For admission to most dental schools in the United States and Canada, The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is required. The test is administered by American Dental Association (ADA) at Prometric Test Centers. The DAT score is an important aspect of the dental school admissions process as it provides for schools a universal factor to utilize when comparing applications.
The DAT is different from all other tests you have taken in your academic career. It isn’t like the knowledge-based exams of high school and college that require learning and memorizing; dental schools despite assess academic progress by your transcript instead. DAT scores are used by Dental schools to know whether or not you have got the basic skills upon which you can build a successful dental career. The main focus is on knowledge application although you must need to know the study material to perform well. The DAT’s emphasis is on reasoning, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and problem-solving skills.
DURATION OF DAT?
The DAT is approximately five hours and fifteen minutes long test, with a tutorial at the start, break, and after a test survey, all of them are optional. If you exclude breaks and the optional, the test duration is 4 hours and 15 minutes long. Here’s a breakdown
Tutorial (Optional): 15 minutes
Natural Sciences Survey: 90 minutes
Perceptual Ability: 60 minutes
Break(Optional): 30 minutes
Reading Comprehension: 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning: 45 minutes
After Test Survey (Optional): 15 minutes
The DAT is a computer-based test and it is administered constant and you can register through ADA.
MEANING OF COMPUTER-BASED?
During the test, there is a countdown timer placed on the corner of the screen. The DAT is administered digitally. You may not have any access to the clock and also you will not be allowed to wear a watch. For the middle of the test, a 30-minute break is scheduled for rest, but you can take more breaks by asking the proctor, although the test timer will continue running. Even if you are not solving the test on the computer, the test will continue running, and sections will automatically start if the time has ended for the previous section.
For the Survey of Natural Sciences section, an on-screen periodic table is there and for the Quantitative Reasoning section, an on-screen calculator is given. You are not allowed to bring your calculator, writing accessories, or paper. The test center gives a note board and marker for making notes and writing calculations.
WHAT DOES THE DAT TEST?
The DAT is an endurance test. It contains four sections and there is a total of 280 multiple-choice questions. It can be an exhausting experience, to say the minimum. If you do not attempt the DAT with full confidence and stamina, you may lose on Test Day. That’s why keeping yourself sane and taking control of the test is extremely necessary.
There are four-time bound sections in DAT: Survey of Natural Sciences (include General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biology) Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
SURVEY OF NATURAL SCIENCES
Your knowledge of university-level sciences is tested in the Survey of Natural Sciences section tests. 100 multiple-choice questions are divided into General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biology. The section is of 90 minutes, and you’ve 54 seconds per question.
The breakup of questions for the Survey of Natural Sciences is as follows:
General Chemistry: 30%
Organic Chemistry: 30%
The Perceptual Ability section contains 90 multiple-choice questions and is 60 minutes long and you get 40 seconds to answer each question. You’ll be tested based on your angle discrimination skills and your ability to visualize and use objects mentally in three dimensions.
There are a total of 50 multiple-choice in Reading Comprehension questions. You’ll get three passages in 60 minutes (20 minutes per passage) in Reading Comprehension. Questions will test your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret passages on a variety of scientific topics.
The Quantitative Reasoning section has 40 multiple-choice questions and its duration is 45 minutes, giving you a few more seconds to answer each question. You’ll be evaluated on the following math concepts:
Algebra, Data Analysis & Interpretation, Sufficiency, Quantitative Comparison, Probability, and Statistics.
SCORING OF DAT?
The scoring of DAT is done on a scale of 1-30. For each section of the test, your raw score is the total number of multiple-choice questions you answered correctly in each section. All multiple-choice questions hold the same worth one raw mark—and there’s no consequence for wrong answers. You should never leave the questions unanswered and always fill in an answer for every question whether or not you are sure about the answer. The guess may be correct and get you a point. Never let yourself run out of time in any section without filling in an answer for every question.
The number of questions you answered correctly in a given section is your raw score. This score does not indicate the performance that schools receive because it doesn’t show the relative performance of all test takers. So, the score will be in the range 1-30 on the official DAT score report, and you and the schools to which you are applying will also receive this scaled score.
Translating your raw score into a scaled score allows each test to be adjusted for group performance and difficulty through equating procedures. In the scoring scale, approximately average performance is represented by a score of 17. This allows comparison of scores from different tests, of potential different difficulties by dental schools.
WHAT THE DAT TESTS
The DAT is more than a science test, it’s a critical thinking test. The test is designed in a way to let you reveal your thought processes as well as your knowledge based on the subjects. The implications are many. Once you can shift your test-taking pattern to match the test maker’s, you’ll get a whole new level of confidence and control over the test.
the DAT is not used by dental schools to evaluate your knowledge, your subject-area proficiency can be assessed by admission committees using your undergraduate coursework and grades. Schools are more interested to know your ability in problem-solving. In recent times, the focus has shifted away from an information-heavy curriculum to a concept-based curriculum by many dental schools. Now, more emphasis is on holistic thinking, cross-disciplinary integration, and problem-solving. This trend is in the DAT.
Every good tool is matched by its task. In this case, the task is to know how expected it is that you will get succeeded in dental school and for this DAT is the tool. However, research encourages that the DAT is interrelated with success in dental schools, and when combined with undergraduate GPA, it’s a powerful tool for schools to know which applicants are likely to succeed.