How to prepare for the DAT test

What’s on the DAT?

To get into dental school you need to take the dental admissions test (DAT). The DAT is a national exam organized by the American Dental Association. To sign up to take the DAT go here (

The DAT has six sections, at the end you will get a score report with eight grades. The six sections are:

  •  Perceptual Ability
  •  Quantitative Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

You will receive a score for each of these sections. You will also be given a score for Total Science and Academic  Average.

Academic average is an average of the five science scores rounded to the nearest whole number, it simply excludes perceptual ability.

Total Science is a standard score based on all 100 questions in the biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry sections. It isn’t an average of the three.

You will sign up to take the DAT online; the test is taken in a Prometric Testing Center.

Preparing for the DAT

Preparing for the DAT is very important. Most students will spend a summer studying and prepping for this test. It is usually taken after the junior year of undergraduate. That way you can interview with dental schools during the first semester of your senior year.

You want to make sure you have taken all of the basic sciences included on the test before you have taken it. And, any extra sciences that you have taken will only benefit you more.

With a big test like the DAT you need to have a plan for studying. There are lots of different programs available, some cost a lot and others cost a little. Here are some of the most common options, make sure you do something that works for you. Don’t take a DAT prep class if you learn best from books. Don’t just buy a book if you need an instructor.

DAT prep courses

There are a few companies out there that have a DAT class you can take. While most training programs are going online, some still have classes you can go to for help.

Cost Book Class Online Other Features – Sales Points
Kaplan Varies(1248+) yes yes yes Full program, with classes, proctored test, and online training. Can including group or one-on-one tutoring.

Princeton Review Varies yes yes yes Full program, with classes, proctored test, and online training.

Crack DAT $99 – 390 no no yes Can purchase a wide variety of software, including practice tests. Offers helps for PAT, math, and reading comprehension. Has an interactive 3D simulation, helps represent actual test.

DAT Destroyer 149.95- 249.95 yes Tutoring sessions offered in select cities (see website) no Designed by a Doctor who teaches physics, biology, chemistry and organic chemistry along with his DAT and MCAT courses refunds, no score guarantees.
TopScore Pro 54.95 no no no Test simulation software, 3 full length testsAlso includes a short DAT review guide.

All computer based, helps represent actual test.

Only unopened returns. Exchanges only if product is defective.

ACE Test Preparation 399 y

No (except in Provo, UT)

yes Includes: Kaplan DAT Textbook, DAT Destroyer Question Book, MATH Destroyer Question Book, Top Score Pro for the DAT, ACE DAT Tests, ACE DAT Lecture Workbook, 7 full practice tests

Strategies for Perceptual Ability, QR, and Reading Comprehension. 40 hours of online lectures

University Prep Courses Varies by school no y no Your university may offer a specific DAT prep course. These are usually a cheaper option, but the teachers are often faculty with no real experience in the DAT.

This might be a good sciences refresher for someone who is more of a book learner, that just hasn’t taken science classes in a while. Talk to your pre-professional office to see if you school has any DAT prep resources.

This table of DAT products is in the works, there is lots of research still going into help you find the best products. If you think something needs to be changed, please post below.

2 Replies to “How to prepare for the DAT test”

  1. Hello! Your website is tremendously helpful, however, I was wondering what minimum score on the DAT do most dental schools look for? How long of a test is the DAT and how many times a year is it offered? And finally, is it alright to simply study for the DAT alone, or is it better to take some sort of test prep class? Thank You so much!

    1. Hi, I am glad my website was helpful. Really the minimum score varies greatly, it depends on your GPA, your service hours, your research, and other things. Try to do the very best that you can, talk with other people around you. This is usually helpful when determining where you stand. The tests are administered year-round and it was a 4 hour exam. As far as prep courses go, it really depends on your style of learning. If you learn best with a teach, then a course might help. If you learn best from books, then just get a test-prep book and use that. Good luck!

      ADA Website with DAT info

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