When to Take the DAT

2 min


What is the DAT? This is the test that is required as part of your application to dental schools in the United States. This test is science based and the main subjects that are studied in these are biology, organic chemistry, general ability, and general chemistry.

Brief Summary

Pre-dental students always work very hard and are a motivated group but not always do they get enough appreciation. As the pre-law students anxiously take the LSAT, the business students taking the GMAT, and the pre-doctoral students eagerly take the MCAT, the pre-dentals students on the other hand have to take their test (Dental Admission Test) in order to gain entry into a dental school.

The DAT is always scored on a scale of 1-30 and allows only four hours and 15 minutes for you to finish it. In order to register you need to get the DENTPIN, which is obtained from the American Dental Association. The format of the test is multiple choices and it costs $445 per test.

When to Study

The test is normally taken at varying times in the year and there is no specific time of when to study, but you should begin your DAT test prep four to eight weeks before taking the test. A common approach is to schedule your exam after you finish studying the hardest topic or topics so it will be fresh in your mind when taking this test. Usually this is done after studying organic chemistry as this is one of the most difficult topics.

How do you study for the test?

There are so many ways in which one can study for any test whether it is hard or simple. You can decide to study for the test in portions where you assign one portion at a time until all is covered, or you can decide to study each subject daily in small parts. All these methods can work but it all depends on which one you are comfortable with. Always make sure you have balanced all the subjects in the test without ignoring one subject in favor of another.

It is ideal you make a DAT test prep schedule to help study on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also study by taking the practice tests as early or as soon as possible so that you can review daily. These practice tests will help you get familiar with the format and in testing your knowledge of what you know and what you don’t know. You can get practice tests and expert review help through any DAT test prep tutor.

When am I ready to take the DAT?

This is the question everyone always asks when preparing for the DAT, but the real truth is you will never feel ready for this kind of exam. Even after studying for a long time and perusing every material, you will always feel you aren’t prepared enough for the test. So to tell exactly when it is time to take the test, there are two ways you use to decide:

1. Qualitatively

This comes from the feeling you have about the DAT at large. When it reaches a time that you need to get the test over rather than feeling very nervous that you are going to face the test, then you can admit that you are ready for it.

2. Quantitatively

This is much trickier because it is measured by the way you perform in the practice exams. If you score more than 20 in all sections, then you are ready.


The DAT is not as easy as it may look but it can be made simpler through dedicated studying and hard work. Following the clear steps and being focused is the major key and milestone to success in ensuring you have taken the DAT appropriately and in good time. If you feel you are ready to finish the DAT and you always score well in the practice exams, then you can take the DAT without any problem.

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