What should I do after getting a low score on my first practice test?

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Reviewed by
Dr. Joel Meyerson
Key Takeaway
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    You’ve just completed your first practice test and you didn’t score exactly what you were hoping to. You’re currently feeling a bit discouraged, after having weeks of intense studying, and are unsure what you should do next.

    Fortunately, you aren’t alone and this is a super common feeling among almost EVERY student who takes his or her first practice test. Here are some tips and tricks that can get you back on your feet and improve your score in no time:

    Don’t focus on the estimated score!

    These scores are meant to give you an estimate of where you are at currently. This is just the starting point, meaning you can only go up from here if you stay focused on the next steps for improving your score. Review your explanation to every question, even if you got it correct. This ensures that you learn not just why the correct answer are correct, but also why the wrong answers aren’t. Over time, you’ll find yourself forming a much stronger understanding of the material, and eliminating answer choices much easier.

    Take some time to think about how you can improve

    Review your answers, and see what you missed—we break down each section by their topics, time spent, and time per question. If there’s one topic that is significantly weaker than the others, spend some time going rewatching videos, going through your notes, and completing question banks to strengthen your understanding! It’s only a matter of time and repetition before you get it down.

    Adjust your study habits (if needed).

    Every student studies differently so it’s time to figure out what works best for you! Watching videos, creating flashcards, and making a to-do list are standard ways to study, but one may work better than the other—or you might have your own way to study! I would recommend trying the Pomodoro Technique if you need help staying focused.

    Give yourself a break!

    You’ve been working hard over the past few weeks, and this was just one of many practice tests you will be taking. No one said that taking the exam is easy, and understanding that you might not do amazing on your first time around is the first step towards improvement! Go outside, listen to that playlist you love, and order some of your favorite food to eat. It’s super important to remember to take breaks so you don’t get burnt out and stay motivated to continue studying.


    Remember that you’re just only starting your journey to become an amazing dentist so don’t give up! Feeling discouraged from time to time is normal, but don’t let this impact your studying. Remember to take the study schedule one day at a time, and consider moving things around to fit better with your other commitments. The Bootcamp.com team is always ready to help you on your educational journey so feel free to reach out if you ever have any questions. Soon enough, you’ll see both your own confidence and scores improve!

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    Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student