waiver which reduces test fees by 50%.
The DAT is administered through Prometric testing centers throughout North America.
Before you register to test, you'll need a Dental Personal Identifier Number (DENTPIN), which is used to identify students and professionals who are a part of the dental education system in the United States. The name associated with your DENTPIN, your test application, and your ID on the day of the test must all match exactly or you'll be turned away from the testing center, and your fee forfeited.
You must also read the official DAT Guide before being granted access to testing.
What Is On the DAT
The DAT consists of four sections, including the Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. Each section is timed. You'll have 90 minutes to complete the Natural Sciences section, 60 minutes each for Perceptual Ability and Reading Comprehension sections, and 45 minutes for Quantitative Reasoning. All questions are multiple choice.
How the DAT Is Scored
The DAT is scored based upon the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing. Scores are then scaled so they can be compared to the scores of other participants. Possible scores range from 1 to 30, with 18 being an average score.
Immediately upon completion of the test, you'll receive an unofficial score. This is the only personal copy of your score that will be provided. Your official score will be forwarded to the dental schools to which you've applied approximately 3 to 4 weeks later.
Retaking the DAT
You can retake the DAT two more times -- three times total -- before needing special permission to test again. You must wait 90 days between sessions. If you elect to retake, you'll be required to pay the fee again, and then your updated scores will be reported to the schools you listed on your application. If you apply to take the test more than three times, you must wait 12 months between sessions.