Meet Colton Shaner, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked him to share his DAT experience as the Featured Student of January.
As a student balancing multiple activities outside of studying for the DAT, what were some challenges you faced preparing for the DAT, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge I faced preparing for the DAT was the task of scheduling it into my day. With so many other activities that required lots of time, it was very difficult to give my studies adequate time when my day was already full. To overcome this, I always scheduled my studies for the DAT earlier in the day than anything else. Even if it was only an hour or two on very busy days before volunteering or going to work, doing it before everything else allowed me to review it the rest of the day. Another challenge I faced preparing for the DAT was completing the rest of my dental school application while studying. I managed this most effectively by working on my application during study breaks. I would spend an hour studying a specific section from DAT Bootcamp and then spend 20 minutes working on any part of my application. This helped me stay most effective while still giving my brain necessary breaks from studying.
What advice would you have to other students working or volunteering while studying for the DAT?
In the midst of all other activities, I would suggest finding someone who you can be accountable to for your studies. This person should be someone who understands your schedule and your study habits to know when you're doing your best. My wife was perfect to hold me accountable. She would walk through my weekly schedule with me and make sure I had enough time planned out for my studies. Some days she would notice that I wasn't as excited to talk about what I was learning or I wasn't as focused, and she would motivate me to do better. Find someone that can help you do the same, and be realistic with them as to how your studies are going.
What is something you would have changed to help your study schedule go more smoothly?
I wasted a lot of time during the first two weeks reviewing what I already knew. If I could go back, I would have taken a full practice test day one. It would have shown me what I didn't know already, and I could have used that to create my own study schedule. By about week four I only focused on what I didn't know and my practice scores increased drastically. I loved using DAT Bootcamp's practice tests because after each test specific subtopics are highlighted for more review based on your score. Anatomy and physiology (Biology) and data sufficiency and statistics (Quantitative Reasoning) were always what I needed to review most, and I wouldn't have known without DAT Bootcamp's help. In fact, after I took the official DAT, I was so used to seeing the specific areas of each section that I needed review in that I was sad when it didn't show me!