DAT Tutors and Dental Admissions Prep (DAT)

DAT Tutoring and Test Prep: The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is an exclusively multiple-choice based, standardized exam used as an admission metric by all U.S. and Canadian dental schools. The DAT is divided into four distinct sections – in order of chronological test appearance: survey of the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning.

Each one of these sections will help to test your capacity to synthesize material presented in the classroom, spatially reason and interpret three-dimensional structures, comprehend passage-based information, and problem-solve quickly and effectively. Because the DAT provides information on all of these diverse and critical abilities, it is without doubt one of the most important factors in a successful dental school application.

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Top Test Prep's DAT test prep and tutoring programs provided me with support for all biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, PAT, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning sections. We would recommend students check out their DAT tutoring and test prep. Moira Rose DAT prep and admissions counseling

Frequently Asked Questions About the DAT Exam

How is the DAT exam scored?

The DAT comprises of six distinct subjects – biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, PAT, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning – and is scored on a standardized scale of 1 to 30. Dental schools have access to an official report that contains the scores for all six subsections alongside two “summary” scores. Five of the sections – excluding the PAT – are averaged and subsequently rounded to the nearest whole number to yield a score called the Academic Average (AA). The Total Science (TS) score is a standardized score based on the number of questions correct from the survey of the natural sciences – it is not the average of the biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry scores. Because DAT scores are based on the number of correct responses, examinees are not penalized for guesses. The DAT is not graded on a curve, so you need to be prepared at all costs.


How long do I have to wait for my DAT score?

Unofficial score reports for the DAT are released on-site immediately following the completion of the exam.

How long is the DAT?

All examinees have 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete all four sections of the DAT. Optional tutorials and breaks bring the total potential testing time up to 5 even hours; for a complete schedule of the DAT examination, please refer to the table below:

The Timing of the DAT

Optional Pre-Exam Tutorial 15 minutes
Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry) 90 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 60 minutes
Optional Mid-Exam Break 15 minutes
Reading Comprehension 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 45 minutes
Optional Post-Exam Survey 15 minutes
Total Possible Time        5 hours


What is the distribution of questions like on the DAT?

DAT Question Distribution

Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry) 100 Questions-  40 Biology-  30 General Chemistry-  30 Organic Chemistry
Perceptual Ability Test 90 Questions-  15 Keyhole-  15 Top/Front/End-  15 Angle Ranking-  15 Hole Punching-   15 Cube Counting –   15 Pattern Folding
Reading Comprehension 50 Questions
Quantitative Reasoning 40 Questions
Total # of Questions 280 questions

How can I apply to take the DAT?

All aspiring applicants looking to take the DAT must first obtain a DENTPIN (DENTal Personal Identifier Number), a unique 8-digit numerical sequence used to associate your DAT and National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) scores with your own application. The application for a DENTPIN can be initiated and completed on the DENTPIN Registration Page of the ADA website. After you have been assigned a DENTPIN, you may submit an electronic application to Prometric to schedule a testing appointment. Examinees are encouraged to schedule their testing appointment 6-8 weeks before their intended exam dates.  Applications may not be submitted more than 6 months before the desired test date.

How much does the DAT cost?

The cost of a single DAT exam is $385 – this one-time fee includes the cost of score reporting to all dental schools selected during the testing appointment.

When is the best time to take the DAT?

Unlike many other professional school exams, the DAT is offered almost every day at Prometric centers all around the nation. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises the completion of at least one year of biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry prior to taking the DAT; advanced-level biology and chemistry classes are not required, but may prove helpful on the exam. Because the DAT does not include a physics section, students may opt to take the DAT during their sophomore summer (after the completion of two semesters of organic chemistry but before the commencement of physics), during the winter break of their junior year, or alternatively even during the summer in which they are planning to apply. But diverse options notwithstanding, students should most ideally take the DAT when they feel most ready – Top Test Prep can help you to build your confidence and establish an excellent foundation for achieving a high score on the DAT.

What is a good score on the DAT?

The most recently published statistics on the DAT (ADA DAT User’s Manual 2009) indicate a collective Academic Average mean of 17.59, a Total Science mean of 17.56, and a Perceptual Ability mean of 18.17 for all examinees. Historically, the mean DAT score for all successful dental school students has remained fairly constant at low-to-mid 19’s, while a score of 21+ is typically preferred at top-tier dental schools.

How can I improve my DAT score?

The DAT is a test of stamina, determination, and your ability to think like the ADA. It also calls for a strong foundation in the sciences and a thorough understanding of test-taking skills. Tutors at Top Test Prep, who have all scored within the top 1%, can help you to develop these talents in order to optimize your score.

Can I use a calculator on the DAT?

A basic four-function calculator (similar to the one bundled with all Windows desktop software) is available on the computer screen during the quantitative reasoning section of the DAT. The calculator is operated through the mouse, not the traditional keyboard, and is not usable on any other section of the exam.