Taking the DAT and scoring well is one of the most important aspects of applying to dental school. Your DAT score will not only impact the dental school that you attend but will also indirectly shape your career. Although taking the DAT is a stressful process, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we will go over what you need to do to prepare for your DAT.
1. Apply to take the DAT
To take the DAT, your first step will be obtaining a DENTPIN, which you can do here. Once you have a DENTPIN, you can apply to take any of the ADA examinations including the DAT. I would highly recommend saving your DENTPIN as you will need it for re-takes of the DAT and all future dental board examinations.
2. Choose a Test Date
Once you have applied to take the DAT and your application is approved, it will be time to choose a date. When choosing a test date, there are a few important things that you should consider.
👉 Three Important Considerations For Selecting a Test Date
- Sign-up Early – We highly recommend registering for your test date at least 2 months in advance of your prospective date. Doing so in advance will ensure the availability of the desired dates. Keep in mind, seats are very limited at each Prometric center where the DAT is held and most seats fill up quickly.
- Choosing the right day of the week – We highly recommend choosing the day of the week that works best for you. For example, I personally prefer a Monday so that I can have the weekend for a final review without having to worry about other obligations (example – school, work, etc). Regardless of which date you choose, it’s important to ensure that you have no other obligations in the last 7-days leading up to your DAT preparation.
- Choosing the right time of the day – It’s all about timing. Believe it or not, this is just as important as selecting the right day of the week to take the DAT. Since the DAT is offered at different times on specific dates, you may have the option to take the DAT in the morning or the afternoon. If you are more of a morning person, we recommend taking the DAT in the morning. Your decision should be based on the type of person you are, what best fits your needs, and the conditions you perform best in.
3. Choose the Right Materials
This is one of the most important aspects of preparing for the DAT. It is also important that you select appropriate study sources to learn from. Remember, your time is valuable. You will be losing valuable time if you opt to read your undergraduate biology textbook or MCAT books that cover extra topics, not on the DAT. For example, instead of dedicating 50 hours to preparing for the Biology section, you may spend 150 hours as a result of using non-DAT-related content.
This is why we recommend all test-takers perform a comprehensive review of all subjects using a dedicated DAT resource regardless of how well they performed in their corresponding undergraduate courses. Below is a list of highly recommend DAT resources:
- DATBooster – Highly recommended as it includes 4000+ high yield practice questions, 700+ HD videos, detailed study notes, unlimited PAT questions, fully integrated PATBooster content, and representative of the 2021 DAT.
- DATDestroyer – Great for supplemental practice. Contains over 900+ high-yield questions that serve as an excellent question bank to prepare for the DAT.
- Chad’s Videos – These are excellent for reviewing the fundamentals of general and organic chemistry. They are fully integrated into DATBooster’s Study Schedule which can be found here.
4. Create a Study Schedule
In the past several years, we have noticed that the students who are most organized and who stick to a study schedule perform the best. At DATBooster, we offer a 10-week recommended study schedule that has been used by thousands of students. This study schedule tells you exactly what you need to accomplish by the end of each day to maximize your DAT score.
Keep in mind, you should always use a study schedule that best suits your needs. So feel free to adjust this schedule as needed.
5. Begin your preparation with Content Review
Like most students, you may have forgotten the content you learned in your basic science courses. This is why it’s important to start by reviewing and relearning all the topics covered on the DAT in order to maximize your score. Over the years, we have seen many students skip the content review portion and go straight to practice tests, which 98% of the time leads to a low DAT score.
Remember, the key to success is to know the information being tested inside out. This is an important step because if you do not know the tested subjects, then you cannot predictably answer questions correctly. Having a good foundational knowledge of the tested information will be critical for how well you can understand and answer the questions.
6. DAT Practice Tests
The DAT is like a marathon. You will have to get enough practice to gauge where you stand, where you can improve, and get a feel for the test itself. The best way to do this is through DAT practice tests.
By the time you are ready to take the DAT, we highly recommend going through all the practice tests on DATBooster at least once as they are based on the 2021 DAT. Keep in mind, the Extra Questions in each subject area are also good practice, however, the Practice Tests are always the most representative of the real exam.
Concluding How to Prepare
Although preparing for the DAT is a daunting task, it’s important to stay active, enjoy life, eat healthy, and get enough sleep at night throughout your preparation. Remember, to prepare for this rigorous exam, your brain will need to rest as well as your body. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team, we’ll always be here to help. 😊