PAT Breakdown #5: Become a pattern folding pro

What to expect

On the the Dental Admission Test (DAT), you will have a total of 15 pattern folding questions (#76–90 of the PAT section — the last question type you will encounter). You will see a flat (2D) figure. Your goal is to visualize how this 2D figure would fold up to form a 3D figure. Here’s a simple example of what we mean:

An example of a flat, 2D pattern that could be folded up…
…to form a 3D cube!
Sample pattern folding question. Source: ADA’s 2007 DAT Sample Test Items. (By the way, the answer is C.)

The rules

The main rule for pattern folding is that the shapes that are part of the 2D template can’t change when folded up into the 3D object. What do we mean by that? Check out the sample question below:

Sample pattern folding question. Source: ADA’s 2007 DAT Sample Test Items.

The strategies

  • Practice makes perfect. It’s true for every PAT question type! With time and practice, you will be able to visualize how the 2D pattern folding templates relate to their corresponding 3D figures. Do practice sets, including the pattern folding practice tests on CrackDAT.com (being sure to pay attention to the explanations for the questions you miss or guess on), and download the CrackDAT app to practice and review in your spare time. You will improve your speed and accuracy as you familiarize yourself with pattern folding, so set aside at least 10–15 minutes each day to practice and learn from your mistakes, and don’t give up!
  • Pick a feature/shape to focus on. You are likely to feel overwhelmed if you try to visualize how the entire 2D template folds up to result in a 3D figure. That’s okay! Pick a feature that stands out to you. Let’s illustrate this concept with an example (which will also illustrate the value of process of elimination!)
Sample pattern folding question. Source: ADA’s 2007 DAT Sample Test Items.
Sample pattern folding question. Source: ADA’s 2007 DAT Sample Test Items.

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CrackDAT Dental Admission Test

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