The Dental Admissions Test, more commonly referred to as the DAT, is a standardized, computer-based exam. The test is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. Scores provide dental schools with a universal way to compare applicants.  

DAT Basics

The DAT may take up to 5 hours and includes four scored sections and optional breaks and tutorials.  Test day timing looks like this: 

Optional Tutorial: 15 minutes

Survey of Natural Sciences: 90 minutes

  • Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry content, 100 multiple choice questions 

Perceptual Ability: 60 minutes

  • Tests applicants' ability to visualize and manipulate objects mentally in 2D, 3D and angle discrimination skills, 90 questions 

Optional Break: 30 minutes

Reading Comprehension: 60 minutes

  • Three passages with approximately 17 questions each 
  • Tests applicants' ability to comprehend, analyze, and interpret information on a variety of scientific topics 

Quantitative Reasoning: 45 minutes

  • Algebra; data analysis & interpretation; sufficiency, quantitative comparison, & probability and statistics  

Optional Post-Test Survey: 15 minutes

DAT Scoring

The DAT score report will include eight different scores: perceptual ability, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, total science, and academic average. Scores range between 1 and 30.  Dental schools pay close attention to the academic average, total science, and perceptual ability scores.  

For more information about how the DAT is scored, visit the American Dental Association (ADA) website.  

Registering for the DAT

Before applying to take the DAT, applicants must obtain a DENTPIN. After receiving a DENTPIN, applicants may register for the exam. ADA guidelines recommend registering 6-8 weeks prior to the day of the exam.  The DAT is administered at a Prometric Testing Center. 

DAT Preparation

Students planning to take the DAT should do so after they have taken all the classes that will prepare them for the content, and they have spent ample time practicing with question banks and full-length practice tests. The PMHSC does not recommend self-studying any of the science content prior to taking the exam.  

WSU does not offer any DAT preparation courses. The PMHSC workshop schedule will include programming that aims to explain considerations students may make when beginning to prepare. The 'DAT Prep: Things to Consider' workshop covers various preparation companies and recommendations from former students who have taken the DAT. This workshop is offered during the fall semester so that students who plan to take the DAT in the winter have time to research various preparation methods. Check the PMSHC workshop page for more information.