Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pre-dent advice from Dave: 2. DAT study material

Dave’s back at it again! Here’s his tips on how to study effectively for the DAT so you can ace it! This is SO thorough and the kind of information I would have shared with other dental school applying friends going through the application process together.

Check out the entire Pre-dent advice series from Dave:
1. The basic application checklist

I hope the first pre-dental advice post helped! The topic of this post is the dreaded DAT: four major sections, one small break in between, five hours total. The experience is exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time, and you can conquer it with the right preparation and execution on test day.

Preparing for the exam:
  • Get the logistics out of the waysides early: You should read the testing guidelines on ADA.org, apply for a Dentpin, acquire two forms of ID, and schedule through a Prometrics testing center well in advance. Make sure to have the money ($385) set aside for the exam. You can stop by Prometrics to tour the test center and have them check your IDs if you would like, too – a “dry run”, if you will.
  • Decide on a study schedule or review class. Buy a planner or print out calendar pages and put down a study schedule on paper. You can create your own, glean one from student doctor network, or study while you take a review class.  
Review courses such as Kaplan and Princeton Review cost about $1400. My personal suggestion is to use Chad’s Videos to review instead as they are much cheaper. See more suggestions below!

No matter what you do, set aside some days for review and some days for practice exams. Mix in practicing for the PAT throughout your schedule, and study for the reading comprehension if English is your second language. Fit a study schedule that fits your needs; some are compressed into under a month, others spread out for 2+ months. Only you know how you like to study.

In addition to scheduling your time, make sure to gather all study CDs, books, and other materials early. Set aside study cards, quick references, a calculator, periodic table of the elements, etc. before starting. Having everything in place is helpful!

Dave- guess who took this picture? His very talented pre-dent boyfriend.

The DAT study resources:

  • Practice tests are key: Get your hands on as many as possible and get messy with the material in the form of practice questions. I answer the argument "Achiever or Topscore?" with BOTH! More practice is better. There are many other practice test companies such as datqvault, Crack the DAT, et cetera. Kaplan and other review courses give diagnostic tests with their courses. Make sure to schedule practice exams into your studying, as they get your brain into problem-solving mode.
  • Chad knows best: Chad’s Videos, now marketed and sold through the website Coursesaver, are probably the best study bang you will get for your buck. Chad is an excellent professor (he actually teaches in Arizona!) and his class video recordings can be watched and re-watched for however many months you purchase a subscription. You can review for chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and quantitative reasoning with his videos. Also included are quiz questions and helpful outlines you can print. I cannot recommend a study product more highly than Chad’s videos! I recommend taking notes like a real college course and using them as a reference during studying.
  • Destroy the DAT with Orgoman’s Destroyer: Whoever said this book will help you “destroy” the exam wasn't kidding. I took this book to work, to class, in the car, while on the pot pooping…everywhere. I wrote the solutions in right next to the question. I read the question, looked how to solve the problem, and analyzed why the other choices were wrong. This book is expensive and difficult but will help you immensely.
Yesle here- I know many of you are gearing up for your application cycle. If you are a dental student already, what study resources/tips have you found hopeful? I'd love to hear about them. Stay posted for more dental school admissions tips including DAT study tips from Dave!