In order to determine what constitutes a good or average DAT Score, it is advisable to consider the average scores for the colleges you are thinking of applying.
The DAT college entrance exam primarily assesses a student's knowledge of biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry as they apply to dentistry.
How difficult is the DAT? That relies on your scientific knowledge, as well as how your English language comprehension may affect your ability to take the test, particularly if you are an overseas graduate student.
According to U.S. News & World Report, being a dentist is ranked among the best jobs in the US, so graduate admissions to dental schools are competitive. Here is everything you need to know about the DAT, including how long the DAT takes, the DAT scoring chart, how the DAT score is calculated, and what is considered a good DAT score.
What is the DAT?
The DAT is a computer-based exam administered year-round. The DAT practice test is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability.
DAT scores are reported by the American Dental Association (ADA) as eight standard scores. The first six scores are from the individual tests themselves, i.e. biology, organic chemistry, perceptual ability, etc.
The raw score is then converted to a scaled scoring range 1 (lowest) to 30(highest). The remaining two scores are Total Science (TS) and Academic Average (AA). Learn more about how the DAT is scored and the average scores of accepted applicants for specific dental schools.
How many times can I take the DAT? Is it expensive?
Test scores range from 1 - 30; 17 is considered the average national performance. For each section of the test, the actual number of multiple-choice questions you answer correctly per section is your raw score.
All multiple-choice questions are worth the same amount—one raw point—and there’s no penalty for incorrect answers. That means you should always fill in an answer for every question whether you have time to fully invest in that question or not. Never let time run out on any section without filling in an answer for every question.
Your raw scores will not appear on your score report. Instead, they are converted to yield your scaled scores, the ones that fall somewhere in that 1–30 range. These scaled scores are reported to schools as your DAT scores.
In addition to scaled scores for individual sections, schools are also provided a composite score, which is a scaled score that factors in your performance on all the sections. Your composite score is not merely an average of the scores from all the sections but rather an evaluation of your performance on the entire test.
TOP DAT SCORES
Scores that will put you in the top 10% of all test takers
COMPETITIVE DAT SCORES
These scores will put you in a highly competitive place in admissions (top 25% of all test takers)
GOOD ENOUGH DAT SCORES
These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t be as advantageous when applying to highly competitive programs
BELOW AVERAGE SCORES
GOOD ENOUGH DAT SCORES
These scores may be enough to get into a wide variety of dental schools, but will be below average compared to the testing population
When are DAT scores available?
Immediately upon completing the DAT you will receive an unofficial score report at the Prometric Test Center. In the unofficial score report, scale scores and corresponding percentiles are reported. The percentile corresponding to your score tells you how well you performed in relation to other examinees.
For example, a score in the 75th percentile is a score that is equal to or better than the score of 75 percent of all DAT examinees. This unofficial report is audited for accuracy before the official reporting of scores. This report is your personal copy. No other score report will be sent to you. Official scores will be available approximately three to four weeks after your testing appointment.
How do I sign up to take the test?
- Visit the ADA website to submit an application to take the DAT (a non-refundable fee is associated).
- You will be asked to create a DENTPIN, and your Dental Personal Identifier Number before you can complete the application to register for the DAT. This number will be used throughout the dental school application process and for any other testing conducted by the ADA.
- Receive an eligibility letter from the ADA.
- Once you have received the eligibility letter, you can schedule an appointment to take the test with Prometric testing. You should schedule the test 60-90 days in advance of the day you would like to test. Check out the list of test centers here.
- If you require special testing accommodations, visit the Special Accommodations section of the Prometric website.