Dental Aptitude Test Program

The Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) Program is conducted by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), in coordination with the American Dental Association, and has been in operation on a national basis since 1966.

As a dental school applicant, you are encouraged to participate in the DAT well in advance of applying to dental school. Ideally, you should take the DAT exam at least one year before entering dental school.

Submission of DAT scores is an admission requirement of most of the 10 Canadian dental schools, though not all the schools require results from the Manual Dexterity Test. Canadian DAT scores are accepted by most U.S. dental schools, but because the U.S. DAT does not include a manual dexterity component, results of the U.S. DAT cannot be used for admission to Canadian dental schools. For exceptional circumstances, contact the dental school regarding their possible acceptance of U.S. DAT scores.

Examinations are held twice a year, in November and February, at various test centres across Canada. The testing program is designed to evaluate general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, two- and three-dimensional visual perception and manual dexterity.

While all Canadian dental schools require applicants to submit DAT scores as part of the admission process, the test results are only one factor considered in evaluating the admission potential of an applicant. The relative importance of DAT scores in evaluating the admission potential of an applicant is determined by each dental school and is not regulated by the DAT Program.

Registration for the DAT is not an application to dental school. Information on admission requirements of individual dental schools must be obtained directly from each dental school.

DAT regulations, guidelines and fees are subject to change without notice.

Information for Dental School Applicants

Pre-Dental School Requirements

To complete an application for entry to a dental school, contact the school(s) of your choice directly and return the completed application according to the instructions given by the school(s) you are applying to.

There are certain basic pre-dental education courses that must be completed before enrolment in dental school. Since these requirements vary from school to school, it is essential that applicants contact the appropriate school(s) to determine specific admission requirements. Contact information for Canadian dental schools is listed on its own page.

Scope of the DAT

Component Number of Questions Time allotted
Manual Dexterity Test (MDT) N/A 30 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences (SNS) 70 questions ( Biology 1-40 chemistry 41-70) 60 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test  (PAT) 90 questions 60 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test (RCT) 50 questions 50 minutes

There are 4 examinations included in the English DAT and 3 examinations included in the French DAT. The tests are administered over one half (½) day and include:

1. Manual Dexterity Test - 30 minutes

Carving a specified model out of a cylindrical bar of soap specially made for the DAT.

*Please note that not all Canadian dental schools use the Manual Dexterity Test (MDT) as part of their admission requirements. It is your responsibility to verify the admission requirements of dental schools that you are interested in applying to and to understand each school's admission requirements. Students who plan to apply to more than one school should strongly consider taking the MDT.

2. Survey of Natural Sciences - 60 minutes

Biology - origin of life; cell metabolism (including photosynthesis); enzymology; cellular processes; thermodynamics; organelle structure and function; mitosis/meiosis; biological organization and relationship of major taxa (using the five-kingdom system: monera, planti; anamalia; protista; fungi); Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology - structure and function of vertebrate systems (integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, immunological, digestive, respiratory, urinary, nervous/senses, endocrine, and reproductive); Developmental Biology - fertilization, descriptive embryology, and developmental mechanisms; Genetics: molecular genetics; human genetics; classical genetics; Chromosomal genetics; Evaluation, Ecology, and Behaviour: natural selection; population genetics/speciation; cladistics; population and community ecology; ecosystems; animal behaviour (including social).

General Chemistry – Stoichiometry and General Concepts (percent composition; empirical formulae; balancing equations; moles and molecular formulas; molecular formula weights; molar mass; density; calculations from balanced equations; gases (kinetic molecular theory of gases; Dalton's, Boyle's, Charles', and ideal gas laws); liquids and solids; (intermolecular forces; phase changes; vapour pressure; structures; polarity; properties); Solutions (polarity; properties; colligative; non-colligative; forces; concentration calculations) Acids and Bases (pH; strength; BrØnsted-Lowry reactions; calculations) Chemical Equilibria (molecular; acid/base; precipitation; calculations; Le Chatelier's principle); Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry (law of thermodynamics; Hess's law; spontaneity; enthalpies and entropies; heat transfer) Chemical Kinetics (rate laws; activation energy; half-life) Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (balancing equations; determination of oxidation numbers; electrochemical calculations; electrochemical concepts and terminology) Atomic and Molecular Structure (electron configuration; orbital types; Lewis-Dot diagrams; atomic theory; quantum theory; molecular geometry; bond types; sub-atomic particles) Periodic Properties (representative elements; transition elements; periodic trends; descriptive chemistry) Nuclear Reactions (balancing equations; binding energy; decay processes; particles; terminology) Laboratory (basic techniques; equipment; error analysis; safety; data analysis)

3. Perceptual Ability - 60 minutes

The Perceptual Ability Test is comprised of six subtests: 1) apertures, 2) view recognition, 3) angle discrimination, 4) paper folding, 5) cube counting, and 6) 3D form development.

4. Reading Comprehension (English DAT only) - 50 minutes

Consists of 3 reading passages. Ability to read, organize, analyze and remember new information in dental and basic sciences. Ability to comprehend thoroughly when studying scientific information. Reading materials are typical of materials encountered in the first year of dental school and require no prior knowledge of the topic other than a basic undergraduate preparation in science.

The English- and French-language examinations require approximately 5 and 4 hours respectively, with no formal lunch break. However, stretch breaks will be provided.