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DAT

The dental admissions test is a standardized test used to gauge the potential for success in dental school and allows the committee to compare students from different universities and countries. The test is broken down in to six categories: math (basic algebra), scientific reading comprehension, visual perception (probably the most difficult section), organic chemistry, chemistry and basic biology. Each section is scored from 1-30, 1 being the lowest, 15 average and 30 the highest. Generally a score of 18 (this is the average score of dental score matriculants) should get you admitted somewhere provided that you have good grades and a positive interview. I have known people who have scored as low as 15 and have been admitted to dental school (e.g. Baylor College of Dentistry) and I know people who have scored a 21 and have been denied by University of Washington. Hereís a breakdown what I think your score means:


How do I prepare for the examination?

DAT materials sold by the American Dental Association and I would recommend purchasing them if you want to raise you score, especially the perception portion. I found that the MCAT study guides provided by Kaplan were sufficient for the biology, chemistry and organic chemistry sections on the DAT. Those were my only resources and I scored a 19, 25 and 25 respectively. If you know anyone taking the Kaplan MCAT course, ask them to borrow their guides when they finish. As for the reading and math sections you can practice by just plain reading biological articles (Scientific American or Science) and studying from a Test Prep Math guide. Moreover there are tons of study guides that are available for purchase at Amazon.com

Grades

Dental applications are rising and competition is becoming more fierce every year. Some schools receive over 2000 applications for only 80 spots (some places admit fewer). And with the increase in interest in the health professions in general, look for it to get worse. I have examined the GPA and DAT scores of matriculating students at schools across the nation and have estimated it to be around 3.34 overall and around 3.30 science and rising!

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