Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pre-dent advice from Dave: 3. DAT test day & interpreting your DAT score

Here we are on a Tuesday night again. Dave talks about the actual DAT testing day and what to do once you get your score. I know tons of you are working on your applications and some of you have even gone on interviews! Keep up the great work, you'll get there. -Yesle

Check out the entire Pre-dent advice series from Dave:
1. The basic application checklist
2. DAT study material tips 

Gearing up and getting ready for the D-A-T
  • Only sit through a test like this once: I understand this exam takes endurance, but don't torture yourself by taking entire Topscore, Achiever, etc. exams in one day. If you must do entire tests, consider taking pauses for understanding or doing the sections untimed. I suggest doing practice exams in parts and perfecting every question/example asked. You will be honed in on test day for 5 hours, don't worry! - there is NO need to do this experience for a practice exam!

  • Don't believe the hype: You will have friends and colleagues begin to take the exam around the same time you do, professing high scores and miracle study aids. There will be people who brag on SDN about a score of 23 or higher and while they may be smart, remember to live in your own circumstances. Maybe these people handcuffed themselves to a desk and studied, but I couldn't live that way and you don't have to either. Study the amount of time you feel comfortable with (for me, not marathons) and with the materials you prefer and can afford. Don't go buy things and spend time on methods that might only work for other people.
  • Strategize for each section: Using your mentors, the Internet, and review classes, start to strategize for taking the different sections (especially PAT). For example, for reading comprehension, some people prefer to “road map” and others prefer to “search and destroy”. For the hole punches, a lot of people use a tic-tac-toe board. For cube counting, many draw a tally on the white board. For the QR section, some learn to use the mouse with their non-dominant hand to have the best writing speed with their dominant hand. There are a myriad of other strategies you investigate and test if they work for you. Make sure they enable you to score highly with enough time in each section to review.

 Good morning, it's test day!
  • Test Day at Prometrics: Prometrics usually seats on time or early, so I recommend getting there early – plan ahead for driving or public transport. If you are a coffee person, drink coffee. People in that center had to put up with my hair scratching and other nervous motions, but for me coffee was totally worth the wakeup! Eat a good breakfast and bring a snack for your 15 minute break. The center will be quiet, clean, a good temperature, and the computer will be ready for you with their exam software. It really is no thrills and no frills – it will be a multiple choice, exactly as you expect it.
  • Your Standard Score. Finally, a word about your numerical score. When you’re done with the exam, you will click through a few screens and it will pop up on the screen. Try to control your emotions/reaction by setting some goals based on your abilities before you enter the testing center. For example:

Notice you can give yourself one standard score leeway to be happy with. Set your goals realistically based on your academic strengths and the schools you are applying to. When you leave the testing center, make sure to treat yourself for finishing a major exam! If you don’t meet your goal, do not despair – the exam does not define you as a person, and you can re-take in three months - Treat yourself anyway.

This score is a major milestone in your professional life – congratulations on coming this far!!! Good Luck! If you have any questions, you can read about my own DAT experience on SDN here [http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/dat-done-6-10.829296/] or reach out to me via Yesle's email or my twitter!


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