DAT: Dental Admission Test


For individuals who possess both a 4-year degree and the desire to work in the dental industry, pursuing and passing the Dental Admission Test (DAT) provides them with acceptance into dental schools across the country and globally. Qualified applicants for DAT need to acquire at least 40 credit hours of study in biology, physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry and English. Read more to find out about DAT practice tests, DAT registration, DAT application, DAT test, DAT scores, DAT test dates and get tips to crack the DAT exam.

Why is DAT Important?

A good score on DAT is an essential prerequisite for entry into  many dental schools. Obtaining desirable scores on this exam ensures dental schools that it's applicants possess sufficient knowledge in general studies, the pre-dental sciences and comprehension areas. Overall, DAT provides individuals with an excellent means of entry into dental schools that are accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA/CDA).

Prerequisites  for DAT

For both national and international students, there are specific prerequisites that each student must meet before qualifying to take the DAT. Those specific requirements include:

In addition, examinees must possess both a primary and a secondary form of identification on their testing dates. Primary forms of identification include a driver's licence, passport, and/or government identification card. Secondary forms of identification include a debit card, a credit card, and/or a library card.

Test Structure

The DAT is comprised of 4 sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. The entire examination process consists of 280 minutes or 5 hours total, which includes an optional tutorial, an optional break, and an optional survey.

Focus Areas Coverage Questions Time Duration
Survey of the Natural Sciences  Biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry. 100  Multiple Choice Questions 90 Minutes
Perceptual Ability Areas include keyhole, top/front/end visualization, angle ranking, hole punches, cube counting, and pattern folding. 90 Multiple Choice Questions 60 Minutes
Reading Comprehension Based on passages related to the dental industry, dental sciences, and dental procedures 50 Multiple Choice Questions 60 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Mathematics, geometry, trigonometry, applied mathematics, mathematical reasoning and mathematical equations.
45 Multiple Choice Questions 45 Minutes

Tips to Prepare for DAT


The DAT is graded on a scale of 1 to 30. While no examinee can actually fail this exam, any score below 17 is considered to be undesirable by many accredited dental schools. On the other hand, a score of 17 or higher ensures dental schools that their potential students meet competency and skill requirements that are required for entry into their dental programs. Failing is not possible because this test is graded according to the number of questions that are answered correctly and no points are received for incorrect or unanswered questions. Immediately following the completion of the DAT, applicants are provided with an unofficial score report.

An official score report is provided within 3 to 4 weeks of testing, and is sent to those dental schools as selected by the applicant. The DAT may be retaken up to three times after the first attempt, and there must be at least 90 days between each retest. A new application and fee for testing each time must be submitted to Prometric, a company that specializes in technology based testing and assessment services including test preparation, processing and consulting.


Students who are entering their senior year of undergraduate studies are encouraged to take the DAT if they plan to pursue a dental school after graduation. The cost of this exam for both national and international applicants is $360, which cannot be refunded or transferred. In addition, rescheduling and cancellation fees do apply. All fees and costs can be paid by credit or debit card,  money order,  or through certified and/or personal check.


Individuals are encouraged to register for the DAT at least 60 to 90 days before taking the exam. Applicants should first read the DAT guide. After that, they must obtain a DENTPIN, which provides each applicant with a personal identification number to take the test. Next, individuals must fill out and submit a DAT application with the American Dental Association, and this can be done electronically through their website.  Once testing fees and applications have been acquired and accepted, scheduling for this test is done by calling or online scheduling the test with Prometric . If however, qualified applicants do not schedule their DAT within 6 months of acquiring an acceptance to test, both their eligibility to test and their testing fee is forfeited. This registration process applies to both national and international applicants.

International Students

As long as international students possess a passport, proficiency in English language, and the other basic prerequisites that are required of all applicants, they can apply to take the DAT. Most often, international students must pass tests such as the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to verify their proficiencies in English and other areas. The cost for the DAT is $360 for international students.

Test Dates & Location

Dental Admission Test (DAT) exams are offered around the year at Prometric Test Centers in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Canada. Individuals are qualifed to schedule their test location, date, and time once they have received a confirmation of their acceptance to take the DAT by phone or email. To obtain their desired location, date, and time for testing, individuals are encouraged to schedule their test at least 60 to 90 days in advance. Scheduling is done by either calling or visting  Prometric online.