When it comes to entering dental school, taking an admission exam is usually the first step in the application process. Dental schools often require that applicants take either the ADAT or the INBDE exam, depending on the school’s preference and location. Although both exams are designed to assess an applicant’s knowledge and ability to excel in dental school, there are notable differences between the two exams. In this blog post, we will discuss six comparisons between the ADAT and INBDE exams, so you can make an informed decision as to which exam you should take.

1. Acceptance:

The INBDE is typically accepted by all United States Dental programs, while the ADAT is not required by many U.S. programs. However, there are certain United States Dental programs where the ADAT is required.

2. Exam structure:

The INBDE exam is a two-day exam consisting of 500 questions that are mostly dental clinical science questions with less than 10% basic science questions such as biochemistry and physiology. In contrast, the ADAT is 200 questions that are purely clinical science with 40% consisting of basic science knowledge, such as biochemistry, gross anatomy, and physiology.

3. Cost:

The cost for the ADAT is $400 for U.S. students and graduates, and $535 for foreign-trained dentists. On the other hand, the INBDE exam costs $845.

4. Exam periods:

The ADAT exam is only offered between March and August of each year. The INBDE exam is offered year-round.

5. Question type:

Both exams are multiple choice, but the INBDE exam has more patient box questions compared to the discrete questions that are more common on the ADAT exam.

6. Passing score:

The passing score on the INBDE is 75%, and the exam is a pass or fail. The ADAT does not have a passing score, but a score range of 200-800, with a score of 500 considered good. Dental programs can use the ADAT to determine the most competitive applicant.

Students who have taken both exams say the ADAT questions are a bit more random and cover a wider range of topics. The INBDE exam is more focused on specific types of questions.


In conclusion, both the ADAT and INBDE exams are designed to assess an applicant’s knowledge and ability to excel in dental school. However, there are notable differences between the two exams, such as acceptance, exam structures, cost, exam periods, question types, and passing scores. It’s up to the applicant to decide which exam to take, depending on the school’s preference and requirements. Remember, both exams require dedication and hard work to succeed, so prepare thoroughly and give your best effort. If you need assistance with either exam, MDI Prep can help you develop a successful study plan to help you achieve your goals.

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