• Crystal Lee

DAT Study Tips + Materials I Used

Updated: Dec 15, 2017

Hello fellow future dentists!

I decided to dedicate the first post to this category discussing about DAT and few study tips that helped me and perhaps can help others in pre-dental track right now.

But before you read any further, I just want to let y'all know that with enough time, confidence, and girth, I believe ANYONE can get through this exam successfully. And when I say anyone, I really mean ANYONE. (This is coming from someone who got D's and C's in high school math/science courses.)

Now. Let's talk about the DAT (Dental Admissions Test).

What you need to know about my situation is that I took a gap year and spent my summer after graduation to study for test.

I started studying around June and took my exam on August 15th.

As a result, I applied late.

Most people finish their applications by early June (when AADSAS open its application) after taking the DAT during the winter break in the previous year in early May.

Nevertheless It worked out for me at the end.

But if I can go back in time, I would try to speed up my date taking the DAT so I can focus more on writing up the application and send it in earlier for a better chance in rolling admission.

So my first tip will be,

try taking your exam at least before July.

2 to 3 months is enough time to study for the majority of people.

I moved back my exam date countless times, thinking I wasn’t ready.

But 2.5 months, 9 hours a day, 6 times a week study schedule that I followed this year was a perfect amount of time to get through everything AND have most materials memorized in my brain right before the exam.

Don’t drag your study too long. It will only delay your application and you will most likely forget the materials you studied.

Manage your time efficiently!

Don't be overwhelmed with any sections that DAT is consisted of

I did a break down of how I studied and what I used for each subject.

I studied all of the topics listed below bit by bit together instead of studying one topic at a time. Because at least for me, if I solely studied general chemistry for few weeks and then moved on to organic chemistry, by the time I finish orgo, I would have forgot most of the things I studied for general chemistry.

Try to finish reviewing all of the sciences together in a month (using AP Cliff's book for biology and Chad's video for both general and organic chemistry), then incorporate other sections (QR, Reading, PAT) for another month while you review sciences with practice exams on DAT Bootcamp and Destroyer.

  1. Biology

-First, AP Cliff’s Biology Review book (3rd Edition)

-My High School Biology Textbook

-Then, DAT Bootcamp

Most of the topics from biology that will be on the DAT were actually the ones covered in high school (hey oh!).

So take a deep breath and just go through the AP Cliff’s book first, dedicating each day to go over half of the chapter.

  • Make sure to write your own notes while reading the AP book.

  • Even draw if you think it can help with your memorization.

  • Use biology textbook to further understand broad topics such as ecology or anatomy.

  • Use DAT Bootcamp biology practice exams after you go through the whole AP book.

2. Chemistry

-First, Course Saver (Chad’s Videos)

-Then, DAT destroyer and DAT Bootcamp simultaneously

I can say with 100% confidence that Chad helped me to ace the chemistry section of DAT. People forget things once they stop using it right?

Well, I forgot everything that I learned in general chemistry class that I couldn’t even help my cousin with her high school chemistry class homework. But don't worry I did my best in DAT chemistry section.

  • Watch 3 to 4 Chad’s videos each day and you’ll be done in a month.

  • Take your own notes when you watch the video.

  • Print out Chad’s typed notes to memorize formula and diagrams.

  • Take quizzes after each video and make sure you check every questions you missed.

  • Use DAT destroyer after you watched all of the videos for extra practice. (But remember, DAT destroyer is harder than the actual DAT so don’t freak out).

  • Take DAT bootcamp chemistry practice exams along with solving DAT destroyer problems.

3. Organic Chemistry

-First, Course Saver (Chad’s Videos)

-Then, DAT destroyer and DAT Bootcamp simultaneously

I thought orgo will be the end of me before I even took the course.

So many people had negative tone about this subject. But at the end, organic chemistry was the easiest science section. It is simply about memorizing reactions.

Chad will go over everything you need to know for the exam and he even has a formula sheet of every reaction that could be on the exam.

Memorize the reactions on his sheet and you’ll be fine.

Also DAT destroyer book has four pages of reactions that could come in handy to memorize.

  • Same as general chemistry, take your own notes and take all the quizzes while watching Chad's videos

  • Do all of the DAT Destroyer problems after you watched Chad’s videos for extra practice. (Again, DAT destroyer is much harder than the actual DAT).

  • Take DAT bootcamp chemistry practice exams along with DAT destroyer problems.

  • Memorize, memorize, and memorize the reactions from Chad's formula sheet and DAT destroyer reaction sheets.

4. PAT (Perceptual Ability Test)

-DAT Bootcamp only

I did my worst on the PAT because I didn’t have much time to practice.

The only way to succeed in PAT section is practice, practice, and practice.

DAT Bootcamp is a wonderful site where you can practice each of all six sections of PAT to increase your score. I first started with a score below 14 on DAT bootcamp and then got a 20 on my actual DAT. Invest your time on this section and you’ll not regret it.

  • Watch PAT tutorial videos on DAT Bootcamp before doing a any full PAT practice exam.

  • Take 15 minutes a day to do one practice test for each section on DAT Bootcamp.

There are total of 6 sections on the PAT and there is a common level of difficulty on these sections that most people seem to agree on.

Hole Punching (watch this video first) < Cube Counting < Angle Ranking < Pattern Folding < Keyhole < TFE

TFE (Top-Front-End) is the hardest section out of six.

But it is not the only section on the PAT. Try boosting your score by mastering the fairly easier sections first on bootcamp, then slowly get use to the harder ones.

For example, I practiced looking at simple objects at home such as a stapler, tape holder, cups, and fruits in various angles and sides to get my eyes adjusted on seeing TFE problems.

Those small habits can make a big difference at the end.

  • At least 1 month before your actual DAT exam date, do two full PAT practice exams on DAT bootcamp every week and go over explanations of questions you missed very thoroughly.

  • You can even re-take any full exams you already took to see if you improved.

5. Quantitative Reasoning (Math)

-DAT Bootcamp only

Math is also all about practice.

I am no math genius so I had to do one practice test on DAT bootcamp every day for a month before my exam date.

  • Try using a small whiteboard to solve each question on DAT bootcamp. When you take the actual DAT, you'll be given two laminated sheets and two markers. There are no papers and pencil that you can use on the exam.

  • Math section should not be too hard but make time in your schedule to do at least 2 practice exams per week. There are couple of questions that can eat up your time if you are not fully prepared.

  • Keep a record of any questions you got wrong in your notebook. Write the question you got wrong on one side, then the solution on the other side.

6. Reading Comprehension

-DAT Bootcamp only

Reading section is easy!

DAT recently added a highlighting feature, which enables you to highlight any portion on the reading section during the exam.

  • DAT reading sections are 90% search and find questions.

It’s all about speed reading and finding out where the answers are indicated on the passage.

For example, a question can ask for a name of a disease after giving you the description from the passage. You just need to remember where in the passage had such description and where the name of the corresponding disease was written.

  • I got all science research related articles on my DAT but some people got anthropology related and etc. Use DAT Bootcamp to do practice exams so you can be exposed to various types of readings.

Last but not least,

After you spend two to three months reviewing all of the topics with various resources, use your last week before the exam date to do full practice exams.

  • Do one practice exam each day using DAT Bootcamp and review anything you got wrong by going through your notes again.

  • Your last week should be all about time management and getting your body adjusted to sitting down for long hours looking at a computer screen.

  • Sleep enough time so you’re physically prepared as well.

Remember, DAT is not impossible. It is a very do-able exam that should be easier if you have a great game plan beforehand.

I spent eight to ten hours a day studying and reviewing before doing any full practice exams during the summer.

But I made sure to take Sunday off from to spend time with family and friends.

Do so, in order to not be overwhelmed with stress.

Maybe bring all of your flashcards, notes, laptop with headphones to a cafe where it can change your mood while studying.

Treat yourself and take care of yourself through this journey because DAT is simply a process to go through in order to achieve our dream of becoming a great dentist one day.

Believe in yourself! You can do it!!

If anyone has further questions or want to have a conversation about DAT, please email me and I’ll be happy to chat!

Study materials mentioned

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