DAT is one of the most anticipated exams yearly. Anyone who wishes to pursue a career path in the field of dentistry must pass. Usually, students allot 2-3 months of preparation time for the test. Although, some passers have proved that 1 month of serious prep time and time management could work too. In this article, we have all the help and explanation that you will need for your DAT Study Schedule.
For tips on how to efficiently prepare for DAT, read on!
Average Prep Time for DAT
Most students spend 2 months reviewing for DAT. For a student with an average learning capacity and at least 6hrs of study time per day, 2 months could work. The person must be completely willing to study and determined to pass the exam.
If you’re planning to allot 2 months for your DAT preparation, be ready to:
- Have Less Phone Time
This is the number one distraction for students. It is advisable that during the 2 months, be on social media hiatus and use your phone only for communication purposes. Entertainment for an hour or two during the 2-month prep time is good, but checking socials from time to time can cause you to struggle on remembering concepts and absorbing lessons.
- Purchase an Online Course
2 months of review would mean more self-paced learning. As a tip, you may search for DAT courses online. These are soft copies of lesson plans which usually come with reflections and activities that will guide you throughout the process. Choose an online course that’s highly reviewed by students, so you’ll be sure that it’s learner-friendly and affordable at the same time.
- Plan Your Schedule
Unlike the students that chose to give 3-4 months of review for DAT, those who can only give 2 months should exert twice the effort – that means double the work, double the goals, and sometimes, double the price. Everything is fast-pacing since your time is limited. You should learn how to manage your time efficiently without compromising the quality of your daily productivity.
Studying for the DAT
The length of time a person needs to study for the DAT is always dependent on their learning capacity and time availability. Everyone is different, and each has a unique phase and way of learning. You should be the one to assess your capability so you’ll know how to plan your study schedule effectively. Here are some tips you’ll need:
- Refrain from asking opinions from people or even classmates about your study schedule. They will surely have varying comments, and it might just give you confusion and distract you from your goal.
- Do not compare yourself to others. It’ll only get you frustrated.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself; the more pressure you feel, the more you’re bound to break.
- Work smarter, not harder.
In planning your study schedule, you might want to ask yourself these questions:
- How well did you do on your previous assessments?
- Do your previous exam results satisfy your expectations?
- What are the areas that you think you need to improve on?
- Since DAT is more on math and sciences, what are your strengths and weaknesses in these courses?
Passing the DAT is 50% hard work and 50% confidence. Believing in yourself and exerting effort to study for the DAT should work hand in hand. You should learn how to select a study plan that not only works for your schedule and learning capability but also one that will push you to confidently pass the exam. Remember to settle on a study plan that you would be 100% comfortable with. You cannot just push yourself to study all day every day at a fast-learning pace just because your mates can do it. You will learn better and easier if the flow of knowledge is smooth and free. You should be willing and eager to pass mentally and spiritually for this study plan to succeed.
The 2-month Study Schedule for DAT
In this section, you’ll get tips on how to make a plan for your 2-month study schedule and how to make it work.
Self-Paced Prep Courses
On top of this list are the well-known staple for DAT takers – prep courses. Prep courses make studying less stressful and more organized. Also, given that you’re on a 2-month study plan, acquiring a prep course is necessary. Self-studying at this point can be too risky.
Considering that your schedule will be tight due to the DAT preparation and your other activities, self-studying would mean creating your research on the best learning materials available online. Surfing the net to get answers can get you bombarded with unnecessary information; plus, it can also cause you to lose track.
Taking prep courses may cost you hundreds of dollars, but passing the DAT will surely be priceless. Take it as an investment. As soon as you pass the DAT and officially become a dentist, you’ll surely reap everything you sow in a short amount of time.
Here is a list of the Top 3 DAT Prep Courses available online in 2023:
If you are short on time, purchasing DAT booster may just be your best choice. You can be an online student on their site for only for around $260 for 3 months of preparation. Their strategy is that they are assessing every student first, and providing them with custom modules depending on their learning pace and the subject they would want to focus on.
You can check our detailed review of DAT Booster here.
- Excellent comprehensive study materials with visual aids, such as graphics
- Around 9000 Practice problems that closely resemble the real thing
- Realistic Practice Test.
- Engaging video lessons in easily digestible portions
- Impressive PAT problem creation and analysis tools.
- Beneficial one-on-one coaching with expert tutors
- Offers a guarantee for a higher score
- Anki deck from Booster is quite useful for Chemistry.
- No App. Tech and interface can be improved to give it a more organized feel.
- Chemistry section can be improved.
If you have more than 3 months to prepare, DAT Bootcamp should be your go-to choice. You can read our full review here.
- One of the most popular DAT programs known for its Bootcamp approach.
- High-Quality Video lectures. Chemistry lessons are top-notch.
- Customizable practice questions and study plans. Helpful video explanations for hundreds of questions. Good for visual learners.
- Most realistic practice test compared to others.
- Bootcamp Pro $497, Plus Plan $897
If you’re learning style is more into a classroom set-up, you can try and subscribe to The Princeton Review by registering on their website at theprincetonreview.com. It is a live online course where you get to interact with the facilitator and your mates. For those students who get to learn easier when in a group, this is the best choice for you. You’ll get a group review set up in the comfort of your own home.
One thing that students love about the Princeton DAT prep course is that it has available promos every day that you can take advantage of. They are offering compilations of practice sets, comprehensive workbooks, and modern learning strategies from the experts on their team. Princeton DAT fundamentals start at $1,099. The Princeton Review also offers private tutoring for their student at $167 per hour. This can be scheduled for online or one-on-one appointments, depending on the student’s availability and discretion.
It is undeniable that when it comes to studying, the traditional method of reviewing and memorizing stuff is achievable through the use of flashcards. Flashcards can just be your lifesaver especially if you’re on a tight schedule and there are still a lot of things you have to catch up on. From the moment you started creating the cards up until the time you’re already using them to study, your pictographic memory is already in the works. It makes memorization easier, and it is convenient in helping you master vital concepts especially when you’re on the go.
DAT flashcards are also a fun way to study and interact with your co-DAT takers. Most prep courses that you buy online already come with a flashcard bundle. Each card has a question and a detailed explanation at the back.
Writing and jotting down notes at the point of reviewing is crucial because it will help you remember things. Listening and reading courses will never be enough if you’re not recording your interpretation and reflection on the concepts that you are learning. Noting during studying will help you figure out keywords that can help you big time during the actual exam. You can also use your notes in drafting pointers for when you’re doing a self-review.
The 3 Phases of Studying
- Familiarizing DAT Content
At the beginning of planning your study schedule, collect different diagnostic tests from subjects such as General sciences, Organic chemistry, and Biology. Take those without prior studying. This will help you assess yourself, so you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine the design of the study plan that will work for you. This will also guide you on where you should start and where you should keep your focus.
It is important that you know the content of the exam and that you should be given time to familiarize each subject it will cover. For an instance, you can allocate up to 3 hours per day to cover all relevant areas of a certain subject that you need to improve on. If you do not have enough time to do this, you can also opt to do self-paced learning by covering 4 chapters on a certain subject per day. This will help you understand your material more. Remember that being strong on the fundamentals is the key to easily absorbing more complex information.
- Self-Assessments and Practice Tests
Taking practice tests every after-study session will not only help you master the concepts of DAT, but it will also give you a strong knowledge of the fundamentals of each subject. Always review your results so that you’ll know which part you are weak in and you can turn it into an advantage. Self-assessing is better than taking actual exams with a proctor because there is no pressure, and you’ll easily learn from your previous mistakes.
- Pro Tips
To be mentally ready for DAT, you should concentrate on covering as many chapters as possible per day. You are following a schedule, so you shouldn’t be behind. As much as possible, you should be ahead of your planned schedule so that you’ll have more time for reviewing and polishing by the end of the 2 months. Also, remember to stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Studying is not an excuse to pressure your body and drain your mind. If you do not take good care of your body physically and mentally during this time, you’ll end up wasting what you’re working for, and there’s a pretty good chance that your DAT results won’t be good.
The 8-week Study Plan for DAT
If you’re determined to pass, and you’re taking the study plan seriously, this 8-week schedule should work. You could even attain a high score on DAT and qualify for the best universities for dentistry.
- First Week
Take this week as the most crucial week on your schedule. During the first week, you should be able to assess your strongholds and your weak points. How successful your plan is will be based on how you utilized the first week. You may create a list of the necessary concepts that the DAT covers.
For starters, you can focus on anatomy, physiology, and developmental biology as the 3 main branches under DAT Biology. For General Chemistry, it is best if you start with Atomic and molecular structure since these two are the foundations of the said subject. You should also include taking diagnostic tests and perpetual ability tests in your schedule, so you can understand the concepts more. The first week is also where you should be mastering your quantitative reasoning. You can also include having practice tests and reviewing your scores before taking your rest day by the end of the week.
- Second Week
By the second week, you are already expected to have a strong fundamental on the subjects that DAT will cover. You can now proceed to cell and molecular biology, periodic trends and stoichiometry, algebra for quantitative reasoning, and aromaticity and bonding for organic chemistry. Do not forget to take breaks per session, since mental relaxation is very important too. Reviewing shouldn’t be as stressful as it sounds.
- Third Week
This week, your focus should be more on genetics, thermodynamics, equilibrium, properties of molecules, and conversions for qualitative reasoning.
- Fourth Week
Your focus on the fourth week is more advanced and complex. You should be more on ecology, kinetics, phases of matter, and reaction mechanisms. You are halfway through the study plan, so this is also the time to assess if you have already achieved half of your learning goals. By this week, you should also see improvements in the scores you’re getting on the practice assessments you’re having per week.
- Fifth and Sixth week
By weeks 5-6, you should increase the number of studies on the areas you are lacking. Your quantitative reasoning concepts by this time should already include trigonometry, geometry, probability, and statistics. You should also be able to understand the concepts of solutions, redox reactions, acids and bases, and nuclear reactions under general chemistry.
- Seventh and Eighth week
The final weeks of study should be allotted to reviewing practice tests and polishing your weak areas. Also, do not forget to take a break before the actual DAT.
The 1-month Study Schedule for DAT
Not all students aspiring to take the DAT has the luxury of time to prepare. If you’re one of those, and you only have 4 weeks to prep, make sure that you are willing to work twice as hard. The study plan for 1 month is just the same as the first plan. There is just a constraint in time, that’s why you have to increase the study hours to 5-6 per session.
- First Week
Take the first three days of this week to assess yourself through practice tests and assessments. You should take assessments for biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and quantitative reasoning. On the third day, you should already have the complete study plan in handy, so you can start uncovering lessons according to schedule by the fourth day. There are no full-length tests this week, but remember to take comprehensive problem questions instead.
- Second Week
By the second week, you should already be able to adjust to advanced topics. You can also take a full-length test and review your scores before taking a rest day.
- Third Week
During the Perpetual Ability Test in your third week, you should focus on accuracy and your time management skills. You should also be taking your second full-length test this week. Your scores should already have noticeably improved since DAT is fast approaching by this time.
- Fourth Week
Use your fourth week to polish your learning concepts and focus more on those areas that you’ve already mastered. You do not have time to absorb more new knowledge at this point. Practice, re-assess, and review. Take time to visit the examination center before the DAT so that you’ll feel more comfortable on the actual examinations.
The aforementioned guide to planning your very own study schedule for DAT is based on the current complexity of DAT. It is a glimpse of what your schedule should look like, given that you have limited time to prepare for the exam. Planning will give you the confidence to pass even if you’re under a time constraint. As long as you are dedicated and determined, you can and will pass the DAT.