DAT Preparation

The road to becoming a successful dentist is not easy. After completing your dental course, you will have to work hard to earn a reputation and establish yourself. The profession is demanding and there is high competition in the field. The DAT is the first step towards fulfilling your dreams of becoming a successful dentist and it is also challenging in nature. Putting in hard work during the preparation shall prepare you for the challenges of the dental course and the dental profession as well. Hence, you must view this exam as a stepping stone to a bright future as well as a preparation ground for educational and professional challenges of dentistry.

If you are preparing for it without any specific plan chalked out and without any target score in mind, then you could be heading for trouble. Without these two prerequisites, you cannot hope to achieve an appreciable score that will help you secure a seat in a reputed dental college. Most dental colleges require a minimum score of 17 in each section of the DAT. To enter any good college, then, it is obvious that you need to score much above average. Unless you have a clear score in mind and a need-based preparation plan, you will not be able to utilize your potential to the fullest and achieve a score you are capable of achieving.

Important Aspects of Preparation

Different students have different strategies for the test preparation. Individual needs and capabilities differ and so preparation is solely individual-based. Those who are capable of studying by themselves can prepare a plan that suits their requirements and they can be independent in their preparation. Those who are not as capable might need some external assistance. They can either take tips and cues and prepare on their own or take complete assistance of some external source. This decision also depends on individual needs and goals. An intelligent child can opt for complete dependence on external agencies if he aspires to score a very high score and does not want to leave anything to chance.

The main sources of preparation are

  • Private tutorials
  • Classroom courses
  • Online courses
  • Books and software

Of all the above preparation sources the one that is best for you shall depend on the following considerations.

  • Your financial and time constrains
  • Your initial level of preparation
  • Your motivation level and score aim
  • Your study habits

Ideally, your preparation should proceed in the following sequence.
Information: Gain complete information about the test. Go through the Examinee Guide for getting complete information about your rights and responsibilities as an examinee.
Familiarization: Understand the test format and syllabus. Go through the sample test items published by ADA and gain understanding of all the test items.
Analysis: After you understand the test completely, try to take a diagnostic test and recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Also introspect about your nature and habits.
Preparation: Consult others and take advice on preparation as per your requirements. Zero in on your preparation sources. Collect the required materials and go ahead with your preparation plan.

Additional Sources of Preparation

You can obtain help from numerous sources. These include professional dentists, prehealth advisors, science educators, college admission officers, dental college students, high school teachers etc.

The following publications shall also shed light on how to prepare for the exam:

  • Dental Admission Testing Program Application and Preparation Materials
  • Getting Through Dental School: ASDA’s Guide for Dental Students
  • Getting into Dental School: ASDA’s Guide for Predental Students
  • ASDA Guides to Postdoctoral Programs Vol. 1-3

ADA publishes sample questions for all subjects and you can download the same from www.ada.org free of charge. Going through these shall give you a fair idea of the testing items. Thus, you can gain more focus while preparing.

Besides, there is a list of Reference Texts that can be downloaded from the website for obtaining a list of books that can be considered for preparation of different sections. Since this list is supported by ADA, it is likely to serve you better than any other recommendations.

DAT Examinee Guide should be referred to in detail for understanding the test completely.

Two Factors that Affect your Score

The two main factors that have an effect on your scores are your preparedness for the exam and your confidence level. These two are interrelated and crucial for better performance.

It is needless to say that if you are not prepared for the examination, you shall not be able to perform well in it. The tests of Science and Perceptual Ability are typical to DAT and require special preparation. Even if you are able to perform in the Quantitative Reasoning and Reading Comprehension tests without much preparation, you shall require special training for the other two tests. Besides, do not misjudge the importance of the Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning tests. They have an impact on your Academic Average scores and some colleges lay down cut off limits on these two scores, besides other score criteria. Hence, it should be your endeavor to score as high as possible in all the tests by undergoing a special preparation regimen.

Confidence is probably the most crucial aspect for your test preparation. This is because having less confidence can severely hamper your chances of performing in the final exam. When you are confident about yourself, you approach each problem with a positive frame of mind. This transforms into confidence in the responses given by you and consequently you do not get confused. Being clear about the correct answer is especially important for multiple-choice questions. In most questions there shall be two answer options that shall be very close to each other and hence could confuse even the most capable and well prepared students. When you are confident, you will not have any problem differentiating between the right and wrong answer options.

When you have put in hard work during preparation, you brim with enthusiasm and take the exam in a positive spirit. You are excited to perform and put your skills to test. This confidence often translates into good scores. On the other hand, if you are unsure about your preparedness, you shall not enjoy the process of testing and it shall seem as a burden. Moreover, if you are confident about your preparation, you shall be more definite about your performance and sail through the exam with ease. This results in a more fruitful performance. Hence, the two factors being discussed are interrelated and crucial to your performance.

Forget your Limitations

It is not the prerogative of the intelligent to score well in DAT, but that of the hard working. A positive attitude towards preparation shall help you keep your spirits high and this in turn makes preparation conducive. Forget your past limitations and gear up for the exam with full gusto.