How To Plan Your DAT Prep

posted by Chris Valentine

The Dental Admissions Test is required for all students hoping to attend dental school in the United States. Often called the DAT, this exam will be vital in helping you gain entrance into your choice of schools. Since this is such an influential exam, it is important that students plan out their DAT study prep to ensure that they make the most of their time. Below are some of the top tips for making your DAT study schedule:

Determine Your Target Score

One of the first things you need to figure out is what your goal is. Higher scores mean better schools, but you should be careful not to set your target score so high that it is not possible. This will only lead to you feeling discouraged and anxious. Do some research about the dental schools you plan on applying to and figure out the average score their current students received on their DATs. This will help you determine a fair goal for yourself.

Make A Study Schedule

As a general rule, you should plan on studying 3-6 hours every day for about 6 months. However, you need to make sure to make your study plan is as detailed as possible to help keep you on track. Figure out what subject you would like to study each day, schedule in 15-minute breaks for yourself after every hour of studying, and pick out rewards for yourself when you reach pre-determined study goals. This will help keep you motivated so you don’t burn out, but it will also make sure that you cover all the subjects you need to before your exam date.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider finding a DAT tutor to help. A tutor can help you design your study schedule and they can help you with any areas where you feel stuck. Practice exams are a great tool you can use on your own or with your DAT tutor to figure out your strengths and weaknesses before the official exam.

Find The Right Study Strategy

Every student is different, so this is part of the study prep process where you will possibly need to do some trial and error. It may help to try listening to the material while you make your morning commute, reading the content over and over again, or talking through the content with another student or tutor. Whichever method is better for you, make sure you stick with it consistently for the best results.

It’s worth mentioning again that practice exams can be extremely valuable to your studies. You can easily find practice tests through any DAT tutor or study program. Taking multiple practice exams will help you determine where there are gaps in your understanding so you can review, as well as help you mentally prepare for the exam process. When you take practice exams you should do so in an isolated setting while timing yourself so you can recreate the actual exam process as realistically as possible. This will help you familiarize yourself with the process and help your time management skills.

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