What to Expect on DAT Test Day



Taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT) can be a daunting experience. There is a lot that goes into the process, from preparing for the exam to walking into the testing center on exam day. Knowing what to expect on DAT test day can help you feel more prepared and less anxious as you approach your big day. Let’s break down what it takes to get through a successful DAT test day at the Prometric Testing Center.

 Plan Ahead for Security Protocols

The security protocols in place at Prometric Testing Centers are stringent, so make sure you plan ahead and arrive early to give yourself plenty of time. You will need two forms of valid identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued photo ID card with both your name and signature. All electronic devices are prohibited; these include phones, smartwatches, tablets, laptops, etc. It's important to note that all items will be inspected upon entering the building and any item that is not approved will have to be returned to your vehicle before proceeding further. If you are caught with an unauthorized device inside the testing center, you may not be allowed to take your exam.

If an emergency occurs on the day of a testing appointment that prevents a candidate from sitting for their examination, a written request for relief must be submitted to DTS. This request should include applicable documentation and be sent to testingproblems@ada.org within five business days of the scheduled appointment.

Examples of emergencies and applicable documentation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Sudden illness on the examination day. Provide a doctor’s note or hospital records confirming that you were treated on the day of the examination.
  2. Death in the family on the examination day. Provide a copy of an obituary, prayer card, funeral service program, or death certificate confirming that the relative passed away or services were held on the day of the examination. Testing appointments affected by emergencies occurring prior to the day of the scheduled appointment should be handled through the Administration Vendor’s rescheduling and cancellation process indicated previously.


Candidates who do not appear for a scheduled testing appointment and do not cancel or reschedule their appointment by the required time in advance of the test date will forfeit all testing fees, be required to submit a new application, and must pay the fee to schedule a new appointment

What Happens After Check-in?

Once check-in is complete and your belongings are stowed away in an assigned locker, Prometric proctors will provide instructions on how the exam works and what rules apply during testing periods. Make sure you pay attention; if there is something you do not understand or want clarification on don’t hesitate to ask questions before beginning your exam! If everything checks out after the initial instruction period then it’s time for you to begin your test!
Candidates must report to the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment. The total administration time is five hours and 15 minutes, including the tutorial, scheduled break, and survey. You will have 4 hours in total for your DAT exam; DAT takes 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete. This does not include the optional 15-minute tutorial, optional 30-minute break, or optional 15-minute post-test survey, all of which are recommended.

Optional Tutorial 15 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences 90 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 60 minutes
Scheduled Break (optional) 30 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Test 45 minutes
Optional Post Test Survey 15 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes

The optional break after the first two test sections is the only scheduled break; if a candidate opts to take the scheduled break, the testing session will resume automatically after 30 minutes have elapsed.

Taking a break at any other time is considered an unscheduled break. During an unscheduled break (such as bathroom), candidates may NOT access personal belongings or prohibited items, study, refer to notes or texts, use a telephone, eat or drink any food or beverages, or leave the test center. Locker access during unscheduled breaks is strictly prohibited. During an unscheduled break, you must raise your hand and wait until you are given permission by a proctor before leaving the room. 


With all this being said—you should now have a better understanding of what it's like taking a DAT Test Day at Prometric Testing Center! Prepare beforehand by making sure all necessary documents such as photo IDs are up-to-date and validly obtained so that when test day arrives everything runs smoothly and efficiently! Bring snacks ahead of time so that if hunger strikes during testing periods one can fuel up. These small tips may seem insignificant but could make all the difference come test day! We also highly recommend Prometric’s Test Drive  and also the online tutorial for further details and pricing.

Good luck!

PS - be sure to verify all testing rules and regulations at your specific Prometric!



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