How to Prepare for the DAT and get the Best Possible Score
Preparing for the DAT and doing your best
Let's break down the four parts of the DAT which have to be complete within five hours. The first part is the natural sciences followed by the perceptual ability section. After this there is a short break then the reading comprehension part and finally the math section. Each section has a certain amount of time allotted. Now that we understand the structure and format of the DAT, lets go over some key strategies in studying for it.
The first strategy is to schedule how long you need to study for before your test day. Typically this can be anywhere from 1-2 months with at least 6-8 hours studying per day. Then choose a test day that gives you enough time to fully prepare. At first you may be cautious to pick a test day because how do you know if you'll be ready for sure. This is a great concern, but it helps to have a date set in mind and scheduled to keep you on track. Worst comes to worst you always have the option to change the date.
The second strategy is not completely necessary, but definitely helps. See if any review classes are available such as a Kaplan class. These classes are very comprehensive and cover every section on the DAT. It is taught by a certified Kaplan instructor which not only reviews material but also is available for any questions you may have. They are a bit expensive, but if you can spare the money it is worth your while. This class will get you on the right track from the start and allow you the necessary tools to exceed in your studying. If your unable to purchase the program look for similar online programs such as Chad's videos. Not only are Chad's videos significantly cheaper, but they are also really helpful in explaining many difficult concepts that you may have forgotten about.
The third strategy is to find some sort of DAT review book such as Barrons, McGraw-Hill, Kaplan and many others. These books with go over each section of the DAT and will most likely have at least one full length exam in the back of the book. I personally enjoyed the Kaplan books, which included the workbook, the blue book, and flash cards. The blue book has just about everything that could be asked on the DAT and is a great resource to use!
The forth strategy is to find a testing program to not only track your progress, but to allow you to build up the endurance to take such a long exam. Practice at least three to five full lengths to get a good feel for the exam. Some really nice testing programs include, Topscore, Achiever, and Kaplan to name a few. I personally took all the exam that these programs had to offer. It allowed me time to practice different strategies for taking the exam. By the time I finished all of them I felt very comfortable and ready for the real test. These exam are invaluable to doing well on the DAT.
The fifth strategy is to taper off the studying as your test date is coming up. Allow yourself to calm down and relax a day or two before the actual exam. You want to go into the exam with confidence, clear mind, and limited stress. It is important to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork ect the night before. As well as getting a goodnight sleep and a breakfast that will hold you over, but isn't to heavy to make you sleepy. Also bring a quick convenient snack to enjoy during your break. At this point you have prepared as much as possible and are ready to ace the exam. Best of luck!
If you have any questions or comments please leave them. My next article will be on how to choose what dental schools to apply to.