Differences Between MCAT & DAT
- The MCAT is conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges on several dates from January to September. There are more than 100 test centers in the U.S. and Canada, and select locations worldwide. The DAT is conducted throughout the year at Prometric test centers and is administered by the American Dental Association.
- Students aspiring to attend professional medical schools in the fields of allopathy, osteopathy, podiatry and veterinary medicine are eligible to take the MCAT. The exam should be taken in the year in which the student is applying to medical school. Students wanting to enroll in dental school must participate in the DAT exam. Successful completion of at least one year of college education in the fields of biology, general and organic chemistry are a prerequisite for the DAT.
- The MCAT involves four sections -- three multiple choice sections and one writing sample. The multiple choice sections are divided into physical sciences, biological sciences and verbal reasoning. This totals a time of four hours and 25 minutes, but the exam also offers optional breaks, which can increase the total "seat time" to five hours and 25 minutes. The DAT contains four sections and is exclusively a multiple-choice test. These are the Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning. The total test time is four hours and 15 minutes, and extends up to five hours including optional breaks
- The multiple-choice sections of the MCAT are scored between one and 15. Raw test scores are then converted to a scale, considering the difficulty level of questions, to enable better comparison of scores. The two essays that make up the writing sample are each scored twice on a scale of one to six, which is then converted to an alphabetical scale. DAT results are reported as standard scores on a scale of one to 30. While there are no passing scores, a mean score of 17 usually represents average performance.