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Health Sciences Program

The Dental Admission Test (DAT)

The DAT is a five-hour, computer-based test consisting of four sections:

  • The Survey of Natural Science (90 minutes) is an achievement test measuring your knowledge of biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry, so a thorough review of these areas is essential in your preparation.
  • The Perceptual Ability Test (60 minutes) tests your skills in visual acuity and spatial reasoning.
  • The Reading Comprehension Test (60 minutes) consists of questions about science-related reading passages.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning Test (45 minutes) evaluates your ability to handle math concepts including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Timing your Preparation for the DAT

Determining the timing of your test depends on these factors:

  • Mastery of the content covered on the test: download the DAT practice test and review the list of topics at the ADA's website.
  • Your current testing level: take a timed, full-length practice test to get a sense of how you would perform if you took the test today.
  • How much time you have to study: between now and your deadline, how much discretionary time do you have? How busy will your summer and fall be relative to each other?
  • The ultimate score you are shooting for: current means for regional dental schools are 19 each for academic average, perceptual ability and total science.
  • How efficient you are at studying when you have time;
  • Completing your application early: getting your application in before the logjam of other applicants can give you a competitive advantage.