How hard is the DAT? (Overview, Scope, Retake, Time taken)

DAT (Dental Admission Test) is an important requirement for students thinking about building a career in the dental field.

When setting up your study plan for the examination, you’ll likely find yourself with questions concerning the issue of DAT.

DAT, like some other standardized examination, isn’t easy and calls for practicing. But, similar to everything in life, if you work hard and work towards achieving the work, you could succeed.

In this article, we can test how hard the examination is and why many consider it to be hard.

How hard is the DAT?

Overview of the DAT 

DAT is a timed dental training admission exam given to potential dental college students to evaluate their capacity to achieve a dental college program.

DAT is administered yearly by Prometric test facilities in the United States, its provinces, and Canada. It consists of multiple-choice questions in 4 sections:

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Perceptual Ability
  • Survey of Natural Science
  • Reading Comprehension

On average, there are 5-10 difficult questions and an average of 30 easy-medium varieties, with basic content material. Scores for the DAT varies from 1-30.

There aren’t any passing or failing score parameters; however, typically, a score of 17 is an average overall performance.

The DAT is needed by all US dental colleges and measures basic educational capacity, perceptual capacity, and scientific understanding.

You will obtain your score immediately after you complete your test. However, applicants can take the exam up to 3 times with a minimal 90-day break between each take.

At the same time, Prometric, a testing and evaluation organization, charges $320 for the DAT and $37 for an online exercise exam.

How hard is the DAT?

No one can outrightly tell how difficult the DAT is. Why? Because we all are not the same. What might seem difficult to one person could be easy to another fellow.

But in a few cases, we may share identical opinions, and that will count. The difficulty of any exam, just like DAT, depends on how well you studied for the exam.

If you choose to begin learning a few days before the exam or a night before the exam, you are sure to experience difficulty on the day of the exam.

That way, one would term the DAT difficult. But if you have taken enough time to study for the test, like a couple of months before the exam, you will surely experience an easy exam.

Some candidates who have taken the DAT in the past say the exam isn’t difficult, but the way it is assessed makes it appear so.

And many have found facts in an argument because on some occasions, you would possibly know the right solutions to many of the questions asked, but some incorrect solutions will substantially affect your score.

So, the secret lies in seeking to be as correct as possible. That’s why you have to focus on thoroughly reviewing the preparatory materials and apprehend the right manner to approach questions.

But, they are not that simple to let you guess the solutions out of your fundamental knowledge.

Pattern of the DAT:

Think of it like this; if you need to attain 20+, you best have a chance to fail 2 or 3 questions. And even though this relies on the overall difficulty of the exam, you should not aim for less. So, please keep it in your thoughts next time you plan to study. 

If you’re lucky, the scaling would possibly favor you despite numerous incorrect solutions, and also, you could manage to score within 17-19.

Remember, irrespective of how clever you study, there is constantly room for surprises. Some questions would possibly hit you beneath the belt, and there’s not anything you could do; however, pray for a non-linear scaling.

So, the best thing you can do is study hard to boost your confidence. That way, you can answer any question with the confidence of a winner.

While this may be true most of the time, it’s the fear of failing the DAT that keeps you hearing, “how difficult the DAT test is!”

The DAT Score

Your DAT score is the average score from all of the four sections. However, all four sections range from a scale of 1-30.

So, this could encompass your results from the Biology segment, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Your DAT Results            

After completing your test, the result you would get is the preliminary result; the official result will be made available within 3-4 weeks after completing your test.

The initial preliminary result you got immediately after finishing your test can’t be used to apply for admission into dental college.

Only the official result can be used to apply for admission into your preferred dental college.

Can I retake DAT?

If, unfortunately, you fail to score as expected in your DAT, you have the option to retake it. You can get the DAT 3 times without the permission of ADA.

However, if you must take the DAT for the fourth time, you must take a license from ADA.

How long does DAT take to complete?

Being CBT-oriented, the DAT is timed and generally takes 4 hours 15 minutes to complete.

The Scope of DAT material:

As stated before, the DAT contains four segments:

  • The Survey of Natural sciences includes a 100 questions; 30 in General Chemistry, 30 in organic Chemistry, and 40 in biology.
  • Perceptual Ability includes 90 questions, the Reading Comprehension 60 questions, and Quantitative Reasons 30 questions.

To get a good average score, you will need to correctly and adequately provide solutions to score high in all sections.

However, a terrible score in a single segment can significantly affect your overall result, so attempt stability as much as you can. No segment needs to be overlooked.


DAT won’t be as simple as the nursery tunes; however, it is possible to crack. All that is required of you is to strategize and prepare adequately so you can ace the DAT.

Also, the extent of difficulty one faces during their DAT prep and the actual DAT rely on your science knowledge.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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ST Admin

Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of at present.

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