If I could go back and change one thing, I would start out taking a full length exam instead of waiting for the first one in the program. This would have given me a better understand of the question format and which topics I would need to give extra attention.
I started studying a few weeks into my fall 2022 semester, planning to take the DAT about a week before I returned to school for the spring semester. Over the course of 90 days, I followed Ari’s 75 day program, and used the additional 15 days to take 5 extra practice exams and review weaknesses. DAT bootcamp was the only resource I used (besides the classes I was currently taking). If I could go back and change one thing, I would start out taking a full length exam instead of waiting for the first one in the program. This would have given me a better understand of the question format and which topics I would need to give extra attention. Here’s how I studied for each section and what advice I would give:
This was my biggest weakness. I took notes throughout the videos and completed the questions banks the same day. The next day I would redo the question banks, taking additional notes on questions I missed. I then went through bio bites and took notes on ones I missed. I regret never reviewing these bio bites and question banks any other time. I felt confident after each video that I understood the content, but after two months of not consistently going back and refreshing I had not retained much of the material. In the end, when I new biology would be my worst section, I did not have enough time to go through the bio bites and instead resorted to memorizing the first ten practice tests. Simply put, I would not recommend following the schedule for biology, instead you need to find additional time to review and master the material.
I spent the most time reviewing this section. I was consistently getting 20s and 21s on practice exams and taught boosting this section would be imperative for a high academic average. Sadly, my review was for naught, I got a 21 on the DAT. My additional review consisted of the five extra tests and reviewing those, going through the questions banks multiple times, and retaking the first ten tests a second time. My advice would be to prioritize redoing the first ten tests and then finding additional resources for practice.
I spent the next most time on this section and performed the best, however, I attribute that to the difficulty of the exam. DAT bootcamp has more than enough resources to adequately prepare you for this section and higher level of rigor. My additional review was the exact same as general chemistry. I made flash cards on reactions I frequently missed and went over them until mastery. Understand general chemistry helped greatly for this section.
I enjoyed learning and reviewing this section. My best advice would be gain a good understanding of each problem type, then to practice one section for 15 minutes each night and rotate. I was consistently doing the worst on keyhole and angle ranking so two weeks before my test I would only practice those two, one each night. I started very rushed for time on this section, but by cutting each keyhole to under one minute, and each angle ranking to under 30 section, I had 5-10 minutes extra time.
I used the question banks to try different techniques and was easily scoring the best with search and destroy. I consistently scored 24 and up on the practice exams and never did any additional review. My advice would be not to get bogged down by any one question, move on and come back.
I have not taken any math since high school. I thought it would comeback relatively easily, so I did not watch any of the videos. I did the question banks and redid the questions I got wrong. I also went back through the first ten tests and retook them. DAT Bootcamp does a good job of representing each question type and which formulas you need memorized, but I would I have liked additional practice questions.
My best advice is to relax. It felt like studying for the DAT consumed my life for 3 months and at times that really wore me down. Engaging with friends and family took my mind off the test and eased my stress. The DAT is only one part of a holistic application and likely won’t stop you from getting into dental school alone. That said, it is extremely satisfying to put your all in, and reap the success that follows. Best of luck.
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