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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)
17-18 50th Average
19-20 75th Usually Good
22-23 98th Very High
Table 1: DAT Percentile Rank Chart with Quantitative and Qualitative DAT Score Estimates
DAT Scores: average, good and high

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.

US Dental Schools Average DAT (AA) Average GPA
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry 21 3.71
Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health 19 3.37
Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine - Arizona 19.8 NR
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California 20 3.5
Loma Linda University School of Dentistry 19.9 3.46
University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry 22.6 3.94
University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry 21 3.51
University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry 21 3.5
Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine 19 3.26
The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine 19.9 3.64
University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine 21 3.61
Howard University College of Dentistry 17.9 NR
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine 19.3 3.69
Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine 20 3.67
University of Florida College of Dentistry 20.3 3.80
Georgia Regents University College of Dental Medicine 19.4 3.71
Midwestern University - Illinois College of Dental Medicine-Illinois 18.6 3.43
Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine 19.1 3.62
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry 20 3.68
Indiana University School of Dentistry 19.3 3.50
The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics 20 3.74
University of Kentucky College of Dentistry 19 3.51
University of Louisville School of Dentistry 19.3 3.55
Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Dentistry 19.8 3.64
University of New England College of Dental Medicine 18.2 3.33
University of Maryland School of Dentistry 20.6 3.53
Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine 19.8 3.51
Harvard School of Dental Medicine 23 3.85
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine 19.8 3.40
University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry 20.4 3.64
University of Michigan School of Dentistry 20.1 3.53
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry 20.1 3.57
University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry 18.7 3.62
Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health 18.4 3.45
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry 18.9 3.60
Creighton University School of Dentistry 19.1 3.61
University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry 20.1 3.74
University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine 19.9 3.47
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Dental Medicine 20 3.7
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine 23.0 3.63
New York University College of Dentistry 21.0 3.46
Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine 22 3.72
University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine 20.1 3.52
East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine 18.2 3.4
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry 20.4 3.58
Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine 19.9 3.61
The Ohio State University College of Dentistry 19.7 3.61
University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry 20 3.48
Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry 19.7 3.61
The Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University 20 3.5
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine 21.5 3.67
University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine 20.7 3.65
University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine 17 3.5
Medical University of South Carolina James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine 20 3.66
Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry 17 3.2
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry 19.3 3.58
Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry 20.7 3.57
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 20.0 3.59
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School 19.4 3.68
Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine 20 3.32
University of Utah School of Dentistry 21 3.79
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry 20.1 3.62
University of Washington School of Dentistry 20.4 3.61
West Virginia University School of Dentistry 17.7 3.57
Marquette University School of Dentistry 19.8 3.65
Table 2: Average DAT Scores (AA) and Average GPA for Students Admitted to Dental School

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.

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