Scope of the Dental Aptitude Test

Many pre-dentistry students will be writing the Canadian Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) this February. We have compiled some information from the Canadian Dental Association website about the DAT in order to help students in their preparation to plan to write the DAT, and to give a little bit of background information to students considering applying to an Australian dental school in the future.

Australian Dental Schools in Australia
Study dentistry in Australia!

Upcoming test dates:
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016 (Must register before January 15, 2016 23:59:59 EST)
  • Saturday, November 5, 2016
Component Number of Questions Time allotted
Manual Dexterity Test N/A 30 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences 70 questions ( Biology 1-40 chemistry 41-70) 60 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 90 questions 60 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 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 day and include the following:  

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 neither Melbourne Dental School nor Sydney Dental School require the manual dexterity portion for admission consideration.

 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. Students from Canada who have already completed an undergraduate degree may apply for entry into Australian dentistry programs at either the graduate-entry or undergraduate-entry levels.


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