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The Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Importance Of The Dat

About six weeks after taking the DAT, each applicant will receive a personal copy of the scores (with an explanation of them) at the permanent address listed on the original application form. DAT scores are based on the number of correct answers recorded. The scores are reported to the dental schools requested by the applicant as standard scores rather than raw scores. 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. There is no passing or failing score, but a standard score of 15 signifies average performance on a national basis.

By the use of standard rather than raw scores it is possible to compare the performance of one applicant with the performance of all applicants. Also, since the DAT is designed to predict performance in both academic and technical areas, two average scores are included in the test report—the academic average and the Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) average. The former is an average of quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, and inorganic and organic chemistry test scores; the latter is an average of the two- and three-dimensional Perceptual Ability Test scores.

Dental schools place varying degrees of emphasis on the two average scores and the individual subtest scores (see Tables 18.1 and 18.2). In any case the DAT scores are not taken out of context, but rather they represent one of the four major elements considered by admissions committees. The other elements are the grade point and science averages, letters of recommendation and evaluations, and the dental school interview. Good DAT scores will reinforce a strong applicant's chances for admission and help a weak candidate get in-depth consideration and possibly an interview. Poor DAT scores will raise doubts about a strong candidate's true abilities and serve to defeat a weak candidate's chances completely.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesGuide to Medical & Dental SchoolsThe Dental Admission Test (DAT) - Importance Of The Dat, Contents Of The Dat, Preparing For The Dat, Sample Dat Questions