Dental Admission Test (DAT)

All dental schools require applicants to take the DAT as part of the comprehensive admission process. Learn how to apply and prepare.
About DAT

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is accepted by 66 dental schools in the U.S. and 10 in Canada. It is designed to provide dental education programs with a means to assess applicants’ potential for success. The test takes 4.5 hours to complete and is offered year round by Prometric test centers in the United States, its territories (including Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and Canada.

DAT Infographic

FAQ-Dental Admission Test DAT

Who should take the DAT? When?

All U.S. and Canadian dental schools require their applicants to take the DAT as part of the admission process. Each school uses its own criteria to determine how to weigh DAT results as part of admission decisions.

Prospective dental students should take the DAT during the second semester of their junior undergraduate year, or during the summer between junior and senior years. Make sure you have taken the subjects covered by the test, especially organic chemistry.

What is included in the DAT?

The DAT consists of multiple-choice questions presented in English, and includes a battery of four tests:

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences (100 items)
  • Perceptual Ability (90 items)
  • Reading Comprehension (50 items)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (40 items)
How do I apply to take the DAT?

Start by reading the official DAT Candidate Guide, which explains:

  • How the exam is constructed and scored
  • How to prepare for the exam
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Fees and waivers
  • How to schedule, reschedule, or cancel testing

Once you have read the Guide, apply for the exam with your DENTPIN. Your DENTPIN acts as your unique identifier. If you have not previously applied to a dental program, request your DENTPIN.

After your application has been processed, you will receive an eligibility letter that permits you to schedule your testing appointment.

Where do I take the DAT?
The DAT is offered year-round at Prometric Test Centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Once you have received your eligibility letter confirming that your test application has been accepted, you must contact Prometric to secure an appointment. We recommend doing this at least 60 to 90 days before your desired test date, since schedules fill up.

 

Visit the Prometric site to find a testing site near you, see procedures updated for COVID-19, and schedule your test. 

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment due to an emergency please contact the Department of Testing Services by emailing testingproblems@ada.org or calling 800.232.1694.

 

 

 

Can I get a fee waiver?

In documented cases of severe financial hardship, a limited number of partial fee waivers are available to DAT examinees each calendar year (January - December). No fee waivers are available at this time. The partial fee waiver covers 50% of the DAT fee. The partial fee waiver does not apply to any charges associated with rescheduling/canceling a test date or score reporting after the time of initial application. Partial fee waivers are granted on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible examinees who have submitted the required documents. An examinee is eligible to request a partial fee waiver if each of the following criteria are met:

  • First-time examinee
  • Has not previously received a partial fee waiver
  • U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Has demonstrated financial hardship
  • Received financial aid from their school

To apply, submit the financial information form (provided when partial fee waivers are available) to datexam@ada.org with a copy of the financial aid award letter you received from your school. (The financial aid award letter cannot be older than 18 months.) Alternatively, applicants who have not been enrolled in a college or university in the past 18 months can substitute a copy of their most recent tax return.

The DAT Program will review all partial fee waiver requests and make the final approval/denial decision. After the partial fee waiver request is reviewed, you will receive an email notification of the decision and instructions for submitting a DAT application online. Please allow up to 10 business days for review of all partial fee waiver requests.

How do you protect my personal information?

Review the DAT Program Use of Personal Information and Privacy Policy, which includes: •

  • The ADA Privacy Policy
  • The Biometric Data Privacy Policy
  • Personal information used and disclosed in connection with the DAT
  • Your rights

You can also contact the ADA Department of Testing Services at dat@ada.org for more information.

Are there polices and procedures to support fairness in testing?

Yes. Fairness in testing is of vital importance, and is in fact fundamental to an examination’s validity. Fairness considerations are embedded throughout the DAT program, affecting every aspect of how this examination is constructed, administered, scored, and reported. The Fairness document provided below shares additional details of interest:

Policies and Procedures Supporting Fairness (PDF)

How can I contact the ADA for more information?
You can reach the Department of Testing Services at:

American Dental Association Department of Testing Services
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

1.800.232.1694
Email: datexam@ada.org

Review the official requirements and scoring for the 2021 DAT.
Select “American Dental Association” under Program to find a Prometric site near you. 
The DAT tutorial is an online sample test. You can take it at any time.

Prepare with DAT practice tests and updated biology test specifications

The DAT program offers practice tests with questions written by actual DAT test constructors.

These practice tests feature the types of questions and question formats used in the actual test and will mirror the actual test specifications, although some modules/sections have fewer items than the actual test. The practice items are intended for the use of educators and students within the educational environment or for individual study and may not be reproduced in any format, whether paper or electronic, without expressed written permission of the ADA. This practice test should only be used as a personal resource when studying and preparing for an admissions examination. The number of correct answers will be reported upon completion of each module. Scores will not be provided.

Applicants may choose between the following testing options: 

  • Individual modules, each available for $20.
  • A full practice test, for the discounted price of $100.

Updates to the DAT Biology Test Specifications (PDF) will be implemented in January, 2022. Students who plan to take the DAT during or after January 2022 are encouraged to review the updated specifications, which include several new topics that were not previously covered on the examination.

Practice tests

Individual Modules ($20 each)

Individual modules are $20 for each of the following topics:
Biology 101 (40 items)

Organic Chemistry 101 (30 items)

General Chemistry 101 (30 items)

Reading Comprehension 101 (25 items)

Perceptual Ability 101 (30 items)

Perceptual Ability 102 (30 items)

Perceptual Ability 103 (30 items)

Quantitative Reasoning 101 (40 items)

Once purchased, candidates will have 24 hours to access and complete the testing module. When the time expires, the test will end even if you are taking the test at that time.

The individual modules for DAT are identical to the modules included in the Full Practice Test, except that there are two additional modules provided for the Perceptual Ability Test that are not in the Full Practice Test.

DAT Full Practice Test

The DAT Full Practice Test includes six modules ($100 for all six):

Biology 101

Organic Chemistry 101

General Chemistry 101

Reading Comprehension 101

Perceptual Ability 101

Quantitative Reasoning 101

This test has an allotted time of 3 hours and 5 minutes, divided into timed sections to simulate the time constraints of the actual test. The practice tests do not include a break. Once you click “Begin Test” you must take the test in the allotted time.

Review the list of DAT Reference Texts (PDF) to see which textbooks were used by the developers of the DAT. 

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Apply for the DAT

Take the DAT during the spring of your junior year or the summer immediately after. Submit your application six to eight weeks before your desired test date.

Apply for ADAT

Review additional DAT background

Learn more about why the DAT is used for dental admissions and who takes the exam.

2019 DAT Validity Study
This report presents the relationship among pre-dental science and pre-dental total GPAs, DAT scores, and academic and preclinical achievements for a sample of students during their first and second years in U.S. dental schools. The DAT Validity Study contains the data (from 2016-2018), methods, results, limitations, and conclusions.

DAT User’s Manual
The DAT User's Manual takes a deep dive into the history of the Dental Admission Test Program, from its beginnings in 1945 to the present day DAT. Learn about the content of the DAT as well as the development of the scoring.

2019 Examinee Information Report
This report provides demographics for DAT test takers, including gender, ethnicity, occupational and educational attainment of examinees’ parents, high school rank, college GPA, college science GPA, college major, extracurricular activities, parents’ income, source and percentage of loans obtained during the years of dental education, and GPA and income by ethnicity.

ADA Examinations Update: ADEA Section on Academic Affairs 2019 See the scoring updates proposed at the ADEA Fall Meetings in October 2019.

 

Vital Information and Tips for Taking the DAT

Watch the ASDA webinar to see general  information, tips for studying, common problems encountered by test takers, and the most frequently asked questions about the DAT.

Get my scores
Get my scores

See your score report, learn how to interpret the results, or request an audit.

Volunteer as a test constructor

Lend your talents to future applicants. The Department of Testing Services needs volunteer subject matter experts to assist with test construction. Volunteers may also earn CE credit.

Test Constructor