how to take preparation for DAT exam

How to Study for The DAT Exam: Let’s Find Out Easy Ways

Looking to join a dental school?

The DAT (Dental Admission Test in full) is one of the checkpoints you will pass through before getting admitted. This test gauges your general academic aptitude, in subjects like reading comprehension, perpetual ability, and scientific knowledge.

Unfortunately, there are many students failing the DAT exam, and the main culprit is insufficient or invalid preparation. But don’t fret because today, we are going to share with you insights into the study method that successful candidates have used to pass.

But before we even go into that, you might ask – how is the DAT scored?

Well, here’s how:

There are 8 standard scores, with the first 6 scores coming from the individual tests and the other two coming from the Academic Average (AA)and the Total Science (TS). The individual tests are:

  • Biology
  • General chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Perceptual ability
  • Reading comprehension
  • Quantitative reasoning

These individual tests are multiple choice questions scored right/wrong and the resulting raw score gets converted into a scaled score ranging from 1 to 30.

The standards for admissions and interviews are different among institutions; they normally depend on the institution’s policies. For instance, some schools set their cutoff minimum at 18 for all the sections, others set it at 17, and so on.

Other schools, like the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, say that they don’t have a cutoff minimum for the DAT, but it’s always a good thing to have a high DAT score to boost your chances of getting accepted.

Ideally, a DAT score of 18 and above is okay but you should always aim high.

Our DAT Study Mode

The good thing about our DAT study guide is that it takes everyone into consideration. We are not going to tell you to go out there and purchases study materials, no. We’re only going to show you an 8-week study schedule that has helped past candidates pass without straining too much.

An 8-week schedule is ideal as it provides adequate time for the average student to prepare properly. Feel free to increase or decrease the schedule based on your science background. We recommend a minimum study duration of 4 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.

Before we dive into the study plan, consider the following key points. They will help you create a study schedule that works for you and help you actually stick to it.

Watch This Video to know more:

1. Make the preparation process your fulltime job

Put in as many hours of study each week as you can; 40 hours is the ideal range. Assuming that you will be working (we mean studying) for 6 days a week, it means you will have to work for around 7 hours per day.

Try as much as you can to stick to the schedule because if you take unnecessary breaks or skip study days, it will feel as though you were starting all over again when you jump back into the routine. Any time lost will be hard to recover.

Also Read: How to Get into Harvard Medical School: A Look at The Admissions Process and Preparation

2. Consider your strengths and weaknesses

The best way of covering everything you need to cover in 8 weeks is to ensure that there’s no time wasted while at the same time ensuring that you’ve gained the knowledge required. And how can you do that efficiently? By skimming through what you already know and studying what you don’t know. If you’re weak in Chemistry but strong in Biology, spend more time on Chemistry and go through Biology only lightly.

3. Don’t use too many prep materials

Using every study material you can find is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The problem is that you will come across too much info; some of this info will not agree and you’ll be left confused and overwhelmed. And again, you don’t have all the time in the world, do you?

We recommend keeping it simple and sticking with 3 or less resources of study that suit your needs.

4. Study various topics together

One of the most notable aspects about sciences is that they have inter-related topics and concepts, and hence, the best way of understanding them is to study them together. Again, if you study only one topic at a time, you will find yourself neglecting some of the topics, due to the time factor, and that wont work out very well for you.

5. Do plenty of quizzes and practice questions

Virtually all the dental med students we talked to said that one of the best ways they used to pass the DAT was tackling as many practice questions and quizzes as they could. Most of them said they still use the tactic to pass their exams in dental schools.

6. Stay fit

We all can agree that physical exercise and healthy eating are crucial for the good health of our bodies and minds. You might already know science has showed that a healthy lifestyle leads to better mental performance.

Here’s the best way of staying fit – work out, be social, eat and drink healthy, and get sufficient sleep, at least 7 hours daily. Remember, your brain transfers your short-term memories into the long-term hard drive while you sleep and when your body systems are working normally.

Now, here’s our recommended DAT study plan.

DAT Study Plan

Remember, this schedule is only a template and you can customize it based on your needs. We have listed the subjects based on the amount and difficulty level of the study materials associated with it.

Things would be pretty good for you if you’d have a full overview of the subjects by the end of the 6th week, so you can use the last 2 weeks to take practice quizzes and review the areas you’re not very good in. But that doesn’t mean you should wait till the last 2 weeks to take practice tests; you should take them throughout the study duration. We’re only saying that during the last 2 weeks, you should make them your primary focus.

The Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, and Perceptual Ability tests are not as difficult as the others, so don’t spend too much time on them. focus more on General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biology.

Week 1

​​​​​​​​

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

8 am to 10 am

Biology

Biology

Biology

Biology

Biology

Biology

Break

10.30 am to 12 noon

Perpetual Ability

General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Quantitative Reasoning

Reading Comprehension

Organic Chemistry

Lunch

1 pm to 3 pm

Biology

 Organic Chemistry

Biology

General Chemistry

General Chemistry

Biology

Break

3.30 pm to 5.30 pm

General Chemistry 

Practice test

General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Practice test

Practice test

Week 2

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

8 am to 10 am

General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Biology

Organic Chemistry

Biology

General Chemistry

Break

10.30 am to 12 noon

Biology

General Chemistry

General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Perpetual Reading

Biology

Lunch

1 pm to 3 pm

Organic Chemistry

Biology

Organic Chemistry

Biology

General Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Break

3.30 pm to 5.30 pm

Practice test

Quantitative Reasoning

Practice test

Perpetual Ability 

Practice test

Reading comprehension

As you can see, we have only created a study schedule for week 1 and week 2. Follow the same format to create a study schedule for the rest of the weeks you will be spending on practice. Here’s a suggestion for the number of hours to spend on each subject:

Subject

Number of Hours

Biology

80

Organic Chemistry

72

General Chemistry

80

Perpetual Ability

24

Reading Comprehension

8

Quantitative Reasoning

20

Practice tests

28

Frequently Asked Question About DAT Exam:

1. What is tested on the DAT?

The American Dental Association conducts the DAT for those looking to join dental school. This exam seeks to evaluate the general academic ability of the applicants through subjects like Perpetual Ability and Reading Comprehension.

2. Does the DAT include Physics?

No. Even though physics coursework is a requirement for those joining dental school, the DAT doesn’t cover it. If you haven’t already done physics courses, you may delay them until after the DAT.

3. What does “PAT” refer to in the DAT?

PAT refers to the Perpetual Ability Test, the DAT’s second section, which gauges your spatial visualization skills. Many dental school candidates find it to be very difficult, and so it’s crucial that you prepare well in this area.

4. How many sections does the DAT contain?

Four. These are:

  • Natural sciences – Biology and Organic and General Chemistry – 90 minutes
  • Perpetual Ability – 60 minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 45 minutes
  • Reading Comprehension – 60 minutes

Final Thoughts

As with all other academic studies and tests, all you have to do to pass that DAT is to put your mind to it and sacrifice yourself (your time, energy, fun, etc.) a little at least for the eight weeks you will be using to study as well as the exam period.

Ever tackled a DAT exam?

You have done other exams in the past, right? What study modes worked for you? Share your inputs with us in the comments.

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