DAT Guide

The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) is a standardized test that all pre-dental students are required to complete before they can gain admissions to a dental school.

The DAT is scored based on a scale of 1-30, with a score of 30 being the highest possible score, and 1 being the lowest. The current average score for the DAT is 17. This represents the 50th percentile score, which means 50% of pre-dental students scored above that and 50% scored below that score. The exact formula used to calculate the score is only known to high level American Dental Association (ADA) officials and is not publicly known. However the ADA indicates that you are scored based on how many students get that problem correct. So basically if you get a question correct that not many students taking the test get correct, that question adds more weight to your score than if you got a question correct that many other students got correct. So score is based on question difficulty. Students are not penalized for incorrect answers. The table below Summarizes the sections, questions, and time breakdown for each section of the test.

Much of this information was adapted from the American Dental Association (ADA).

There are four main sections on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT): The Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. The question breakdown and subsections and time allotted for each section are shown in the table below:

SectionQuestionsTime Limit
Optional Tutorial15 Minutes
Survey of the Natural Sciences10090 Minutes
-Biology-40
-General Chemistry-30
-Organic Chemistry-30
Perceptual Ability Test9060 Minutes
-Keyhole-15
-Top/Front/End Visualization-15
-Angle Ranking-15
-Hole Punches-15
-Cube Counting-15
-Pattern Folding-15
Optional Break15 Minutes
Reading Comprehension Test5060 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Test4045 Minutes
-Mathematics-30
-Applied Mathematics (Word Problems)-10
Optional Post-Test Survey15 Minutes
Total2805:00 Hours

The Scope of the Dental Admissions Test

This section below contains the scope of the test. This section breaks down what you will be tested on in each of the four sections of the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This information was adapted from the ADA’s DAT Examinee Guide 2011.

2011 DAT Breakdown

Survey of the Natural Sciences (100) (90 Minutes)

Biology Section (40 Questions)

I. Cell and Molecular Biology (13 Questions)

A. Origin of Life

B. Cell metabolism (including photosynthesis)/ Enzymology

C. Cellular Processes

D. Thermodynamics

E. Organelle structure and function

F. Mitosis / Meiosis

G. Cell structure

H. Experimental cell biology

 

II. Diversity of Life: Biological Organization and Relationship of Major Taxa (Six-Kingdom Three-Domain System) (3 Questions)

A.  Archaea

B. Plantae

C. Animalia

D. Protista

E. Fungi

F. Eubacteria (Bacteria

 

III. Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology: Structure and Function of Systems (9 Questions)

A. Integumentary

B. Skeletal

C. Muscular

D. Circulatory

E. Immunological

F. Digestive

G. Respiratory

H. Urinary

I. Nervous/senses

J. Endocrine

K. Reproductive

 

IV. Developmental Biology (4 Questions)

A. Fertilization

B. Descriptive embryology

C. Developmental mechanisms

D. Experimental embryology

 

V. Genetics (7 Questions)

A. Molecular genetics

B. Human genetics

C. Classical genetics

D. Chromosomal genetics

E. Genetic technology

 

VI. Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior (4 Questions)

A. Natural Selection

B. Population genetics/Speciation

C. Cladistics

D. Population and community ecology

E. Ecosystems

F. Animal behavior (including social)


General Chemistry Section (30 Questions)

I. Stoichiometry and General Concepts (3 Questions)

A. Percent composition

B. Empirical formula

C. Balancing equations

D. Moles and molecular formulas

E. Molar mass

F. Density

G. Calculations from balanced equations

 

II. Gases (2 Questions)

A. Kinetic molecular theory of gases

B. Dalton’s gas law

C. Boyle’s gas law

D. Charles’s gas law

E. Ideal gas law

 

III. Liquids and Solids (3 Questions)

A. Intermolecular forces

B. Phase changes

C. Vapor pressure

D. Structures

E. Polarity

F. Properties

 

IV. Solutions (3 Questions)

A. Polarity

B. Properties

1. Colligative

2. Non-colligative

C. Forces

D. Concentration calculations

 

V. Acids and Bases (3 Questions)

A. pH

B. Strength

C. Brønsted-Lowry reactions

D. Calculations

 

VI. Chemical Equilibrium (2 Questions)

A. Molecular

B. Acid/base

C. Precipitation

D. Calculations

E. Le Chatelier’s principle

 

VII. Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry (2 Questions)

A. Laws of thermodynamics

B. Hess’s law

C. Spontaneity

D. Enthalpies and entropies

E. Heat transfer

 

VIII. Chemical Kinetics (2 Questions)

A. Rate Laws

B. Activation Energy

C. Half-life

 

IX. Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (2 Questions)

A. Balancing equations

B. Determination of oxidation numbers

C. Electrochemical calculations

D. Electrochemical concepts and terminology

 

X. Atomic and Molecular Structure (3 Questions)

A. Electron configuration

B. Orbital types

C. Lewis-Dot diagrams

D. Atomic theory

E. Quantum theory

F. Molecular geometry

G. Bond types

H. Sub-atomic particles

 

XI. Periodic Properties (2 Questions)

A. Representative elements

B. Transition elements

C. Periodic trends

D. Descriptive chemistry

 

XII. Nuclear Reactions (1 Questions)

A. Balancing equations

B. Binding energy

C. Decay processes

D. Particles

E. Terminology

 

XIII. Laboratory (2 Questions)

A. Basic Techniques

B. Equipment

C. Error analysis

D. Safety

E. Data analysis

 

Organic Chemistry (30 Questions)

I. Mechanisms: Energetics Structure, and Stability of Intermediates (5 Questions)

A. SN1

B. SN2

C. Elimination

D. Addition

E. Free radical

F. Substitution mechanisms

 

II. Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules and Organic Analysis (5 Questions)

A. Inter- and intra-molecular forces

B. Separation

C. Introductory infrared spectroscopy

D. 1HNMR spectroscopy

E. 13CNMR

F. Chemical identification

G. Stability

H. Solubility

I. Polarity

J. Multi-Specrta Spectroscopy

K. Intermolecular Forces

L. Melting Points/ Boiling Points, etc.

M. Laboratory Theory & Techniques (TLC Separation etc)

 

III. Stereochemistry (3 Questions)

A. Conformational analysis

B. Geometric isomers

C. Stereoisomers (Enantiomers, Diastereomers, Meso compounds)

D. Optical activity (Planes of Symmetry)

E. Structure Evaluation

F. Chirality

G. Isomer Relationships

 

IV. Nomenclature (2 Questions)

A. IUPAC rules

B. Functional groups in molecules

 

V. Individual Reactions of the Major Functional Groups and Combinations of Reactions to Synthesize Compounds (9 Questions)

A. Alkene/Alkyne

B. Aromatic

C. Substitution/Elimination

D. Aldehyde/Ketone

E. Carboxylic Acids & Derivatives

F. For Each of the Listed Above the general sub-areas apply

1. General Synthesis

2. One-Step Synthesis

3. Mult-Step Synthesis

 

VI. Acid-Base Chemistry (3 Questions)

A. Ranking Acidity/Basicity

B. Structure Analysis and pH/pKa data analysis

C. Prediction of products and equilibria

 

VII. Aromatics and Bonding (3 Questions)

A. Concept of aromaticity

B. Resonance

C. Atomic/molecular orbitals

D. Hybridization

E. Bond angles/lengths

 

Perceptual Ability Section(90 Questions) (60 Minutes)

1. Aperatures (Keyholes)

2. View Recognition (Top Front End View)

3. Angle Discrimination (Angle Ranking)

4. Paper Folding (Hole Punches)

5. Cube Counting (Cube Counting)

6. 3-D Form development (Pattern Folding)

 

Reading Comprehension Section (50 Questions) (60 Minutes)

The reading comprehension test contains three reading passages on various scientific articles. Prior understanding of the topics is not required to answer the questions (but may help). The reading passages require the ability to read, comprehend, and analyze thoroughly basic scientific information

Quantitative Reasoning Section (40 Questions) (45 Minutes)

 

I. Mathematics Problems (30 Questions)

A. Algebra (9 Questions)

1. Equations and expressions

2. Inequalities

3. Exponential notation

4. Absolute value

5. Ratios and proportions

6. Graphical analysis

 

B. Numerical calculations (6 Questions)

1. Fractions and decimals

2. Percentages

3. Approximations

4. Scientific notation

C. Conversions (3 Questions)

1. Temperature

2. Time

3. Weight

4. Distance

 

D. Probability and statistics (4 Questions)

E. Geometry (4 Questions)

F. Trigonometry (4 Questions)

 

II. Applied Mathematics (Word) Problems (10 Questions)

This is the calculator you will be given during the Quantitative reasoning test, it can only perform basic computational procedures. You cannot use the numerical keypad for the calculator only the mouse.

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2009 DAT Breakdown

Biology Section (40 Questions)

I. Cell and Molecular Biology (13 Questions)

A. Origin of Life

B. Cell metabolism (including photosynthesis)/ Enzymology

C. Cellular Processes

D. Thermodynamics

E. Organelle structure and function

F. Mitosis / Meiosis

G. Cell structure

H. Experimental cell biology

II. Diversity of Life: Biological Organization and Relationship of Major Taxa (Five-Kingdom System) (3 Questions)

A. Monera

B. Plantae

C. Animalia

D. Protista

E. Fungi

F. Etc.

III. Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology: Structure and Function of Systems (9 Questions)

A. Integumentary

B. Skeletal

C. Muscular

D. Circulatory

E. Immunological

F. Digestive

G. Respiratory

H. Urinary

I. Nervous/senses

J. Endocrine

K. Reproductive

IV. Developmental Biology (4 Questions)

A. Fertilization

B. Descriptive embryology

C. Developmental mechanisms

D. Experimental embryology

V. Genetics (7 Questions)

A. Molecular genetics

B. Human genetics

C. Classical genetics

D. Chromosomal genetics

E. Genetic technology

VI. Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior (4 Questions)

A. Natural Selection

B. Population genetics/Speciation

C. Cladistics

D. Population and community ecology

E. Ecosystems

F. Animal behavior (including social)

General Chemistry Section (30 Questions)

I. Stoichiometry and General Concepts (3 Questions)

A. Percent composition

B. Empirical formulae

C. Balancing equations

D. Moles and molecular formulas

E. Molar mass

F. Density

G. Calculations from balanced equations

II. Gases (2 Questions)

A. Kinetic molecular theory of gases

B. Dalton’s gas law

C. Boyle’s gas law

D. Charles’s gas law

E. Ideal gas law

III. Liquids and Solids (3 Questions)

A. Intermolecular forces

B. Phase changes

C. Vapor pressure

D. Structures

E. Polarity

F. Properties

IV. Solutions (3 Questions)

A. Polarity

B. Properties

1. Colligative

2. Non-colligative

C. Forces

D. Concentration calculations

V. Acids and Bases (3 Questions)

A. pH

B. Strength

C. Brønsted-Lowry reactions

D. Calculations

VI. Chemical Equilibria (2 Questions)

A. Molecular

B. Acid/base

C. Precipitation

D. Calculations

E. Le Chatelier’s principle

VII. Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry (2 Questions)

A. Laws of thermodynamics

B. Hess’s law

C. Spontaneity

D. Enthalpies and entropies

E. Heat transfer

VIII. Chemical Kinetics (2 Questions)

A. Rate Laws

B. Activation Energy

C. Half-life

IX. Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (2 Questions)

A. Balancing equations

B. Determination of oxidation numbers

C. Electrochemical calculations

D. Electrochemical concepts and terminology

X. Atomic and Molecular Structure (3 Questions)

A. Electron configuration

B. Orbital types

C. Lewis-Dot diagrams

D. Atomic theory

E. Quantum theory

F. Molecular geometry

G. Bond types

H. Sub-atomic particles

XI. Periodic Properties (2 Questions)

A. Representative elements

B. Transition elements

C. Periodic trends

D. Descriptive chemistry

XII. Nuclear Reactions (1 Questions)

A. Balancing equations

B. Binding energy

C. Decay processes

D. Particles

E. Terminology

XIII. Laboratory (2 Questions)

A. Basic Techniques

B. Equipment

C. Error analysis

D. Safety

E. Data analysis

Organic Chemistry (30 Questions)

I. Mechanisms: Energetics Structure, and Stability of Intermediates (5 Questions)

A. SN1

B. SN2

C. Elimination

D. Addition

E. Free radical

F. Substitution mechanisms

II. Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules and Organic Analysis (5 Questions)

A. Inter- and intra-molecular forces

B. Separation

C. Introductory infrared spectroscopy

D. 1HNMR spectroscopy

E. 13CNMR

F. Chemical identification

G. Stability

H. Solubility

I. Polarity

III. Stereochemistry (3 Questions)

A. Conformational analysis

B. Geometric isomers

C. Stereoisomers (Enantiomers, Diastereomers, Meso compounds)

D. Optical activity (Planes of Symmetry)

IV. Nomenclature (2 Questions)

A. IUPAC rules

B. Functional groups in molecules

V. Individual Reactions of the Major Functional Groups and Combinations of Reactions to Synthesize Compounds (9 Questions)

A. Carbon-to-carbon bond formation

B. Functional groups conversions

C. Multistep synthesis

D. Redox reactions

E. Name reactions

1. Grignard

2. Witting

3. Deils-Alder

4. Aldol reaction

VI. Acid-Base Chemistry (3 Questions)

A. Resonance effects

B. Inductive effects

C. Prediction of products and equilibria

VII. Aromatics and Bonding (3 Questions)

A. Concept of aromaticity

B. Resonance

C. Atomic/molecular orbitals

D. Hybridization

E. Bond angles/lengths

Quantitative Reasoning Section (40 Questions)

I. Mathematics Problems (30 Questions)

A. Algebra (9 Questions)

1. Equations and expressions

2. Inequalities

3. Exponential notation

4. Absolute value

5. Ratios and proportions

6. Graphical analysis

B. Numerical calculations (6 Questions)

1. Fractions and decimals

2. Percentages

3. Approximations

4. Scientific notation

C. Conversions (3 Questions)

1. Temperature

2. Time

3. Weight

4. Distance

D. Probability and statistics (4 Questions)

E. Geometry (4 Questions)

F. Trigonometry (4 Questions)

II. Applied Mathematics (Word) Problems (10 Questions)

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