What is the DAT


Dental school admissions committees use your scores and your academic record to determine whether you have the foundation to build a successful dental career. The DAT test is a 4 hours exam that consist of four sections: Sciences, Perceptual ability, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning. 

 In this Article I will cover the following topics: 

1. What is the DAT test for?

2. Which are the sections cover on the DAT

3. How much does the DAT exam cost in 2022?

What is the DAT test for?

The Dental Admission Test or (DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized test,  taken by potential dental school students in the United States and Canada. 

For the Canadian Version,  there is a separate exam with differing sections, both American and Canadian versions are usually interchangeably accepted in both countries’ dental schools. This article will focus specifically on the American DAT. 

The purpose of the DAT exam together with your academic record is to show the dental school committee whether you have the foundation to build a successful dental career. 

DAT Test Section

SubjectQuestionsTime Limits
Survey of Natural Sciences10090 minutes
General Chemistry30
Organic Chemistry30
Perceptual Ability Test9060 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test5060 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning4045 minutes
Optional Post Test Survey-15 minutes

DAT examination fee

Is good to mention that fees are NOT refundable and nontransferable. For this reason, is imperative that you schedule your exam only when you feel that you are ready to take it and not just when you enroll in a course.

DAT Fee ( 2021): $495

   * once you pay the fee, you are allowed to hold this ticket for a period of 6 months. This means that you pay the fee and do not necessarily have to schedule your exam right away but they give your 6 months to do it and if not then you lose your money. 

Eligibility Extension Fee: $125 

  • You can extend your eligibility period for 45 more days and is only available one time per application. 

Rescheduling Fee: Depending on the number of days prior to the testing appointment. 

30 or more days: $25 

5-29 days: $60 

1-4 days: $150 

** If you just don’t show up then or present more than 30 minutes after your scheduled time: You lose your money 


Your DAT scores

Immediately after completion of the test, eight standard scores on a scale of 1-30 are calculated and passed on to the test taker.

The first six scores come directly from the test: perceptual ability, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry.

The remaining two scores reported are summaries of the previous six: the Academic Average is the average of five scores rounded to the nearest whole number: quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. The Total Science score is a standard score based on all 100 questions in the biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry tests.



How your DAT score is calculated?

Dental schools frequently summarize their applicant’s scores by listing the academic, science, and perceptual ability (PAT) scores they typically see in their matriculating classes.

The mean (average) score for any scored section is set at 17, with the exception of the reading comprehension section, in which the 50th percentile score is 19. Scores above and below this represent fractions of standard deviations from the mean. This probabilistic scoring system results in the maximum not occurring for the compiled section scores (natural sciences and academic average) in a given year. For example, in 2003 a 25 academic average was labeled as 100.0th percentile, such that less than eight people received this score, and none higher (approximately 13,000 people take the DAT per year).

The mean academic average score for admissions is commonly 19. There are varying perspectives on the relative importance of sections, wherein the PAT or reading comprehension can be viewed as the most important or conversely, ignored. The PAT, in particular, is most often viewed as a threshold score, and therefore is the only score not included in the academic average; the threshold varies between 16 and 18.


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