Bookshelves and laptop

DAT prep: Pandemic edition

With constant changes being made due to COVID-19 around the world, it may feel challenging to push through tasks such as the DAT. Cheyenne Alleyne-Young is among the many predental students who has had to study for the DAT in the midst of the pandemic. She is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Florida and plans to apply the next application cycle. Here, Cheyenne discusses her experience throughout the entire process.

Cheyenne Alleyne-Young

How do you stay focused amidst this pandemic?

The two weeks of balancing summer classes plus studying was a bit tough. Apart from learning to manage my time between the two, getting ongoing updates on COVID-19 did not help, as I was constantly distracted. As you can guess, once I looked at one news post, I ended up looking at endless articles. I learned to delete social media during my study days, as well as flip my phone over and put it on silent so I am not notified about any updates until my study break.

How has quarantining affected the way you study, and how do you create a productive study space?

This past school year, I had gotten accustomed to studying in a library or at my desk in silence. Due to the pandemic, everyone in my family is home — this means noise from TV, music and conversations. If noise is an issue, whether it is outside or inside, wearing noise-canceling earplugs does wonders. My desk is my study space, meaning I do not eat, play games or watch movies there. I keep the area organized, and every day I make a checklist. I tell myself I cannot go to bed until it is completed. It also helps if your family knows you are studying and do not interrupt you unless necessary.

With numerous tests being canceled due to COVID-19, how do you handle the uncertainty of not having a confirmed test date?

Some of my concerns are alleviated, as the study resource I am using extends memberships (free of charge) for students whose exams have been rescheduled. This takes away some stress because I know I will not have to pay for the resources again. With that in mind, I am already planning to have three hours a day in fall semester where I can review DAT materials if my test gets canceled, so I retain the information.

What is some advice for students who are facing anxiety when studying for the DAT at this time?

I cannot say this enough — exercise! Whether it is 15 minutes of yoga in a corner or Just Dance on the Wii, every bit counts. It makes a great study break and alleviates stress. As I once saw on a post by another predental student, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Not being in your usual study environment or knowing if you will get the email from Prometric regarding a new exam date is uncomfortable and nerve-racking. Think of the big picture and be positive. A canceled date means more time to solidify concepts that need practice. A new environment means you can prove to yourself that you can adapt to new circumstances, which is a great skill to have in life. You took the first major step by deciding you wanted to take the exam, now give it your best shot!

~Meghana Bhat, University of Florida ’21, ASDA Predental Advisory Committee

Meghana Bhat

Meghana Bhat is an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, majoring in nutritional sciences. After serving as president of her school’s predental ASDA chapter, she wanted to network and exchange ideas with students across the country, leading her to become involved with national ASDA as part of the Predental Advisory Committee. She enjoys helping fellow predental peers during her journey to dental school.

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