DAT (Dental admissions test)

The DAT measures…

  • Academic ability
  • Scientific understanding
  • Perceptual ability

The DAT is…

  • In English
  • Multiple choice
  • Computer based
  • $385 each time you take it
  • Given most days of the year
  • Required by all U.S. Dental Schools
  • Half-day long test: 4 hours and 15 minutes in length
  • Taken at specified testing centers throughout the country

What are the sections of the DAT?

  • Natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry)
  • Perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem solving)
  • Reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences)
  • Quantitative reasoning (mathematical problems in algebra, numerical calculations, conversions, etc.)

When should I take the test?

  • When you have completed your prerequisites in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry.
  • It is recommended that you take the test at least one year before you want to go to dental school. Most of those who take the DAT do so after their third year of college.
How do I study for the test?

  • Review the content and outline of the exam itself.
  • Study the key principles you learned in biology and chemistry.
  • Take practice tests to gauge your abilities before the exam and try to improve each time you take one.
  • Check out all of the DAT information on the ADA website, such as the DAT Candidates Guide and online tutorial.

What are the rules and regulations?

  • You can only take the test once every 90 days.
  • You can only take the test three times, no more unless you get special permission from the ADA.

How do I sign up to take the test?

  1. Visit the ADA website to submit an application to take the DAT (non-refundable fee is associated).
  2. You will be asked to create a DENTPIN, your Dental Personal Identifier Number, before you can complete the application to register for the DAT. This number will be used throughout the dental school application process and for any other testing conducted by the ADA.
  3. Receive eligibility letter from the ADA.
  4. Once you have received the eligibility letter, you can schedule an appointment to take the test with Prometric testing. You should schedule the test 60-90 days in advance of the day you would like to test. Check out the list of test centers here.
  5. If you require special testing accommodations, visit the Special Accommodations section of the Prometric website.

Other Important Notes:

  • If you are planning to apply to a Canadian dental school, you will have to take the Canadian DAT administered by the Canadian Dental Association and the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry.
  • Most Canadian dental schools require the Canadian DAT, but some accept the U.S. DAT. Contact the Dental Aptitude Test Program of the Canadian Dental Association for more information.
  • U.S. dental schools accept the Canadian DAT in addition to the U.S. DAT.