About the DAT


What is the DAT?

The DAT or Dental Aptitude Test is a standardized test run by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). It is used by dental schools as part of their admission criteria. Apart from the Manual Dexterity or “soap carving”, it is a multiple-choice exam that is about 5 hours in duration.

What does the DAT cover?

The DAT covers five areas: Chemistry, Biology, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Manual Dexterity. Perceptual Ability or “PAT” is made up of multiple question types designed to examine your angle-discrimination, spatial orientation, and three-dimensional visualization skills. The Manual Dexterity portion of the exam consists of carving a standardized cylinder of soap to specifications laid out at exam time.

When can I write the DAT?

The DAT can be written in NOVEMBER and/or FEBRUARY. Most schools require it be written the fall before the admission year or about 1 year before entry into dental school. This varies with each school.

What is considered a "good" DAT score and will it guarantee me entry into a dental school?

The DAT is graded using a standard scale. Each of the five sections is scored out of 30. The minimum grade accepted at most schools is 15 out of 30, with mid-20's being considered competitive. This, again, varies with each school. NOTE: Scoring well on the DAT does not guarantee admission to any dental school and is only part of the admission criteria. GPA and interview and other criteria are considered.

Can the DAT be used to apply to American schools?

Some dental schools in the USA will accept the Canadian Dental Association DAT for admission. Check the school's website for more information.

What is the difference between the American and Canadian versions of the DAT?

The American DAT does not include a Manual Dexterity component. The American DAT also includes Quantitative Reasoning (math) and Organic Chemistry.