The Gold Standard provides a comprehensive resource for students studying for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Many of the viewers here at DentalDAT have expressed an desire for a complete review of this resource. The review includes but is not limited to the physical quality of the book, completeness of the material, quality of explanations, and quiz questions.
Physical Quality = A+
When I studied for the DAT I was exposed to several different books including Kaplan, Barrons, Cliff Notes, and DAT Destroyer. None of the materials that I used rivaled the physical quality of The Gold Standard. The Gold Standard consists of four complete books. These books are housed in a very sturdy sheath that adds protections during storage. Although not a hard back, the cover of each individual book is a very thick laminate adds for greater protection while remaining flexible and easy to use. Lastly, each of the books are printed on a heavy weighted gloss paper like that of a quality text book. Each page is printed in full color which adds dimension and helps with understanding pictures and diagrams. You will not find another resource for the DAT that is better quality than The Gold Standard!
Overall, a great resource for the PAT section plus much more. Although this book has very good explanations for each portion of the PAT , this book earned a B+ due to the lack of practice problems. In order, to be able to exclusively use this book for the PAT section many more practice problems would need to be included. None the less, a great resource for the PAT!
The second section in this book is called "Understanding the DAT". No surprises here! This book does a great job of giving an overview of the format of the DAT including a time breakdown of each section and the number of questions for the the given time. There are some very good study tips included in this section. However, there is no substitute for the ADA DAT Guide.
The third section is the text for the PAT section. This section does a great job of utilizing the color pages to explain each section of the PAT. If you have no idea how to go about solving any of the PAT sections then this is the resource you need. It is very important that you know how to solve each type of questions. However, it is just as important that you practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately, there are only 15 questions per section in the PAT. This is not nearly enough questions to become proficient in solving these types of questions. I would still highly recommend doing several full length practice tests. If you are still not getting the hang of this section I would supplement with Crack the PAT which provides more than enough practice tests for the PAT section.
The final section in this book is a full length practice test. The test appears to have very good quality questions with each answer having an explanation and a page reference for further studying. Having been over 5 years since I took the DAT exam I cannot accurately judge the difficulty or relevance of the questions. At the very least, the more questions you do the better prepared you will be for your exam.
Quantitative Reasoning and Reading Comprehension = B+
The math section is all about understanding how to solve the problems and then practice practice practice. The Gold Standard quantitative reasoning section does a great job at breaking down everything from simple multiplication to your algebraic equations to your more difficult trigonometry problems. This makes a great resource that includes a solid foundation for the math section. Once again, I felt like the book it self was lack in practice questions. There seemed to be about 10 questions at the end of each subsection in this portion of the book. You will want to have additional study resources that allow you to practice what you learned. After all, the quantitative reasoning section is all about practice.
Also included in the same book is the reading comprehension section. I feel like this resource has the potential to really help those who are either struggling to do well or want to learn some more efficient techniques to do even better on the reading section. When I studied for the DAT I searched forums and other resources to find a variety of techniques for improving on the reading section. This book includes just about everything I was able to find and more. In addition, it breaks down the individual types of questions and shows you how to go about answering each type of question. Overall, this is one of the better resources that I have seen available for the DAT.
I am not going to go into too much detail with this one. If you have forgotten some of your general chemistry then this book is for you. This simplified text book provides great information on the basics of general chemistry with a little bit more in depth explanation when compared to some of the other available DAT specific resources. If you feel like you need to relearn any part of gen chem but you do not want to go through an entire textbook to do it then I would definitely give this a chance. As with the other books you may want to supplement this book with a lot more practice questions (By the way, the questions they do provide have very good explanations making it easier to learn from the practice questions). Resources like the ACS Gen Chemistry would be a great supplement.
The organic chemistry section of this book had reaction after reaction. This book appears to be well organized and provides very concise explanations for numerous organic chemistry reactions. It has been some time since I have done organic chemistry but this book brought back to memory a lot of reactions that I had learned in the past. With that said, I cannot say whether this book provides all the necessary reactions to score a 30 in this section as it has been a while since I took the DAT. I can say that it will lay a solid foundation for your DAT preparations. Once again try supplementing this with more practice problems from the ACS Organic Chemistry books or other resources.
Biology = A
Last but definitely not least is the DAT Biology section. This book is 380+ pages just for the biology section. Included are some great explanations, colored pictures, charts, and diagrams. The biology section of the DAT requires a broad knowledge of all topics. This book breaks down each of the subtopics provided by the ADA DAT Guide. Everything from microbiology, to biology of the different systems, to genetics, to evolution to ecology... And the list goes on. I know many of you do not want to study unnecessary topics or information. This book provides solid information without going overboard. I think this book is a definate winner for The Gold Standard DAT books.
Overall, had I realized the potential of a resource such as this I probably would have spent the $199 on this resource. Yes, you can piece together a bunch of resources which worked for me and many others but this is a simple way of getting everything you need from one source. Also, don't forget to go to www.dat-prep.com where they have online resources, videos, and practice test also available for sale. And... A little plug for the Top Score practice tests. These I did use and would highly recommend the investment. By far the best overall practice tests you can get for the DAT. Very close to the real deal. Checkout some of my other posts if you want details on what I thought about the Top Score practice tests.
Hope this helps some of you make a decision. If you have any questions or want to provide feedback from your own experience please comment below!