Last updated 9/15/12
Intro: The DAT is not impossible. You can do it! We’ve compiled a list of information that we thought could help you succeed. Prepare well for the DAT and you will do fine. It’s all about time management and exposing yourself to the proper resources (below).
What’s in this article?:
- Review Class
- Study Materials
- DAT Format
- Registering for the DAT
- AADSAS – Applying to Dental School
Any questions? Email alumni from our Facebook Group (here) or ask other Pre-Dental Society members.
Dr. Romano (ORGOMAN): Highly recommended.
- Located 3 blocks from Wagner College (on Clove Road)
- Taught by Dr. Romano himself (NYU doctoral graduate and oral surgeon)
- View the schedule here: http://orgoman.com/
- You could also contact Nancy Steen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-642-661 for more information.
KAPLAN: NOT recommended. Why?
Kaplan is mostly taught by students (just like you, mostly a little older) and is not on par with the actual exam. There is no better way to put it other than: Kaplan will not prepare you for the DAT. Yes, they will give you tons of work and yes they will give you review material, but when it is time for your DAT, you will not feel prepared. Kaplan = off the mark for DAT.
- DAT Destroyer & MATH Destroyer: Highly Recommended
Destroyer is a book filled with Multiple Choice (w/ explanations) questions, covering topics in Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. This book is written by Dr. Romano (Orgoman) and is used by students across the country.Do not waste your time with anything else for the sciences.
- Cliff’s AP Biology: Recommended
Yes, it says “AP” Biology. Ironically enough, the same topics that are covered on the DAT are also discussed the Cliff’s AP Biology review book. This book will review concepts in biology.
- Crack DAT PAT: Recommended (only for PAT — the sciences are not comparable to the actual DAT and have many errors, based on reviews from Student Doctor Network and personal experience). Don’t waste your money on the highest package. Get either the King (5 PAT tests) or Ace edition (10 PAT tests).
- 2009 ADA Exam
Use this 1-2 weeks before your actual DAT exam. This is the only released DAT exam that is comparable to the actual DAT. 2009 ADA exam is your chance to see how you might score on the actual DAT.
- Topscore: Recommended (Windows computers only)
3-Full length computer-based mock DAT exams. The PAT is not very comparable to the actual DAT, it is actually a bit easier (since they use many of the same images through all 3-exams)
- DATQVault – Website-based multiple choice questions – good practice, but only for Math, Biology, and Reading Comprehension. DATQVault’s General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry sections have errors and are not comparable to the actual DAT (based on reviews from Student Doctor Network and personal experience)
- Optional Tutorial (15 minutes)
- Survey of Natural Sciences – 100 Questions – 90 Minutes (you have roughly 54 seconds/question)
- This section is broken down into Bio, Chem and OChem…in that order. The timer will start, your first 40 questions will be all Bio, then 41-70 will be all Chem, and 71-100 will be all OChem.
- PAT – 90 Problems – 60 Minutes (40 seconds/question)
- Key Holes
- Angle Ranking
- Break – 15 Minutes (Optional)
- RC – 50 Questions – 50 Minutes
- QR – 40 Problems – 45 Minutes (68 seconds/question)
- Survey of Testing Experience
- You get your scores (yes, right then and there)
***REGISTER FOR THE DAT***
Your DAT will be taken on the computer at a Prometric testing center. Sign up for your DAT early! You should make your appointment at least 2 months prior to taking the test. Why? You want to secure your spot/date/time according to what is good for YOU; if you register late, then there may not be any available appointments until a month or two after the time you first expected to take the DAT.
- Get a DENTPIN – ADA website (click here)
- Schedule a date – Prometric (click here)
When searching, type ADA (American Dental Association), then click on DAT. If you only search DAT, nothing will show up.It asks you what schools you want to send your DAT scores to. SELECT ALL! (although you may want to exclude Canadian schools). If you select all now, you will pay one fee, but if you want to add schools later on, then you have to pay for each additional school you add. Later on when you apply to dental school (using AADSAS), you can select which schools you actually want to send an application to. But by sending your schools everywhere, at least it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re applying.
- Get organized! Print a monthly calendar and make a study schedule! Time management is key. Don’t go into tomorrow with no plan of what you will be studying, it’s unproductive. (View “Resources” tab for a sample study schedule)
- Good luck!
***AADSAS – Apply to Dental School***
- AADSAS is the application service for all U.S. and Canadian dental schools (except for Texas). It’s like Common App.
- The application cycle usually begins starting June 3, which means if you apply during that cycle then your application will be considered for admissions the following year. Check the AADSAS website just in case they ever change that date – click here.
- Fill out and submit your application early, even if you don’t have your DAT scores yet! It takes 4-6 weeks for AADSAS to process your application and then 2 weeks after you take your DAT for your official DAT scores to be sent to AADSAS. Do the math. It’s only after your application is processed & your DAT scores in AADSAS’ hands that your application will be mailed to dental schools. Remember, admissions is “rolling,” which means dental schools are looking at applications as they come in. Do you want to be first or do you want to be last?
- Transcripts: You’ll have to get transcripts sent from every college you ever attended/took classes from (make sure you account for the time it takes for mailing and processing). Print the “transcript matching form” from AADSAS and bring it to the Registrar. Get this done early.
- DAT Scores: AADSAS only asks for the month/year that you took the DAT. It does NOT ask for your actual scores! Hence, why you should apply regardless of if you took the DAT or not. Your scores will be sent directly from Prometric (remember when you applied for your exam, you indicated which schools you wanted your scores to be sent to?)
- Recommendations: A committee letter is highly recommended. Why? If you were an admissions officer, would you want to read 10 recommendations or 1 committee letter? You can submit one committee letter and one individual letter (i.e., from a dentist). Try to have them submitted electronically, it’s faster!
- Personal Statement: 4,500 characters, including spaces. “The personal essay provides an opportunity for you to explain why you desire to pursue dental education.” (That’s directly from AADSAS) There is no specific question. You want to tell them why you are the best applicant ever — but don’t TELL them, DESCRIBE your experiences and make sure they are SIGNIFICANT – you don’t want to be writing an extended resume. Every sentence in your personal statement better be significant to your story. They want to know why you want to be a dentist. Think of something that’s both compelling and interesting, but true to you. You really want to captivate and peak their interest.Work on your personal statement during the semester (i.e., have it finished before your Junior year ends). You don’t want to be taking the DAT, applying to dental school, AND writing your personal statement. It will be a nightmare! Prepare your personal statement early in advance and have it read by multiple people before you actually submit it to AADSAS.Check the “Resources” tab for helpful personal statement links.
- Professional Experience: This section of AADSAS is similar to your resume (i.e., shadowing, work experience, internships, research)