Dental Admission Test (DAT)
All Dental Schools in the U.S. require that you take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The test, conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) 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 for fall 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 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). Remember that the DAT can only be taken once every 90 days and no more than three times in all unless special permission is granted from ADA.
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 (BIOL 319/322), zoology (BIOL 224/225), genetics (BIOL 327), biochemistry (CHEM/BIOL 446/447), and physiology (BIOL 330) 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 75-89th percentile depending on the section and the test date.