All about Dental Admission Test (DAT)

The DAT is a dental education admission test for students who are interested in pursuing a dental education program abroad. It is administered all-year-round by Prometric (“Administrative Vendors”) test centers in the US, its territories and Canada. It is a form of a Computer Based Test (CBT), with multiple choice questions taken by potential dental schools, situated in these two nations mentioned above, under the supervision of the American Dental Association (ADA). The dentistry test is designed to provide educational institutions with a means to assess applicants’ potential for success in a particular dentistry program.

Purpose

According to the Dental Admission Test guide published by ADA, the DAT Program is administered to understand the skill levels of applicants seeking admission to dental school. Basically, it measures academic ability, scientific understanding and perceptual ability.

Dental schools use this information to take admissions decisions. While all of the dental schools require the applicants to participate in the DAT Program, its results are just a single factor considered in evaluating the potential of the applicant. Studies have proven that the test scores that are in conjunction with a student’s academic performance are quite useful in predicting his/her success in a dental school.

Exam Pattern

The DAT consists of a combination of four tests on the following: Survey of Natural Sciences like Biology, general Chemistry and organic chemistry, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension on dental and basic sciences, and Quantitative Reasoning. In the DAT, both the U.S. customary and the metric system of units are used.

Dental Admission Test

The DAT Program does not require any specific test preparation courses. The individuals who are considering participating in any test preparation courses are urged to carefully compare course materials against the test specifications for the DAT, to confirm those materials are likely to consist of the current content of the DAT.

Eligibility Criteria for DAT

The following count as the criteria for being eligible for DAT:

  •   -ADA does not discriminate against any candidate on the basis of race/ethnicity, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status.
  •   -The candidates are required to complete at least one year of their collegiate education, which should include courses in biology and general and organic chemistry. Advanced level biology and physics are not required.
  •   -Candidates are required to keep in mind that test scores are developed in relation to all examinees participating in the test and that most applicants complete two or more years of college before taking the test.
Dental Admission Test
  •   -It is mandatory for the applicants to participate in the dental school should participate in the DAT Program well in advance of intended dental school enrolment.
  •   -Those who want to apply in Canadian dental schools should confirm that either that school accepts a DAT score or not.
  •   -Each applicant can only take the DAT test three times before having to ask special permission to take DAT again. After taking the exam, he/she must wait for 90 days before reappearing for it.

DAT: Structure and Duration

The total duration of the DAT test is 4 hours 15 minutes. DAT test is a multiple-choice format test and is timed separately for every section. The Dental Admission Test consists of four sections. In all, there are 280 testing items and all are of multiple-choice type, as mentioned above.

  • 1. Survey of Natural Sciences: This test consists of 100 questions including 40 on Biology, 30 on General Chemistry and 30 on Organic Chemistry. This section has to be completed in 90 minutes.
  • 2. Perceptual Ability: This test consists of 90 questions. These are spread across six sub-tests on apertures, angle discrimination, 3D form development, view recognition, paper folding, and cube counting. There are 15 items based on each sub-test. This section has to be completed in 60 minutes.
Dental Admission Test
  • 3. Reading Comprehension: There are 50 items in this test based on three passages which test the student’s ability to read, classify, evaluate and recall new information in dental sciences and basic sciences. The passages are usually from the introductory level of a dental course and do not require any prior knowledge in the subject. This section has to be completed in 60 minutes.
  • 4. Quantitative Reasoning: There are 40 items in this test which test one’s abilities related to solving mathematical problems, numerical calculations, conversions, probability and statistics, geometry, trigonometry, and applied mathematics or word problems. The break of these 40 questions is: 10 items are based on word problems and 30 on computations. This section has to be completed in 45 minutes.

DAT Result

Each exam includes questions that enable the Dental Admission Test Program to place various and different forms of the exam on a common measurement scale, hence adjusting the forms for minor differences in difficulty. Because of this adjustment, candidate scores in the test have the same meaning, in spite of which specific test form was administered. The data collected on the unscored questions is used to determine if the question is appropriate for use in future test constructions. Unscored questions look the same to the candidates as the scored questions.

After a testing appointment is completed, an unofficial report of the scores will be provided at the test center. Scale scores are present on the unofficial score report.

Dental Admission Test

Dental schools consider quite a many factors when deciding to select applicants for their programs. Many use holistic strategies i.e. looking at the overview of the applicant, not just his /her test scores and grades. Factors considered in the holistic admissions process include:

  Factors

  • -“the road less travelled”
  • -Education Background
  • -Research Experience
  • -Dentistry-related experience

  Personal Abilities

  • -Skills and abilities
  • -Personal and professional characteristics
  • -Demographic factors

  Metrics

  • -Grades
  • -DAT scores

All the above-mentioned factors are interdependent and coexist.

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