It’s time to address the one question that every potential dental student wants to avoid: what if you don’t pass the Dental Admissions Test? While it may not be the end of the world, it’s definitely a situation everybody wants to avoid. Having to take the DAT once is stressful enough without having to go back and start all over again…but what can you do? Here are 6 ways to approach your DAT prep to help you ace your exam the first time.
#1 – Consider Studying Your New Job
This isn’t an exaggeration either. Most DAT tutors suggest that studying for the DAT requires around 40 hours a week of prep for 6-8 weeks in order to be fully prepared for the exam. From the moment you apply for the DAT to when you actually reach your exam date, studying will need to be a part of your daily life.
#2 – Figure Out Your Strengths (And Weaknesses)
This will help you understand which areas of your test prep need the most attention. It’s important to figure out where the gaps in your knowledge are so you can budget enough time to dedicate to those areas. Alternatively, knowing your strengths will help keep you from wasting too much time going over information you already know.
#3 – Narrow Down You Test Prep Sources
Keep things simple by using three or less study materials during your prep. Anything more than three and you’ll only end up confusing yourself while potentially missing important concepts. Jumping from resource to resource will inevitably cause unnecessary stress. If you’re not sure which sources are the best for you, try speaking with a DAT tutor. They’ll be able to assess your specific learning style and guide you to the right resources.
#4 – Take Care Of Yourself
Pushing yourself to the point of neglecting your health isn’t going to help you. In fact, you’re more likely to end up messing up your exam or confusing important concepts if you’re not mentally feeling your best. This means that when you’re creating your study schedule you need to make sure that you’re also scheduling in healthy meals, plenty of sleep, exercise, and socialization. You don’t want to burnout before your test day.
#5 – Keep Taking Practice Tests
Any DAT tutor will tell you how important this step is in your test prep process. Taking practice tests allows you to self-assess to see what areas you need to go back and review. It also allows you to familiarize yourself with the exam format, so you aren’t as nervous on your actual exam day.
#6 – Know Everything About Your Test Day
Anything you can do to minimize stress before the exam helps as this reduces the chance of panicking on the big day. So, make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Try driving, busing, etc. to the testing center a couple of days beforehand and figuring out where you need to go. This will help give you an idea of how much time it takes to get there and what to do once you arrive. You want to make sure that on the day of the exam you don’t get flustered or stressed.