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11 October, 2023

What Is on the DAT?

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized exam administered by the American Dental Association. In this article, we will discuss the American DAT format in addition to the topics covered.
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The DAT is a standardized 5-hour and 15-minute online exam administered by the American Dental Association. The exam can be taken all year round and is scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 30 with 30 being the highest score. To learn more about how the DAT is scored, check out our article on this topic here. If you are taking the Canadian DAT, keep in mind the format of the Canadian DAT is different than the American DAT. Below we will discuss the American DAT format, as well as topics covered on the DAT.

    Section    Number of Questions        Time Allocated    
    Optional Tutorial     15 minutes
    Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS)    100 questions    90 minutes
    Perceptual Ability Test    90 questions    60 minutes
    Scheduled Break (optional)     30 minutes
    Reading Comprehension Test                     (RCT)    50 questions    60 minutes
    Quantitative Reasoning Test (QR)    40 questions    45 minutes

    
 

 

 

 

  1. The Survey of Natural Sciences – Given 90 minutes to complete 40 Biology, 30 Chemistry and 30 Organic Chemistry questions.
  2. The Perceptual Ability Test – Given 60 minutes to complete 90 questions perceptual ability questions.   
  3. The Reading Comprehension Test – Given 60 minutes to read 3 passages (1200-1500 words each) and complete 50 questions reading comprehension questions.  
  4. Quantitative Reasoning Test – Given 45 minutes to complete 40 Math questions.

DAT Section 1: Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS)

For the Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS) section of the DAT, you are given 90 minutes to complete a total of 100 questions (40 Biology, 30 General Chemistry, 30 Organic Chemistry). To prepare for this section, we highly recommend utilizing DATBooster’s video series and detailed study notes, followed by completing all of DATBooster’s Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and practice tests as they are based on what’s appeared on the 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 DAT practice tests we offer.         

          Biology (40 Questions)

  • Cell and Molecular Biology: cell metabolism (including photosynthesis, enzymology), cellular processes (including membrane transport, signal transduction), thermodynamics, mitosis/meiosis, cell structure and function, experimental cell biology, biomolecules and integrated relationships
  • Diversity of Life: viruses, Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Fungi, Protista, Plantae, Animalia and integrated relationships
  • Structure and Function of Systems: integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic/immune, digestive,
    respiratory, urinary, nervous/sensory, endocrine, reproductive and integrated relationships
  • Genetics: molecular genetics, human genetics, classical genetics, chromosomal genetics, genetic technology,
    developmental mechanisms, genomics, gene expression, epigenetics and integrated relationships
  • Evolution and Ecology: natural selection, population genetics/speciation, animal behavior, ecology (population,
    community and ecosystem ecology) and integrated relationships

          General 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, vapor 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

          Organic Chemistry (30 Questions)

  • Mechanisms: Energetics and Structure – elimination, addition, free radical, substitution mechanisms and other mechanisms and reactions
  • Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules: Spectroscopy (1H NMR, 13C NMR, infrared and multi-spectra), structure (polarity, intermolecular forces (solubility, melting/ boiling point, etc.) and laboratory theory and techniques (TLC, separations, etc.)
  • Stereochemistry (structure evaluation): Chirality, isomer relationships and conformations
  • Nomenclature: IUPAC rules and functional groups in molecules
  • Individual Reactions of the Major Functional Groups and Combinations of Reactions to Synthesize Compounds: Alkene/alkyne, aromatic, substitution/elimination, aldehyde/ketone, carboxylic acids and derivatives and others. For each area listed above, the following sub-areas apply: general, one-step and multi-step
  • Acid-Base Chemistry: Ranking acidity/basicity (structure analysis and pH/pKa data analysis) and prediction of products and equilibria
  • Aromatics and Bonding: Concept of aromaticity, resonance, atomic/molecular orbitals, hybridization and bond angles/lengths

DAT Section 2: Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)

The Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) of the 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 this section requires significant practice to improve, so we recommend getting daily practice.

Fortunately, the DATBooster team has developed a unique software called “PAT generators, “ which allows you to practice unlimited PAT questions like the real 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 DAT practice tests we offer.

  • Keyholes
  • Top-Front-End
  • Angle-Ranking
  • Hole Punching
  • Cube Counting
  • Pattern Folding

DAT Section 3: Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension Test (RCT) is the next section based on the 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 DATBooster’s Extra Reading Comprehension passages to prepare. Furthermore, if you would like to get some full-length Reading Comprehension practice, feel free to take a look at the free DAT practice tests we offer.

DAT Section 4: Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section (QR) is the final section of the DAT format. During this section, you are given 45 minutes to complete 40 multiple-choice questions. To prepare for this section, we highly recommend utilizing DATBooster’s video series and detailed study notes, followed by completing all of DATBooster’s Quantitative Reasoning practice tests as they are based on what’s appeared on the 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 DAT practice tests we offer.

          Quantitative Reasoning (40 Questions)

  • Mathematical Problems: algebra (equations and expressions, inequalities, exponential notation, absolute value, ratios, proportions and graphical analysis); Data Analysis, Interpretation and Sufficiency; Quantitative Comparison; and Probability and Statistics
  • Applied Mathematics (Word) Problem