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Monday, December 29, 2014

Becoming a dentist: Is it worth it?

Many of the viewers here at DentalDAT are students who are thinking about becoming a dentist, just getting started on the path to becoming a dentist, applying to dental school,  or dental students. Throughout this entire process, where ever they might be, the question that is in the back of their minds remains "Is it worth it to become a dentist?".

Becoming a dentist is what I've wanted to do since I could remember. I never doubted my desire to become a dentist but throughout the process I did ask myself if it is worth the time and effort. I never was able to come up with a good answer. Many dentists that I spoke with "liked" their job and didn't regret their decision to become a dentist. I've occasionally come across a dentist who wished they would have chosen a different career but that was few and far between.

In all truthfulness the answer to this question is going to come down to your definition of "worth". Dentist graduating 20 years ago could come out of school with $60k of debt and get it paid down in a reasonable amount of time and begin saving. Now days you are looking at between $200k to $550k on top of your college loans. At a 7.1% interest rate this begins growing rapidly.  Payments ranging from about $1k to $3k+ a month can be daunting and overwhelming for some.

So what does "worth it" mean? To me "worth it" means being involved in a profession that has prestige and that allows for me to impact the lives of other. Every day I work with patients who gain functionality or increase esteem because of the dental work performed. Whether it is an esthetic case of anterior crowns, delivering a set of dentures or extracting a tooth that has been hurting. I am continually studying the art of dentistry so that the results my patients receive are high quality. Dentistry allows for me to be involved in a profession that encourages a lifetime of learning and continual practice to improve skills.

Despite the satisfaction resulting from patient care, "worth it" also means being able to provide a comfortable life style for my family. Financial rewards (AKA the paycheck) and of course time are both very important. Having only been out of school for just under a year this aspect will be something that continues to change througout my career. However, even at this very early stage my family lives comfortably. I am able to spend time with my wife and kids. I am able to treat them to experiences that take many households years to obtain. In addition, I am able to give to those in need without feeling like I am strapped for cash. Despite the large monthly loan payments I am happy with the financial rewards that my carear offers.

Is it "worth it" to become a dentist? My short answer is, absolutely. Is it without sacrifice or compromise? No. If you want to get rich quick this is not the profession for you. It is going to take at least 8 busy years and a lot of debt to get to the point of earning a paycheck. However, if you want a solid and relatively stable career this just might all be "worth it". 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Doing well on the PAT section of the DAT

For many of us the PAT section of the DAT can be very intimidating. Within the PAT there are several challenges. Remember, this section is new to everyone taking the DAT! There will be some of you who are naturals but the majority will struggle at first. Just like a video game the more you play the better you get!

There are 5 sections within the PAT:
a) Key Hole
b) Hole Punch
c) Top/Front/End
d) Cube counting
e) Pattern Folding

It will be essential that you become efficient in all of these areas if you want to do well. The following are steps that will help you to study the PAT section.

1) Be familiar with ALL the rules for each sections. Some times you may get one correct but for the wrong reasoning. To eliminate this know the rules. There are a few good resources for the rules including but not limited to Kaplan Blue Book, (use search feature), The Gold Standard, and Crack DAT PAT. 

2) Once you've learned the rules you can practice, practice, practice. In general, Kaplan's resources are the easiest for this section, so you may want to start out with these. Just do a few at a time until you get the hang of them. 

3) With a good foundation, you can now begin testing yourself! I would suggest starting out with Crack DAT PAT because they offer a large number of tests. I would save the Top Score Pro and DAT Achiever tests for when you do full length practice tests (meaning all the sections together just like you would on the real DAT). Crack DAT PAT has 10 tests total but you can also randomize the tests. (Take a look at my DAT Breakdown in order to see how my real scores compared with my practice scores.).

4) Start by completing a single Crack DAT PAT test or test from another source. Taking a full PAT test will allow you to find your weaknesses. 

5) After finding your weakness go back and look at your score breakdown. What type of questions did you get incorrect? Once you identify your weakness go back and practice, practice, practice. Do a lot of the same type of problems over and over again. Do the same thing for any other section that you struggled with.

6) Now you can move on to PAT test number two. Repeat step 5 for this test. This process will continue all the way until test number ten. Don't try and knock these out in a couple of days. Give yourself some time between tests. Between tests is when you should be doing practice problems and reviewing rules on sections that you did not accelerate at.

7) It is going to be important that you take full length practice tests such as those sold by Top Score Pro or DAT Achiever. If you struggle with this section during the full length test do step 5 for each of those tests also. 

8) If you complete all of Top Score Pro, DAT Achiever, The Gold Standard and Crack DAT PAT and you still do not feel comfortable then I would suggest taking randomized Crack DAT PAT. However, this should not happen if you took your time learning the rules and analyzing the problems you get wrong on each test!

When I receive an e-mail regarding the PAT test it typically has to do with the angle ranking section. This section can be very deceiving and can impact your score dramatically. Some sources like Kaplan make this section way too easy and may instill a false sense of confidence. Crack DAT PAT is much closer to the real DAT by way of difficulty for the angle ranking. 

This section takes a lot of practice. I came up with a proprietary software that is meant to assist pre-dental students in mastering this section of the DAT. The first test begins with angles differing by 6 degrees. The second test has the angles differing by 5 degrees, while the third test has the angles differing by 4 degrees. The final test all of the angles differ by 3 degrees. This allows for you to begin to train your eye systematically in order to differentiate between the small difference in angles.

The software is free! Just enter your e-mail into the below form and I will give you access to the software.

Software Preview:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Gold Standard DAT Review

 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!

The PAT = B+

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 Gold Standard PAT includes much much more than just information on the PAT. This book begins with a brief section on "Dental School Admissions". Included is everything from how to improve your academic standing to the dental school interview. If you already have a solid handle on studying and you are doing well in school the most helpful part of this section will be the dental school interview. This has eight fantastic pages on how to prepare for your interview starting with a solid overview and ending with a couple of pages of strategies for answering questions. Overall the section on dental school admissions will be helpful for those who consider themselves a newbie to the dental school admissions process.

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.

General and Organic Chemistry = A
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 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!

Monday, July 1, 2013

DAT Bootcamp

What is DAT Bootcamp?

DAT Bootcamp provides the highest quality DAT practice tests available in a convenient online format. DAT Bootcamp practice tests are designed to be the most focused and high-yield prep a pre-dental student can use in their journey to conquer the DAT. We also offer a strategy blog, dedicated solely to the DAT. It’s called a Bootcamp for a reason – the material is challenging, but focused to give you the highest-yield prep by going over common questions, topics, and themes that appear on the DAT.

Who built DAT Bootcamp?

My name is Arian “Ari” Rezaei, and I’m a dental student at Columbia. I’ve recently taken the DAT and scored well (view score report). I did my undergrad at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). Typically during my downtime you can find me cooking spicy food or practicing the piano. While I was preparing for the DAT, I felt that a lot of the DAT prep material wasn’t up to par. The DAT market is too small for Kaplan to care about, so they recycle their MCAT material and slap a “DAT” label on it. There are a lot of third party products, but most were made by people who have never taken the DAT. I had to use several different products – practically one for each section on the test – and it still was not an accurate representation of the real exam. As a result, I had to work a lot harder to score high on the DAT. I set out to make DAT Bootcamp to help future pre-dental students conquer the DAT by providing them with everything they need to get into the 90th percentile and up. Everything is designed purely for the DAT by people who aced the DAT, including the wording of the questions, the design of the distractor answer choices, and the content tested.

How similar is DAT Bootcamp to the actual exam?

DAT Bootcamp was designed to mirror the difficulty level and breadth of subject matter of the actual 2013 DAT exam. By talking to students who have used our practice tests and recently taken the DAT, we’re able to adjust question difficulty and relevance to give you the best representation of the actual DAT exam.

Sign up for DAT Bootcamp and begin taking DAT practice exams for free.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Hottest DAT Material 2012

Image taken from

I would like to present the Top 10 Hottest DAT Material for 2012. These study materials were chosen by your peers! Those who participated in choosing the top ten where students who previously studied for and took the DAT. Each of these students knows the time, money and effort that goes into being successful on the test. Like wise, they know which materials did and did not work for them and which ones best prepared them for the DAT. Without further adieu, I present to you the Hottest DAT Study Material for 2012!

#1 - DAT Destroyer 

Overall, this is a fantastic resource for the sciences. The problems are difficult and as it states it will "Destroy" you your first time through. It is essential that you don't just memorize the answers but understand everything possible about each answer choice given. The problems are organized according to Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Quantitative Reasoning. However, the problems within each section are not organized by topic but randomized. Because of this and the difficulty of the problems it is important that you have a good base knowledge of the subject before you begin. If you do not have a base knowledge DAT Destroyer will only frustrate you and make studying difficult. Excellent resource if you are looking to score high on your DAT. It includes biology, organic chemistry, general chemistry, and math all of which are an excellent resource and highly recommended by the predental community. There is no doubt that this is a helpful resource and has jumped from #3 spot in 2011 to the #1 spot in 2012!

DAT Destroyer was ranked #3 in 2011

 #2- DAT Achiever (#1)

DAT Achiever dropped from the #1 spot in 2011 to the #2 spot in 2012. One thing you have to know about DAT Achiever is that it is a lot more difficult than the real test. I am sure it is called "Achiever" for a reason. If you look at breakdowns of students who used DAT Achiever and compare their scores to that of their actual DAT scores you will see that, on average, they score 2 to 4 points higher. The questions presented are challenging but not unrealistic. DAT Achiever is preparing students for the difficult questions because those are the questions that can make a difference between getting 18 or a 21 academic average. In order to make DAT Achiever an effective study tool it is essential that you know why each answer given is either correct or incorrect. Feel like you have organic chemistry down? What about general chemistry or perceptual ability? DAT Achiever will challenge you in any section, so if you are looking for an edge over the other dental students this is the program for you. DAT Achiever accelerates in several areas including usability, question clarity, consistent upgrades, and solid customer support. For all these reasons and more DAT Achiever is the #2 Hottest DAT Study Material for 2012!

DAT Achiever was ranked #1 in 2011

#3 - Crack DAT PAT (#2)

Crack DAT PAT is the best resource that you can buy for the perceptual ability section of the DAT.Whether you feel that you can succeed or not Crack DAT PAT will help you to improve. There are 10 full length tests along with thousands of bonus practice problems! The problems provided are unbelievably close to the real DAT. In fact, when I was taking the DAT I felt as if I was just taking another Crack DAT PAT test. This program is more than enough to do well on the PAT and there is no doubt that this program belongs in the Top 3 Hottest DAT Materials of 2012!

Crack DAT PAT was ranked #2 in 2011

#4 - Chad's Videos (Organic and General Chemistry) (#4)

Were you ever frustrated because your chemistry professors did not seem to be able to make chemistry simple, interesting or easy to understand? I know I was but when I watched Chad's Videos I was amazed at how simple and clear chemistry was. Both the General and Organic Chemistry videos are a great resource especially if its been a few years since you have taken the course. The videos are invaluable and definitely worth the minimal price he charges to gain access to the videos. I don't have much to say except, CHECK THEM OUT! You definitely will not be disappointed with your purchase. The current videos are high quality HD videos. Ever since the videos came out they have been gaining popularity and I suspect that they will maintain their spot in the Top 5 Hottest DAT Study Materials in the future.

Chad's Videos were ranked #4 in 2011

#5 - Math Destroyer (#6)

Just like the DAT Destroyer the Math Destroyer will also destroy you. This is an excellent resource for studying the math section. The problems are difficult and much like the real DAT. I was only able to go over the first few tests right before my DAT and I wish I was able to go over more! I saw problems on the DAT that were just like the MATH Destroyer. Need help with the quantitative reasoning section? Get the math destroyer! Not only are the problems good but the solutions are excellent. Like the DAT destroyer the only thing this lacks is structure to the problems (which is intentional). You may want to supplement this with the outline from the ADA, a good textbook, and the internet in order to have a clear understanding of all the material you need to know for the DAT. I am not surprised that Math Destroyer climbed into the Top 5 on the Hottest DAT Study Materials for 2012.

Math Destroyer was ranked #6 in 2011

#6 - Cliffnotes AP Biology (#5)

Not much to say here, except that the notes are clear, concise, and contains just about everything you need for the DAT in terms of biology. It does lack a little in the physiology portion and a few other small topics so if you are looking to get the 21+ you may need to supplement this with Kaplan or Wikipedia. However, for the $10 that you spend on Amazon for this book it is definitely worth the money. It is basically condensed notes ready for memorization. There is not a lot of fluff to sift through and is an easy read, unlike some of the other more boring materials such as Schaum's Outlines. For the price this is a must have resource!

Cliffnotes AP Biology was ranked #5 in 2011

#7 - Top Score Pro

If you are looking for the most accurate representation of how you are going to score on the DAT then take the Top Score Pro tests. Throughout the predental community the consensus is that Top Score Pro will give you the most accurate judgment of how you will do on the DAT. However, remember that while some students, like myself, will have nearly identical scores others will have as much as +/- 4 points on the real DAT. Most commonly scores are with in +/- 2 points. With that said Top Score Pro does lack in a few areas. The biggest area is the biology section. Don't get me wrong, the questions in the biology section are great but they add a lot of taxonomy questions (5-7 per test) to the test which causes students to score lower on their practice test. The actual DAT may only have 2-3 taxonomy questions. Also, if you are scoring 17-18 on the quantitative reasoning section you may want to do some extra practice (perhaps with Math Destroyer) because often times students quantitative reasoning scores decrease from what they were getting on Top Score Pro. All in all, this program is well worth the money and once again I am surprised that it is not in the top 5 Hottest DAT Study Materials for 2012!

Top Score Pro was ranked #7 in 2011

#8 - Chad's Practice Material (Quiz) (#10)

I never had the opportunity to use these materials but they have made the Top 10 both in 2011 and 2012.  Don't worry about purchasing these separate because they are included with your purchase of Chad's Videos (#4). It sounds like Chad continues to make improvements on his material and that is why it has climbed to the 8th spot on the top 10 list!

Chad's Practice Material was ranked #10 in 2011


DATQVAULT is one of the newer DAT study materials on the market. Last year this product was just getting recognized by the pre-dental community and now it has made the top 10 list. More and more students are finding that the sets of questions offered are helpful for learning and accurately testing their knowledge. I can't say much more than this about it as I have not had the chance to use it myself. This sounds like it is a quality product and that is why it made the Top 10 Hottest DAT Material 2012!

DATQVAULT did not make the Top 10 in 2011

#10- Crack DAT Reading

The reading section is a crucial section on the DAT. More and more students are looking for ways to do better in this section. Crack DAT Reading provides high quality practice exams that mimic the real thing. The difficulty level is high and will prepare you for passages on the real DAT. Crack DAT Reading provides plenty of practice tests so that you can find a reading strategy that works for you. This is a great resource and I am glad to see that it made the Top 10 in 2012!

Crack DAT Reading did not make the Top 10 in 2011

Let us know what you think of the results. Remember, we didn't pick them, you did!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dental School Application Opens June 4, 2012

Tomorrow is an exciting day for all dental school applicants! Yes, it is the day that the application process begins. On June 4, 2012 the ADEA opens the application and there will be a mad dash to see who can get their applications in early and score a highly coveted interview. For those of you planning on joining the mad dash, let me warn you. Do not sacrifice a quality written application just to get your application in on the first or second day. Most of the students getting the application in on those days have a copy of last years application and have pre-written much of the information. Having grammatical errors and poorly written sentences can hurt your chances of getting an interview. So just take a deep breath, calm down, and take your time writing a quality application. Getting your application in during the first one to two weeks will still be considered a very early application. 

Good luck to all with the application process! It can be stressful but the effort you are putting in now will definitely pay off in the end. 

Link to the application:

Friday, May 25, 2012

ASDA Simulation Course

Sim course
Image taken from MWU 

The ASDA Simulation Course in Glendale Arizon is a fantastic for anyone who is considering going to dental School. The 2 day simulation course gives pre-dental students a good idea of what dental school is really like. This will give you an opportunity to know what you are getting into before you drop thousands of dollars on applications, interviews, and tuition. The last date to register is June 8 and the cost is only $100. Check out their website for more information at ASDA Simulation Course. Take a look and let me know if you sign-up!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Top 3 DAT Biology Study Materials

Image from
You have probably seen the article "The Hottest DAT Study Material 2011" which ranks the Top 10 DAT study aids. However, the best study aids do not necessarily translate into the best resource for each section. This is why it is highly recommended that you take the time to find the right combination of DAT material for you. In order to help you find the best materials for the biology section of the DAT, I have put together a Top 3 list of materials. I did not do a Top 10 or even a Top 5 list simply because the Top 3 materials that I am going to list blow the others out of the water. Yes, in my opinion and many others these are far superior study materials for the DAT biology section than any of the others.

#1- Cliffs AP Biology

I have written several articles now about Cliffs AP Biology. I cannot say enough about this resource. It outlines, in an easy to memorize fashion, just about everything you need to know for the biology section . The book isn't written on fancy paper but the simplicity and content that is included makes up for that. Oh, did I mention that this book can be purchased at Amazon for less than $10! I do have to warn you that Cliffs AP Biology does lack a little bit in the physiology portion and maybe a few other small areas.I would recommend checking the ADA specification outline to be sure you covered all the material.

DentalDAT: Give It Away #2
Cliffs AP Biology: The Rave

#2- DAT Destroyer

DAT Destroyer is another one of those that you cannot go wrong with. This actually supplements Cliffs AP Biology very well. The thing that separates this from many of the other typical study materials is that it is just a bunch of questions. Believe me, these questions will "destroy" you your first time through. Just remember it is not about getting the questions right or wrong it is about learning from every question. Thankfully, the DAT Destroyer has very detailed answers in the back and this is where you learn.

The Hottest DAT Study Material 2011

#3- TIME

Alright, I know time is not a material but reality is I couldn't choose a third resource to put in the #3 spot. If you know Cliffs AP Biology and work your way through DAT Destroyer (more than once) you can land yourself at least a 19 in the biology section. So my advice is to go out and get the 2 best study materials and start studying. You can spend hours debating on which study materials to use but the reality is, you just need to put the time into studying.

Honorable Mentions:

Top Score Pro: Test yourself using this DAT simulator software. Probably one of the most accurate software programs that you can buy. If you want to know what you will score on the real DAT take a couple of these tests. You will probably score a point or two lower on the biology section in comparison to the real DAT as they do put in a few extra taxonomy questions.

DAT Achiever: Test yourself using this DAT simulator software. Don't be discouraged if you end up with only 15 or 16 in the biology section as many of these questions are far more difficult than the real DAT. This will be a good 3 to 4 points lower than what you will score when you get to the real test.

Kaplan Blue Book: Often times Kaplan gets negative feedback on their material because it is too easy in comparison to the real DAT. However, they do a pretty decent job in the biology section. This will definitely pick up anything that is lacking in Cliffs AP Biology.

Hopefully this saves you some time and helps you to get a higher score on the DAT. The study material that you choose can really make a difference. The Top 3 materials that I have presented to you today are materials that have been used by thousands of pre-dental students to get high scores on the DAT. Good luck to all! Just remember... IT'S WORTH IT!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

DAT Breakdown by: AHugeDeadWhale

Thanks to "AHugeDeadWhale" DentalDAT was able to add another quality DAT breakdown to the archive. The scores that he earned are nothing to be ashamed of. Just about anyone with scores in this range has an excellent chance at getting multiple interviews and ultimately multiple acceptances. Read through this carefully as he gives some great feedback on study materials and some excellent tips for studying for the DAT.

AHugeDeadWhale DAT Breakdown

BIO: 19
PAT: 21
Reading: 22
QR: 21
AA: 21

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this forum for their help and tips. Definitely couldn't have done it without you guys. If anything, your posting of 21+ scores scared me into studying hard lol.

I took a Kaplan online course and used their online tests as my practice tests. I had never gotten higher than 17 on Science on any of the Kaplan tests (I think they are supposed to be fairly easy). I don't know what magically happened on Test Day, but somehow I pulled it off. I didn't do a single full-length test for the 3 weeks leading up to the test (idk why lol) so maybe something clicked for me in that time?

Bio: Cliff's, Kaplan, DAT Destroyer. Bio is my weakest subject, as you can see. Everything was pretty straightforward on the test but like other people have said, it was really random. There were a couple that I just had no idea about. When I read the first question, I was completely clueless and had to mark it. Thought to myself, "Well this isn't going to go well." I read through Cliff's once and Kaplan bio once. Then randomly in the weeks before Test Day I would just open up a random chapter and read it. I only went about halfway through DAT Destroyer Bio because honestly it was kicking my butt and I was getting really frustrated. I think it is overkill and the only helpful quality of it is that it gives you reality check on how much material there is to know. I don't remember much about Bio now, probably because I was so freaked out while taking it lol. I do remember I had several ecology and evolution questions and only one basic taxonomy question. I would say to expose yourself to as much material as possible and favor "breadth over depth" if you are short on study time.

GChem: Chad's and DAT Destroyer were enough for this section. I watched Chad's twice over the course of a few months. The first time through I took super detailed notes, but the second time I was sat back and watched and tried to pick up on things that I hadn't seen before. Again, Destroyer is a little much here. The math on this section of the test wasn't that bad at all, pretty straight forward. A lot of them were the "setup" type problems where you just pick the answer that has the right calculation setup. I probably made some stupid mistakes here.

OChem: Chad's and DAT Destroyer. Watched Chad's 2X. I didn't finish Destroyer for this either . I'm also retaking Organic I right now in the summer so I think that really helped out a lot. The test was definitely heavier on Organic I material, so pretty basic reactions. There were I think 3 or 4 EAS reactions as well. I used to hate organic chem but now I think I understand it (well, at least on a DAT level) and actually kind of like it. I finished the Sciences with about 10 minutes left and used that time to go over my marked problems.

PAT: Crack DAT PAT. Once you know how to approach each type of problem and have developed a strategy for solving it, CDP is all you really need. Kaplan PAT is too easy, don't use it. For example, I had been able to use line counting for TFE on Kaplan, but on the actual test most of the answer choices have the same number of lines and so I had to actually picture the shape in 3D. The difficulty level is about the same as CDP, which surprised me because I thought CDP was supposed to be harder. I had been getting 20-22 on CDP. I will say that angles on my actual test are FREAKING HARD. I wouldn't be surprise if everything I missed came from the angle section. They definitely don't care about lining up the angles for you at the same size and rotation. And even when they did, I still couldn't tell them apart. I just went with my "gut" on most of them. There were also a few (2 or 3) keyholes that were quite outrageous and I had to mark them and basically use an educated guess. Everything else was straightforward. Hole punching and Cubes were a little easier than CDP, I thought. I only had a max of 16 cubes to count, not bad at all. I finished with about 90 seconds left.

Reading: I did not prepare for this section at all. I had been getting 21 on the Kaplan practice tests and I wasn't sure how else to prepare for it. I actually spent 5 minutes of my break time deciding whether I was going to read the whole thing through or just go straight to the questions. I am not a good reader so I used the search and destroy method, which worked out for me. I hardly got any tone questions at all. Oh yeah, I got the ETHICS passage. I actually thought I got every question right on this whole section and I finished with 20 minutes left (wtf right?). SO maybe the Ethics passage tricked me or something, but I thought it was fairly easy, not nearly as hard as other people have said. Maybe I got a different Ethics passage?

QR: Math Destroyer. I am pretty good at math, or so I thought (5 on AP Calc BC, that is my claim to fame lol). I went through all of the Math Destroyer because it helped me gain some of my confidence back haha. Some people have said to go through it twice, with and without timing. I was pretty confident so I just put 45 minutes on my timer and dove straight in. The first few practice tests I only got through about 30-33 questions and getting a lot wrong. So I looked over the answers carefully, found out the "quicker" ways of doing those problems and brushed up on my equations and formulas. After Test 4 or so, I was able to finish an entire test basically right on time with getting only a few questions wrong. To be honest I was aiming to get everything right on this section, but that didn't work out I guess, LOL. I think my mistake was that I got caught up on one problem and I didn't want to give up so I wasted like 4 minutes on it. Then I had to rush through everything else half-assed. Poop. I finished the section with about 1 minute left.

Even though I think 21 AA is quite good, I don't think it will be enough to get me in during this cycle. I have 3.0 scGPA and 3.3 cumGPA with lots of volunteering. Still, I am applying to all the Texas schools (resident) and a few of the OOS friendly ones around the country to test the waters.

Thanks for reading and good luck to you all!

Thanks once again to "AHugeDeadWhale" for donating his DAT Breakdown! If you have a DAT Breakdown you would like to donate you can contact me vie e-mail at

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

DentalDAT: Give It Away #2

Give It Away!

Announcing DentalDAT's second "Give it Away". This is a chance for you to win CliffsNotes AP Biology book. This is an excellent resource for studying the biology section of the DAT. In fact, it is ranked #5 on DentalDAT's "The Hottest DAT Study Material 2011".

Product Breakdown
  • 275+ pages of easy to read biology outlines
  • Practice questions after each chapter
  • 2 Sample practice tests at the end of the book to test your biology knowledge
  • Best of all it follows the ADA biology outline very closely (Check out "Cliffs AP Biology: The Rave")

How To Win

Unfortunately, I am unable to give this book to everyone who visits DentalDAT. However, I will choose one lucky winner who will receive this book at no expense! Every student is allowed to enter their name up to one time. This is how you can enter your name for the drawing;

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Facebook: "Like" DentalDAT. The "Like" button can be found at the top left corner of, on the bottom toolbar of, or on Facebook at you already "Like" DentalDAT on Facebook please go to the page and "Share" it with your friends! Remember to fill out the form below and check the corresponding box in order to have your name entered.

The drawing will take place after the DentalDAT Facebook page has received 100+ likes or April 1, 2012 which ever comes first. Need the book soon? All the more incentive to get your friends to "Like" DentalDAT! 

I will notify the winner by e-mail and subsequently I will post the winner in the comments section of this post. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of the drawing. I will draw a second winner. 

Rules and Regulations

1. There is a limit of up to 1 entry per person.
2. In order to be considered an entry, each person must "Like" the DentalDAT Facebook page or make a status update suggesting their friends "Like" DentalDAT AND submit the above form.
3. This "Give It Away" is open to readers with US shipping addresses only.
4. Free Shipping to the WINNER! (remember US shipping address only!)
5. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the drawing or another winner will be chosen (no exceptions)
6. The item cannot be exchanged for another item or money.

Disclaimer: I plan on everything going smoothly and without a problem. However, in the off chance that I encounter an unexpected hiccup please be patient as I rectify the situation.

Any feedback can be posted in the comments section of this post. If you wish you may also e-mail me at for any suggestions or feedback.

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