Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of taking the DAT? Not sure where to begin studying? You might be wondering how on earth you are going to study for a five-hour exam that tests your knowledge on content you probably haven’t encountered in years (or at all, in the case of spatial knowledge). The Dental Admission Test (DAT) can appear daunting at first, but luckily, there are a variety study materials that are tailored to different learning styles and starting background knowledge to help you achieve your dream DAT score.
Studying part I: Learning content
If you are self-studying, the first part of studying is to learn content in the areas of natural sciences (biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry), perceptual ability, reading and quantitative reasoning. Below are various resources that can help you refresh and learn your material:
- CliffNotes: AP Biology (3rd Edition) provides a basic overview of the general biology concepts. Find it as a free PDF or purchase it as a hard copy.
- Feralis Biology Notes are based on “CliffNotes: AP Biology,” but are more detailed. As actual notes created by a former DAT test taker, they are written in a format conducive to studying. You can find an updated but incomplete version of Feralis’ original comprehensive notes on DAT Bootcamp.
- Bio Dynamite is a 559-page document created by Dr. Jim Romano, creator of DAT Destroyer. Although lengthy, this document is easy-to-read and contains helpful visuals. Find this document in his DAT Destroyer Facebook group.
- YouTube: For audio or visual learners, watching videos may help you retain information. Check out Crash Course Biology Lectures or AK Lectures.
- AudioLearn: DAT Test Prep Series is an audio book that you can listen to on your way to work if you don’t have time to sit down with a book or a computer.
General chemistry/organic chemistry
- Chad’s Videos on CourseSaver provides video instruction and mini quizzes to test your understanding after watching videos. This format encourages active learning to help you retain information.
- Mike’s Videos on DAT Bootcamp comes with premade lesson outlines in addition to video instruction and quizzes. Lesson outlines will save you a lot of time and writing.
Perceptual ability test
- PAT Academy on DAT Bootcamp provides detailed video instruction on every question type (keyhole, top front end, angle ranking, hole punching, pattern folding, cube counting) and corresponding strategies. Videos come with practice quizzes and written explanations of solutions to help you understand how strategies are applied.
- Reading Comprehension Academy on DAT Bootcamp provides video instruction on common question types and strategies.
- Read Scientific American articles to expand your scientific knowledge base — which will improve your comprehension — and to increase your reading speed.
Studying part II: Practice problems to test your knowledge
Now that you’ve learned the information, it’s time to test your knowledge. Completing practice problems not only helps you prepare for the DAT test format, it also helps you review and retain information. The more you encounter the same information presented in different ways, the more likely you will remember it on test day.
The resources below offer 10 practice tests for the following subjects: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning and perceptual ability test:
- DAT Bootcamp includes PAT Generators, a tool that gives you unlimited practice for angle ranking, hole punching, cube counting and pattern folding. It has extra keyhole practice, too.
- Crack the DAT features a unique software. ASDA members receive 10 percent off.
- datQvault offers practice problems.
- Memorang is a flashcard app to test you on the natural sciences. ASDA members receive 25 percent off.
For more practice, consider:
- DAT Destroyer and DAT Math Destroyer problems are hard because each problem incorporates multiple concepts. If you have time to go through each problem, you will be well-prepared for the actual DAT.
- DAT Question of the Day sends a DAT practice question to your email every day. What better way to start your day than with DAT practice?
Once you have done enough practice problems, it’s time to practice taking full-length exams.
Studying for the DAT demands stamina and self-motivation. Some days of studying will be better than others, and having people around you who understand your struggles and cheer you on can make such a difference. You can find a supportive community of DAT test-takers on Facebook, where predental students share questions, study tips and advice with each other:
And, of course, ASDA supports you, too. Sign up for webinars held this week during DAT Week to help you better prepare for the exam. If you’re taking a study break, check out ASDA’s DAT Week Instagram Challenges for a chance to win some fun prizes.
~Hilary Wong, Northeastern University ’19, Predental Consultant
Join predentals nationwide in celebrating ASDA DAT Week. During the week of April 16-20, ASDA will be offering valuable webinars and resources to prepare students for the Dental Admission Test. Predentals that join ASDA during DAT Week will be eligible for prizes, including DAT resources.
About Hilary Wong
Hilary Wong is a senior biochemistry student at Northeastern University. Her involvement with ASDA began when she joined the District 1 Predental Advisory Committee and caught ASDA fever. Currently, she serves as ASDA's predental consultant, where she can encourage other students to get involved with organized dentistry. When she’s not working on ASDA, Hilary enjoys cooking new recipes, traveling, working out and visiting art museums.