“How is the DAT Scored?”
The DAT grades you on 6 different subjects:
General Chemistry (GC)
Organic Chemistry (OC)
Perceptual Ability (PAT)
Reading Comprehension (RC)
Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
Each subject is scored on a standardized scale out of 30 points. The average test taker will score an 18 (50th percentile).
In addition to the 6 scores you’ll receive above, you’ll get an Academic Average (AA) score, which is the most important number. The AA is the average of your scores, without the Perceptual Ability score (ie, AA = (BIO + GC + OC + RC + QR) / 5), rounded to the nearest integer.
“What's a good score on the DAT?”
The average score for acceptance is around 20 AA. This is just an average though, a quick look at the ADEA Guide to Dental Schools shows that students get accepted with lower scores as well!
A good score is 20 AA and should be most students’ goal. Scores of 23+ AA are rare and exceptionally competitive. Some schools do have higher average DAT scores, so if you want to go to a specific school, I recommend getting a copy of the ADEA Guide to Dental Schools to find their average DAT scores and set that as your goal.
Many schools also have cutoffs for minimum DAT scores. Each school has a different cutoff, and some have no cutoff. I know of one student who was accepted to the University of Florida with a 14 in QR, on the condition that he retake the DAT and score at least a 15 in each section to meet their cutoff. Talk about pressure!
“How many questions do I need to answer correctly to get a 20?”
Generally speaking, you can only miss around 5 questions in each individual science and math section to score a 20, the average for acceptance. Scores of over 23 are very rare. You can miss around 20 questions in the perceptual test to score a 20. And lastly, you can miss around 10 questions in the reading comprehension section to score a 20. These are just averages, there are many different versions of the DAT being tested at the same time. Every DAT is scored differently according to its own difficulty.
The point is there isn’t much room for error on the DAT. In addition, you don’t have a lot of time for each question. You have to know how to get to the correct answer and the fastest method to get there. Using DAT practice tests will help you build these skills.