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mike_BC

Dat Manual Dexterity Soap Carving Section Help

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Hey guys, I posted this on SDN forum but thought I might get more accurate answers here.

I'm going to be taking the Canadian DAT on November 5th and I'm kind of freaking out about the manual dexterity section. I have a friend that did really well in the DAT but failed the soap carving portion so he had to retake the test. I have no problem with the sciences or reading comprehension, that's just a review.... As for the PAT I've been able to find many resources to practice but the soap carving... I have no clue. I tried to do it yesterday and it takes me like 2 hours to do and when I looked at how the grading works there's almost no room for error... Any suggestions and tips would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

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Don't stress about it. Honestly, no one ever carves the first few soaps in the alloted time and with the required precision needed to get a good score. Carving skills come with practice, so expect to use at least 12-16 soaps.

 

Here are some tips to improve:

- Save soap by using your old carvings (or dedicate an entire new soap) used to learn the techniques like notches and flutes. This prevents you from recklessly wasting soap after soap, trying to learn the flute.

 

-Do NOT carve soap after soap in a row. You just get frustrated and botch your later attempts. Besides, its tiring to sit there for 30-1hr carving.

 

-I dont know if you know about this, but you get 5 mins before the actual carving to take a breather/plan your carve on the actual MDT. As a result, you should calculate your length measurements during this time (you can do anything during the 5 mins except pick up the soap/knife besides for inspection). What most people do is measure the length sections from ONE END only - meaning if the sections needed 17mm then 25 mm then * then 10mm, they add up the 17+25 so they can mark both areas off without having to move the ruler. Moving the ruler and using a previous marking as "0mm" increases chances of error.

 

Also, when you are practicing the carving, a good idea is to "plan" out your carve before you start during those 5 minutes. Although you have the picture in front of you, I always draw a "rough" diagram, making notes like what orientation is the apex (of the triangular end) in relation to the middle notch. If you mess up the orientation of any the sections, you lose a lot of points

 

-For the length, never start measuring at 0 mm on the ruler. Always set the end as something like 10 or 20mm on your ruler as "0" so that both hands have some of the ruler to hold onto to prevent the ruler from moving. For example, if I needed an end section that was 17mm long, I would set 10mm (on the ruler) as "0" and measure out to 27mm (on the ruler). As a result the end section is still 17mm long.

 

-Take 10 mins to evaluate your previous soap and tell yourself how to improve. You can always try to see if you can fix your mistake and make the soap better after.

 

- Ask your friends to show you how to make a notch/flute. There is certain ways to carve the flute that make it much easier to get the right angle/smooth plane.

 

- Go to Michaels/Home Depot and buy a wooden dowel that similar circumference as the soap. Marking the soap should only take 5-10 mins max, however I was pretty bad at this. As a result, I practiced marking out the soap on the wooden dowel (cut the length to match the soap). Use pencil when marking both the dowel and the soap to get crisper lines (and on the dowel, you can reuse it by erasing the pencil marks).

 

-Ignore the time when you are first starting to learn how to carve. You just get stressed out if you don't have the skills needed to carve properly, leading to even more mistakes and wasting even more soap. The first 2-3 soaps should be about learning the basic skills (how to hold the soap/knife, mark it, etc.)

 

Only 2 schools even look at the MDT, so unless UofA and UofM are your dream schools, I wouldn't worry too much about the MDT. I did pretty bad on my first official MDT because of nervousness, but I counteracted this by scoring well on my other sections. The main priority should really be PAT. That one requires a bit of practice and is used in calculating your AA.

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I did both the DAT and MCAT back in undergrad. I got an average score on soap carving. This section is all about practice. While it's best to order the actual soaps if possible, I went and got wax candles to practice on during the early parts of my preparation. It's slightly easier to carve, but still a reasonably good approximation to the real thing. There are some basic structures that appear all the time, such as troughs and flutes. Get good at doing those first before practicing anything more intricate.

 

I know someone who scored a 26 on soap carving and didn't even use the marker. His practice pieces looked like a machine did it. He's not special, just really dedicated. You have some time between now and November. If you put in the effort I think you'll do fine.

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Thanks for the super detailed response DENT2020.

Those seem like great tips, I'l definitely try them all!

 

I know that not all the Universities require the MDT but I'm planning on applying throughout Canada so I'll have to take it to increase my chances of getting in.

I know I have time until November but I wanna try and be ready before school starts that way I'll just need to review every once in a while and I can focus on getting good grades (number one concern lol). 

 

Anyhow, I'll keep updating this thread as I go along lol hopefully it will just be good news!

 

Thanks again guys!

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hey Mike_BC only UofA uses Manual dexterity for their admission process (only one). No other dental school uses MDT anymore. UofM recently announced they will not being using it for the upcoming cycle (http://umanitoba.ca/student/admissions/application/programs/dentistry-application.html). So if your best chance is at UofA, by all means, closely follow the advice above (i.e. practice tons). If not, I suggest focusing on other sections of the DAT as preping for carving can be time consuming.

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Well I've got a few schools on my list which include UofA, University of Manitoba and University of Montreal. So if I dont do the MDT that's 3 less chances of getting in... 

Do the schools that not require MDT still look at my score if I dont do well?

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Again, U of Manitoba won't look at your carving anymore. And no. If they don't consider your carving they won't even look at the score - it won't matter whether you get a 0 or a 30

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Well, in that case I'm glad that I decided to take the  soap carving section because I have nothing to lose with the other universities... But I'm still going to try and do well to increase my chances of getting in!

 

Thanks for the tips! and like I said, I'll update this thread as to how it goes :)

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mike_BC is the instructor from some DAT Carving tutoring service, hence their emphasis on "Oh I really think I should take the MDT". I'll leave this thread here just because it has some decent advice from people actually willing to help for free, but buyer beware I suppose.

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