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The Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Preparing For The Dat

To do well on the DAT you should start preparing for the test two to three months prior to the test date. Preparation should be done on a regular basis, devoting a set number of hours each week exclusively to reviewing the necessary material. A study plan that takes into consideration your strong and weak areas of knowledge should be thoughtfully prepared prior to initiating your study program. Special emphasis should be placed on learning facts that are organized around principles and concepts, rather than on isolated details, since the former will be retained longer. Frequent review at regular intervals will be of special help in retaining details that are not of primary importance. Study and review sessions should be terminated as soon as signs of mental fatigue become evident.

Since the DAT is a multiple-choice test, some general considerations may prove helpful. Too much should not be read into a question; it is best to take the questions at face value. Avoid the impulse to change answers when some uncertainty develops. Look for the general principle involved in the question and try to recall specific details you have memorized.

When taking the DAT make certain that you

  1. have a good night's sleep before the day of the exam. Also, try to relax between the various parts of the exam;
  2. avoid taking medications that will inhibit your performance (such as antihistamines or tranquilizers);
  3. use regular reading glasses rather than contact lenses;
  4. carefully read all directions before you start to answer the questions;
  5. answer the questions in the exact manner and the exact place specified;
  6. concentrate exclusively on the question under consideration;
  7. determine how much time you have for each question (divide the number of questions in the subtest by the time allotted for that subtest);
  8. respond first to all questions you are sure of the answers to;
  9. next, answer those questions that require guessing (since the test score is based on the total number of questions answered correctly);
  10. finally, answer questions that are time consuming. (Coding these and “guessing” questions for identification at the outset may save time later.)

The exam will usually begin at 8:00 a.m. and will last until 1:30 p.m. For individual tests the time limit is indicated on the cover of each of the four exam booklets.

The Survey of Natural Sciences and the Perceptual Ability tests are administered first. The Reading Comprehension and the Quantitative Reasoning tests are administered after a 15-minute break. A confidential biographical questionnaire accompanies the test and is used for studies on test validity and test usage.

The test scores for the DAT are reported to the dental schools upon the written request of the test candidates in terms of standard scores rather than raw scores. Through the use of standard scores it is possible to compare the performance of one applicant with the performance of all applicants on any or all of the topics included in the DAT.

Additional topics

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