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Dental Admissions Test (DAT) Part 2 – Planning, Strategies, and Resources

September 19th, 2013 | Posted by Elias Almaz in Advice | DAT | Dental School | Tips

Shortly after my exam, I started to receive multiple messages a day asking of how to best prepare for the DAT. The truth is, there is no right way to prepare. Each person has a unique background in the subjects tested and their own way of mastering them. With that said, it is important to research the many resources available to pre-dental students preparing for the DAT. It is best to plan out your strategy beforehand rather than exploring the resources as you prepare. Here are a few tips and resources I used to construct my own study schedule for the DAT:

  • IF POSSIBLE, give yourself at least 6-8 weeks of studying.
  • Understand, DON’T memorize!
    • The material may become overwhelming towards the end of your preparation and understanding the material will help you retain information or help select the best answer from the possible choices.
    • Understanding will significantly help in increasing your speed, a vital part of success on the DAT.
  • Create a schedule beforehand and plan out your attack!
    • Review your schedule of the day every morning and at the end of a session, review the next day’s goals.
    • Creating a schedule REALLY helps to keep you on target and focused on completing your day-to-day study goals.
  • Use a base structure like dentalWorks 8 Week Study Guide on Student Doctor Network for  your schedules foundation. Modify to fit the resources you are using!
  • Check out our DAT resources section on the Pre-Dental Ultimate Resources page for more useful resources such as practice questions.
  • Try to schedule your DAT as early as you feel comfortable. Having a definitive date really kicks motivation into high gear!

 

Since I am applying this year, I had limited time to prepare for the DAT. As a result, I used the sample schedule above and condensed it into a 4 week program, doing double the work per day. While it is possible, I DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this. The experience was extremely exhausting and in retrospect was risky.

 

To prepare for the DAT I used the following materials:

  • Chad’s Complete DAT Prep Videos, Notes & Quizzes (30 day subscription) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • Bio Videos (Incomplete)
      • As a biology major, these videos were extremely fundamental. I do not recommend them for people with strong biology backgrounds.
      • The videos have not been finished and as a result, only cover a fraction of the bio needed.
    • General Chemistry
      • Excellent! With only one run through, I understood a large portion of the material covered on the DAT. Notes are a great review tool and reference throughout studying.
    • Organic Chemistry
      • I am horrible at organic chemistry! These videos did not work the same as his general chemistry videos. Repeated review of the notes was a key aspect of understanding the material! Take great notes. Don’t be afraid to pause the videos to add more detail!
    • Qualitative Reasoning (Math)
      • I have a very strong background in math and I found these videos essential to improving my calculation speeds without using a calculator.
    • Angle Ranking Questions
      • Hundreds of questions. Most are only 3-4 degrees apart making them similar to the most challenging angle ranking questions that you will see on the DAT!
      • Formatting of the questions are poor and letter choices can be confusing from time to time.
  • DAT DestroyerHIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • DAT Destroyer does exactly what its name implies. It DESTROYS your DAT self esteem. With that said, the system works! It makes sure you don’t forget the subjects you have been painstakingly learning and expands upon them. Several of my DAT questions were extremely close to the questions in DAT Destroyer. To maximize the benefits of this resource, you should understand why every answer choice is right/wrong.
    • It is widely recommended that the book is reviewed in its entirety multiple times.
    • It is normal to get ~50% of the questions right the first time around.
  • Math Destroyer HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • Contains difficult qualitative reasoning questions that cover the breadth of the section on the DAT. Mastering this book teaches you all the techniques you may need and exposes you to the type of questions to expect.
    • I was skeptical about buying Math Destroyer with a strong understanding of math.
    •  It is very difficult to finish within the time allotment on the DAT (45 minutes). I finished the QR section on the DAT in 30 minutes and had 15 minutes to go over my answers. The DAT had many similar questions to the MATH Destroyer which really helps out.
    • It’s the last section of the DAT and your adrenaline starts pumping like crazy which can make it hard to focus knowing your score is on the next screen.
  • Glimmer1991’s Ultimate Breakdown Collection – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • An excellent resource that brings together many of StudentDoctorNetwork’s finest DAT preparation content.
    • Excellent bio guides, PAT tutorials, strategies, and answer sheets for DAT Destroyer.
    • Excellent compilation of DAT breakdowns for hundreds of members.
  • DAT Kaplan Blue Book (in-book and online practice tests)
    • Decent all-in-one DAT resource. PAT section does not hold up to the difficulty of the DAT. Provides decent practice tests with full explanations. The online tests closely replicate the real DAT, even includes the tutorial!
  • Cliffs AP Biology
    • Great reference guide for the breadth of the biology section on the DAT.
  • ADA 2007 Practice Exam – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • Easy, but free, practice exam by the ADA. A great first practice test midway through your preparation!
  • NEW (2018) ADA Practice Test and Practice Modules – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • Candidate will have 24 hours to complete the testing module from the time of purchase.
    • Individual modules are identical to the modules included in the Full Practice Test, except that there are two additional modules provided for the Perceptual Ability Test that are not in the Full Practice Test.
    • $20 per Module – Individual Modules
      • Biology 101 (40 items)
      • Organic Chemistry 101 (30 items)
      • General Chemistry 101 (30 items)
      • Reading Comprehension 101 (25 items)
      • Perceptual Ability 101 (30 items)
      • Perceptual Ability 102 (30 items) – NOT INCLUDED IN FULL SET
      • Perceptual Ability 103 (30 items) – NOT INCLUDED IN FULL SET
      • Quantitative Reasoning 101 (40 items)
    • $100 – Full Practice Set
      • Biology 101
      • Organic Chemistry 101
      • General Chemistry 101
      • Reading Comprehension 101
      • Perceptual Ability 101
      • Quantitative Reasoning 101
      • 3 hours and 5 minutes, divided into timed sections to simulate the actual test
    • The number of correct answers will be reported upon completion. Scores will not be provided.
    • I recommend ordering the Full Practice Set & Perceptual Ability 102 + 103
  • RETIRED – “ADA 2009 Practice Exam” – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • A practice exam by the ADA that comes in a print or computerized form.
    • I highly recommend the print version as the computerized one does not let you review your mistakes, but only shows your scores.
    • Please make sure to order ahead of time as the test must be shipped.
      • Exam costs $27 dollars + $8 dollar shipping.
    • Test contains several mistakes, however a corrections packet should come along with the exam.
    • This is as real as it gets! This should be one of the last practice tests you take.
  • DAT Bootcamp – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • High quality timed practice questions.
    • Focuses on key concepts and targets commonly misunderstood material.
    • Used when DAT Bootcamp only had 1 test ready. Now contains 5 tests per section.
    • A current 3 month subscirption costs $97 dollars.
  • Crack DAT PAT – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • 5 or 10 practice PAT tests that are great for developing strategy and an eye for the section. Can significantly improve one’s score. I ordered the 10 test version, but only completed half of the tests before my DAT.
    • 5 test version costs $99. 10 test version is $129.
    • Great simulation of the testing environment.
    • Comes with demos of other DAT section material. Be sure to try out the reading comprehension demo!
  • TopScore DAT (3 Test) – RECOMMENDED
    • I found the biology and qualitative reasoning sections to be more difficult than the actual DAT.
    • PAT section is worthless after the first test. The other two tests are variations of the same questions and are no longer a challenge.
    • Includes several DAT guides including strategies and a prep checklist.
    • Surprisingly accurate on predicting actual DAT Score.
    • Order it in advance! While it is a digital download, keys are manually provided and only provided during business hours.
      • 3 test version costs $59.95.
  • RETIRED “ADA OAT Practice Test” – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    • A free and recently updated exam produced by the ADA for the OAT. Since the exam is also made by the ADA, its Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning sections are identical to the DAT.
  • NEW (2018) OAT Practice Test and Practice Modules
    • Similar in design & cost to the new DAT practice test. May contain identical questions (unknown).

 

Other Popular Resources:

  • Kaplan DAT Prep Course
    •  Focuses on building a foundation for all topics. A great resource for non-science background pre-dental students.
    • Great for those who need a set study schedule.
  • DAT Achiever – RECOMMENDED
    • Advanced topic tests that are preferred by high scoring pre-dental students.
    • A great resource to review if you have extra time.
    • PAT section is considered one of the most accurate representations of the DAT.
    • Up to 7 tests depending on price plan ($69.99-139.99)

 

Please understand that this is just a review of study material I and many others have used. No one has to follow it 100%, there is no guarantee that you will score a high or low score by following it.