“Lucky Tangerine” is a student who had an amazing performance on the DAT. He received an astounding 26 academic average, 28 total science, and 30 perceptual ability all of which are in the 100 percentile range! “Lucky Tangerine” was already gracious enough to write a detailed breakdown of his DAT experience.
In addition to his breakdown, I had a few other questions for him which I thought would be valuable to the pre-dental community. Please enjoy the responses and let us know what you think in the comments section!
1. How many months did you study for?
I set aside my entire summer to study for the DAT, so it was about 3 months. I knew that was more than enough time to prepare for the DAT so I took many days off to relax, hang out with friends, and go out.
2. What was your study schedule like?
During my review phase, which was from mid-June to end of July, I believe I studied at most 8 hours a day if I was feeling productive. Most days I would probably average around 6 hours of studying time. I usually took Fridays off, or if I did study on Friday, then it would just be for an hour or two.
Three weeks up until my test day, I kicked my studying into overdrive. I studied every day of the week for about 9 hours. I remember each of those days was a daily routine for me. All I basically did was wake up, workout, eat, study, eat, study, eat, study, browse SDN, and then sleep. During Friday nights, however, I hung out with my best friend just to get outside and give my brain a break from studying
3. Were you able to still have fun while studying for the DAT?
Of course! If I studied every single day of those three months I dedicated for DAT studying, I would go crazy.
During my review phase, I had a lot of free time during my days since all I was doing was reading through my Kaplan book+highlighting, Cliffs AP Bio+highlighting, or watching Chad’s videos+taking notes.
4th of July weekend I had a few friends come down to visit so I essentially took the entire weekend off to go to the beach and stuff. I also ran a 5k on 4th of July back in my hometown.
Every Friday during the month of July, I watched a movie at the theaters with my roommate. It definitely helped to get my mind off of studying.
I also did a mud run during July as well. I did that with a group of friends and that was definitely fun!
I took one weekend off to go down to Ensenada for a humanitarian trip. I volunteered during the day and lived it up during the nights. It served as a mini-vacation for me.
I also went go-carting with my best friend one of the Friday nights leading up till test day. This was a huge stress reliever honestly. Who knew go-karts could be so fun?
All throughout the three months, I went to the pubs to enjoy a beer or hit up some happy hour specials just to be out of the apartment and away from studying. I did this maybe like once a week and I usually used these moments to see a few friends who were available at the time to refrain from being antisocial.
I definitely worked as much as I can. I would usually go out for a run or lift some weights here and there. I felt that I have to keep myself physically fit in order to keep up with the excessive studying. And, of course, sitting all day studying is definitely not good for my health so trying to stay active is essential for the mind and body.
Overall, it seemed like I did a lot, but that’s because I set aside more than enough time for myself to study for the DAT (3 months). I knew I wouldn’t be able to study consistently every day, so 3 months gave me plenty of days to relax and to have some fun. Of course, if I was going to take a day off from studying, then I would make the most of it!
4. Can you give some of the details of your schedule for the day before and day of the DAT?
The day before I went to grab some Chick Fil A with a couple friends since, at the time, Chick Fil A was having a promotion to enjoy a free breakfast entree. Afterward, I stopped by a Target to buy Cliff bars and Gatorade for my break during the DAT. My friends and I also went to the mall afterward just to walk around and talk about things to do the following week before summer was about to end for most of us. During this entire time, I had completely forgotten that I was going to take the DAT. It wasn’t even on my mind at all! I definitely encourage others to relax and go hangout the day before the DAT.
I got home around mid-afternoon so I just skimmed through Alan’s Bio Notes with the supplemental notes I added on while studying. I enjoyed a salmon for dinner and looked through Road Maps for O-chem. I tried sleeping early but my sleep schedule at the time wouldn’t let me sleep until 3AM (fortunately, my DAT was scheduled at 12:30 the following day.So I just watched random YouTube videos until I felt tired.
I woke up around 9AM. Worked out for half an hour. Watched three episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air while eating breakfast. Afterward, I showered and got ready. I left for my test center at 12 and arrived there about 20 minutes before my appointment. It took a while to sign in since a lot of people were coming in to take their GREs I believe. I entered the testing room around 12:34 and it was showtime!
5. If you could do one thing different what would it be?
Not take the Kaplan course. It’s not worth the money honestly. The class wasn’t very helpful since the teacher just regurgitated basic information that we already reviewed from the Kaplan book (available here). My teacher also kept rushing through the lessons making a lot of mistakes while trying to explain stuff. The online materials were good, though, but I’m sure the other studying materials I had would’ve been sufficient.