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What you should know about the ADAT in 2018

The ADA launched the Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT) in April 2016 targeting third- and fourth-year dental students as well as practicing dentists who are interested in postgraduate training. The exam provides advanced dental education programs with a means to assess applicants’ potential for success in a postgraduate program. With the third year of the ADAT test cycle approaching, let’s take a look at the 2017 ADAT results and some changes that are taking place for 2018.

Here are some takeaways from the ADAT results in 2017, in comparison to 2016:

  • There were 483 participants.
  • There was an increase in reliability in all sections, with the ADAT overall score reaching a reliability coefficient of .91.
  • There was an increase in the mean and decrease in the standard deviation of scores in all sections.
  • There was a shift in the frequency distribution of ADAT overall scores to the right, with more participants scoring above 500 (in a range of 200-800).

What’s changed about the ADAT for 2018?

  • Official ADAT results will post within three to four weeks of your test date.
    • Official ADAT score reports are no longer queued until September before being sent to ADEA PASS and advanced dental education programs. As of 2018, official ADAT results will be released to ADEA PASS within three to four weeks of your test date. Once the ADAT results are posted to the ADEA PASS application, they will be sent electronically to the advanced dental education programs selected on your ADAT application or in additional score report requests.
  • Greater span for the ADAT testing period
    • ADAT testing days are now open from March 1 to Aug. 31, 2018.
  • Increase in the number of programs participating in the ADAT
    • Most notably, over 30 percent of orthodontic, 45 percent of prosthodontic and 50 percent of pediatric programs are formally requiring or accepting the ADAT.
    • Any programs that are not listed should be contacted directly to see whether they will be incorporating the ADAT in their application process.

The following outlines some frequently asked questions related to the exam.

Will my ADAT results automatically import to my ADEA PASS application?

Your ADAT scores will only be imported into your ADEA PASS application if you indicated that you wanted your scores sent to an advanced dental education program (either on your application or at a later time), and you have entered your DENTPIN® and date of birth correctly in your ADEA PASS application. ADEA PASS will import the results into your application within one week of receipt if both of these conditions are met.

What if I’m not happy with my score? Can I take the ADAT and decide not to include it in my application?

As of 2018, yes. As long as you do not select any advanced dental education programs when applying for the ADAT, your scores will not be included in your application. In order for programs to receive your score, you must select at least one advanced dental education program as a results recipient to have your scores sent to ADEA PASS. If you are satisfied with your score after you take the ADAT but did not initially select any programs, you can always make a request to have the score sent to the graduate programs of your choice after your exam attempt.

What’s the best way to prepare for the ADAT?

Test takers reported the most success when giving themselves about two to three months to study for the exam. The general approach is to use the first half of that time focusing on reviewing and relearning material, and the latter half working on practice questions to drill in the content. The ADA provides a reference list of textbooks to use, but these would take an unrealistic amount of time to go through. Instead, test takers recommend using NBDE review books such as First Aid, Dental Board Busters and Mosby’s to help build and patch your foundation on the biomedical and clinical science didactics. For the data and research section, the First Aid USMLE Step 1 has a section on biostatistics review that greatly overlaps with the concepts tested by the ADAT.

During the latter half, using the ADAT practice tests on is recommended in order to illuminate the high yield topics and reinforce the key details. The questions were developed by dental graduates who took the ADAT and designed the program to reflect the question style and clinical relevance that’s seen on the test. Using these resources in conjunction with each other is an incredibly effective way to make the content stick and perform well on the ADAT exam.

~Daniel Shimunov, Columbia ’19

Daniel Shimunov

Daniel is a DDS candidate at Columbia University CDM, class of 2019. Outside of school, he enjoys playing basketball, chess and traveling.

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