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How Many Times Can You Take The DAT?
By Connor Reed Updated on January 3, 2024
Summer Holloway, DMD Summer Holloway, DMD

How Many Times Can You Take The DAT?

Whether you scored poorly on your first attempt or you're just curious, many students ask whether they can take the DAT twice

In order to get accepted into a top-tier dental school, you first need to crush the DAT. As most colleges don’t standardize their curriculum, the DAT is how the ADA determines if applicants have the foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in dental school. Of course you’ll do your best to prepare, but you might find yourself wondering how many times you can take the DAT. We answer that question below. 

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How Many Times Can You Take The DAT?

When it comes to taking the DAT, you are not limited to just one attempt. For those looking to be admitted into dental school, you are able to take the DAT a total of three (3)  times.

Whether your score was too low to get into your preferred school, or you simply want to see if you can improve your examination results, taking the DAT a second and third time is allowed.

If taking the exam again, applicants should be aware that they must wait a minimum of 60 days from their last examination attempt before retesting, and each new testing attempt will require a new application and examination fee.

Be sure to check with your potential dental schools, as all schools handle their admissions differently, including which DAT score(s) they will consider for admission. The school you’ve applied to may take the highest of your scores, an average between the number of attempts, or the most recent.

how many times dat

If a situation arises where you have exhausted your three DAT exam attempts, and are still dissatisfied with your score or ability to enter dental school, you may be able to get approved for an additional attempt.

In order to gain permission for a fourth attempt, you will need to submit an appeal to the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA is the only entity with authority to authorize candidates to test more than three times.

While three attempts are permitted, it is wise to prepare for and study for the DAT as if you are only going to take the test one time. If you can get a good score the first time around, you should have no problem getting into dental school. Do your best to implement and stick to a good study plan and do your best to prepare for the exam.

In doing so, the idea is that you will receive a solid score on the DAT and you won’t have to worry about taking the test again. After all, nobody enjoys retaking tests, or spending money on additional exam fees.

How Often Can You Take The DAT?

When planning to take the DAT, it’s important to know that you cannot take the test more frequently than once every 60 days. Because you do have this block of time between attempts, it is recommended that your first attempt is at least a year before your dental school applications are due.

Even if you anticipate getting a good score, it’s best to allow yourself plenty of wiggle room in case you need that extra 60 or 120 days.

Giving yourself ample time to retake the test, if needed, will ensure that you do not miss application deadlines. Each time you retake the test, you will need to fill out a new application and pay the full fee.

The fee to take the test is over $500, so be aware of the financial implications of taking the exam more than once. If you are a student who can prove financial hardship, you can contact the American Dental Association and apply for a fee waiver.

Benefits Of Taking The DAT More Than Once

One of the great things about the dental school admissions process is that you are allowed to take your admissions test more than once. You are allowed a total of three attempts before needing to contact the American Dental Association for permission to take it again.

If your first score was a 19 or higher, you should be able to get into most of the decent dental schools in the country. If you are striving for a higher score so you can get into a more prestigious institution, taking the DAT another time or two could help you achieve this goal.

take dat more than once

A second attempt might be beneficial for you if you had a bad test day. Maybe you were feeling under the weather or had a bad night sleeping. In taking the DAT again, you will know what to expect, which will probably reduce any stress and anxiety you may have during the testing process.

Before retaking the DAT, you might want to consider the benefits of taking a DAT prep course. These courses provide you with on demand video lessons, practice questions, test taking strategies, practice tests with detailed answer explanations, study plans, and prep books.

Some courses even come with a higher score guarantee. When choosing which prep books or courses are best for you, be sure to explore our team’s list of Best DAT Prep Books here and Best DAT Prep Courses here. Investing in a commercial prep course can make or break your score.

If the school you are applying to looks at the highest score rather than the most recent, as long as one of your scores is at or above admission level, then you should be accepted into the school. If the school you apply for takes the average of the scores, taking the test again can help if your subsequent scores surpass the first one.

Potential Downsides To Taking The DAT Multiple Times

While in most situations there are some benefits to taking the DAT multiple times, you could run into a few negatives as well. If you are not confident in whether or not you will get a better score than the first time around, you run the risk of getting a lower score. It’s certainly a possibility.

This would be fine if the schools you apply for look at the highest DAT score, but if your schools of choice go by the most recent or an average between them, this could hurt your chances of admission.

Another downside that comes with multiple attempts is that you need to submit a new application and pay the testing fee in full again. If you don’t want to fill out more paperwork or pay the fee again, it’s best to stick with your first score as long as it’s high enough for your preferred school’s admissions.

All in all, the amount of times you take the Dental Admissions Test is ultimately up to you. Whether you want to stick with your original score, take all three allowed attempts, or if you want to appeal to the American Dental Association, your career in the dental field starts with taking the DAT.


Can the DAT be taken more than once?

Yes, the DAT can be taken up to three times total. Keep in mind, there are time constraints on how often students can take the exam though (60 days).

How many people take the DAT?

Every year, around 10,000 students take the DAT. Some years it is more, some years it is less. In 2021, more than 13,000 students sat for the DAT.