Monday, May 21, 2012

Common questions about the DAT

If you’re just getting acquainted with the dear DAT (Dental Admission Test), here are common questions about the exam. I think Q and A’s are great for when you don’t know what questions to ask.

When are DAT exam dates?
The DAT exam is available most days of the year at the different Prometric locations all over the country. You can sign up on the Prometric website.

How long should I study for the DAT?
I studied about 4 hours a week second half of fall semester then about 6 hours a day for two weeks during winter break. I was able to complete reviewing the content I needed to know, but I definitely could have been more prepared. If I had more time, I would have practiced time management on the PAT section.

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What do I need to bring to the exam site?
You only need to bring two ID’s: one must have your photograph and both should have your signature. Anything else will be kept in your locker, so don’t bring your lucky pencil. All materials you need for the exam will be provided for you.

Another thing- you cannot take off a piece of clothing once you have it on (security reasons), so wear a jacket you can zip open instead of a sweatshirt.

What should I expect at the exam site?
The Prometric testing centers host other exams in addition to the DAT. When you arrive, there will probably be other people in the computer room already working on their exams. People will be arriving and leaving throughout the exam. If this is distracting, put the headphones on. It may be a good idea to practice exam-taking at a similar environment.

When do I receive my DAT score?
You will be walking out of the testing center with an unofficial copy of your score in hand. After the exam, you will complete a series of survey questions and your score will pop up on the screen. The proctor will print out a copy for you- this is the only hard copy you will receive of your score.

Is my DAT score good enough?
Depends on what school you are applying to. It is best to check out these online resources especially the accepted students’ averages for your school in ADEA’s official guide. For reference, the average DAT score for accepted students has been around 19 for the past few years.

Can I cancel my DAT score?
The only way to “cancel” your score is by not showing up to the DAT testing center. If you don’t feel prepared, you can reschedule the exam with a small penalty. Once you begin your exam, your score will be counted.

Can I retake the DAT?
Yes, 90 days after your last DAT. There is no limit to the number of DAT exams you can take. Schools will see your last 4 DAT scores.

How late can I take the DAT?
Since dental schools use rolling-admissions, it is best to complete your application- including the DAT- as early as possible. Since your DENTPIN is associated with your AADSAS application, dental schools will automatically receive your scores.

If you are planning to re-take the DAT, I would hold off until sending the applications until the scores are available. Schools have no way of knowing if you are planning a re-take (you can’t enter a future date for the DAT). If your second DAT score is sent out after your primary application, schools may review your application without your second (probably improved) score. If you choose to submit your AADSAS application and let your second DAT score follow later, call and let the schools know so they can put a sticky note in your file. This might cause a delay in their reviewing your application.

What happens if I take the DAT more than once?
Each school has its own policy about multiple DAT scores. Some choose the highest score, others use the average. If you are debating whether to re-take the DAT, you should call your schools and ask them about their policies.

Where can I find sample DAT questions?
ADA has a complete full-length practice test both online ($37) and in print ($27). There are quite a few exam prep books you can buy (I used Kaplan and Barron’s). Kaplan and Princeton Review also host in-class and online DAT prep classes if you need a comprehensive study plan.


  1. Hey Yesle, long time reader first time commenter here. I really appreciate this post - it's super grounding compared to other DAT info/tips out there. Did you have a particular schedule you were following for those last two weeks leading up to test day?

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