How Evan Balanced Studying for the DAT with Being a Parent

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"I lived, ate and breathed DAT Bootcamp. Just focus on learning the material DAT Bootcamp provides to its fullest extent and it is sufficient to succeed on the DAT."
Evan Menke
20 AA

Evan recently aced his DAT so we reached out to Evan to see if he could share how he did it. Here’s what we had to say:

Background and Schedule

I am a non traditional student and had a very small window to study for the DAT knowing full well I only took the minimum classes to get into dental school since our first born son was born right when I returned to school and I was working full time. Once my spring semester ended I had about 57 days to study before my test date which I scheduled one week before our daughter’s due date. Most students take the DAT knowing that they can retake it the following year if they don’t get the score they hoped for. This was not the case for me. I had already applied and everything hinged on getting a decent DAT score.

Those 60 days I lived, ate and breathed DAT Bootcamp. My schedule looked like this:

  • 4am-7am: Biology where I read the full Bio Academy text since all I had taken was Bio 1 and Bio 2.
  • 7am-3pm: Worked for my company processing data acquired by drones.
  • 3pm-5pm: Chemistry/Organic Chemistry
  • 5pm-6pm: Helped feed and put my 1 year old son to bed.
  • 6pm-8pm: Quantitative Reasoning. I needed to spend extra time on math since I hadn’t taken math in 8+ years.
  • 8pm-9pm: Reading Comprehension
  • 9pm-10pm: Got in bed and did Perceptual Ability problems on my phone.

Since my schedule was so tight this was my schedule virtually everyday.

Schedule Breakdown and Tips

I mainly followed the study guide that was laid out by DAT Bootcamp but I often had to do do more sections than the study guide had on each day to get ahead, especially with the notion that our daughter could be born before I take the test. In addition, I read and reread the full text Bio Academy since I was essentially learning most of that material for the first time, especially subjects pertaining to anatomy/physiology since I never took those courses. I tried to answer almost all of questions DAT Bootcamp had to offer including the question banks and BioBites. I didn’t utilize any outside material as I didn’t really have time to do so, I had to put a 100% of my faith into DAT Bootcamp by doing all the videos, readings, questions and tests.

One thing I wish I hadn’t done was get overwhelmed by how far behind I was in Bio and Quantitative Reasoning in the beginning (I only had ever taken Bio 1 and 2 and hadn’t had a math course in almost a decade). I took a practice test for those subjects early to get an idea of where I was (which was like a score of less than 11 answering 3/40 questions right). I essentially wasted 1/10 practice tests for those subjects. Others told me to do that and it just caused me to get a lot of anxiety and about how far behind I was. If you’re like me who already had a degree and took the bare minimum courses to get into dental school, just focus on learning the material DAT Bootcamp provides to its fullest extent and it is sufficient to succeed on the DAT. Don’t do the practice tests until you have completed all the material for that subject.

One last thing for those parents who are full time students/employees, try to enjoy the little things and remember why you’re doing this. I dedicated my entire summer to the DAT and working to provide and had to greatly reduce my time with my family, something I’m going to have to continue to sacrifice to succeed in dental school. However, what it has taught me is to enjoy the little moments. During that summer, one of those moments for me was something as simple as walking my 1 year old son to get ice cream in the afternoon. Something I always had to remind myself is not to fixate on the moments I’m missing but to savor the moments I had.

Day of the DAT

The day of my test, my wife woke up with some minor contractions. I went to the testing center, took the test, drove home and picked up my wife, then we went straight to the hospital and twelve hours later our daughter was born. I actually uploaded my DAT scores while I was in the hospital waiting for our daughters arrival.

I was disappointed at first as expected better but given the circumstances I couldn’t be more proud of myself being able to deal with level of anxiety and pressure in one day and rising to the occasion. The one thing I would have changed that day was not utilizing my mid test break as much. I found that during that time I got so fixated and nervous about how my wife was doing and not being able to use my phone to see which made it difficult to refocus when I started my reading section (hence why my score was not great). For my particular situation I should have just powered through.

I applied to only 6 schools, interviewed with 5, and accepted to 3. I am proud to say I accepted my offer from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine Class of 2026 at the age of 30 with two young children.

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Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student