How the DAT is Scored
DAT scores are reported by the ADA (American Dental Association) as eight standard scores.The first six scores are from the individual tests themselves, i.e. biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. These multiple choice questions are first scored right or wrong resulting in a raw score. Note that wrong answers are worth the same as unanswered questions so ALWAYS ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS even if you are not sure of certain answers. The raw score is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 1 (lowest) to 30 (highest). A test section that is skipped will be scored 1. This is neither a percentage nor a percentile.
The test is not based on a curve. Essentially, DAT performance is measured using an ability-referenced system. Based on standard scores, your abilities (i.e. knowledge and problem solving skills) are directly compared to that of the other DAT examinees.
The remaining two scores are Total Science (TS) and Academic Average (AA). The Total Science score is the standard score for the 100 questions in the Survey of Natural Sciences as a whole – NOT THE AVERAGE OF THE STANDARD SCORES of the Science subtests. This is derived from the sum of your raw scores each in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. The total score is then converted to a standard score for Total Science. In contrast, a score in the Academic Average is the rounded average of the standard scores from the reading comprehension (RC), quantitative reasoning (QR), biology (BIO), general chemistry (CHM), and organic chemistry (ORG) tests. Here is an example of an Academic Average calculation:
|QR – 19||RC – 21||BIO – 22||CHM – 21||ORG – 20|
TOTAL: 103 ÷ 5 = 20.6; rounded up to the nearest whole, the Academic Average for these scores would be 21. Standards for interviews or admissions may vary for the individual scores, Total Science and the Academic Average. For example, one particular dental school may establish a cutoff (minimum) of 17 for all sections. In other cases, admissions committees assess candidates against a mean of DAT scores in a particular batch of applicants; therefore, the range can vary from year to year. Consider examining DAT scores from dental schools below, carefully reviewing their websites for specific admissions requirements, and contacting individual programs wherever you may have any doubts.
Average, Good and High DAT Scores
Because the DAT uses an ability-referenced measurement, there are no "pass" or "fail" marks. Rather, the standard score indicates your test performance relative to all the students who did the same test on the same day. This means that the national average on the scored sections is not always a guarantee for acceptance in a dental program. In most instances, what is considered "average" depends on the entering batch of a particular academic year. Nationally, 17/30 would usually be the overall mean or average DAT score given all test takers.
Based on the preliminary data from the ADEA (American Dental Education Association) Survey of U.S Dental School Applicants and Enrolees in 2013, the Enrolee DAT score for the Academic Average ranges from 12 – 28, the Perceptual Ability score ranges from 10 – 30, and the Total Science score ranges from 12 – 30. Likewise, a "good" score may be good enough for admittance to one dental school but below the cut off of another. The best way to find out is to consult the websites of the dental institutions to which you intend to apply. Your main aim is to achieve the scores that will put you on a competitive footing among all the other applicants. The average DAT (AA) score for students accepted to dental school in 2013 was 19.9 and the average GPA was 3.50.
DAT Percentile Rank Estimates
Please keep in mind that the percentile rank indicates your test performance relative to all the students who did the same test on the same day. It records the percentage of students whose scores were lower than yours. Percentile ranks are not used as dental school admissions criteria and the following percentile ranks fluctuate significantly from year to year.
|DAT Score (Quantitatively)||Percentile||DAT Score (Qualitatively)|
DAT Scores by Dental School
Please refer to the table below for the average DAT and GPA scores of the US Dental School Enrolees in 2015.
Source: 2015/2016 ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
When are the DAT Scores Released?
Right after completing the DAT, you are provided with an unofficial score report at the Prometric Test Center. This report will then be audited for accuracy and verified by the Department of Testing Services. Official scores are forwarded within three to four weeks to the dental schools, which are indicated on your DAT application. The ADA also sends the scores to the appropriate standardized application service such as the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) or the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) in case the specified dental schools participate in any one of these services. Scores are then posted to your dental school application and then forwarded to the respective faculties within one week. In such a case, you can confirm the proper submission of your official DAT scores by logging into your ADEA AADSAS application. Requests of additional copies and/or recipients mean additional fees and transmittal time. For more details about this process, please check the ADA website.
Best Prep for a High DAT Score
The Gold Standard DAT’s best prep for a high DAT score includes 4 books, online NS videos, MP3s, flashcards and practice tests including TopScore Pro. Our team of authors includes applicants with very high DAT scores (AA: 27) who were accepted to Ivy League dental schools. Come learn from our experience. Click on the image below for more information.