How Do I Practice For The DAT?

January 7, 2022
Written by Abdul Mukati

The Dental Admission Test or the DAT is held for electing students eligible to pursue dentistry. Since it is a competitive exam, it requires a lot of preparation.

person in blue long sleeve shirt holding black and white tray
Photographer: Quang Tri NGUYEN | Source: Unsplash

Nowadays, a plethora of tools are available to practice the DAT. However, not all of them are efficient.

Besides, you need to have a proper strategy and clear guidelines while preparing yourself to sit for the DAT along with practice tests.

This article will provide you with an efficient study guideline and everything you need to know before sitting for the test. Moreover, you will also get to know about some efficient prep tools.

Table Of Content


  • Before you start your DAT preparation, you have to know about the DAT syllabus.
  • The material you choose for your DAT preparation has a big role to play.
  • You should do more and more practice tests. However, don’t take any practice tests before the day of the exam.
  • It is important to have a healthy mind and a healthy body to score well on the DAT.

Introduction To The Dental Admission Test

Before beginning your DAT journey, you have to know the test very well. You have to know about what the exam contains, how much time you get, the array of subjects the test includes.

The DAT is divided into four sections, and the exam is a 5-hour long exam, including the recommended breaks.

The sections are described below:

The Survey Of The Natural Sciences

This section is divided into three subsections. The subsections are-

  • General Chemistry- 30
  • Organic Chemistry- 30
  • Biology- 40

The Perceptual Ability

This is the most interesting section of the DAT test. The section is designed to test the intuition and visualization power of students. The section is divided into six subsections-

  • Apertures (Keyhole)
  • View Recognition (Top/Front/End)
  • Angle Ranking
  • Paper Folding
  • Cube Counting
  • Pattern Folding

The section contains 90 questions divided into these six subsections. You get 90 minutes to answer all these questions.

Many students find this section frightening, while the truth is it is the easiest one. With sufficient practice, anyone can ace this section.

PATCrusher has a plethora of PAT questions to practice. There is a reason why we claim PATCrusher is better than any other services because it is solely focused on the PAT section of the DAT.

With endless questions and detailed explanations, you can master the PAT within no time. Moreover, the growth analytics and Goal analysis feature of PATCrusher helps you analyze your progress.

Furthermore, PATCrusher is the most affordable PAT practice tool out there. Hence, there is no chance you will go wrong with this.

Reading Comprehension

This section is designed to test the scientific-analytical ability of students. The section includes three reading passages. You will encounter 50 questions from these three passages.

Quantitative Reasoning

The quantitative reasoning section of the DAT contains mathematical problems of algebra, probability, statistics, data analysis, etc.

For every correctly answered question, you score one point. The good part is, there is no penalty for the wrong answers. Hence, don’t skip any questions. Not even one.

The raw score you achieve will be converted to a scale score. The dental schools will get your scale scores.

Each participant will get eight separate mark sheets that will consist-

  • The individual score of six section
  • Academic average
  • A total science score

The average academic score consists of the following parts-

  • Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Quantitative Reasoning

The total science score is obtained from the first section of the DAT- The Survey of Natural Sciences section.

Scoring 50% in every section puts you ahead of most participants. However, to be eligible for most schools, you should score at least 75% in every section.

High-end dental schools such as The Harvard School of Dental Medicine or the UCLA School of Dentistry require 98% in every section.

How To Study For The DAT

Choose The Correct Review Materials

You should first pick suitable study materials to have an efficient study journey. The materials can be either books or online software; whatever you choose, make sure the resources are enriched with necessary information.

There are plenty of options available currently. But don’t overwhelm yourself by purchasing all of them.

Books are essential, but it is essential to practice the DAT online. Because DAT is an online exam, you should be accustomed to the exam format.

Among all the online tools, we recommend DATPrep. They are a fantastic tool with so many resources and practice questions along with professionals to take care of your problems.

Work on Your Time-Management Skills

The DAT is all about time management. Hence, if you are not punctual, you will end up leaving questions unanswered.

Since DAT does not have any penalty marks, the more you answer, the better your chances of getting into dental schools.

At the beginning of your preparation, you can afford to take untimed practice tests. In fact, it is recommended because the goal is to get the answers right and be introduced to the question pattern.

You should switch to a timed practice test when you are halfway through your preparation journey. Because then your focus will be on the speed.

You get 4 hours and 30 minutes for answering all the questions. You should always have 10 minutes at hand when you are done answering.

Eat and Drink Healthy

You should drink more and more water to improve your blood circulation. This will keep both your body and mind working.

Keep a water bottle near your table for easy access during study time. Cut out junk foods and soft drinks. Some healthy options are vegetables, grains, yogurt, protein, nuts, and fruits.

A healthy digestive system and a healthy body ensure more productivity.

Important ThingsTo Know Before Appearing The DAT

The DAT Score

As we mentioned earlier, your DAT score will be converted to a scale score ranging between 1-30. 30 has the highest point while 1 has the lowest.

It will include the four sections of science that we have mentioned before.

However, you are opting for the Canadian DAT; the marking system is different. Hence, do proper research on that.

Your DAT Results

Immediately after your test, you will be provided with a preliminary result. But you can’t use that to apply for dental schools.

After 3-4 weeks of sitting on the exam, you can access the official results. After the results are published, they will be sent to your preferred dental schools.

You have to select your preferred dental school during the time of application. If you want to add more, you will be charged 15 USD.

To avoid spending those extra bucks, conduct thorough research on dental schools and give the options wisely.

DAT Retake

The good thing about DAT is, you can sit three times for the test. If you exceed the limit, you will require permission from ADA to retake the test.

The 15-minute Breaks

The DAT is timed and usually takes 4 hours 15 minutes. You can also use the extra 15 minutes (meant for a tutorial at the start).

Some individuals choose to forgo the 15 minutes break, which I advise against.

Your mind requires refreshing, which could make you more productive in the subsequent sections.

It is no surprise that the DAT is a lengthy test. Therefore, it is normal to be exhausted in the middle of the exam. That’s why the recommended breaks are there.

Some students don’t take a break, which we strongly discourage. A refreshed mind can make you more productive for the upcoming sections.

What To Do The Day Before DAT?

You are just one day away from your dream to become a dentist. The day before the DAT is very crucial.

You should have a plan to spend the day before the exam. The following steps are suggested:

Confirm All The DAT Testing Details

Visit the DAT website to see the rules and regulations, even if you are well aware of them.

Even missing out on a minor detail can mess things up. Check the list of prohibited items and stay away from packing them.

There will be a list of required items as well. Make sure you have them in your bag.

Pack your hygiene products, healthy snacks, and water bottles. You can even take a bottle of fresh orange juice to keep yourself energized.

No Practice Tests

You might feel tempted to do one practice test on the day before the exam. That’s the worst thing you will do to yourself, trust me. Just skim through the flashcards and the concepts. That will do.

Relax, Get Enough Sleep, Eat Healthily

You have studied enough. There is no need to panic. Just relax, take a walk, get enough rest, have a good and healthy meal, keep your body hydrated.

Maybe you can watch a TV show, any sitcoms you like, or read short stories if you are a bookworm. This will refresh your mind to face the “monster” the next day.

Final Thoughts

DAT is easy only when you have good practice. However, managing the resources of practice might be a big deal.

Looking for a tool to help you ace the DAT test? You can give PATCrusher a shot.

Indeed, there are other services as well. But since PATCrusher is focused on DAT, especially on PAT, it is more enriched than others. The competitive score will let you comprehend how ready you are for the DAT.

Get started for free to crush the DAT!

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