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DAT Exam

The American Dental Association has developed the Dental Admission Test to measure the knowledge and skills of individuals who are applying to dental school. Although this test is not the only factor considered by dental school admissions departments, the DAT has earned a reputation as an accurate predictor of success in dental school. The DAT is divided into four constituent elements: Quantitative Reasoning Test (40 items); a Perceptual Ability Test (90 items); a Reading Comprehension Test (50 items); and a Survey of the Natural Sciences (100 items).

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the exam consists of Mathematics Problems (including algebra, 9 items; numerical calculations, 6 items; conversions, 6 items; probability and statistics, 4 items; geometry, 4 items; trigonometry, 4 items) and Applied Mathematics Word Problems (7 items). This section of the exam takes 45 minutes.

The Perceptual Ability Test consists of 90 questions in the following six areas: apertures, angle discrimination, cube counting, form development, paper folding, and view recognition. This section of the exam takes one hour.

The Reading Comprehension Test consists of 50 questions based on passages of moderate length concerning topics in science and dentistry. This section of the exam takes one hour.

The Survey of the Natural Sciences includes questions on the following subjects: Biology (cell and molecular biology, 13 items; diversity of life: biological organization and relationship of major taxa, 3 items; structure and function of systems, 9 items; developmental biology, 4 items; genetics, 7 items; evolution, ecology, and behavior, 4 items); General Chemistry (stochiometry and general concepts, 3 items; gases, 2 items; liquids and solids, 3 items; solutions, 3 items; acids and bases, 3 items; chemical equilibria, 2 items; thermodynamics and thermochemistry, 2 items; chemical kinetics, 2 items; oxidation-reduction reactions, 2 items; atomic and molecular structure, 3 items; periodic properties, 2 items; nuclear reactions, 1 item; laboratory, 2 items); and Organic Chemistry (mechanisms (energetic, structure, and stability of intermediates), 5 items; chemical and physical properties of molecules and organic analysis, 5 items; stereochemistry, 3 items; nomenclature, 2 items; individuals reactions of the major functional groups and combinations of reactions to synthesize compounds, 9 items; acid-base chemistry, 3 items; aromatics and bonding, 3 items).

The Dental Admission Test is administered by Thomson Prometric throughout the year at hundreds of locations around the country.

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DAT Exam Practice Questions

1. Which enzyme in DNA replication is a potential source of new mutations?

  1. DNA ligase
  2. Primase
  3. DNA gyrase
  4. DNA polymerase
  5. Topoisomerase

2. Which of the following mutations is most likely to have a dramatic effect on the sequence of a protein?

  1. A point mutation
  2. A missense mutation
  3. A deletion
  4. A silent mutation
  5. A proofreading mutation

3. Which hormone is not secreted by a gland in the brain?

  1. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
  2. Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)
  3. Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  4. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  5. None of these

4. Which hormone is secreted by the placenta throughout pregnancy?

  1. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
  2. Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH)
  3. Luteinizing hormone (LH)
  4. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  5. None of these

5. Hummingbirds drink nectar from Ipomopsis flowers. Ipomopsis are trumpet-shaped, and hummingbirds have long narrow beaks to access the nectar. These adaptations could best be described as

  1. Divergent evolution
  2. Convergent evolution
  3. Parallel evolution
  4. Coevolution
  5. Macroevolution

6. All of the following are homologous structures EXCEPT

  1. Bird feathers
  2. Elephant eyelashes
  3. Human fingernails
  4. Dog fur
  5. Insect exoskeleton

7. When hydrochloric acid (HCl) is added to a beaker containing a saturated solution of potassium chloride (KCl), it is observed that a salt precipitates on the bottom of the beaker. This is an illustration of

  1. an acid-base equilibrium.
  2. Le Chatelier’s Principle.
  3. an endothermic reaction.
  4. HCl’s weak acidity.
  5. the breaking of covalent bonds.

8. Which of the following is NOT a correct statement concerning gases?

  1. The volume occupied by a gas is related to temperature and pressure.
  2. A mole of a gas will occupy the same volume regardless of its molecular composition.
  3. The change in volume due to changes in temperature is related to attractions among gas molecules.
  4. If a gas is held in a constant volume and the pressure is increased, then the temperature will increase as well.
  5. It is possible to calculate the number of moles of gas present simply by measuring the gas pressure, the volume of the container, and the temperature.

9. Alkanes increase in molecular weight

  1. by 14 units per mole per carbon atom
  2. by 15 units per mole per carbon atom
  3. by 14 grams per mole per carbon atom
  4. by 12 grams per mole per carbon atom

10. The general formula for an alkane is

  1. CnH2n
  2. CnH2n+2
  3. C2nH2n+2
  4. (CH2)n

For questions 11 and 12

A three-dimensional object is shown at the left. This is followed by outlines of five apertures or openings.

In each item the task is exactly the same. First, you are to imagine how the object looks from all directions (rather than from a single direction as shown). Then, pick from the five apertures outlined, the opening through which the object could pass directly if the proper side were inserted first. Finally, mark on your answer sheet (after the number of the item) the letter corresponding to the answer you have chosen.

Here are the rules:

Prior to passing through the aperture, the irregular solid object may be turned in any direction. It may be started through the aperture on a side not shown.

Once the object has started through the aperture, it may not be twisted or turned. It must pass completely through the opening. The opening is always the exact shape of the appropriate external outline of the object.

Both objects and apertures are drawn to the same scale. Thus, it is possible for an opening to be the correct shape but too small for the object. In all cases, however, differences are large enough to judge by eye.

There are no irregularities in any hidden portion of the object. However, if the figure has symmetric indentations, the hidden portion is symmetric with the part shown.

For each object there is only one correct aperture.



Osteoarthritis is a fairly common problem that increases with age. It is usually a mild condition; most people who have it do not have any pain or stiffness, and the rest usually have only occasional problems. Osteoarthritis is a much more benign form of arthritis than, for example, rheumatoid arthritis. It is the result of the inevitable changes in the aging skeleton, causing symptoms in relatively few people and severe symptoms in even fewer.

Some experts prefer the name osteoarthrosis instead of osteoarthritis to describe this condition. The reason for this is that the suffix -itis suggests inflammation, and very little inflammation is found with cartilage degeneration.

Osteoarthritis mainly affects the hips, knees, hands, neck, and lower back. In most forms of the disease, the tissue involved is the cartilage, which is the gristle material that covers and protects the ends of bones where they meet to form joints. Cartilage is tough, somewhat elastic, and slippery. Osteoarthritis causes changes in the cartilage, making it break down. As it breaks down, the bony surface on one side of the joint rubs against the bone on the other side, providing a much less elastic joint surface. Over time, the bony surfaces may become polished, a process called eburnation. When this happens, the joint may again move more smoothly, causing less pain.

There are three common forms of osteoarthritis. The first and least serious type causes knobby enlargement of the joints in the fingers. The fingers’ end joints become bony, and the hands begin to look as if they are deformed. The other joints of the fingers may be involved as well. Although there may be some stiffness, this kind of arthritis usually causes only cosmetic problems.

The second form of osteoarthritis affects the spine. The spine in the neck area or in the lower back begins to get bony growths. These bony growths are usually associated with some narrowing of the spaces between the vertebrae. In this type of osteoarthritis, the disk rather than the cartilage is the material that begins to break down. Osteoarthritis of the spine usually does not cause any symptoms unless there is pressure on one of the nerves.

Weight-bearing joints, usually the hips and knees, are involved in the third type of osteoarthritis. These problems can be quite painful. If the pain affects the patient’s ability to walk, surgery might be indicated. Hips and knees that are severely damaged can be replaced with artificial joints.

Often a patient will have only one of these types of osteoarthritis, but it is possible to have two or even all three types. The prognosis for a patient with osteoarthritis is usually good. Treatment includes an exercise program and weight control. Obesity speeds up the rate of damage to the diseased joints, especially if the knees are involved, so it is important to maintain a normal weight. A regular exercise program will strengthen the bones and ligaments around the affected joint. Such a program will also strengthen the muscles, helping to reduce stress on the joints.

For mild osteoarthritis pain, over-the-counter pain medications often work well. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (such as Aleve), and acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). If these are not sufficient, stronger prescription medicine may be needed. Applying ice or heat to the affected joint may help control pain. Heat is best used to help loosen up the joints before an activity, while ice is used to relieve pain after an activity or exercise.

13. Osteoarthritis causes severe symptoms in

  1. only the very old.
  2. the heart.
  3. very few of the people who have it.
  4. everyone who has it.

14. Based on information in this article, you can infer that the word laryngitis means

  1. lazy larynx.
  2. painful larynx.
  3. cancer of the larynx.
  4. inflammation of the larynx.

15. What is the correct factorization of 6x2-11xy-10y2?

  1. (3x+2y)(2x+5y)
  2. (3x+2y)(2x-5y)
  3. (3x-2y)(2x+5y)
  4. (3x-2y)(2x-5y)

16. Which equation represents the product of the square root of p and 4 less than p?

DAT Test; Dental Admission Test

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1. D: DNA polymerase does not match base pairs with 100% fidelity. Some level of mismatching is present for all DNA polymerases, and this is a source of mutation in nature. Cells have mechanisms of correcting base pair mismatches, but they do not fix all of them.

2. C: Insertions and deletions cause frameshift mutations. These mutations cause all subsequent nucleotides to be displaced by one position, and thereby cause all the amino acids to be different than they would have been if the mutation had not occurred.

3. A: HCG is secreted by the trophoblast, part of the early embryo, following implantation in the uterus. GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone. is secreted by the hypothalamus, while LH (luteinizing hormone. and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone. are secreted by the pituitary gland. GnRH stimulates the production of LH and FSH. LH stimulates ovulation and the production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovary in females, and testosterone production in males. FSH stimulates maturation of the ovarian follicle and estrogen production in females and sperm production in males.

4. E: The placenta secretes progesterone and estrogen once a pregnancy is established. Early in pregnancy, the placenta secretes hCG.

5. D: In coevolution, one species responds to new adaptations in another. Coevolution occurs between predator and prey, pathogens and the immune systems of animals, and plants and their pollinators.

6 E: Structures are homologous because they derive from a common ancestor. Insects do not share a common ancestor with birds and mammals. Birds and mammals share a reptile ancestor.

7. B: Le Châtelier’s Principle states that anything which disturbs a chemical equilibrium will cause a shift in the reaction equilibrium to compensate for that change. In this case, potassium chloride (KCl), an ionic compound, can be dissolved in water yielding potassium and chloride ions:

KCl (s) + H2O K+ + Cl- + H2O

To be completely accurate, the KCl and dissolved KCl and its ions are in equilibrium, depicted as follows:

KCl (s) + H2O K+ + Cl- + H2O

The addition of hydrochloric acid (HCl) corresponds to the introduction of more Cl- ions, which moves the equilibrium to the left, causing KCl to come out of solution.

8. C: The equation of an Ideal Gas is as follows:

PV = nRT

where n corresponds to the moles of the gas(es) present. From this equation, one can determine how changes in temperature, pressure, and the volume occupied by a gas affect one another. The attraction among gas molecules is assumed to have negligible effects on the volume occupied by a gas.

9. C: Molecular weights are expressed as grams per mole. Each additional carbon atom to the alkane requires two additional hydrogen atoms. The molecular formula of the alkane will therefore increase by -CH2-, which incrementally increases the molecular weight by 14g per mole.

10. B: The general molecular formula for alkanes is CnH2n+2. Each carbon atom requires two hydrogen atoms and there must be two additional hydrogen atoms to complete the required total number of bonds to the terminal sp3 carbon atoms.

11. C

12. B

13. B: You have to do a little arithmetic to figure this one out. Paragraph 3 informs us that 300,000 Americans a year break a hip, and that one in five such patients die within a year. One in five translates to 20%, and 20% of 300,000 is 60,000.

14. B: The last sentence of paragraph 3 provides the answer to this one. Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are not mentioned, so you can eliminate any answer choice that includes II and IV. Therefore, cross out choices A, C, and D, leaving you with only B as a possible choice.

15. B: When you look at the answer choices, you should notice that the only thing that changes among the choices is the sign of the second term in each set of parentheses. If you look at the original problem, you should notice that the last term is -10y2. Look at the answer choices to see which ones will give you -10y2 when the last terms are multiplied. Choices A and D give +10y2, so you can eliminate them. Choices B and C give the desired result. Now you have to determine which order the sign must go in to yield -11xy, from the middle term of the original problem. Choice B gives -15xy + 4xy = -11xy and choice C gives +15xy - 4xy = 11xy, which has the wrong sign. Obviously B is the correct answer.

16. Convert the written phrase to mathematical symbols:
The square root of p=and 4 less than p=p-4.
The word product means multiply, therefore the correct answer is (p-4).

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