DAT Breakdown: Introduction Guide to the Dental Admission Test!

This is Part 1 of a series of breakdown posts that will outline the Dental Admission Test. First off we’ll focus on the specifics of the DAT itself and then in upcoming posts we will discuss each of the four sections 1) Survey of Natural Sciences, 2) Perceptual Ability, 3) Reading Comprehension, and 4) Quantitative Reasoning. The Dental Admission Test is designed by the American Dental Association (ADA) to assess your readiness for dental school and is used by all U.S. dental schools in the application process as a factor in their decision. It’s a monstrous marathon of an exam with a wide scope of topics tested and clocks in at around 5 hours! The DAT has been around since 1950 and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Basically: Unavoidable & not to be underestimated. So let’s take a closer look shall we?



Before you can do anything, you need to get your DENTPIN. It’s your unique personal identifier for many things throughout the U.S. dental education system including the DAT, your ADEA AADSAS, the TMDSAS, etc. Get it here.


Applying to take the DAT

With your DENTPIN you can now apply to take the DAT here. Important: once you have been approved to take the exam you have a six month window to do it after which you’ll have to reapply. If you wish to retake the DAT you have to wait at least 90 days and if you feel the need to take it more than three times you have to gain special permission. Plus with each retake you’ll have to reapply to take it and pay the test fee again. Speaking of test fee…


$ Cost of taking the DAT $

Currently the test fee is $385 and that includes sending official score reports to all the schools you specify on your DAT application. If you want your official DAT scores sent to an additional school you didn’t list on the application it’s $33 each. The $385 fee is non-refundable and non-transferable so pick a date and stick to it! If you must reschedule, well more fees for you:

Rescheduling Fees


Scheduling a test date

Once your DAT application is approved you’ll receive email confirmation and only then can you schedule your test with Prometric. You can take the test year-round at Prometric Test Centers in your area. Prometric administers quite a few different computer-based tests like the DAT, GRE, MCAT, etc. and depending on the size of test centers, the day you wish to take the DAT can fill up so schedule ASAP.


What’s on the DAT?

As mentioned earlier, there are four sections to the Dental Admissions Test and we will discuss each in detail in upcoming breakdown posts. There are as followed:

1) Survey of Natural Sciences (100 Questions)

2) Perceptual Ability (90 Questions)

3) Reading Comprehension (50 Questions)

4) Quantitative Reasoning (40 Questions)


How long is the DAT?

Total test time is technically 4 hours and 15 minutes but there’s an optional 15-minute tutorial (to get you familiar with using the test interface), an optional 15-minute break, and an optional 15-minute survey after the test so could be 5 hours. Here’s the test schedule:

Test Lineup

If you really need an additional break the timer on your test will not stop so don’t! With proper practice and a goodnight’s sleep you can handle no extra breaks no problem!


Can I use scratch paper?

The test center will provide two note boards and two fine tip markers to use during the test. Scratch paper, pencils, or markers that have not been provided by the testing center are prohibited. The note boards cannot be used as measuring devices and cannot be folded, bent, distorted, or mutilated in any way and you can’t touch the monitor during testing with the boards (i.e. during the Perceptual Ability section). All items must be returned to the test administrator before leaving the test center.


DAT Scores

Your scores are based on the number of correct responses, which means you’re not penalized for guessing so that means don’t leave any question blank! You will get an unofficial score as soon as you finish the test and official scores are available about 3 weeks later. DAT scores on made on a scale from 1-30 so there’s no passing or failing. The average score is 17 and some schools require a specific score so be sure to check with them and aim high!


This breakdown to the DAT is really an outlined introduction the official ADA DAT Guide that you should definitely check out in full here. Remember the best way to prepare for this long and dense exam is with practice. With DAT Cracker you will get practice with the look and feel of the real thing plus you’ll get plenty of exercise with the timing of the sections.

Onward, practice, and conquer!


DAT Study Motivation!

Hey! How’s studying for the DAT going? Great? Just all right? Let’s take a minute to talk about motivation. The Dental Admissions Test is no easy feat and the many (necessary) hours preparing for it can be grueling. The feeling of burning out is a common occurrence for many and can really throw you off track of your path to DAT domination. The ole saying rings true: if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Plus Gandalf shall not let you pass! (In this case, he’s the czar of the DAT exams because why not?)

shall not pass

Here are a few tips for motivation and keeping yourself on track:

Stop & Take a Practice Test: If you’re in the middle of a studying block and suddenly hit a brick wall: Take full timed practice test. Your score just might give you the kick in the rear to knock you back into focus. With DAT Cracker you’ll even pin point exact weak spots in your preparation thus far.

Change it up: A swift change in the subject you’re studying or change in normal study location can revive your spirits and give you boost in motivation! But don’t change too often be sure you’re sticking to the 50/10 rule…

Be strict with yourself: The 50/10 rule of studying really does work! That’s 50minutes of straight focus studying then a 10minute break to refresh your brain! Do it. Discipline. “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.”

Turn off everything: Echoing the last tip, be hard on yourself and put all things you don’t need to study away, really. It may seem harmless to leave open Facebook open in a tab or have your phone lying there beside you but come test time these things won’t be there. You want to your studying environment to emulate that of the test day. So put away all distractions and save them for your breaks!

Now get out there and get to it! Study study study and practice practice practice (3Xs for emphasis). What are you waiting for? Gandalf will not be pleased! Fly Study you fools!”

Applying to Dental School: AADSAS Personal Statement Writing

In case you missed the memo, the ADEA AADSAS, aka the big dental school application, for next fall is officially opened! The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has a general online application called the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) and there is a PERSONAL STATEMENT required **cue the music** Although the essay is about YOU, you still have an agenda: it still needs to be written in a professional manner and highlight your professional skills, experiences, and interests. That doesn’t have to be so scary! Think of it kind of like answering that classic job interview inquiry: “Tell me about yourself.” Oh no. Did I just make it worse? **cue the music again**

tell me about yourself

Your AADSAS Personal Statement is a place for you to “organize your thoughts about why you are seeking a dental education” all under 4,500 characters (including letters, spaces, punctuation (like on twitter)), which is about a page long. Unless you’re applying to a Texas school, then the Texas Dental School Application System (TMDSAS) has a 4,500-character limit. “Why are you seeking a dental education?”, you need to articulate that you motivated, academically prepared, plus knowledgeable and passionate about the profession. This can be a little tricky; the key is balance. You want to sell yourself professional while remaining personable. By no means is this a creative writing piece; you want to be clear, concise, and professional. Keep in mind: dental schools are making first judgments on you based on this AADSAS application, and the AADSAS Personal Statement is the ONLY place to make a case for yourself IN YOUR OWN WORDS!

Remember that you’re selling yourself as a great addition to the dental profession. This is where you talk about your strengths, passion for the field, and all your extra-curricular hard work you’ve done in preparing for dental school (and let’s face it also for this particular essay here).

Three key points to hit:

o   Why Dentistry? – The lifelong childhood dream is all good and fine really but if that’s not the case be candid and honest and talk about your road to discovery, that’s interesting! Your journey to writing this AADSAS Personal Statement may be long and winding. How did you land on dentistry?

o   Shadowing or Assisting Experience – Talk up your observation hours in a dentist’s office setting and how these times increased your knowledge and understanding of the field. These experiences show you really know what’s like in the real world application of the dental school.

o   Volunteerism – show your interest in working with/for the community and commitment to helping other. It’s important to include both volunteer activities that are relevant to the field and even some that isn’t. For example, working at an animal shelters shows your well rounded not just in a pre-dental mode all the time. Also include the volunteer work related to the dentistry profession that you may have done with a pre-dental society (that’s how you work that you were active in the club in the essay too)!

The ole phrase “writing is rewriting” rings true here this case. Have a trusty professor or dental professional read and give you feedback. They know what admissions committees are looking for and have insight on how to relate your experiences to the field. Final piece of advice: you can upgrade your DAT Cracker account and unlock the all the practice tests for $49 instead of the regular $99 sooooo go do that and you’ll have gleaming DAT scores to match this beautiful essay!

If you need any help on your personal statement, we recommend the people over at Grad Personal Statements at www.gradpersonalstatements.com

Applying for Dental School: AADSAS 2015 Is Now Open!

As a pre-dental student you’ve been tirelessly working in preparation to get to grad school. Joined a pre-dental society? Keeping that GPA up? Got glowing DAT scores? Well, now it’s time to prove it! For anyone applying to dental school for the 2015 – 2016 school year, as of June 2nd the ADEA AADSAS aka the big dental school application for next fall is officially opened! The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has a general online application called the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). It is the required application when applying to any dental programs in the US with the exception of Texas schools. The three Texas schools use the Texas Dental School Application System (TMDSAS) and one application fee covers them all! That’s the TMDSAS for Texas residents only and the AADSAS for all other applicants. So really moral of the story: you should just read each program’s individual application instructions carefully! Stressing out? Hey, relax…

relax dentist joke

First thing’s first, you’ll need to create a Portal account here and have your DENTPIN ready because you’ll need it! Ugh, don’t have one of those? You need one to register to take the Dental Admissions Test aka the DAT, get it here. You do not necessarily have to have taken the DAT by now but geez do it already. If you’re stressing about the big test, well DAT Cracker will give you great practice for the real thing.

When completely the AADSAS it is $244 for first school you apply to and then $90 for each school after that, whoa. In fact, the whole application process can quickly become expensive with taking the DAT, completely the AADSAS, then individual schools secondary application fees, traveling to interviews, etc. so you want to do your research and narrow down the programs you really want to apply to. With all this expense, here’s a little secret to ease the load: Want to get 30 FREE days added onto your DAT Cracker account? Mention “DATCracker” on any forum, mention it in a blog, refer a friend, Facebook post to your pre-dental society, etc. and we will add 30 extra days to your account! Email us at support@datcracker.com so we can help you out for your upcoming Dental Admission Test. Plus we just added more DAT tests to DAT Cracker bringing it to a total of 37 DAT Practice Tests! With all the stress of applying to dental school don’t let the DAT be one of them. Ace it with DAT Cracker!

In review, get on that AADSAS application and get 30 FREE days added to your DAT Cracker account!

Prepping for the DAT!

Summer is here and it’s a great time to get your DENTPIN® and started preparing for the DAT! The Dental Admission Test has been around since 1950, is specialized for programs to assess your readiness for dental school, and it is not to be underestimated. The DAT is really like four tests on Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning and takes about five hours to complete. This is a monster marathon and you need to be prepared and practiced! When test day arrives, it basically comes down to which Stark you want to be: Tony Stark aka Iron Man aka the badass that walks away from the explosion without looking OR Jon Snow aka the Stark bastard from Game of Thrones aka the guy that knows nothing.

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

But first thing’s first, you’ll need to read the American Dental Association’s Guide to the DAT here and then get your DENTPIN® here. Before you can even apply to take the test you need to do both these things. The guide is a great overview of the test itself and your DENTPIN® will be your unique personal identifier in the U.S. dental education system. Do it.

Now let’s get down to business…to defeat the Huns? No. The DAT. So what do you really need to prepare for the big test? Maybe one of those giant books or some expensive software? Nah. DAT Cracker has you covered and is the smart and affordable way to prepare for the DAT! The practice tests on DAT Cracker are designed to look and feel like the real DAT and are made to match the difficulty level. There are full score reports so you can pin point your weaknesses and there are clear explanations to each question. Plus there’s support 24/7/365 to help you all along the way. Log on now to take a few practice freebie tests and see for yourself. P.S. you can unlock all the practice exams right now for $39 instead the regular $99. Do it.

The Dental Admission Test is a daunting undertaking but with the right preparation you can still enjoy summer and be ready for the DAT. So read the guide, get your DENTPIN® and log on to DATCRACKER.com ASAP because when test day comes, you’re definitely going to need the confidence of Tony Stark not Jon Snow.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.