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The American Dental Association (ADA) has introduced a new exam called the Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT). This was due to the lack of scores from other standardized dental exams such as the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part I/II and most of the universities have now been using a Pass/Fail system. Advanced dental/specialty programs are now signing up to use the ADAT as the means to quantitatively compare applicants in an objective manner. Therefore, international dentists applying to advanced dental programs and dental graduates applying to specialty programs may have to take this additional exam as a part of the admission process.




The ADAT was developed by the ADA to help programs in selecting the best-qualified applicants- generally for residency/post-graduation applicants. When the NBDE became pass/fail, the program directors lost the power in making admission decisions. The ADAT is the test to give them that power. It is distinct from the NBDE, which is designed only for licensure decisions. The NBDE tests the minimum knowledge needed to be a safe beginning practitioner from those who do not know the minimum.

Dental students and practising dentists interested in post-graduate training and international dental students applying to advanced dental education are encouraged to take the ADAT. Our website provides a detailed table as a reference to search which programs accept ADAT scores. 2017 was the first application cycle during which the programs officially began accepting ADAT results.
The ADAT uses a multiple-choice format presented in English and tests the student on the following: Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Data, Research Interpretation, and Evidence-Based Dentistry.

The ADAT is being administered at Pearson VUE test centers in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Canada from April 3, 2017 to August 31, 2017.

The cost of the fee is $350 which includes an official score reporting to all of the advanced dental education programs you have selected at the time of application, and official score reporting to the CODA-accredited dental school in which you are currently enrolled. Additionally, ADAT score reports can be ordered for a fee of $36.
The ADAT charges additional $135 for international dental students or dentists from dental schools that are not CODA accredited.



No of questions - 200

Total duration of test - 4 and 1/2 hours 

Break time (optional) - 10 min 

No of sections - 3




A mock test can be found on the ADA website to help candidates understand the types of questions that appear on the ADAT. A tutorial is also available on the Pearson VUE website that can help candidates get aquatinted on the mechanics of taking the ADAT. 


The exam tends to assess long term memory retentive information than more short term crammed up information. It is best taken right after your NBDE Part II exam.

ADAT scores will be given as percentiles and are released sometime in June and August depending on when the exam is taken. The percentiles will vary on the number of people taking the exam. Official ADAT scaled scores will be released to ADEA PASS on September 14. Applicants will have to submit their ADEA PASS application before the official test scores are received as many schools interview before September.



The ADAT uses a scaled system of scoring similar to what is used for DAT or NBDE. These scores range from 200 to 800 with a target mean of 500. There is no passing or failing scores and applicants are not marked negative for guessing. Scores will be reported in percentiles for four scales: one for each of the three sections of the test and an overall ADAT score. As more applicants take the ADAT in the test period, the percentile standing will continue to change.
Some questions on the test are experimental and these questions are not scored. The data collected on unscored questions is used in later test construction procedures.
There is a waiting period of 45 days and a limit of 2 attempts per calendar year if the candidate decides to take a retest. A complete history of the number of testing attempts is also reported.

Breakdown of sections

Section                                                 Questions              Duration (mins)

1) Biomedical Sciences                                                                               80                                                   95

(Anatomic Sciences, Biochemistry/Physiology,

Microbiology/Pathology & Dental Anatomy/Occlusion)

2) Research Interpretation and Evidence-Based Dentistry                      40                                                   45

3) Clinical Sciences that tests on the Dental Specialties,                         80                                                   90

Pharmacology, Ethics and Patient Management

(in stand alone and case based formats)

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