for the DAT may seem daunting at first, but with a study plan tailored to your
availability, goals, strengths and weaknesses, your target score is within
reach. A quick Google search will reveal several DAT study guides from which
you may opt to construct your own study guide. Shelley Johannesson of East
Tennessee State University ’17 and Katherine Malyszek of University of Florida ’18
recently shared their study plans, reflecting the many different ways to
prepare for the exam. Our best counsel? Customize a schedule that works best
Shelley’s study schedule (12–15
weeks, avg. 20 hours a week):
took the DAT at the end of May, right before applying to dental school. As a
full-time student and full-time employee, I needed to stretch out my study time
and minimize the amount spent each day in order to accommodate other
responsibilities. I started with a free Kaplan practice test to gauge my strengths and
chemistry was the most intimidating section, so I tackled it first. During
winter break, I watched Chad’s Videos (CourseSaver) and used a practice
workbook (Organic Chemistry as a Second Language, pt. I, II). I only spent
about two hours a day for two or three days a week. It was a relaxed schedule,
but effective for me.
the spring semester started, I set aside three hours a day on Tuesday and
Thursday, kind of like a study hall course. I rotated through all of the
sections and took a section-practice test (DAT
at the end of my study sessions.
each practice test, I reviewed the concepts I wasn’t grasping and slapped a
sticky note on my notes. I took a full-length practice test every couple of
weeks to see my improvement.
school ended in the beginning of May, I kicked up the speed and created summary
sheets for each section. My study days still stayed short: I studied for about
four hours a day, five days a week. I started my morning with a
section-practice test, reviewed my notes/PowerPoint slides and completed about
30 questions of whichever section I focused on that day in the DAT
the DAT got closer, I took a full-length practice test every four days or so. I
made a plan for each week on Sunday evening and altered it every week based on
where my focus needed to be. On days I was burnt out, I watched Mike’s Videos
or Bozeman Science on YouTube and took it
Katherine’s study schedule (6
weeks, avg. 50 hours a week):
took my DAT the summer before my senior year, right before applying, and took
six weeks to study. I studied all day Monday through Friday, with a shorter day
on Saturday, and took a full-length practice exam on Sunday at the same time of
day I took my DAT. Each practice subject test and full-length test I took was
timed appropriately and reviewed in its entirety.
began by taking a full-length Kaplan test to gauge my starting score and which
sections I needed to work on more.
first two weeks of my studies served as a refresher and involved going through
my self-paced Kaplan course videos and book, as well as Chad’s Videos and his
next week was spent reinforcing the material I had reviewed previously and
doing tons of practice questions. I took this time to memorize any formulas or
procedures I would need on the test, especially for the general chemistry and
quantitative reasoning sections. I also began reading Feralis Notes, making sure to absorb the
material I was reading. For practice questions, I used my Kaplan course, DAT Bootcamp
the last three weeks of studying, I focused on practice questions and
understanding the material I was going through. I finished the practice
questions in my Kaplan course and did more PAT practice. I went through Feralis
Notes again, making flashcards for the material I was unsure about. I also
worked through DAT Destroyer + Math
setting aside a certain number of questions to do and review for each section a
day. I made a document for each section with the material I was not confident
about to review when I was tired of doing practice questions. I completed DAT
Destroyer twice and reviewed the documents I made while going through the book
the first time.
as you typically would for school versus altering your study habits for the
DAT. If you need to write, type, draw or listen to lectures, then find
materials that cater to your specific preferences.
into a routine: get plenty of sleep, eat well and don’t stress yourself out. If
you’re not feeling it, take a break and do something you enjoy!
every practice question after taking a subject or full-length test, even if you
got the correct answer. Make sure to take note of all the questions you
struggled with to review later.
you take a subject test or full-length test, make sure to practice with the
time allotted on the real DAT.
what you don’t know: learn where your knowledge is lacking and focus on skill
building there rather than gravitating toward material mastered already.
held their third annual DAT Week on April 16–20. For additional help preparing
for the DAT and to access the webinars and other activities held during DAT
Week, go to www.ASDAnet.org/DATWeek.
*This article was originally published on ASDA’s Mouthing Off blog on April 18, 2018.
Katherine Malyszek, University of Florida College of Dentistry '18 Shelley Johannesson, East Tennessee University '17