Conquer the DAT with Roman rooms

One of the major hurdles to dental school is the DAT. This comprehensive exam requires the understanding of seemingly countless concepts and facts from various disciplines. A simple strategy involving visual cues can help predental students retain more information through a helpful approach known as the Roman Room. The name derives from Roman times when it was necessary to recite long poems, speeches, lists and numbers. This memorization technique leverages the association of visual imagery and organization. It is primarily effective for the retention of important information.

To begin, you need to think of a familiar room or an imaginary room. The ideal location is a room you’re able to recall at a moment’s notice. Each room’s design and layout is limitless and can be whatever you imagine. To utilize this trick, various objects are connected by the association of an idea and/or word. For the DAT, an object can symbolize a mnemonic that begins with the object.  For example, memorizing taxonomy order can be daunting: Kingdom > Phylum > Class > Order > Family > Genus > Species. For this fact, the thinker will create the following mnemonic: “King Phillip Came Over For Great Soup.” They will then imagine a 14k gold crown resting on top of a steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup. In this scenario, the type of metal for the crown and the recipe for the soup are based on preference. Afterwards, the thinker will close the door and reopen it with the intent of retrieving each object. The more vivid the image, the more likely the association will hold over the passage of time.

Each person may create as many rooms as necessary to keep in their “house.” With each room serving a different purpose, many elaborate systems are able to exist with vivid details. For instance, the first floor can have association with the first section of the DAT — survey of the natural sciences. This section is split into biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry. The foyer area can contain biology facts while the dining room can serve as the general chemistry room and the living room can have knowledge pertaining to organic chemistry. The later sections such as perceptual ability, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning can be situated on the second, third and attic floors of the house. The potential amount of information in these Roman rooms is contingent upon the extent of the your creativity when studying each section.

The strength between the associations and the locations in the room increases each time the thinker visualizes them. This will ensure a vivid recall when the time comes to conquer the DAT.

~Will Pang, New York University ’16, predental, founder, ASDA Predental Chapter at NYU


Join predentals nationwide in celebrating ASDA DAT Week! During the week of April 17-21, ASDA will be promoting 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.

Will Pang

Will Pang is a recent graduate of NYU and the founder of the ASDA Predental chapter at NYU. He mysteriously caught ASDA fever before the CDC could update their immunization schedule. Ever since, he has crisscrossed across the nation to numerous national conferences. Will recently came in top 3 in iTero's Iron Records Challenge for intraoral scanning at the 2016 GNYDM. He has a penchant for powerlifting, design, and exploration.

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