Ace The DAT: Tips And Tricks For Preparing For The Dental Admissions Test


Becoming a dentist is a dream for many students. It is a rewarding sector, with permanent job security and tons of benefits. Moreover, one could never underestimate the high value, prestige and glory associated with this sector. And with the ever-increasing number of people wanting a bright dazzling and flawless smile all day around, this sector is not going anywhere anytime soon.

But first, one must pass the dental admissions test, commonly known as the DAT, and secure a seat in one of the best institutes across the US and a few in Canada.

As mentioned earlier, the DAT test is required to get enrolled on a dental course. This is a mandatory test in the USA, and almost a dozen of Canadian dental institutes. You can find more information about the DAT Test here. However, one must remember that this is a computer-based test (CBT) and can last around 5 hours, with multiple sections containing a vast syllabus.


As this is a standardized test, it can be inferred that the test would have neck-to-neck competition. Therefore, it becomes quite important that the candidates are well-prepared in advance to ensure they get into the dental school of their choice.

For this, given below are a few tips and tricks that would help you ace the test. It must be noted that these points are based on the candidates’ experiences who have attempted the test over the years:

Start Preparing Well In Advance

It is a no-brainer that to ace any test, you must be well-prepared. And it is very aptly said that any task well begun is half done.

On an estimate, apart from school and final year at college, it is believed that you must have at least put in 250 hours of hard work before the exam to get a decent score. This means you must start preparing for the exam at least 3 to 4 months before the due date. This would give you ample time to practice the questions and clear your doubts.

Make A Study Planner


What most of the students struggle the most with is making a timetable and sticking to the same. Consistency is key. It cannot be stressed enough that you must be consistent, honest and regular with work and preparation. Only then you would be able to complete the entire syllabus in time, with some time to spare to practice real-time questions.

Making a study planner or a timetable would help you overcome this situation. Planning your day accordingly, with enough study sessions, balanced with adequate breaks in between would be an ideal idea.

Focus On Basics First

Clearing your doubts and focusing on the basics would be a good idea to start as well. This way, you would be able to understand the concepts better, thereby solving more and more questions. The test is designed in such a manner that it tests your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with retention and relevance to the text.

Reading the text for the syllabus in your extra time is also important, as it is where most questions are formed. Many students prioritize only solving the questions which have been or have a probability of being asked in the test. This leads to neglecting the actual text, thus reducing their scores significantly.

Get In A Study Group With Peers


Surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals, as it serves two benefits. Firstly, you would get a glimpse of your competition.

These people around you would be your competitors on the day of the test, and therefore, it becomes important to know where you stand. This would also help you notice your shortcomings, and help you perfect your mistakes and flaws.

And secondly, you would be studying with them. Sometimes there are questions with which you might need help. So you can ask these friends in your study group. Or you can solve some questions for them as well. It is a give-and-take situation, with its benefits.

Get In A Routine

It cannot be emphasized enough that a proper wake-sleep cycle is necessary. During your months of preparation, it is advised to have an early bedtime, followed by waking up early in the morning.

Exercising and working out, eating healthy, and keeping yourself in a positive atmosphere as much as possible are equally important as well. All these daily routines and these little habits are the deciding factors in the longer run.

Get Preparatory Materials and Simulators


There are many online and offline sources from where you can get some preparatory material that will help you understand the question better. There are practice simulators as well, during which you can attempt practice tests and model papers in a condition similar to the original DAT test. All of these can help you perform much better on your test.

However, it must be understood that these things would not alone help you if you have not prepared earnestly and well. To ace any exam, one must understand the pattern of the test, the types of questions asked, and the severity of the competition.

For the earlier aspects, you can read the DAT guide published by the exam conducting authority. However, the latter is clear, the exam is tough with a lot of competition. You must give your best to get into the dental school of your choice.



The DAT test, conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) is the standard CBT for gaining admission across 66 dental schools in the USA and 10 in Canada. The test is vast, spanning almost 5 hours, with optional breaks in between.

The questions range from biology, organic and general chemistry, as these are the topics that are related to dentistry. If you are serious about being a dental professional, then this test is very important for you.