Importance of the DAT Exam

3 Reasons Why taking the DAT is Important

Candidates who want to take up dentistry as a future career have to appear for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Some of you may be wondering why this test must be taken. Well, let us find out some of the reasons behind the utility of the exam and that, consequently, will answer your question.

Reasons Behind taking the Test

The American Dental Association (ADA) organizes the DAT to help dental schools select candidates. The score you receive in the DAT test along with your GPA and pre-dental education determines your abilities as a future dentist. That is the perspective of the dental schools...let us now find out why is taking the DAT so important for students.

  • Self-evaluation: Dentistry is a rigorous profession and hence, you should not head into it without understanding its demands. This test is the platform that will help you analyze whether or not you are prepared to take in the challenges of the profession. Students who fare well in this test have the greatest likelihood of completing their first year in dental school with ease. This is important, because the first year is considered to be the most taxing. So if you are genuinely interested, you should be well prepared for it.

  • Second opportunity: Many students perceive the exam as a second chance to have a successful career. This is especially true for students who do not have a very high GPA. For example, if your GPA is 3.0, but your scores are 20 and above, then you have a good chance getting admission in a better known dental school of the USA. Thus, this test can be a boon if you prepare hard and score well.

  • Understanding your choice: Dentistry is a versatile field, because once you have completed your studies, you can choose to become an orthodontist, oral surgeon, periodontist, or become an expert in other fields related to dentistry or even do research. Your score will help you decide your course of education. Your mentor at the dental school you join will also be able to guide you regarding this.

Once you have understood the significance of  DAT, you must start preparing for it. To help you further in this regard, the following section of this article will provide an insight into the nature of the test.

Things You Need to Know About the DAT

The DAT is quite a strenuous and rigorous examination and hence, understanding the nature of it is very essential.

  • Test format: The exam is an effort to evaluate your academic proficiency and your analytical skills. The DAT is a computer-based test and the question paper comprises multiple-choice questions. Having said that, the following list discusses the constituents of each sub-section of the test:

    1. Survey of Natural Sciences: This sub-section is designed to verify your college-level knowledge of Biology and Chemistry (General and Organic). The questions in this section will be quite detailed and extensive. This is the longest sub-section and it consists of 100 questions, which have to be completed in 90 minutes.
    2. Perceptual Ability Test (PAT): This sub-section is almost like a psychometric test, because the questions are so designed that you will have to use basic mathematical concepts and your analytical skills, in order to answer them. Here you will have to solve 90 questions in 60 minutes. The questions will be based on:
      • Apertures
      • Angle discrimination
      • Cube counting
      • View recognition
      • Paper folding
      • 3 dimensional form development
    3. Reading Comprehension: As the name of the sub-section suggests, it will consist of comprehension passages, which will be excerpts from various scientific journals. Based on the passages, 50 questions will be formulated. You will get 60 minutes to read as well as answer the questions.

    4. Quantitative Reasoning: The final part of the test comprises of questions on various branches of Mathematics. Broadly speaking, the questions will be based on the following topics:

      • Arithmetic
      • Algebra
      • Geometry
      • Statistics
      • Statistics
      • Trigonometry
      • Word problems
  • Scoring system: The ADA provides 8 different scaled scores, which are calculated based on the number of correct answers that you have given. There is no negative marking and the scale range used by the ADA is from 0 to 30. Thus, even if you give a wrong answer, you will not be penalized for it. Along with the scaled scores, your DAT score card will also comprise percentile ranks. The dental schools that you apply to will take all these into account, while estimating your admission applications.

The above-mentioned list provides an insight into the nature of the DAT test and how you can evaluate your results. If you require more information regarding it, then click on the following link: Go through this website to clear any doubt that you might have regarding the exam. Once you understand the test, you will find preparing for it becomes easier.