If you are preparing to take the DAT (Dental Admission Test), you are no stranger to the rigorous mental application that is required of pre-dental candidates. You likely don’t need anyone to tell you what the test is but rather need a few suggestions on how to prepare for the exam to maximize your performance potential. These tips will help you prepare for the exam so that you are able to perform at your best and add your high DAT test scores to an already solid dental education application.
Knowing the Test
Having a good feel for what the exam assesses and how it is formatted is your first step toward being prepared to do well. The exam is solely multiple-choice and is based on a battery of four test areas: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. These tests combine applied problem solving and reasoning in a variety of areas including cell and molecular biology, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, and a variety of other areas.
While the DAT program does not endorse any specific test preparation materials or courses, there are a number of steps you can take to best prepare yourself for the exam.
1. Complete the Tutorial
The DAT program provides an online tutorial available at www.ADA.org. This tutorial includes sample questions like those that you will see on the real test as well as information regarding the basics and mechanics of the test itself.
2. Take a Practice Test
The more familiar with the test make-up and content you are, the better. One of the best steps of preparation you can take is purchasing and completing a comprehensive practice tests. Sample tests are available http://ada.org/dat.aspx. These practice exams are retired test editions and can be accessed in written or online forms.
3. Create a Study Schedule
You are preparing for a regimented test, so you need to complete regimented practice. Design a schedule for your study time as well as your topics. If you schedule what you plan to study and when, you’ll have a better idea of your progress and reduce your stress.
4. Establish Timing
Like with any standardized test, timing is a factor. Learn to manage or budget your time by putting in practice answering sample tests.
5. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Certain areas of the test are more difficult for some than others. Complete a practice exam and score it or have it scored to help you find where you scored highly and poorly. Knowing your areas of strength and weakness will help you format your study plan (more time for areas with low scores) and know what areas to spend a little more time on test day.
6. Consider Investing in Study Tools
While the DAT program does not purport any specific study materials, research indicates there are a number of effective study books and programs. Look for the Kaplan DAT Blue Book or Barron’s DAT Book. The Kaplan DAT Quiz Bank is another good resource.
7. Take a Mock Exam
Whether you setup your initial practice as a mock exam or not, be sure to take one “official” trial one before test day. Use test day procedures and timing and take the test in the same or similar setting as you will on test day.
8. Join a Pre-Dental Society
Consider joining a pre-dental student club or association at your school or a nearby school. These associations often offer mock exams as well as study sessions to help pre-dental students prepare.
With these 8 tips and your own commitment to excellence, you are sure to maximize your potential on test day.
Information provided by Eastgate Dental Centre, a Dundas dental clinic.