The DAT is scored on a scale of 1 to 30. However, it is not a linear scoring system.
A 20 on a section doesn’t mean you answered one third of the questions incorrectly, but in fact you may have answered 90% of the questions correctly.
Your score is based on the number of questions you answered correctly in comparison to others who answered questions correctly. It is then calculated through CDA’s proprietary formula.
Each section is scored individually and then groups of sections are scored collectively.
The standard score of 15 signifies average performance on a national basis.
You will receive 6 scores on the DAT:
Total Science (TS)
Academic Average (AA)
Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)
TS = Total Science. Weighted Average from Biology and Chemistry.
AA = Academic Average. Weighted Average from Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension and Perceptual Ability Test.
PAT = Perceptual Ability Test (angle discrimination, form development, cubes, orthographic projections and apertures)
Quite often, students say that they don’t feel ready for the DAT a few days before the DAT exam. In many cases, they’ve been studying for months, so how can it be that after all the time spent studying, they don’t feel prepared?
Keep in mind that it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever know 100% of the material covered in all the resources you study from.
It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, and no matter how much you prepare for the DAT, you will see a few questions on the DAT that are unfamiliar. It’s just the nature of the beast and it’s okay not to feel ready!
It may help to know that everybody else feels the same way you do – most students don’t feel completely ready for the DAT!
However, do get your bearings straight.
The DAT is not as difficult as you may think. Keep in mind that for most pre-dental students, the DAT is simply a review of what you have already learned in your undergraduate courses. In fact, for biology majors, the exams you encountered in class are more difficult than the biology questions on the DAT.
Just as an aside, you should study for at least 2 – 3 months for the DAT. Do as many DAT practice questions as you can. Plan out your DAT study schedule, set goals and keep your notes organized.
You should join the pre-dental student club at your University.
Usually, the pre-dental student clubs hold mock DAT exams. These mock DAT exams can help you prepare for the exam day since you first-hand experience what it feels like to be examined with a proctor in the room. This is a better option than practicing yourself because you won’t be able to ‘cheat’ or take regular breaks.
Another benefit is that pre-dental clubs invite Dental students to give tips on how they prepared for the DAT exam. They also share their experiences of being a Dental student and what you should expect when you get into Dental school.
One of the reasons some students don’t perform well on the Dental Aptitude Test is because they don’t study from DAT preparation materials that are up-to-date.
The syllabus covered on the DAT exam changes over time, and some publishers simply don’t update their preparation material to keep up with changes in the DAT syllabus. You want to make sure you don’t end up studying from out-dated material that’s not covered on the DAT exam.
For the list of topics covered on the DAT, go here.