All information is accurate as of 3/7/2018
Previously, the American Dental Association (ADA), the official sponsors of the DAT, only offered two practice tests for the DAT: the 2007 DAT (free) and 2009 DAT (paid, $35).
Today, the ADA is now offering official online DAT practice tests sold through the Prometric testing site: http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test/test-preparation
Cost of the new DAT test
The new prices are $20 per section (6 sections to a test), or $100 per full test. However, the ‘full test’ isn’t really a full test. The reading section only has half the number of questions (25 questions) as compared to the real DAT (50 questions), and the PAT only a third of the number of questions (30 questions) as compared to the real DAT (90 questions).
Simulation and experience
Each science exam (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry) is administered separately, unlike the real DAT where all 100 science questions are tested at once in one section (the survey of the natural sciences).
As you’re taking the exam, the only way to see if you got the right answer on a specific question is to select “Show Answer” after every question, which partially defeats the purpose of a test simulation. You can’t review your test at the end after you submit all your answers, so you have no way of knowing what questions you got right or wrong, you only get your raw score reported at the end. In my opinion, this means it’s not as great as a learning opportunity as it could be.
Content in the official practice tests
The content of the practice tests appears to come entirely from the 2009 DAT and the OAT practice test, both of which have been removed from the ADA site. Not all questions were from these two tests, which means the ADA does plan on using previously unreleased test questions. Specifically, for the QR section, they have some examples of the new quantitative comparison questions. That said, these are indeed official test questions, which are valuable in any test prep experience.
The official DAT practice test is still good practice, but it’s unfortunate they only have an online version now, with limited ability to simulate and review your test. I’d only take it right before the real DAT so you can get a feel for the questions, but at this point I’m hesitant to say it’s worth $100. I think it’s a great optional add-on for students who want to see some official example test questions, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea right before your test.
If you have any questions about the 2018/2019 DAT or the official ADA practice tests, don’t hesitate to ask – we’re always here to help!