All Dental Schools in the U.S. require that you take the DAT. The test, conducted by the American Dental Association is offered on computer almost any day of the year. Most students take the test in the spring or summer following their junior year (e.g. April-June 2011 for fall 2012 admission). Taking the test later than August may not give the student the best opportunity to gain acceptance, as by the time official scores are reported dental school (approx. 3 weeks) classes have already begun to fill. Candidates must acquire a DENTPIN, register for the exam and submit payment ($285) to the Dental Admission Testing Program. Once registered, the student can arrange to take the DAT at any time (with 48 hour advance notice) at any Prometric Testing Center operated by Sylvan. Test Centers are located in Louisville, Lexington, Madison (TN), Franklin (TN) Clarksville (TN), and Evansville (IN). Students must wait 90 days to schedule a retake, and as of 2007 can only take the test three times.
It is important that the student prepare adequately for the test. While taking DAT preparatory courses may or may not be helpful to you, it is important that you have finished your chemistry (four semesters) and biology (as much as you have time for) courses before taking the DAT. Students will find courses in cell/molecular biology, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology very helpful.
The DAT is exclusively multiple choice and is composed of four sections: 1) Survey of the Natural Sciences (90 minutes); 2) Perceptual Ability (60 minutes); 3) Reading Comprehension (60 minutes); and 4) Quantitative Reasoning (45 minutes). The sections are scored from 1-30 with a mean score of around 16 for each section. A 19 is an excellent score representing 89-93% ile depending on the section and the test date. A practice test can be found in the Dental Admission Testing Program application packet and on the web at www.dentaladmissiontest.com