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DAT Frequently Asked Questions [2021]

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Photographer: Scott Graham | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Jess Bailey | Source: Unsplash

Are you a pre-dental student who will be sitting for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) sometime in the near future? Do you find yourself being confused about certain aspects of the test? Do you have a lot of questions about the DAT? Well, worry, not, because you have made it to the right place! This article is a compilation of DAT frequently asked questions.

DENTPIN AND TEST APPLICATION

DENTPIN®- what is it?

The DENTPIN® is a unique student identifier for students and candidates registered for the DAT or associated with the U.S. dental education system. The list of boards and programs that use the DENTPIN® is as follows-

  1. DAT
  2. ADEA AADSAS
  3. TMDSAS
  4. ADEA PASS
  5. ADEA CAAPID
  6. Dental Match
  7. The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)

You can apply for and collect your DENTPIN® from the ADA website. You cannot move forward with your DAT application or place a request for a score report before obtaining a DENTPIN®. DENTPIN® is also required to apply for dental school.

Why have I not received a confirmation email after completing my e-application?

You can view your payment status on the My Account page that can be found under applications. If your payment status shows Payment Failed, then your payment has not been completed and thus, your application has not been received. You will have to send in your application again. Once your payment status shows "Payment Received," you can rest assured that your application has gone through to the DAT offices.

However, if you still have any lingering queries or confusions you can directly contact officials at the ADA by emailing them at [email protected]

Why has my credit card been charged, although I am not a part of the Prometric system?

Working hours for The Department of Testing Services (DTA) last from Monday through Friday. Therefore might some sort of time gap between the officials processing your application and uploading it to their system. It usually takes them 48 hours to complete this process. Therefore, only e concerned if you are unable to schedule your testing appointments even after 2 business days. If this occurs, please contact DTS at [email protected]

How do I get a refund for being billed twice?

Send a brief email to [email protected] explaining your situation. Attach copies of your credit card statement to the email. Also include your name, DENTPIN®, and your daytime contact information. Don’t forget to address your email in such a way that it comes to the attention of the DAT Refund Request.

Changes to My Application

Can I update my address if I haven't taken the test yet?

Yes, as a matter of fact, you can. Simply go to the DENTPIN® website. There you need to click on the Update Your DENTPIN® option. You will find this option on the left navigation. After you have logged in you can make whatever changes you need to make there. Your DENTPIN® will be updated on the very same day with your information change.

How can I correct my altered/ reversed name?

Send an email to [email protected] using your DENTPIN® form before your testing appointment. Send in a request for name correction and include your DENTPIN® number in the email. Make sure to attach necessary documentation such as a marriage certificate or court documents with your email. Address your email to the attention of the DAT Name Change Request.

If your name has been reversed or the middle name is simply missing then please only attach a copy of your government-issued photo I.D. with the email.

General Information

What are the contents of the DAT?

This is one of the most common DAT frequently asked questions. The DAT is a computerized multiple-choice exam that has been divided into four broad sections.

  1. Perceptual Ability
  2. Survey of the Natural Sciences ( This includes Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry)
  3. Reading Comprehension Test
  4. Quantitative Reasoning Test

How is the DAT timed?

For more information, you can refer to this article on The DAT Exam.

How do I prepare for the DAT?

There is a lot of free and paid study materials available online to help you study for the DAT.

The DAT guide offered by the ADA includes the test specifications along with sample tests. There are tutorials available to help students become used to the question pattern and its specifications.

The official Dental Admission Testing Program does not associate with or support any commercial test preparation courses and therefore information on this is sparse. However, there are various test programs available for you to take advantage of. Go through the DAT guide carefully, familiarize yourself with the specifications are learn accordingly.

The official DAT program offers one complete DAT Practice Test. This test is available in two formats- web-based format and printed format. The online or web-based one is a timed test lasting for 4 hours and 30 minutes. This is the length of the actual DAT exam.

If you are unable to finish the practice test within the allocated time, then you will have to buy the practice test again. You will immediately be provided with your raw marks upon completion of the practice test. The raw marks are the total number of correctly answered multiple-choice questions for each of the four sections and the three subsections (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry) under the Survey of Sciences (SNS).

Retesting

How long do I have to wait in between tests?

You need to attempt for testing at 90-day intervals. If you have already attempted the test thrice or more, then you will have to apply and receive special permission to attempt it again. Application for permission to sit for retake must be submitted to ADA’s Department of Testing Services and you will have to submit some additional information, including-

  • Evidence that you are actively applying to dental schools.
  • A rejection letter from a dental school
  • A letter from a dental school admission officer asking and encouraging you to retake the DAT exam. This letter must be with the school’s letterhead.

Do I have to wait 90 days to reschedule my DAT exam if I cancel it or am unable to show up on the exam day?

The process of rescheduling for the DAT is neither easy nor cheap. If, for some unforeseen reason you are unable to sit for the DAT within the 6 month time period of your eligibility, or if you are unable to show up on the test day, then this information will not be sent to the dental schools you are applying to. So don’t worry about that. A testing attempt is considered an attempt when the candidate shows up to the testing center on the date of the test appointment and has accepted the confidentiality agreement at the beginning of the test.

If you are unable to take an exam within the six months under your application, you can submit an application without any waiting period.

Refunds

May I be refunded upon cancellation?

There are no refunds available. The test fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Test Appointment Scheduling

How many times a year is the DAT offered?

Testing appointments are available all year round.

Where is the DAT offered?

Prometic Test Centers in the United States and in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and in Canada regulate the DAT exams.

What is the procedure for setting up a test appointment with Prometric?

Once your application has been processed, you will be provided with an email containing the information needed to schedule a testing appointment. In the vent of not receiving an email, contact the DTS and make sure that your application has been processed. Scheduling can also be done by contacting Proteric.

What should I do if I am unable to reach the Prometric call center?

Scheduling can also be completed through the Prometic website. Calling the Prometric call centers when the call volume is low is a good idea. The call volume is usually high on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Call Center’s office time runs from 8 a.m to 8 p.m so make sure to call within this time frame.

What do I do when Prometric says I am not in their system?

First, check if it has been 48 hours since your application has been processed. This is because as mentioned before in this article, it takes the officials about two business days to process your application and upload it to their system. If it has been two days, and you still are not a part of the Prometric system the call the Prometric’s Candidate Care hotline at 800.853.6769.

DAT Score

How is the DAT scored?

This is another one of the common DAT frequently asked questions by students. The DAT scoring process is quite different. Your raw mark is the total number of correctly answered multiple-choice questions. However, the raw score is scaled onto a scale of 1-30. You shall not be penalized for answering incorrectly, therefore it is okay to shoot your shot at times and take a guess for an especially tricky answer.

After completing the test, you will be provided with eight scaled scores on the standardized scale of 1-30. The first six scores care derived from General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry and the four sections tested in the exam.

Besides scaled scores for each section, the schools are also provided with a composite score. A composite score is a scaled score that factors in your performance in all the sections. There are a few questions that play a special role in the test. Some questions allow us to place different forms of the test on a standardized measurement scale, thus adjusting the forms for any differences in form difficulty level. These questions are what make the DAT a standardized test. Other questions on the test are exploratory and are sometimes not scored. The data collected on unscored questions are used later in test construction processes. The composite score is more than just your average score; it is an evaluation of your overall performance on the entire test. This composite score is known as-

Academic Average (A.A.)- The average of the score you have achieved in Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. This average is then rounded to the whole number.

Is the DAT scored on a curve?

The DAT is not scored on a curve. Your performance in the DAT is based solely on an ability- reference system that is then reported in the form of standardized scores. Standard scores provide regulating information about examinee knowledge and problem-solving skills. This way, a direct comparison of an examinee’s ability with other examinee’s abilities can be performed and evaluated.

When shall I get my score report?

As soon as you have completed the test you will be provided with Unofficial score reports, consisting of your raw marks at the test centers. Official score reports are directly sent to the dental schools you are applying to. This happens about three to four weeks after you have completed the test.

If I don’t perform particularly well on my DAT exam, can I get my scores voided?

No, you cannot get your scores voided. Once you have participated in the DAT exam, the score you obtain becomes a permanent part of your record. However, if you end up attempting the test multiple times, then your best score will be sent to the dental schools you are applying for.

How many schools do I have to select to submit my DAT scores to, given that my selections are AADSAS participating schools?

Official DAT scores are directly reported to the Dental schools. Al US schools require official DAT scores for each applicant. During the DAT application process, you must select dental schools to send in your DAT scores. When you do this you grant the Department of Testing Services permission to release your official scores to the selected dental schools.

Moreover, if you have no schools selected in your DAT application then it is implied that you have not provided authorization to the Department of Testing Services to release your official scores. As a result, your official scores will not be transmitted to the standardized application services.

How will I ensure that my scores have been uploaded and are being sent to the correct Dental schools and ADEA AADSAS?

This can also be accomplished through the My Account option. You will this option on the left-hand navigation on the www.ada.org/en/dat website. A new line titled Date Tested will show up on your Account Summary after your official DAT scores have been posted by the DTS. This line will b=give you information about the status and date of your DAT. Scores will be sent to dental schools, ADEA AADDSAS, and any other addresses mentioned in your application within 1-2 business days of posting.

How will I ensure that my DAT scores have been imported into ADEA AADSAS?

Your DAT scores will be transmitted to your ADEA AADSAS application if you meet the following criteria-

  • When completing the DAT application, you mentioned that you want your DAT scores to be sent to ADEA AADSAS participating dental school(s).
  • You have correctly entered your DENTPIN® and date of birth in your ADEA AADSAS application.

Implement the following steps to check if your DAT scores have been downloaded to your ADEA AADSAS application-

  • Log into your ADEA AADSAS application.
  • Then. in the “My Application Status” section, press “Official DAT Scores”.
  • Beside your DAT score, there will be a date that your scores were imported into your ADEA AADSAS application.

Your scores are reported and verified by the American Dental Association (ADA) and sent to ADEA AADSAS within three to four weeks after you have taken the DAT. ADEA AADSAS receives the latest DAT scores on a weekly basis, brings them into your application, and relays them to schools within one week of receiving them.

Why have my DAT scores not been imported into ADEA AADSAS?

There are a few different reasons why your DAT scores may have not been imported into ADEA AADSAS. These include the following.

  • Did you correctly select the ADEA AADSAS participating dental schools when you completed the DAT application? If you hadn’t selected ADEA AADSAS participating schools when completing your DAT application, then your DAT scores will not be imported into the ADEA AADSAS. However, there is a simple solution to this problem. Just go over to the DAT website and request a score report be sent to the ADEA AADSAS-participating dental school(s). Your scores will then be transmitted to ADEA AADSAS and imported into your application. A fee will apply.
  • Did you report your DENTPIN® correctly in your ADEA AADSAS application? Officials use your DENTPIN® to send in your official score report to ADEA AADSAS participating schools. Therefore, the DENTPIN® that you have entered in your DAT application must match the one you entered in your ADEA AADSAS application. In the event that your DENTPIN® was reported incorrectly, you must log-in to your ADEA AADSAS application, go to the “Account Information” section, enter the correct DENTPIN®, and click “Save”.
  • Did you correctly report your name in your ADEA AADSAS application? Along with your DENTPIN®, the name you entered in your DAT application must be the same as the one entered in your ADEA AADSAS application. If your name was not reported correctly, you must log-in to your ADEA AADSAS application, go to the “Account Information” section, enter the correct name, and click “Save”.
  • Did you correctly report your date of birth in your ADEA AADSAS application? Besides your DENTPIN® and your name, the ADEA AADSAS also uses your date of birth to identify you and import your official DAT scores. Therefore, you must ensure that you put in the correct date of birth in the “Biographical Information” section of your DAT and ADEA AADSAS application.

One point to note- as mentioned before in this article, it takes up to two business days for the officials at the ADEA to process your DAT scores and import them. Therefore, there is no real cause for concern within the first 48 hours.

Can I change the schools I have selected on my DAT application if I haven’t sat for the exam yet?

Unfortunately, once your DAT application has been submitted you cannot change the list of selected dental schools. However, later down the line, you may add other dental schools to your list. You can do this by going to the DAT website and requesting a score report. Though there are additional fees and charges for sending score reports to schools not mentioned in the list you made during your DAT application.

Which scores are sent to dental schools if I have appeared for the exam multiple times?

You cannot pick and choose your best scores to send in. This is an automated system and the scoring system reports the four most recent sets of scores.

How can I view scores in the My Account option?

Unfortunately, you cannot see your scores through the My Accounts option because The Department of Testing Services prohibits reporting scores via Account Summaries.

How do I submit a request for extra score reports electronically?

You can go to the ADA website and use the electronic score request.

How can I view the schools I have requested my scores to be reported to?

You can view your selected schools by going to the DAT website and looking under the My Account option found on the left-hand navigation. Schools selected at the time of application will be displayed under the “Applications Details” and additional request information will be displayed under the “Score Report Requests Details.”.

Test Center Procedures

What is considered as proper identification for the test?

DAT exams are administered at Prometric Test Centers. Make sure to carry two original (one primary and one secondary), current forms of identification (I.D.) when you show up to the Test Center to sit for the DAT. These documents will be requested and you will have to present. Examples of primary and secondary I.D. forms-

  1. Primary ID- This must be a government issued I.D. and must contain a photograph and a signature such as a driver’s license or a passport.
  2. Secondary ID- The secondary I.D. type only needs to bear a signature. This can be a debit card, a credit card, or even a library card, etc.

MAKE SURE BOTH FORMS OF IDENTIFICATION IS CURRENT AND NOT EXPIRED.

Your name in the DAT application must match the one on your primary and secondary form of I.D. If the names don’t match exactly, you will be denied admission to the test and your testing appointment and application fee will be forfeited. If this happens then you will have to submit a new application and fee and start the whole process anew.

Any changes that you make need to make (address change, name change, etc) make sure to do it at least two weeks before the testing appointment. The process for changing details on your DAT application has been previously mentioned in this article.

What should I carry into the test center with me?

Instead of informing you about the things you should carry into the testing center, here is a list of all the materials and things that are prohibited.

  1. Books, notes, any form of study materials, scratch paper, tissues, or markers not provided by the testing center.
  2. Personal earplugs or headphones.
  3. Slide rules, paper, calculating devices, rulers, or any other measuring devices (you will be provided with an on-screen keyboard for the Quantitative Reasoning Test).
  4. Electronic devices, including cell phones, recording devices, iPods, tablets, and headsets/headphones.
  5. Tote bags; purses, wallets, backpacks, briefcases.
  6. Highlighters, pens, erasers, pencils, dictionaries, and translators.
  7. Any form of food such as- candy, gum, water, or other beverages.
  8. Food, candy, gum, water, or other beverages. Outerwear, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, or head coverings (except for religious purposes).
  9. Good luck charms, such as statues, religious or superstitious talismans.
  10. Medicinal items are prohibited unless they have been approved beforehand.
  11. Any time of watches- (digital or analog) or timing devices (a timer is provided on the computer screen during testing).
  12. Magnifying devices

If you carry any personal belongings to the test center, you will be assigned to a personal locker where you will have to store your personal belongings. Carrying any form of personal belongings into the test center is strictly prohibited. However, you should note that storage facilities are limited, and your personal belongings may be inspected. If you are found in possession of test related notes that can be accessed during the cam time, then your notes will be confiscated.

Accessing personal belongings in an unscheduled break during exam time violates Test Regulations.

Any violations of the rules and regulations may result in your DAT scores bein forfeited, and you may have to wait for another two years before you can make another attempt at the exam.

The DAT Program has the right to withhold, nullify, or void any score when, in their judgment, there is a good-faith foundation to question the validity of the scores for any reason. Some of the reasons are as follows-

  • Abnormal answering pattern
  • Unusual increase in score from one section to another
  • Performance in different parts and sections of the test is inconsistent.
  • Improper access to secure test content
  • Irregularity in test administration
  • Forgery and alteration of exam candidate’s identification.
  • Information proving that an examinee has engaged in misconduct or violation of the rules and regulations
  • Forgery and alteration of examinee’s score report
  • Any form of information or evidence proving the invalidity of the score report
  • Falsification of information in either the application or support documents

If you are caught in some form of a misdemeanor, then this information becomes a permanent part of your DAT record. The DAT has the right to send a summary report documenting the irregular behavior, with a short statement provided by the examinee immediately following the decision by the DAT Program to report, to reasonably interested parties, including all persons or agencies to which the exam candidate has instructed that scores be transmitted to both presently and in the future.

Testing Accommodations

If needed, how may I receive accommodations for the test?

There are a couple of steps you need to take if you have a documented disability that has been acknowledged under the Americans with Disabilities Act and requires testing accommodations. The steps are as follows-

  1. Make sure to check the box that indicates you are requesting testing accommodations when filling out your DAT application before setting up a testing appointment. You must present an application to test and the testing accommodation request form and the supporting documentation. The process remains incomplete until you have submitted all three parts of the application. Don't schedule your testing appointment until after your testing accommodations have been approved. If you set up a testing appointment before your request for testing accommodations is has gone through, you will be required to cancel the appointment and will be charged a fee. This is because testing accommodations cannot be added to a previously scheduled testing appointment.
  2. You must scan and attach the following documents and email it to [email protected].-

a) The Testing Accommodation Request Form must be signed, and dated, and describe the disability and the need for accommodations. The requested accommodations should line up with the recognized functional limitation so that the changes to the testing procedure is applicable to the recognized impairment. A functional limitation is explained as the behavioral manifestation of the disability that obstructs the individual’s ability to function.

b) Current assessment report (for the past five years) from the correct professional. The document (must be written on official letterhead) should include the professional’s credentials, signature, address, and contact info such as the telephone number. The report must show the examinee’s name, date of birth, and date of evaluation. The report must include:

  • The particular diagnostic procedures or tests administered. Diagnostic procedures used should be appropriate to the disability and in alignment with the current professional protocol.
  • The results of the diagnostic methods and/or tests and a comprehensive explanation of the results.
  • The particular diagnosis of the disability, with an accompanying description of the examinee’s limitations due to the presence of the disability.
  • A brief summary of the complete evaluation with recommendations for the specific accommodations and how they will reduce the impact of identified functional limitations.

c) If the candidate has been provided with any such accommodations by educational institutions or other testing centers previously, be sure to include documentation of that. If no such prior event exists then the professional completing the submitted evaluation report should include an elaborate explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now.

That should cover all the DAT frequently asked questions. If you have any lingering confusions please consult the DAT Guide.

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