What is Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Dental Admission Test (DAT) – Overview

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized examination administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) for those seeking admission to dental schools in the United States. DAT is a computer-based test that can be taken anytime throughout the year.

After obtaining a DENTPIN and completing the DAT application, candidates can schedule their DAT at Prometric testing centers nationwide. Applicants may retake the DAT but are required to wait 90 days between attempts. If an applicant wishes to test more than three times, they need to apply for a retest eligibility request through the ADA.

Applicants must wait 90 days before retaking the DAT. The fee for the DAT is $495, which is subject to change and non-refundable.

All dental schools accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation in the United States require the DAT for admission. The number of accredited dental schools may vary, so candidates should consult the American Dental Association or individual dental schools for the most accurate information. It is aimed to provide dental schools with a way to assess an applicant’s potential for success in dentistry. The test is one of the main criteria, along with admission essays and coursework, for an applicant to apply for a graduate dental program.

Admission boards of dental schools consider the DAT scores among other factors such as academic records and interviews. High performance on the DAT can strengthen an applicant’s candidacy.

The total testing time for the DAT is approximately 5 hours, including the exam, an optional tutorial, optional break, and an optional post-test survey. It can be scheduled throughout the year at designated Prometric testing centers nationwide.

How to Register for the Dental Admission Test (DAT)

What is Dental Admission Test

What is the Dental Admission Test – How to Register?

To take the DAT exam, you will need to follow the 5 steps listed below:

1 – Read all resources

DAT Examinee Guide is provided by the American Dental Association, which underlines relevant information and keeps it handy. This resource has valuable information and helps you learn more about the DAT exam before registering.

You can find the DAT Examinee Guide on the official ADA website.


DENTPIN is a specialized username allocated specifically to candidates wishing to appear for DAT. This username offers optimal security and privacy before, during, and after the test is completed. You can get your DENTPIN by visiting the official ADA website here https://www.ada.org/.

3 – Register online

To register for the DAT exam, candidates must complete the online registration process, which includes payment of the exam fee using a credit card. You will need to pay around $495 (non-refundable).

4 – Registration

Upon approval of your application by the ADA, you will be eligible to schedule your DAT exam directly with Prometric testing centers through the Prometric website. You must appear at one of these centers for your DAT exam.

5 – Schedule DAT Date

After the Prometric Center confirms your seat for the test, you will receive an email informing you of the scheduled test date, which is usually within 6 months of the application’s approval.

Once you have finished the above-listed steps successfully, you will need to start preparing for DAT.

What is the DAT Test Structure Like

The DAT is a computer-based, multiple-choice test. It is held at designated Prometric centers across the country and is accessible at your convenience within 6 months of applying. The DAT exam consists of 4 sections, including time for breaks, an optional section, and a tutorial before the exam begins.

The total testing time for the DAT exam is approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes, including the actual exam and optional sections such as the tutorial and breaks. Candidates should allow for the entire duration when scheduling their exam day.

Here are the different sections and the times allotted for them during a DAT exam:

  • Optional Tutorial = 15 minutes
  • Survey of Natural Sciences = 90 minutes
  • Perceptual Ability Test = 60 minutes
  • Optional Break = 15 minutes
  • Reading Comprehension Test = 60 minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning Test = 45 minutes
  • Optional Post-Test Survey = 15 minutes

Now that you know how the DAT exam and its different sections are allotted, let’s take a quick look at some of the important topics you can expect to be asked about in the DAT exam.

  • Survey of Natural Sciences (100 items) = Biology (40) + General Chemistry (30) + Organic Chemistry (30)
  • Perceptual Ability Test (90 items) = Apertures + View Recognition + Angle Discrimination + Paper Folding + Cube Counting + 3D Form Development
  • Reading Comprehension Test (50 items) = Various topics to test reading comprehension skills
  • Quantitative Reasoning (40 items) = Covers Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Probability, Statistics, Conversion, and Numeric Calculations, assessing mathematical understanding and problem-solving skills.

DAT scores range from 1 to 30, with higher scores generally improving the likelihood of admission into dental programs. There are no specific passing or failing scores.

Dental Admission Test (DAT) Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the DAT Exam

The Dental Admission Test is crucial to evaluate the overall potential of dentistry students. The DAT test is concluded by dental schools in the United States, which is crucial for students applying for the graduate dental program. It’s like an entrance test for dentistry students.

What is the test fee for Dental Admission Test

The fee for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) is $495. Those who want to clear this test and apply for the graduate dental program must pay the DAT fees.

How long does completing the Dental Admission Test take

The total testing time for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) is approximately 5 hours, including the actual test time and breaks. During the exam hours, there will be breaks for students.

Who should take the DAT

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) for applicants to dental schools in the United States. In Canada, dental school applicants take the Canadian Dental Association's Dental Aptitude Test (DAT). It is an admission test that qualifies the potential of the students who are going to study in their schools.

How many times can a student take the Dental Admission Test

Candidates may retake the DAT but must wait at least 90 days between attempts. There is no annual limit on the number of times a candidate can take the DAT, but those wishing to take the test more than three times must request permission from the ADA.

If the candidate is unable to clear the exams after the fourth attempt, he will be granted to appear in the exam for the fifth time only once a year afterward.

Can I cancel or reschedule my testing appointment

To cancel or reschedule your DAT appointment, you must contact Prometric, the testing service provider. Cancellations or rescheduling can be done through the Prometric website or by phone, subject to rescheduling fees. Before you reschedule your appointment, you’ll have to pay additional fees in advance. It should only be done 24 hours before the exam dates during the working days. Candidates will receive a notification regarding rescheduling or canceling of the exam.

Is there a way to get a fee waiver for DAT

The ADA offers a limited number of partial fee waivers each year for DAT applicants who demonstrate financial need. The waiver covers part of the DAT fee. Here’s the list of incidences where candidates can get a fee waiver for the Dental Admission Test.

  • S. Citizen or resident alien
  • Comes from a low-income family with a certificate
  • Received financial support from the school previously
  • Appearing in the exam for the first time
  • Has not received fee waiver in the past

If a candidate meets any of the above criteria, he can get a partial or full fee waiver.

Do I have to worry about my personal data privacy during DAT

The ADA ensures the privacy and security of candidate data for the DAT exam, as detailed in its privacy policy available on the official ADA website. Candidate information is protected with secure encryption technologies. Your data is safe and encrypted with the latest encryption technology.

How can I contact the officials

The American Dental Association manages the DAT exams. You can reach out to the department at:

American Dental Association Department of Testing Services

211 East Chicago Avenue,

Chicago, IL 60611

Contact number: 1800 232 1694

Email: datexam.ada.org


The Dental Admission Test (DAT) exam is a nationwide test for aspiring dental students who wish to get admission into an ADA-accredited dental school. The ADA conducts the DAT exam to ensure that the most serious, dedicated, and skilled candidates are admitted into dental schools and trained to become professional certified dental experts.

You can find more details about the DAT exam at the official ADA link.

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See Also

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Best Dental Schools in California

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How to Become a Dental Hygienist?

Current Version
March 10, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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