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My Dat(S) Experience/advice


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Hey guys!

 

This forum and the people on it have helped me tons with my questions regarding applying/DAT/interview stuff and everything in between. This is to give back to whoever feels like they need some inspiration/motivation. 

 

I've written the DAT 3 times and every time I put my full effort into kicking butt. I am a full time student, like most of you, with other commitments but I knew the DAT was a stepping stone to a future we all strive for. And as you will see, I struggled on my first DAT and felt discouraged af... I reconsidered dent as a career and wondered if I was wasting my time, because I honestly put my full effort into it. But after helpful msgs on this forum, I was encouraged to write again, and I did, so thanks to those who encourage strangers on this forum, you don't know how much of a difference you make. YOU DA REAL MVP's! The key thing that I did differently on the second and third time around is that I changed what material I study and the way I studied. If you would like my input, here it is:

 

Here's what I used and suggest you consider:

Chem - Chad's videos, DAT destroyer, DAT bootcamp Chem exams. Chad is a beauty. Listen and take notes. This is time consuming but the dude is entertaining and helpful. Where was he during our undergrad chem?! The key thing about chem I found is that practice is key. They can only ask you so many questions... Practice multiple variations of the questions and you'll be ready for another variation of the same types of questions you've been working on on the DAT. I even found that I've done some of the questions before on the Nov 2015 DAT, so I didn't even have to look at all the answer choices! Practice until your confident in all question types. 

 

Bio - Cliffs AP, DAT bootcamp Bio exams, and I major in Bio. This section I found that the best thing you can do is read Cliffs and just practice as much as you can. There is so much they can ask you it's crazy. I hate studying plants and ecology and all that... But I went over it slowly and tried to practice as many questions as I could regarding this specific material. This was painful to study, but just grind it out. And again, practice makes perfect. 

 

PAT - DAT bootcamp - The first time I wrote the DAT, I did NOT use DAT bootcamp and I didn't do as well as I wanted. DAT bootcamp is a great resource for PAT in my opinion. How I studied for this section is that I did 15 questions every single day for 1.5 months prior to the DAT of every type of question, using DAT bootcamp's generator. I also did all 10 practice tests that DAT bootcamp provides. And I know that you've heard this before, but practice makes perfect. A helpful tip is to ask people who have excelled at this section in how they answer each question type. Input helps. My PAT scores aren't spectacular, but I feel that since I worked really hard at this section I wanted to provide my input.

 

RC - No source in particular. I found that the DAT RC section is similar to a highschool RC exam in that the answers are in the passage and that the questions are almost in chronological order. So during the exam I looked at question 1, found it in passage, answered it, looked at question 2, found it in passage, answered it, and so on. I guess this is called search and destroy. But this is how I did things and it worked out great. I haven't found any material to be representative of what I've seen on the DAT. My tip here, during the school year, try to do some focused reading (I made this term up)... In that I mean, when you're reading your textbook for ex... Put all other distractions away and focus on each word as you move through a sentence. I find that alot of people read and are thinking about other things such as the pages remaining, what they want to eat, etc... Na man! Each individual word should be focused upon as you read the sentence. Practice this strategy as it obvs helps with recall, which is what RC is all about. 

 

MDT - I carved about 50 soaps - Start off by NOT timing yourself at all or if you do, don't look at the time at all. Carve slowly and precisely, which might take you an hour, which is totally fine. Get the soap as perfect as you can and the time will start decreasing on its own, but maintain perfection... This is similar to the real world skills you learn from dent when you're working on a patient: You may take hours at first to do a procedure, but you make sure you do it right. With time and practice, this time will naturally get cut down... But don't sacrifice quality. Do this until you start moving faster and then start timing yourself aiming for 45 mins, then 40 mins, and slowly work your way down to 30... I would even slowly try to work your way down to 25-27 mins when practicing at home because during the exam, the stress of the exam with your shaking fingers may slow you down. Be prepared for this in advance. I used gloves on both hands and bought sharp knives when I practiced. And expect the soap to be different on the DAT from the ones they make you buy! I've noticed that the last few years, the DAT soaps are like butter (exaggeration obvs) in that they were much softer than expected. Oh and if you have an opportunity, ask someone that has excelled at this section to carve for you and describe their steps out loud. I didn't pay for any programs like Rock the DAT because I had limited funds, but I talked to a few dental students and they are beauties so they helped me and showed me the ways. 

 

I started all my studying about 1-2 weeks before school started in Sept. So Aug 20 ish.

I wrote the DAT in Nov 2013, Nov 2014 and Nov 2015. 

 

These are my number improvements for anyone that is curious:

(DAT 1 - DAT 2 - DAT 3)

RC:

22 - 25 - 27

Bio:

17 - 21 - 24

Chem: 

21 - 20 - 25

Sci Total:

18 - 21 - 24

AA:

20 - 22 - 25

PAT: 

19 - 21 - 21

MDT:

18 - 17 - 24

 

Yeah, my scores aren't the best in Canada obvs, but I just wanted people to know that it isn't the end of the world if you have to write the exam multiple times! But the thing that I've said over and over is that practice makes perfect. Make sure you have the right material or else all the hard work in the world doesn't really matter (my first DAT for ex). Keep grinding guys, and I hope that I could at least help someone with this information. If you have any other questions, send me a PM.

Thanks for reading

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  • 7 months later...

Wow this is amazing advice! And nice improvement!

Have you ever considered making a video on how to carve soap for the MDT? I know there's one on Youtube, but it's sped up and without explanations... 

If I end up doing well on the soap carving section and the PAT, I plan to make a detailed explanation videos on YouTube for future DAT-takers... The DAT is so difficult for those who don't have rich parents, 40$ for 6 soaps is a scam!

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Wow this is amazing advice! And nice improvement!

Have you ever considered making a video on how to carve soap for the MDT? I know there's one on Youtube, but it's sped up and without explanations... 

If I end up doing well on the soap carving section and the PAT, I plan to make a detailed explanation videos on YouTube for future DAT-takers... The DAT is so difficult for those who don't have rich parents, 40$ for 6 soaps is a scam!

Thanks 1997! (Is that the year you're born? Wow, I'm feeling old...)

 

When I first started carving, I did watch those videos and honestly, it's not a bad idea for someone to make new videos. I would prefer to give tips in person and can meet up whenever, but have never considered doing a YouTube video. 

I actually was practicing w/ my brother and we both critically critiqued each other. My brother was a pro at flutes and I felt as though I was a bit better on notches and saddles. I also talked to a total of 4 dental students to see how they tackled the carving and here's the funny thing... All were different strategies. The day of the DAT I even met up w/ my buddy and he told me the way he carves and I was like wtf??? But it works for him. So the best thing is to try a bunch of different strategies. Narrow them down to the ones you like and then from there see which one you prefer to do under a time crunch

 

If you need any advice for anything, please don't hesitate to DM me and thank you for your kind words

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Thanks kase for your comprehensive experience/advice (the time that must have taken you to type that wow!) and congratulations on acceptance! :D

To add on to the RC section, I found it helpful to read science journals (ie Nature, Science, Scientific American...etc) and news articles ( The Economist, New York Times...etc) but they aren't representative of the actual test. They are good to practice your reading strategy. Like kase mentioned, when reading, you should be 100% focused on your reading. One way to stay focus is to use your pencil to point to what your are reading. I think with search and destroy method, being a fast reader really helps. If you're not a fast reader you can improve! Start reading and minimize subvocalization.

One other thing I did was search through both SDN and premed101 to find the previous RC topics and then I would read up on those topics. From my research, it seems the aDAT and cDAT might have used similar RC passages...but I don't know for sure :P. Anyways, doing that helped calmed me down and gave me more confidence going into the exam as I struggled with RC the most.

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Thanks kase for your comprehensive experience/advice (the time that must have taken you to type that wow!) and congratulations on acceptance! :D

 

To add on to the RC section, I found it helpful to read science journals (ie Nature, Science, Scientific American...etc) and news articles ( The Economist, New York Times...etc) but they aren't representative of the actual test. They are good to practice your reading strategy. Like kase mentioned, when reading, you should be 100% focused on your reading. One way to stay focus is to use your pencil to point to what your are reading. I think with search and destroy method, being a fast reader really helps. If you're not a fast reader you can improve! Start reading and minimize subvocalization.

 

One other thing I did was search through both SDN and premed101 to find the previous RC topics and then I would read up on those topics. From my research, it seems the aDAT and cDAT might have used similar RC passages...but I don't know for sure :P. Anyways, doing that helped calmed me down and gave me more confidence going into the exam as I struggled with RC the most.

No problem at all. Just trying to pay it forward.

 

Great advice. I am a HORRIBLE RC person. Struggled in high school and Jr. High. I don't read outside of reading my textbooks so I would consider myself a poor/slow reader. I ended up doing well on RC because I was familiar with the topics - therefore, as a result of pure luck.. But that's great advice to read scientific articles and such w/ the jargon scientists use... Because there's always a few science articles on the DAT RC! 

 

Thanks for sharing

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