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About the DAT Test

  • The Dental Admission Test®, developed by the American Dental Association (ADA) and administered year-round at Prometric Testing Centers, is a standardized, multiple-choice exam created to help dental school admissions officers assess your knowledge as a prerequisite to the study of dental medicine. Basically, it’s the standardized test most dental schools require as part of their admissions process.
  • The DAT exam requires substantial stamina and focus. It has 280 questions and is 4 hours and 15 minutes long, excluding breaks. Kaplan’s DAT practice tests, available in every DAT prep course we offer, help keep you on the ball in terms of timing.
  • The DAT is offered exclusively on computer and consists of a battery of four distinct tests: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. Based on your strengths and weaknesses, Kaplan’s DAT prep courses offer ways to customize your DAT prep around your greatest areas of opportunity.
  • On the Survey of Natural Sciences, you will have 90 minutes to answer 100 multiple-choice questions, subdivided into three science areas: Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry.
  • On the Reading Comprehension section, you'll have 60 minutes to address three passages, with a total of 50 questions. These long, dense excerpts are often filled with scientific jargon and technical explanations.
  • The DAT has a unique section called the Perceptual Ability Test (PAT), designed to test your spatial visualization skills and your ability to interpret two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects. On the PAT, you'll have 60 minutes to answer a total of 90 questions divided into six categories, each consisting of 15 questions.
  • Scoring on the DAT can be confusing. You will receive 7 scores, including a separate score for Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability, Quantitative Reasoning, and each of the 3 science disciplines tested in Survey of Natural Sciences. In addition, you will receive an Academic Average Score, which takes into account your performance on all of the sections of the exam except Perceptual Ability.
  • Each of these scores is reported on a 1-30 scale (30 being the highest possible score). A score of 18 signifies average performance on a national basis. Scores are based on the total number of correct answers; so there is no penalty for guessing. The fee to take the DAT exam is $445. You can only take the DAT once every 90 days.