DAT Pattern Folding Tutorial

Pattern Folding Tutorial Dental Admission Test

The pattern folding section of the Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a tough section for many pre-dental students, but using some of the techniques in this Pattern Folding Tutorial, you can quickly improve your score on the Pattern folding section on the Dental Admission Test (DAT).


The Pattern folding section of the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) consists of unfolded objects which include irregular shapes, dice, shaded cubes, and shaded irregular shapes. You must mentally fold these objects to determine the correct answer. Below I have laid out tutorials for each of the problems you may be presented with on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).


The Question:


Step 1: Look for any obvious Incorrect Answers.

  • This question does not have any obvious Incorrect answers, some examples of obvious incorrect answers are if  the points on the dice are placed in an incorrect way, or there are two of the same numbers in a view.

Step 2: Visualize the diagram in Top Front End View.

  • Use your top front end view skills and apply them to this problem, look at the labeled diagram below for visualization.





Step 3: Use the Top Front End View Method to Find the correct Answer.

Choice A

  • Lets try Choice A, what works best for me is to look at two projections and determine the third, the 5 will be the Front projection and the 2 will be the Top projection, from there I determine what the End projection must be, below I have cropped and zoomed in the question to detail this.




  • As you can see on the picture above, A is incorrect because the End View would have to be 4.

Choice B

  • Choice B will have 1 being the Front Projection, three being the top projection, so lets determine the End View. Below is a cropped and zoomed in picture of the question to detail this:



  • As you can see the End view would have to be the number 6, the 6 folds around and is attached to the 1 when the pattern is folded, because B depicts 4 as the End view B is incorrect.

Choice D

  • Choice D depicts 6 in the Front View, 1 in the top view, and 4 in the End view. There are two combinations of views for choice D as shown below:

Combination 1



  • In Combination 1 the End view would have to be 5 while the top view would have to be 3, which either doesn’t work in this case.

Combination 2




  • In Combination 2 the End View would have to be 1 and the Top View would have to be 4, which either does not work as well.

Choice C

  • Choice C depicts 1 in the Front View, and 2 in the Top view, from that lets determine the End View, image (Rotated) shown below:




  • Using the Top Front End Technique we determined the End view would have to be 3, which is depicted as the answer, Choice C is the correct answer!

Shaded Cubes

  • These Questions can be Answered using the Top Front End Technique As well.

Irregular Shapes

Side Counting Technique

  • In Some Instances you can use the Side Counting Method and count the number of sides each shape has and determine the correct answer, or at least narrow down your answer, sadly though the creators of the Dental Admission Test figured out this technique, and engineered many problems in such a way that all the shapes have the same number of sides, this technique involves counting all the sides in the shape. This technique is illustrated below:



  • Because your original problem has 7 sides all the shapes that do not have 7 sides can be eliminated. So choices B and C can be eliminated.



  • Now we have to compare sides, side 7 is tiny, and side 6 is slanted in the original figure which match up most with D, so D is the correct answer.

Comparing Substructures in the most pronounced shape

  • This technique works well for all Irregular Shapes in the Perceptual Ability Section of the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This technique involves looking at the shapes within the structure and comparing them to the choices given, this technique is illustrated below:


Step 1: Find the largest Shape within the Pattern





  • The Largest Shape is outlined here is pinkish red.

Step 2: Compare the Shapes and look for any obvious Incorrect Answers

Choice C


  • Choice C does not work because the base rectangle circled here is too large.

Choice D


  • Choice D Does not work because the base rectangle circled here is too tiny.

Choice B

  • Choice B is a little Tougher, but as you can see below this feature gives it away:



  • The Major flaw with choice B is the area circled above is too small compared to the original figure.
  • Choice A is therefore the correct Answer


Shaded Irregular Shapes

  • Some can be easily distinguished using the Top Front End Technique, others are not quite so easy.

Here is a tough question I will explain below:



  • Now this question may seem hard, but lets imagine it rotated, well we really don’t have to imagine becuase I cropped and rotated the image, lets examine the choices:

Choice B:


  • Choice B is incorrect because the circled squares need to be switched around. This is illustrated in a cropped and rotated picture below:


  • As you can see the bottom step #2 should be shaded while the top step #1 shouldn’t be.

Choice C:



  • Choice C is incorrect because the circled areas should be switch around, I illustrated that below:




  • Number 1 Should be shaded and Number 2 should not in the very top figure.


Choice D:



  • Numbers 1 & 2 should not be shaded at all! Illustrated more clearly is an explanation below:




  • D is incorrect.


Choice A is the correct Answer as explained Below:





  • 1 is shaded and on the bottom section, A is correct!!


More Perceptual Ability Resources

Listed below are the top 4 most popular DAT PAT Simulated Sample Test resources for explanations and practice problems.

1.Ross’ PAT Videos

2. Crack DAT PAT for the Dental Admission Test (2011-2012 Royal Flush Edition)Test Preparation Software)

3. Barron’s DAT: Dental Admissions Test (Barron’s How to Prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (Dat))

4.  DAT Achiever Dental Admission Test Prep 7 Full-Length Sample Exams 

Good Luck on your Dental Admission Test (DAT) Post any Questions Below!


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