The DAT exam is an essential exam for students who wish to attend dental school. DAT stands for Dental Admissions Test and is the standardized test used by schools to grant admission into U.S. dental schools.
The DAT was created by the American Dentist Association (ADA). Make sure you are ready for your DAT exam by using our DAT practice tests and study resources to help you get the best score possible.
Summary: Take a free DAT practice test below to see how much you already know.
Free DAT Practice Tests & Resources
|Free DAT Practice Test||Sign up with Kaplan for a free DAT practice test||Kaplan|
|Free DAT Practice Test||Sign up with Princeton Review for a free DAT practice test||Princeton Review|
|Free DAT Flashcards||1000s of DAT flashcards on various subjects||Brainscape|
|Free DAT Flashcards||1000s of different DAT flashcards||Quizlet|
DAT practice tests are a great way to help you become more familiar with the material. DAT practice tests can help you realize which areas you need the most work on – this can help you be more efficient when studying and save you time.
While free resources are great, they can only get you so far. The DAT exam is a very important exam as your admission to dental school depends on you getting a good DAT score. Don’t leave something as important as the DAT exam to chance.
Our team conducted an in-depth review of some of the best DAT prep courses to help students pick from the best of the best.
Our Pick for Best DAT Prep Course
DAT Exam Content Outline
What is the DAT?
The DAT is the dental admissions test that is used by U.S. colleges and universities to select candidates for their dental school programs. The DAT was created by the American Dental Association (ADA) and is comprised of four subtests and 280 multiple-choice questions.
You can see a complete breakdown of the DAT exam below.
|Test Section||# of Questions||Time Limit||# of Topics Tested|
|Survey of Natural Sciences||100||90 Minutes||3|
|Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)||90||60 Minutes||6|
|Reading Comprehension||50||60 Minutes||3 Passages|
|Quantitative Reasoning||40||45 Minutes||2|
Survey of Natural Sciences
This section of the DAT exam is comprised of 100 questions. Students will be given 90 minutes to answer all of the questions – this breaks down to about 54 seconds per question. There are 3 topics that are tested on the survey of natural sciences section of the DAT:
- Biology – Questions 1-40
- General Chemistry – Questions 41-70
- Organic Chemistry – Questions 71-100
Students will be given a score on each topic within the survey of natural sciences portion of the exam. It is important that students manage their time to insure they have enough time for all 3 subsections. For more information about DAT scores, check out our guide to DAT score.
Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)
The perceptual ability test is unique in that it was created to test how sharp you are visually versus testing your knowledge on scientific principles or reading skills. The PAT portion of the DAT exam consists of 6 subtests – each subtest has 15 questions. The subtests are:
- Top/Front/End Visualization
- Angle Ranking
- Hole Punches
- Cube Counting
- Pattern Folding
The PAT portion of the DAT exam is often regarded as the most challenging section due to its uniqueness and how hard it is to study for. Princeton Review’s DAT prep course does a great job preparing students for the PAT section.
The reading comprehension section on the DAT exam consists of 50 total questions with a 60-minute time limit – students will have about 72 seconds per question for the reading comprehension portion of the DAT exam.
Students will have to read 3 science related passages and answer questions that test their ability to read, comprehend, and analyze scientific information. Each of the three passages will consist of 16 or 17 questions.
This section of the DAT exam consists of 40 questions with a 45 minute time limit – students will have about 67 seconds per question for the quantitative reasoning portion of the DAT exam. Students will find two types of problems on this portion of the exam:
- Applied Mathematics (Word Problems)
Students can expect to be tested on basic math topics like:
Students will be provided with a basic calculator for this section of the DAT exam.
Administration of the DAT Exam
The DAT exam is a timed exam that is made up of multiple-choice questions. Students will be given 4 hours and 15 minutes to answer all questions on the exam. With that being said, students should expect the whole exam to take around 5 hours.
Students will be taking the exam at Prometric testing centers on approved computers. These testing centers are all over the country so you should not have a problem finding one. We have broken down what your test day will look like below:
|Optional Tutorial||15 Minutes|
|Survey of Natural Sciences||90 Minutes|
|Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)||60 Minutes|
|Scheduled Break||15 Minutes|
|Reading Comprehension||60 Minutes|
|Quantitative Reasoning||45 Minutes|
|Post Test Survey||15 Minutes|
How to Take the DAT Exam
The first step in registering to take the DAT exam is to get your DENTPIN. DENTPIN stands for Dental Personal Identifier Number and is a unique identifier for professionals and students that are involved with the U.S. dental education system.
You can register for your DENTPIN here.
If you already have DENTPIN but aren’t sure what it is, you can retrieve your DENTPIN here.
After you receive approval and obtain your DENTPIN, you will be able to apply to take your DAT exam.
|DAT Fee||Standard fee to take the DAT exam. Only includes unofficial score report and report sent to candidates pre-dental advisor.||$475|
|Score Report Fee||Optional. Fee covers score report requests that are made after applying for the DAT exam.||$45 Per Recipient|
|Score Audit Fee||Optional. Fee if you wish to have your scores reviewed. Only eligible for 30 days after the exam.||$65|
|Extension Fee||45-day extension for candidates who wish to extend their eligibility. Available once per application.||$125|
According to the ADA, there are no technical requirements to taking the DAT. There are no age, education, or course requirements to take the DAT. With that being said, the ADA does have a couple of suggestions to help students succeed on the exam:
- Students should have one or more years of college completed
- Student should have completed courses in the following topics:
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Applicants should take the DAT before the dental school admissions cycle, so they do not have to wait until the next cycle.
Each section of the DAT is scored 1-30 on a scale. Those scores are then averaged together to form one total score. A perfect score is a 30 – which is very rare. For most years, a score of 17-18 would be considered an average score – this varies from year to year.
For more information on DAT scores and a breakdown of different percentiles and where you stand with your score, check out our ultimate guide to DAT scores.
Can I retake my DAT if I want?
Will schools still see my DAT score if I do poorly? Can I void my scores?
What do I need for my DAT exam on test day?
Last Updated: 1/13/2021