I would have made my schedule more realistic towards my capabilities instead of constantly comparing myself to others. I would have made my “Sunday ritual” more of a priority in order to take away any additional stress I could for the upcoming week days. Rest days are definitely an important feature in any study schedule, so make sure to add them in where you see fit.
Meet Anastasia, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Anastasia to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of December.
As a student working full-time, what were some challenges you faced preparing for the DAT, and how did you overcome them?
Working full-time while studying for the DAT was a lot more challenging than I expected it to be. It definitely takes a toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. During the week days and depending on your specific work schedule, you are very limited on the time you can devote to studying. This is due to the fact that you are mentally and physically drained from work, and you can only push your body and brain to do so much within one day’s time. With that being said, you get the bulk of your studying done on the weekends. This requires you to have the self-discipline to tell your friends and family that you cannot spend time with them on the weekends, as this is your most efficient time to study. That in itself can be very emotionally draining, but you have to remember how important this test is for the future of your career.
What advice would you have to other students working full-time while studying for the DAT?
I would definitely advise students to not work full-time while preparing for the DAT unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Even working part-time would be a better option if possible. If the student must work full-time, here are my suggestions to make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle while on this journey. I believe it is most important to understand your capabilities and develop your study schedule around that. I knew that I could not follow Ari’s 10 week schedule due to my work obligations, so I had to create my own. I would suggest having a “test-run” week, where you begin to study for the DAT for a week and note about how many hours/tasks you are able to complete during the weekdays vs the weekend. From there, you can create your study schedule to estimate how long it will take you to complete the areas you want to focus on before your exam. Being disciplined enough to follow your own schedule and not comparing your schedule to others will help you stay focused at the task ahead and not stressed about what others have already accomplished. It is also important to remember that you are putting a lot on your plate, so it may take you a longer period of time to study than others. Another tip I found to be helpful was to make sure you devote at least half of your Sunday (if you work during the week) to “preparing for the week.” This means cook a big meal to meal prep with, clean your clothes, and make sure you have everything together for the week ahead. This allows you to stay on track with your study schedule, so you do not have to use weeknights to cook, etc.
What is something you would have changed to help your study schedule go more smoothly?
I would have made my schedule more realistic towards my capabilities instead of constantly comparing myself to others. I would have made my “Sunday ritual” more of a priority in order to take away any additional stress I could for the upcoming week days. Also, I would have better managed my time in order to work in “free time/time off” from studying in order to give my brain a rest. Rest days are definitely an important feature in any study schedule, so make sure to add them in where you see fit.
I graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biology and minoring in General Business. My GPA and DAT scores were not competitive enough to get into dental school, so I immediately decided on gap year plans to improve my overall application. I then received my Master of Science in Biomedical and Health Sciences degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham in April of 2018. From here, I knew my focus would be to raise my DAT score, which I was able to accomplish in November of 2018. It is important to remember that applying to dental school is a marathon, not a race. You will reach this goal when it is your time to do so. Be patient with the process, as it is a rewarding one! If you have any questions for me, feel free to reach me at SDN- username: orthoasst-predental.
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