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Best DAT Prep Books In 2021: Detailed Reviews

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.
Price $46.53 $ 47.56-27.58. $16.09 $57.95-$91.99 $22.11
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
Kindle Edition? TICK 1 CROSS 1 CROSS 1 TICK 1 CROSS 1
Difficulty? TICK 1 TICK 1 CROSS 1 CROSS 1 CROSS 1
Video? CROSS 1 CROSS 1 TICK 1

TICK 1 (later)

CROSS 1
1. Kaplan DAT Prep Plus 2019-2020

Kaplan is always way ahead of its competitors when it comes to test prep materials.

The reason why it still holds unto the “leader of review” books title, are the numerous positive student reviews on the internet are anything to go by.

Therefore, it isn’t surprising to mention their DAT guide as one of the best in the current marketplace.

The package comes with a comprehensive review of all essential sections that you need to know before your DAT exam.

I particularly love their excellent exam-taking strategies which seek to boost your confidence during exams, as well as give you tips on how to answer questions accurately.

This prep book comes 2 full-length online practice exams, which will give you an exam-like experience so that you know which areas need more practice.

You will also receive a study guide with the package, complete with 12-page colored study sheets for easy review on the go.

There are also 600+ practice questions at the end of each subject, and they come with an explanation for answers.

Plus, their DAT blueprint guide comes in handy to inform you what to expect on exam day.

This prep book is 948 pages long, which I find sufficient to cover everything you need to know.

It might be a little bit expensive at $46.53 (Paperback), but with all these features, it should be worth it, so long as you can afford it.

There’s also a Kindle option.

Pros
  • Money-back guarantee
  • An enormous list of practice questions
  • Flexible learning style
  • Holistic review approach
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Short answer questions.

Check Current Price on Amazon

2. The Princeton Review Cracking the DAT

Like Kaplan, The Princeton Review (TPR) is a giant in the test review industry.

The brand is famous for producing top-notch study content, and its Cracking DAT is no different.

This book covers everything that you need to know before the exam day.

The best part is that the guide gives you a unique experience with its simple display of details.

So, if you don’t like the comprehensiveness of textbooks, then this book will be a perfect match.

Besides, you also get to benefit from the numerous illustrations, which makes it easy for you to master concepts.

I also find their easy to tear quick reference pages quite impressive, especially when you desire a quick review.

Plus, there are numerous test-taking strategies to help you improve your score, complete with multiple drills, and practice questions.

The two full-length practice tests give you an exam like-feel, to prepare what awaits you in the actual test.

This book offers online extras and a step-by-step problem-solving guide.

At 928 pages, this TPR book compares squarely with Kaplan and will cost you around $ 47.56-27.58. (Paperback)

Pros
  • In-depth review of topics
  • Tear-out pages(full-color)
  • Step-by-step explanations for question answers
  • 2 full-length practice tests
Cons
  • Some error reports in the practice questions
  • Only 4 practice tests

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3. DAT: Dental Admissions Test (Barron's Test Prep)

This Barron’s DAT prep book might not be the most famous, but it’s worth a mention thanks to its outstanding quality, that too, at only $16.09(Paperback).

So far, it’s the most affordable and contains all the necessary information you need to prepare for the exam.

However, you would want to pair it with another resource for optimum results.

With its 500 pages, the book is quite short, but I love the way it condenses content to give a holistic review.

And because of this, it’s ideal for individuals who have less time to prepare for the DAT exam.

With this package, you find three full-length practice tests, one of them being a diagnostic test, which comes in handy to help you sharpen your skills in necessary sections.

As you take questions, you will also receive well-explained answers pointing out to the thin line between right and wrong answers.

Plus, you benefit from the video tutorials from expert authors, which helps in retaining information.

There’s also an additional full-length online DAT test, which can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, and even computer.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • High-quality material
  • Thorough general coverage of topics
  • Comes with 3 tests (1 being a diagnostic exam) and an additional online full-length test.
Cons
  • Reports of incorrect information
  • Fragile pages.

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4. Mometrix DAT Secrets Study Guide

If you’re searching for a DAT prep guide with precise summaries highlighting key areas of study concerning the DAT testing patterns, then the Mometrix DAT Secrets Study Guide makes a perfect pick.

The book offers a well-detailed review of all critical areas of the DAT.

As long as you use it effectively and combine it with any other material of your choice, you will be ready to crack the test.

At a pricing of $57.95-$91.99 (Paperback), the study book doesn’t come cheap.

Expect, therefore, to enjoy numerous features equivalent to the cost. There’s also a Kindle option.

For instance, it provides numerous practice tests, complete with detailed explanations of the answers, leaving you content and confidence to subsequent future questions.

Also, the guide includes an exam of the reading comprehension test and comprehensive coverage of the quantitative reasoning test.

You will also benefit from the expert analysis of the physical science and excellent breakdown of the biological sciences.

I, however, find it too condensed, with only 348 pages, to cover every topic in detail, so it isn’t ideal for students searching for exhaustive topic overviews.

Pros
  • Doesn’t contain fluff
  • Gives you fantastic tips on knowledge application to answer various questions
  • Reviews only relevant sections, therefore saving you time.
  • You get a DVD (later)
  • Ease of study
Cons
  • General concept review
  • I find it quite expensive, given that you have to combine it with other study materials.

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5. Barron's DAT: Dental Admissions Test 2nd Edition

Whenever you come across any Barron’s book, be ready to receive top-notch test prep content.

This Barron’s DAT: Dental Admissions Test 2nd Edition is updated to the current DAT exam patterns and comes with a CD-ROM to help you master concepts.

Therefore, I find it ideal for non-traditional students.

You will also be glad to learn that this guide gives you an overview of the DAT.

Therefore, you can get a better idea of what to expect on examination day.

Plus, it contains valuable test-taking tips to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes students before you have been making.

There’s also a detailed review of important test topics, ranging from general coverage of Biology, chem, and organic chem, among others.

The package comes with 2 full-length tests and offers answers to the multiple practice questions, in as much detailed form as possible.

The CD-ROM contains two additional practice tests that mimic the test-taking conditions of the actual exam.

It contains 512 pages and will cost you $22.11, which is quite affordable.

I just wish they could mention the number of practice questions included, but from the positive reviews on practice exams, I guess they’re sufficient.

Pros
  • Detailed explanations of answers
  • Easy to follow layout
  • No much elaboration on important topics
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Word problem examples
Cons
  • Multiple errors
  • Few Reports on disc cracks

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Best DAT Flashcards

1. DAT Mometrix Flashcard Study System

Preparing for the DAT exam requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication.

which means every second of your time matters.

Therefore, if you’re always on the move and your tight schedule can’t allow you to dedicate several hours for study, then the DAT flashcards come in handy.

They will help you gain a quick review if various vital sections of the exam anywhere you want and at whatever time you please.

With these flashcards, repetitive learning becomes a norm, and that means you get to master concepts pretty first.

I also love the fact that the Flashcards can allow you to study with a friend as they get to ask the questions, and you give the answers using the cards as a reference.

This Flashcards, present precise information, and invaluable bits to help you gain exposure to various questions.

Plus, they’re large enough to fit into your hands, and the font is large enough, so you won’t struggle reading.

They have 649 pages and will cost you $53.00- 63.35. There’s also a Kindle option.

Pros
  • Clear and straight to the point
  • Easy to carry around
  • Contains enough useful content
  • Detailed answers to the questions
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a cards’ holder

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Best DAT Practice Questions Books

1. Sterling Test Prep DAT Organic Chemistry Practice Questions

If you’re searching for a supplementary prep book that will help you boost your strengths in organic chem, the Sterling Test Prep DAT Organic Chemistry Practice Questions, makes a perfect choice.

The books provide comprehensive coverage of questions, most of which appear on the Survey of the Natural Sciences section in the actual DAT exam.

Most students confess to loving the fact that this book comes with well-explained answers to questions, complete with numerous strategies on how to crack the DAT exam.

The package comes with 720 high yield practice questions, which I find quite sufficient for adequate preparation.

Also, to show confidence for its products, the brand offers a money-back guarantee on a higher score.

With 460 pages, the Paperback will cost you $36.11-$39.95 in Amazon, which I find worth it based on the number of features you access.

Pros
  • Moderately tricky questions for an understanding of the real DAT patterns
  • Thorough explanations of each answer
  • Excellent addition for extra organic Chem practice
  • Applicable DAT test-taking strategies
Cons
  • Few errors in some sections

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2. Sterling DAT Biology Practice Questions

Sterling DAT Biology Practice Questions book comes with the enormous 1,500 practice questions to help you prepare for your Biology test.

The questions are well-structured and straight to the point, making it easy to understand various concepts.

You will also love their nature of organization.

The book is divided into 24 chapters, each with comprehensive coverage of all the critical questions that appear in the Biology area.

I find the detailed explanations to answers quite outstanding. They will help you understand why specific answers are wrong, no matter how correct they seem.

There’s also a review of foundations, and you also get a money-back guarantee on a higher score.

This Paperback copy comes with 546 pages, and you will have to spend &21.74, which I find affordable.

Pros
  • Adequate practice questions
  • Detailed explanations to answers
  • Intense preparation for the Biology section
  • Affordable
  • Simple language
  • Has an online access
Cons
  • Reports of numerous errors/typos
  • Few repetitions of questions.

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3. Sterling Test Prep DAT General Chemistry Review

As you can see, Sterling Test Prep company is taking its competitors for a ride when it comes to its set practice question books.

This General Chemistry review, focuses on comprehensively covering all the necessary topics featuring in the DAT exam.

With this copy, you will learn the fundamental principles and concepts of general chem.

The information is presented in a simplistic and yet detailed manner, which you will not find elsewhere.

There are also some remarkable test-taking strategies in the book, which will come handy in helping you curb exam anxiety and feeding you with the correct test-handling tips.

Also, the detailed nature of the answers to the various questions is impressive. And it provides you with the skills to give smart answers to questions and avoid being on the wrong.

The only concern I have with these Sterling copies is the numerous reports of errors in their books, which can be pretty annoying.

I hope they address that in the upcoming editions.

With 502 pages, I find this copy quite sufficient for supplementary use and its pricing $39.95, might be on the higher side, but definitely worth the investment.

Pros
  • Money-back guarantee on higher score
  • Prepared by expert chemistry instructors
  • In-depth coverage of all crucial topics
  • Well-explained answers to questions
  • Amazing exam-taking strategies
Cons
  • A few reports of typos

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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
Perceptual Ability 90 60
Break (optional) 0 30
Reading Comprehension 50 60
Quantitative Reasoning 40 45
Post-test Survey 0 15

Total

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.

Scoring

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.

Examinations Fees

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.

          c) Error-Free

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.

Conclusion

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!”

Categories DAT
John Reed
My name is John Reed and I am the chief editor of TestPrepPal.com. I am alumni of university of of Pennsylvania and want to help future graduates with their tests.

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