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The American Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice test, developed by the American Dental Association to measure academic ability, understanding of scientific information, and perceptual ability. It is required for admission to all U.S. dental schools. It is a computer-based test administered by Prometric on behalf of the American Dental Association (ADA).The test is divided into four sections and about five hours long In order to sit for the exam, individuals must have completed at least one year of college, including courses in biology and organic chemistry.
Table 2. Contact Information
The Department of Testing:
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1840
Chicago, IL 60611-2678 USA
The test covers Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, first year College Algebra and Trigonometry (no Calculus). The computer-based DAT is in Windows format. The test starts with an optional 30 minute tutorial. This tutorial can be ordered in advance, however, from the Dental Admissions Testing Program for use on a personal home computer.
The Dental Admission Test is composed of four distinct tests (Table 1): a survey of the natural sciences (90 minutes); a perceptual ability test (60 minutes); a reading comprehension test (60 minutes); and a quantitative reasoning test (45 minutes). There is an optional fifteen-minute break between the perceptual ability and reading comprehension tests.
How is the Canadian DAT Scored? The Canadian Dental Aptitude Test scores are based on the number of correct answers - candidates are not penalized for guessing. The conversion of raw scores to standard scores is based on the distribution of applicant performances. Scores used in the testing program range from 1 to 30. The standard score of 15 signifies average performance on a national basis.
Table 1. Summary of American DAT (Total Length: 4.25 hours)
The computerized exam is scored immediately after you finish the test. Scores are only released if authorization was given on the DAT registration form or when the ADA receives written authorization from the test taker. At that point, the Department of Testing Services at the ADA will release the four most recent DAT exam scores. The ADA does not limit the number of times one can take the DAT. Your raw score on each of the eight subsections of the DAT will be converted to a scaled score from 1 to 30, 30 being a perfect score. The correlation between standard score and percentile is non-linear, e.g. a standard score of 25 (out of 30) can correspond to a percentile of 99.3. The academic average score is indicative of a student's overall DAT performance. Scores of 18 or higher are competitive.
The DAT is given a scaled score of 1 to 30, 15 being the median score which represents the 40 - 52 percentile. A 17 Academic Average and Perceptual Average is an acceptable score.
The candidate will receive a copy of his or her score report at the testing center immediately after finishing the exam. The testing center will also mail copies of the score report to the pertinent dental schools. These scores are standardized onto a scale of 1 to 30. Exam score is based on the number of questions answered correctly, so candidates are encouraged to guess on questions they do not know. The Dental Admission Test is administered by Thomson Prometric; those interested in taking the exam should visit the Prometric website.
The DAT exam is taken on computer and required for admission to most dental programs. You are scored on a 1-30 point scale. Most students have trouble with the perceptual ability section of this test were you are required to manipulate 3-D objects in your head to arrive at the correct answer.
Table 3 . Summary of Canadian DAT (Total Length: 5 hours)
Some US schools can accept Canadian DAT. However, most of them prefer the US DAT. The US DAT has organic chemistry and mathematics (Quantitative Reasoning Test), while Canadian DAT does not have. Some students feel that the biology and chemistry questions are more straight-forward. The reading comprehension is a little more challenging but you get an additional 10 minutes. Canadian candidates can write the American DAT in Canada. Candidates can sigh up any day of the year (except statutory holidays) online to write the US DAT, unlike the Canadian one. Just go to the ADA website. Candidates can also reschedule the date, if they are not ready, as long as they write it within one year from the initial date of registration.
- One year biology
- Two years of chemistry (organic and inorganic) with corresponding lab work
- One year of physics
- Biochemistry, math, psychology and English may also be required
- See latest edition of Admissions Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools, published by the American Association of Dental Schools, for specific requirements
- Test your interest in dentistry in a variety of settings, such as private dental offices, hospitals, dental clinics, dental specialties, etc.
LETTERS OF REFERENCE
- Remember: there is no Pre-Dental Advisory Committee at UW-Madison. The responsibility to collect the letters is on you
- AADAS accepts and processes a maximum of four recommendation letters. These can be submitted on-line.
- Required: Obtain two letters from science faculty and one letter from non-science faculty
- Optional: Collect letters from employers, research & health-related volunteer experience supervisors, and dentists-letters of reference policy may vary from school to school
- Consult the Admissions Requirement book and the ASDA Handbook
- Visit with faculty, advisors, family and friends about the schools they attended
- Learn about schools through their homepages, catalogs, bulletins, etc.
- Set your own criteria for narrowing down the list of schools to which you want to apply
- Visit dental schools' open houses
DAT (Dental Admission Test)
- The DAT is divided into the following sections: Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension Quantitative Reasoning, all scored on a 1-30 scale
- See http://www.ada.org/prof/ed/testing/dat/dat_examinee_guide.pdf for details and registration instructions
- Fee includes the submission of official transcripts of scores to five dental schools, a personal copy, and a copy for the pre-dental advisor. Additional transcripts of scores can
- After the application and fee payment are processed, the Prometric Registration Center will receive notification of a candidate's eligibility for DAT testing. Candidate will call an
800-688-5804 or visit http://www.prometric.com to schedule the day, time, & Prometric Testing Center to take the DAT
- A computerized DAT may be taken on almost any date
- Candidates will have to wait 90 days before re-taking the test
AADSAS (American Association of Dental Schools Application Service)
- Complete AADSAS-on-the-Web application to apply to the majority of U.S. dental schools at http://www.adea.org/AADSAS/default.htm
- Send transcript(s) to AADSAS for every U.S. or Canadian institution that was part of your undergraduate experience, such as summer programs, study abroad, course work
prior to enrolling in college, etc.
- Develop a personal statement. Obtain feedback on your essay from objective readers (e.g. faculty, The Writing Center (http://www.wisc.edu/writing), etc.)
- Document your academic record--carefully follow instructions!
- Send completed materials to AADSAS any time after June 1
- Make copies of all materials sent for your records
- Follow-up with AADSAS in the event of an error or delay in processing2
- Of the 56 U.S. dental schools, the following institutions do not participate in AADSAS:
- Louisiana State University
- Medical College of Georgia
- Midwestern University
- University of Mississippi
- University of Tennessee
- Apply directly to these schools and follow their specific application process
- Complete school-specific secondary applications in a timely fashion--fees will be involved
- Send letters of reference when and as instructed by individual schools
- Keep copies of all materials sent
- Try to coordinate trips within the same region to reduce travel cost
- Gather interview tips through available literature
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN SELECTING THE BEST SCHOOL FOR YOU
- Class size
- Financial aid
- Curriculum/philosophy of education
- Opportunities for research, study abroad, etc.
- Timing of clinicals
- Specialty training
- Financial management classes
- Dental Admission Testing Program,
American Dental Association,
211 East Chicago Avenue,
Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60611.
- American Association of Dental Schools Application Service,
1400 K Street NW, Suite 1100,
Washington DC, 20005.
Phone: 800-353-2237 or 202-289-8123
- For a comprehensive page of dental-related resources on the Internet, check http://www.dental-resources.com/
Dental School Application Checklist
Comparison of US and Canadian DAT
Plan to take the DAT after completion of coursework in Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. Most applicants have completed at least two years of college before taking the test.
An effective strategy for DAT preparation is to study the "easy" sections such as Biology and Quantitative Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension by yourself or attending the big preparation classes. This is because the major task to prepare for the Biology section is to find a good material and memorize the key points. The Quantitative Reasoning section covers only basic mathematical skills students learned in high school, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and some word problems that use applied mathematics. For the Reading Comprehension section, where you are given three lengthy passages, each followed by questions about them to be completed in 60 minutes. While no prior knowledge of the topics presented is required, the material is typical of the types of reading in dental and basics sciences that one would find in dental school. A preparation class would be great choice for students to organize and analyze the material for this section.
However, most students found that the sections such as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Perceptual Ability are challenging. Self-study or attending big classes does not help them improve their test results within short time. Instead, one-on-one or small group instructing sessions provided by Dr. Ma at MPC Education Centre works very efficiently for individual student with different knowledge level. Dr. Ma is highly knowledgeable and experienced in instructing these subjects and training students in preparation the tests such as MCAT, DAT, PCAT and OAT, etc.