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DAT Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The answer to "how hard is the DAT?" is "it doesn't have to be hard." The DAT does cover a lot of content and asks you to recall several years of undergraduate work, in addition to challenging you with the Perceptual Ability section. As you get to know the DAT's content and structure in your prep course, you will also learn strategies for conquering the test.

  • You can take the DAT up to three separate times, waiting 90 days between retesting attempts. Additional testing attempts must be approved by the American Dental Association. When you are planning your DAT prep schedule, you may want to allow extra time in case you might need to retest so you do not miss any application deadlines. You will need to pay a separate registration fee each time you take the DAT.
  • How you study for the DAT depends on your goals, preferred study style, schedule, and more. The best way to study for the DAT is to find a method that works for you, make a plan, and stick with it. You may want to study in a traditional classroom, live online, on your own, or even with a tutor. Your DAT study plan should include reviewing content, learning strategy, as well as realistic, full-length practice.

  • The best time to take the DAT for you will depend on your schedule and when you will be able to devote time to preparing, as well as when you will be applying to dental school. To be able to submit your application early, you will need to have your DAT score in hand before the application window opens in early June. There is an admissions advantage to submitting an early application.
  • The Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) is the second section of the DAT and for many students one of the most challenging. The DAT PAT tests your spatial visualization skills, including your ability to interpret two-dimensional (2D) representations of three-dimensional (3D) objects. You will need to answer 90 questions in 60 minutes.