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16 February, 2024

Canadian DAT Format

The Canadian Aptitude Test (DAT) is a standardized exam administered by the Canadian Dental Association. In this article, we will discuss the Canadian DAT format in addition to the topics covered.
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The Canadian DAT is a standardized 3-hour online exam administered by the Canadian Dental Association that can be taken all year round starting in 2022. The Canadian DAT is scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 30 with 30 being the highest score. To learn more about how the Canadian DAT is scored, check out our article on this topic by clicking here. With that said, the format of the Canadian DAT is different than the American DAT. Below we will discuss the Canadian DAT format, as well as topics covered on the Canadian DAT.

Please note the Canadian DAT format will now be a digital exam starting 2022.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime allocated
Manual Dexterity Test (MDT)1 Soap Pattern30 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS)70 questions60 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)90 questions60 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)50 questions60 minutes
  1. Manual Dexterity (Optional) – Given 30 minutes to carve 1 soap pattern.
  2. The Survey of Natural Sciences – Given 60 minutes to complete 40 Biology and 30 Chemistry questions.
  3. The Perceptual Ability Test – Given 60 minutes to complete 90 questions perceptual ability questions.
  4. The Reading Comprehension Test – Given 60 minutes to read 3 passages (1200-1500 words each) and complete 50 questions reading comprehension questions

1️⃣ Canadian DAT Section 1: Manual Dexterity Test (MDT) – Optional

The manual dexterity section is an optional section of the Canadian DAT. Students are given a cylindrical piece of soap that is about 8 cm in length and are required to carve a specific soap design with exact measurements within 30 minutes. During this carving process, you are given a paper ruler, a black sharpie, a carving knife, and a pencil to help you carve. 

Although most Canadian dental schools do not require the soap carving section of the DAT, it is important to check which schools require it for admission. As of 2022, the CDA has yet to announce whether the MDT section will be offered.

2️⃣ Canadian DAT Section 2: Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS)

For the Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS) section of the Canadian DAT, you are given 60-minutes to complete a total of 70 questions (40 Biology and 30 General Chemistry). To prepare for this section, we highly recommend utilizing DATCrusher’s video series and detailed study notes, followed by completing all of DATCrusher’s Biology and General Chemistry practice tests as they are based on what’s appeared on the Canadian DAT in the past. Below is the full list of topics that can be tested in this section. If you would like to get some practice, feel free to take a look at the free Canadian DAT practice tests we offer.

Biology (40 Questions)

  • Cell and Molecular Biology: the origin of life, cell metabolism (including photosynthesis/enzymology), cellular processes, thermodynamics, organelle structure and function, mitosis/meiosis, cell structure, experimental cell biology, biomolecules, and integrated relationships
  • Diversity of Life: Biological Organization and Relationship of Major Taxa (Six-Kingdom, Three-Domain System) – Plantae, Animalia, Protista, Fungi, Eubacteria (bacteria), Archaea, and integrated relationships
  • Structure and Function of Systems: integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, immunological, digestive, respiratory, urinary, nervous/senses, endocrine, reproductive, and integrated relationships
  • Developmental Biology: fertilization, descriptive embryology, developmental mechanisms, and integrated relationships
  • Genetics: molecular genetics, human genetics, classical genetics, chromosomal genetics, and genetic technology, and integrated relationships
  • Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior: natural selection, population genetics/speciation, population and community ecology, ecosystems, and animal behaviour (including social behaviour), and integrated relationship

Chemistry (30 Questions)

  • Stoichiometry and General Concepts: percent composition, empirical formulae, balancing equations, moles and molecular formulas, molar mass, density, and calculations from balanced equations
  • Gases: kinetic molecular theory of gases, Dalton’s, Boyle’s, Charles’s, and ideal gas law
  • Liquids and Solids: intermolecular forces, phase changes, vapour pressure, structures, polarity, and properties
  • Solutions: polarity, properties (colligative, non colligative), forces, and concentration calculations
  • Acids and Bases: pH, strength, Brønsted-Lowry reactions, and calculations
  • Chemical Equilibria: molecular, acid/base, precipitation, calculations, and Le Chatelier’s principle
  • Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry: laws of thermodynamics, Hess’s law, spontaneity, enthalpies and entropies, and heat transfer
  • Chemical Kinetics: rate laws, activation energy, and half-life
  • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions: balancing equations, determination of oxidation numbers, electrochemical calculations, and electrochemical concepts and terminology
  • Atomic and Molecular Structure: electron configuration, orbital types, Lewis-Dot diagrams, atomic theory, quantum theory, molecular geometry, bond types, and sub-atomic particles
  • Periodic Properties: representative elements, transition elements, periodic trends, and descriptive chemistry
  • Nuclear Reactions: balancing equations, binding energy, decay processes, particles, and terminology
  • Laboratory: basic techniques, equipment, error analysis, safety, and data analysis

3️⃣ Canadian DAT Section 3: Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)

The Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) of the Canadian DAT is a unique section, unlike anything you may have encountered so far. You are given 60 minutes to complete 90 perceptual ability questions, which are divided into 6 subcategories listed below. It’s important to note that starting 2022, the PAT section will be completely digital like the rest of the exam. Therefore, it’s crucial that you practice these questions online and develop strategies to give yourself an advantage.

Fortunately, our team at DATCrusher has developed a unique software called “online PAT generators“, which allows you to practice unlimited PAT questions like the real Canadian DAT. We highly recommend taking advantage of this software. Furthermore, if you would like to get some full-length PAT practice, feel free to take a look at the free Canadian DAT practice tests we offer.

  • Keyholes (Apertures)
  • Top-Front-End (View Recognition)
  • Angle-Ranking (Angle Discrimination)
  • Hole Punching
  • Cube Counting
  • Pattern Folding (3D Form Development)

4️⃣ Canadian DAT Section 4: Reading Comprehension (RCT)

The Reading Comprehension Test (RCT) is the final section based on the Canadian DAT format. During this section, you are given 60 minutes to read three passages that are approximately 12-16 paragraphs in length and answer 50 multiple-choice questions. Knowledge of the topics is not required to answer any of the questions since all answers can be inferred from the passages. The key to preparing for this section is practicing and finding a strategy that works best for you. Be sure to take advantage of DATCrusher’s Extra Reading Comprehension passages to prepare.