What's Tested on the DAT Math: Quantitative Reasoning and How to Prepare


Are you preparing for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and feeling overwhelmed by all the material you must cover? If so, don't worry! One of the main components of the test is Quantitative Reasoning, which encompasses a variety of mathematical topics. In this post, we'll go over some basic strategies for tackling this section of the DAT in order to help you feel confident on exam day. With effective preparation and management techniques, it's entirely possible to ace your quantitative reasoning portion of the exam and take one step closer towards achieving an optimal score. Let's get started!

 To help you excel in this section, we have crafted this comprehensive DAT Study  guide for the DAT Math Section. It aims to provide you with a deep understanding of the topics covered and equip you with effective strategies to conquer the DAT quantitative reasoning section.

 The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized test used to evaluate applicants to dental school. One of the crucial components of the DAT is the Quantitative Reasoning section, which measures the ability of prospective dental students to solve mathematical problems and interpret numerical data.

Quantitative Reasoning Content

Quantitative Reasoning (40 items) • Mathematical Problems: algebra (equations and expressions, inequalities, exponential notation, absolute value, ratios and proportions, and graphical analysis); Data Analysis, Interpretation, and Sufficiency; Quantitative Comparison; and Probability and Statistics • Applied Mathematics (Word) Problem At right is an image of the digital calculator available to candidates for the Quantitative Reasoning section of this examination:

The DAT Quantitative Reasoning exam is scored between 1 and 30, with an average score of approximately 19. Most dental schools set a minimum score requirement for acceptance, which varies from school to school

Below is an image of the digital calculator available to candidates for the Quantitative Reasoning section of the DAT Math examination:

Please be aware that the calculator lacks the ability to execute complex functions typically found in scientific or graphing calculators. Additionally, manual input is required for every number and operation, which can be time-consuming and error prone. Consequently, it is recommended to minimize your usage of the calculator and instead rely on mental math and quick scratch-work calculations whenever possible. Reserve the use of the calculator for challenging multiplication or long division tasks. Developing your proficiency in performing calculations without reliance on a calculator will prove invaluable, especially during the Survey of Natural Sciences where calculator usage is prohibited.

 Quantitative Reasoning Strategies

When tackling math questions in a time-constrained setting like the DAT, efficient test-taking strategies are crucial. With just over a minute for each question, it's vital to employ techniques that maximize your chances of completing all the questions. The Quantitative Reasoning section, in particular, tends to be challenging for many students due to the timing and its placement as the final section. This compounds the exhaustion experienced by students at that point.
While traditional math methods may serve you well under normal circumstances, relying solely on them can lead to time running out. Instead, consider the most efficient approach for each question, leveraging the multiple-choice format to your advantage. Working backward from the answer choices or using specific numbers in place of variables can simplify the math.

However, it's important to note that educated guessing can be a valuable tool in these circumstances. The severe time constraints necessitate maintaining a steady pace. If you fall behind, prioritize guessing on the most difficult problems and flagging them for later, rather than immediately attempting to solve them fully. This way, you can regain lost time rather than falling further behind. Remember, while guessing is acceptable, rushing is not. The test makers deliberately formulate complex problems, and rushing often leads to misunderstandings and arithmetic errors. This becomes problematic as many wrong answer choices are based on common misconceptions. Rushing through a problem typically guarantees an incorrect answer. It's far better to make strategic guesses, skipping some questions, and allocating enough time to others than rushing through the entire section.

Even if you are ahead of schedule during a section, encountering a problem that leaves you clueless is not uncommon. Instead of spending three to four frustrating minutes on it, make an educated guess. If you don't know how to approach a problem, the chances of selecting the correct answer are slim. By saving time, you can allocate it to solve other questions where your chances of success are higher.

In addition to checking mathematical abilities, the Quantitative Reasoning section also evaluates the applicant's problem-solving strategies, as the questions present real-world scenarios that require critical thinking and analytical skills to solve.


It is essential for dental school applicants to prepare thoroughly for the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the DAT to ensure a competitive score. There are many study materials available the DAT Math Destroyer, such as ADA practice exams, review books, and online resources. By adequately preparing and practicing for this part of the test, aspiring dental students can improve their chances of being admitted to a dental school of their choice.

Test-Taking Endurance and Problem Solving Skills

Furthermore, honing your problem-solving skills is crucial. Engage in ample practice by attempting numerous practice questions. Various study materials like the DAT Math Destroyer are available that offer hundreds of practice questions to enhance your speed and accuracy. Additionally, online resources like Khan Academy and Mathisfun.com provide videos, tutorials, and additional practice questions to reinforce your understanding of the DAT concepts.

In addition to mastering the content, it is vital to build your test-taking endurance. Acclimate yourself to the time constraints of the DAT by undertaking timed tests or quizzes. Start with shorter quizzes consisting of 10-15 questions and gradually progress to longer tests comprising 30 or more questions. This practice will familiarize you with the test format and prepare you for the time constraints during the actual DAT. The DAT Math Destroyer is set up in 40 question sets allowing you to time yourself.  You can also access our FREE Math online quiz.

With consistent practice and unwavering dedication, you can confidently approach and excel in the DAT quantitative reasoning section. Regularly review your notes and practice questions to ensure complete comfort with all the topics covered on the exam. By putting in hard work and staying committed, you will be well-prepared to succeed on the DAT quantitative section.


Understanding what is tested and covered on Quantitative Reasoning for the DAT is essential for anyone considering dental school. To have the best chance of success, it is important that you are prepared in all areas. The quant section tests your abilities to reason, problem-solve and analyze information quickly. So make sure you’re comfortable with behavior equations, basic operations with fractions, decimals, percentiles and more. Once you’ve built a firm foundation of mathematics, you can then practice specialized question types to further develop your skills. To get started, use the DAT Math Destroyer today and sharpen your math skills so you’ll be one step closer to being accepted into dental school!


Older Post Newer Post