What is DAT? Comparison between American DAT vs Canadian DAT

What is DAT? One of the most important steps on the path to becoming a dentist is taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This standardized test includes multiple-choice questions and clinical simulations intended to measure your readiness for dental school.

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Image from Unsplash by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu

Every year, thousands of the brightest students across America and Canada take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) to be considered for a position at a dental school across the country.

There are a lot of similarities between the American and Canadian DAT. According to several requirements pages, both the Canadian and American DAT are accepted by Canadian dental schools. A majority of American dental schools accept the Canadian DAT as well. This article aims to give detailed knowledge about the DAT test and present an analysis of both the similarities and differences between the two standardized tests.

Table of Contents

What is DAT exam?

To enroll in a dental school in the United States or Canada, you must take the Dental Admission Test. During the test, you will be assessed on your scientific knowledge and academic abilities. This computerized test consists of four parts: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.

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Source: https://www.ada.org/

Survey of Natural Sciences

In this test, an applicant is assessed for their knowledge of introductory materials in chemical and biological sciences. There are 100 questions in the initial basics section, including 40 questions in biology, 30 questions in chemistry, and 30 questions in organic chemistry.

A separate score will be assigned to each category. Each question in this section will take 54 seconds to complete, giving you 90 minutes to complete it. To succeed on the test, you must answer all questions on time. There is no penalty for guessing on questions, so don't leave any unanswered. The questions are independently selected and do not have multiple answers.

Perceptual Ability Test

Perceptional Ability Tests offer a chance for you to test your ability to perceive and manipulate objects in a three-dimensional space and your capacity to see even the smallest shifts in angles when performing tasks visually. A high score indicates that you have a very strong perception.

One important thing to note is that you cannot use any sort of measuring instrument - not a scale, not a pencil, not even a finger.

Reading Comprehension

This section offers you the opportunity to gain ground and enhance your academic performance. Each science is scored separately, and you can divide your overall score accordingly. As well as these three scores, your academic average is computed by averaging your reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning scores. The two main scores you will receive will be your academic average and your spatial ability.

There are 50 questions to be answered after you read three passages. The passages address a variety of subjects, such as science and economics. Despite the fact that you cannot prepare for the content of the passages in advance, practice is crucial.

It is recommended that you use a preparatory book to master this section. It contains suggestions on how to optimize your time by skimming and highlighting portions. Consider answering as many questions as possible and not focusing on just one.

Quantitative Reasoning

A four-function calculator is the only feature available during this section. You will find 40 questions spread out among the following categories: algebra; data analysis, interpretation, and sufficiency; quantitative comparison; and probability and statistics. Calculations often include a little twist. If you practice the various types of questions, you will improve your quantitative reasoning score.

This section needs to be timed appropriately, just like other sections. Focus on your task, and do not get sucked into thinking about a question for too long.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for the DAT test?

The applicant must have at least a year of college coursework in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and physics. Advancement in biology and physics is not required.

It is essential to keep in mind that the number of test-takers determines test scores. Generally, most applicants have attended college for at least two years before taking the test. A prospective dental student should take the DAT Program well in advance of their intended enrollment in dental school.

The DAT is an important test for applicants to both the USA and Canadian dental schools.

The applicant can take the test no more than 3 times before requiring special permission to take it again. Retakes require waiting 90 days before they can be attempted again.

When Should You Sit for The DAT Exam?

You won't be applying to dental schools until your senior year, so you shouldn't rush the DAT if you're not ready. Both your sophomore and junior years are ideal times to take the DAT, but each has advantages and disadvantages.

After Sophomore Year

In order to have your scores submitted along with your application the following summer, you can take the DAT during the summer immediately following your sophomore year. Your recent completion of Biology and Chemistry classes will benefit your study and performance on the DAT, as you will possess more knowledge about these subjects.

There is no need for you to prepare your application until next summer. Focus exclusively on the DAT. In addition, you will have the opportunity to retake the DAT for a year following your application, but this should never be considered. Get the DAT done in one sitting if possible.

After Junior Year

If you take the DAT after your freshman year, you will have a greater depth of experience and knowledge since you have had more time to take elective classes. Anatomy, Physiology, and Zoology are among the elective courses that may help you prepare for the DAT. Courses in DAT are largely composed of General Biology and Chemistry courses, which are normally completed in the first half of a student's sophomore year.

By the time you take the DAT in your junior year, you will likely not be fresh on the content, so you will have to spend more time studying. Furthermore, you must make sure that you complete and submit your application within a few days after the application period has begun.

In the event you did not take the DAT by the time the application cycle opens in your senior year, you will have to balance studying and applying at the same time. When the application cycle opens, the best time to prepare and submit your application is shortly thereafter, and if necessary, you should take the DAT once your application has been submitted. You should attempt the test by July of that summer if possible.

DAT Classes: When to Take Them?

Make a plan, so you know what classes you will take throughout your undergraduate career. If you take the prerequisite courses prior to taking the DAT and applying to dental schools, it will be easier for you to qualify for dental school.

Make a list of all the courses you'll need to take each semester before you start your undergraduate studies. You should have completed all the required courses before taking the DAT. Elective courses needed for dental school can be taken after passing the DAT. Practicing this proactive approach may help you prepare for the DAT appropriately and reduce your overall stress levels.

You should hold off taking the DAT if you have not yet completed the required courses. Extensive preparation should be undertaken prior to taking the DAT.

It is not unusual for students enrolled in dental school to take between 20 and 25 credits per semester. You may wish to consider taking more credits in certain semesters to demonstrate your capability to handle heavy pressure but keep the emphasis on doing well in your classes. Organize your course schedule and maintain a balance between grades and course load, so that you receive good grades.

Is There a Course Requirement for the DAT?

Before taking the DAT, students must complete the following courses: General Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry.

Following are the courses you may need or benefit from taking for a DAT or dental school:

American DAT vs. Canadian DAT Differences

#Difference 1: Different Elements

The American DAT and the Canadian DAT are somewhat different in content and composition. A preliminary component of the Canadian DAT includes parts dealing with manual dexterity and a piece of soap that must be carved to exact specifications. On the other hand, you will not find this section on the American DAT.

In the American version of the DAT, there is a section on quantitative reasoning (math) and an organic chemistry section that is not included in the Canadian version. Below is a detailed explanation of both the Canadian and American components of the DAT.

American DAT Sections:

Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS):

Perceptual Ability Test (PAT):

Reading Comprehension Test (RCT):

Quantitative Reasoning:

Canadian DAT Sections:

Manual Dexterity Test (MDT):

Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS):

Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)

Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)

#Difference 2: The Scope of Comprehension in Reading

The American DAT reading comprehension section is given an additional 10 minutes to be completed since the American DAT is taken on the computer. There are a total of 60 minutes to complete the reading comprehension section on the American DAT, compared to the 50 minutes on the Canadian DAT.

On the part of test-takers, there have been concerns that this change is justified since respondents pointed out that the passages and questions are much easier to access on the Canadian DAT than the American DAT.

#Difference 3: The Methods of Taking the Test are Different

What makes the American DAT and the Canadian DAT different is the lookout for the medium on which they are taken. A paper-based Canadian DAT is completed while an electronic American DAT is completed. It is more convenient for test-takers to do their work on paper since it is less stressful on their eyes, and they can do rough work on it as well.

Canadian DAT is more advantageous to the test takers as it allows them to directly write on it during the Writing section, which is one of the most important components of the DAT. It is necessary for you to write where the holes unfold directly on the paper in the hole punching section of the DAT instead of having to visualize where the holes unfold in your head when you do the procedure.

#Difference 4: Coverage of Biology Topics

Canadian and American DATs have mostly the same biology sections, but there are a few little differences. In the American DAT, you will find topics like experimental cell biology, embryology, and biomolecules that cannot be found on the Canadian DAT. A Canadian DAT covers cladistics and ecosystems, which are not part of an American DAT.

#Difference 5: Dates for Taking the Test

Last but not least, both DATs come with different testing dates. DAT is only offered in Canada twice a year (once in November and again in February), whereas, in the United States, it can almost be done almost every day of the year. Because midterms are often scheduled in the same period as testing, taking the Canadian DAT requires booking well in advance and scheduling study time accordingly.

Similarities between the DAT of America and the DAT of Canada

With the exception of a few differences between the two biology DAT sections, a topic covered in both DATs has typically been covered the same way and is of similar technical difficulty. There is no difference between the general chemistry, PAT, and reading comprehension sections of the tests.

Wrapping Up

Taking the DAT test may be a challenge for you because of its high level of difficulty. If you want to succeed, you must develop your ability to take tests efficiently and quickly.

When you begin the test by identifying the question type, you will be more likely to ace the DAT test. While studying, you can make sure that you practice different question types with PATCrusher. The efficiency of PATCrusher combines perfectly with other services. Whether used alone or in conjunction with any of the other reading materials, PATCrusher can be extremely effective for your DAT exam.

So, what are you waiting for? Register today and maximize your DAT scores!

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