If you’re reading this, then you’re probably preparing to sit for the Dental Admission Test (DAT).
The test, whose primary focus is to test various academic capabilities of aspiring dental students, doesn’t come easy.
And your score determines whether you get admitted to the dental school of your choice or need a retake.
It’s for this reason that you should prepare adequately to crack the test on your first attempt.
So, you have to select the best materials to use in your study carefully.
Below is a list of best DAT prep Books that are worth your investment;
Best DAT Prep Books
|Kaplan||The Princeton Review||DAT (Barron’s Test Prep)||Mometrix DAT||Barron’s DAT 2nd Ed.|
|Practice Questions||600+||Number not mentioned||Number not mentioned||Number not indicated||Several, number not indicated|
|Full-length Exams||2||2||3||Yes, number not indicated||4|
|Number of Pages||948||928||500||348||512|
|Format||Paperback, online access||Paperback, online extras||Paperback, Online access||Paperback||Paperback, CD-ROM|
Best DAT Flashcards
Best DAT Practice Questions Books
Overview of The DAT Exam
The Dental Admission Test (DAT) has various aspects that you need to understand before exam day. Some of the major ones include;
Sections & Duration
The exam is made up of four major sections, which consist of 280 multi-choice questions.
It’s computer-based and timed, so you have to strictly adhere to the provided timing as no extra time will be added, upon the expiration of the official timing.
Generally, you will have around 5 hours to complete the test, which is why you should work on your timing skills during test preparations.
The first 15 minutes of extra time is optional, and it’s usually meant to take you through a tutorial at the start of the test.
For a better understanding, here is a simple breakdown on how you will be spending your time on exam day;
|Number of Questions||Duration (minutes)|
|Tutorial ( Optional)||0||15|
|Survey of Natural Sciences||100||90|
|5 hours 15 minutes|
Note, even if the breaks are optional and that means you can continue to the next section, I highly recommend that you take it.
Use the break to ease tension and re-energize for the subsequent sections. You can also snack on your healthy treats.
The results of your DAT exam is usually reported on a scale of scores.
But unlike in the PCAT, where the scores are presented in raw scores and percentiles, that doesn’t apply with DAT.
Instead, your results will be weighed using a series of psychometric equating procedures.
And they range from 1(lowest0 to 30 (highest). You can then use the scale score to compare your performance with those of other candidates.
You will, however, not come across a publication of the official passing/failing score. But, based on the highest score, if you score 19, for example, then you should consider yourself as an average performer.
Like any other exam, your score will be determined by the number of questions you get correctly.
And all other wrong answers don’t matter, nor will they attract any penalty.
It’s also interesting to learn that some of the questions you take are categorized as experimental, and they won’t be scored.
Usually, the examination body uses the data they collect to decide whether to include the question in the subsequent exams or not.
These underscored questions must appear the same to all students.
Immediately after the test, you will receive an unofficial score report at your testing center, which will include your scale scores.
However, this is your personal copy, so you can’t use it in your dental school admissions.
You can select the list of dental schools in your application to allow DTS to release your official score to them. It usually takes 3-4 weeks for the official results to be released.
If you perform poorly in the exam or aren’t satisfied with your score, you have the option of retaking the test.
However, you will have to apply again and pay the registration fee according to the requirements. Also, you will have to wait for at least 90 days before retaking the DAT exam.
Registering for DAT
If you want to register for the DAT, you will have to go to the American Dental Website, where you will receive a DENTPIN, which is a secret identification pin.
You can then call the closest Prometric center and arrange your preferred day, date, and location you will be taking the test.
First, it’s important to note that once you register for DAT, the fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. The cost is currently at $475.
How To Choose The Right DAT Study Material For You
Passing the DAT test requires you to work smart.
Remember, hundreds of other students will also be taking the test, and so you have to earn your place in that dental school of your choice.
Obviously, you already know you’ve to study (no shortcut around it). But do you have the right materials?
And by this, I don’t mean any test prep resource you come across and decide to purchase because you see the name DAT on it.
Whatever resources you choose to use in your preparations will, in a significant way, affect your performance.
Some books are better than others, not only in terms of explanations but also the simplicity of concept presentation.
So, here are some top tips on how to choose the right DAT study materials;
a) Must Contain Practice Questions/Tests
You can’t say to have made sufficient progress without weighing yourself. And when it comes to studying for the DAT exam, it means taking practice questions every now and then.
So, when choosing a revision material, ensure it contains multiple questions at least at the end of each sub-section.
This way, you can identify all areas of difficulty and deal with them in good time.
When you move to the next chapter/topic, it should be because you’ve fully exhausted the contents of the previous ones and can comfortably answer any question regarding it.
Some materials come with extra full-length tests, use them to predict your actual exam score, and examine your time management skills.
For best results, ensure to take in one sitting, just as you would do during the test, and see how good you can hack it.
b) Should Include Detailed Explanations
When I speak of explanations, I am referring to all the general content, the questions, and, of course, the answers.
You see, it isn’t uncommon to come across questions with similar answers.
These questions are usually very tricky and can either affect your results negatively or positively, depending on how you handle them.
When you find a study material that can clearly explain the differences between these similar answers, then you can open your eyes to the tiny yet essential aspects that you have been ignoring.
This will help you handle similar problems accurately during the actual test.
Although it’s quite rare to come across review materials that are 100% error/typo-free( from experience), you can at least go the minimalist.
The last thing you want is to get confused in the middle of your studies, simply because the editors don’t do their job well.
You’re spending your money, so it’s only right that you get value for it.
So, don’t settle for less. Aim for the best, and that includes paying for an error-free resource with accurate information.
d) Good Structure
Excellent organizational skills are attractive. When a book is well structured, arranged, and simple, you get psyched-up to learn.
Also, correctly organized content makes it easy for you to locate various relevant information, which comes in handy, especially when running short of preparation time.
Focusing on specific areas also becomes easy.
e) Great Pricing
Although pricing isn’t always a determinant of quality materials, it does play a role in the extensiveness of the content.
So, it’s advisable to choose a test preparation material that’s affordable, but not overly cheap.
And if you’ve enough cash to spend, then don’t hold yourself from investing invaluable resources.
FAQs About the Best DAT Prep Books
How Long Should I Study for the DAT?
The amount of time you choose to study for DAT is determinant of many factors.
For instance, you have to examine your weekly schedule and the time left before exam day. If you have only a month left for the test, then you have no choice but to maximize it.
Most experts would recommend you spend around 200-250 studying for DAT.
So, this means you should allocate yourself at least 3 months before exams to go through the necessary preparation materials.
In this case, you will have to study 3 hours per day, five days a week.
I have, however, seen several individuals study for 4-8 weeks and managed to score highly, though they had to sacrifice a lot.
Also, some prefer a 6-months studying window, which is also excellent.
So, you will have to work with what suits your needs. The primary aim is for you to achieve a good score, and it really doesn’t matter how long you take to achieve it.
Don’t pressure yourself.
Is the MCAT Harder Than The DAT?
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is taken by students for consideration of admission to medical school. On the other hand, the Dental Admission Test (DAT) is for students aspiring to join Dental school.
Both tests require intense preparation as they determine the future of your health sector career.
Generally, according to most students, MCAT tends to present more difficulty than DAT. This is because it contains detailed passages, which equally demand well-explained answers.
And most of the time, the answers are quite confusing, creating a thin line between a low/high score. So, you have to take the time to understand what is being asked of you before answering correctly.
DAT, on the other hand, is short and requires you to give direct answers to questions.
If you have a history of intolerance test-taking skills, then you might have a big problem scoring highly in the MCAT.
DAT will become a problem only if you can’t comprehend visuals well, as there’s a section of DAT that mainly focuses on that.
Therefore, preparing for the MCAT might require more time as opposed to the DAT. The good thing with MCAT is that once you take it, you can pursue various career options in the medical sector, unlike DAT, which is dental focused.
Can I Get into Dental School with A 3.3 GPA?
You can definitely get admitted.
The standard admission score cut-off for most dental schools is a general GPA of 2.75 and the same score in science.
This means, with a 3.3, you can get into dental school only that it will be quite challenging to land an interview with the dental school of your choice.
Is the DAT Exam Hard?
Any standardized medical test has some level of difficulty. DAT might not have physics or organic chem, but it includes a lot of biology.
So, if you’ve been performing well in biology, then it should be easy (note; not a walk in the park!)
But if you’ve have having difficulties with biology, then you need to try a little bit harder.
Therefore, what matters is the effort you put into your studies.
Is Kaplan DAT Book Good?
The Kaplan DAT book is undoubtedly useful. And that’s why it tops our list of the best DAT prep books.
It comprehensively covers all the essential topics, so if you’re a budget student, you can use it alone or pair it with one more resource, and you will be useful to face the exam.
From the above list of best DAT prep books and the advice on how to choose the right study materials, we hope you’re now well equipped to shop for the best test prep resources.
Remember, not to compare yourself with anyone for what works for them might not necessarily work for you.
Also, consider combining 2-3 test prep materials (like DAT Bootcamp prep program) for adequate preparation.
Now, go out there and crack that “monster!”