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Making It through the Dental Admissions Test
By Natalie Pezzenti
Dental admission test (DAT) - DAT test prep.  GradView.com offers an in-depth look at the DAT, including test prep advice and helpful resources. If you’ve made it through undergrad and you’re thinking about heading off to grad school, and more specifically dental school, then you’ll need to consider preparing for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and why you want to be a doctor that most people tend to dread.

Kyle Reynolds, a student at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, knows what the grueling process is like. After finishing his undergrad study at Miami University of Ohio with a major in zoology, Reynolds decided to put his nose to the books and began preparing himself for dentistry school—and taking the DAT, he says, was his biggest challenge.

Study, Study, and Study Some More

Reynolds says that his entire undergrad career was spent in preparation for a health professional school and in addition to joining clubs and organizations to him a competitive applicant, and getting the best grades and taking the required courses for dental school, he spent most of his time preparing for the DAT exam—totaling more than two months.

"I took the Kaplan DAT course, which was approximately two months long and extremely helpful. I then spent two weeks just preparing on my own, studying almost eight hours a day. Kaplan provided me with all kinds of practice tests, lesson books, practice questions, study guides, CDs, and a very detailed test textbook," he said. I also purchased a DAT CD from scholarware.com that had several full-length practice tests on it.

Mark Your Calendar

After applying for the test online, you will receive a letter in the mail giving you a phone number to call to schedule your date at a local testing center.

"The hardest part about finding a date to take the DAT was knowing when I was going to be ready.You can take the DAT on almost any day of the year, which is extremely nice.You just kind of have to guess when you are going to be ready, and then call and set a date.What is nice about that is that it gives you a goal to shoot for, so that motivates you to study and be prepared by a certain deadline instead of just putting your studying off," he said.

Squashing the Nerves

Despite preparing for months, it’s common to still feel anxious and jittery on the day of the test. However, if you prepare enough and use the right tools, you’ll hopefully feel like Reynolds did on test day: Nothing but confident. Reynolds said that the many full-length practice tests that he took really helped him to feel in his element, so timing and things on the test were not a problem because he had experienced them before.

Reynolds said that because he was so prepared for the test (a recommendation to anyone considering taking the DAT) there weren’t any surprises—he knew the format and the kinds of questions that were going to be asked when sat down to take it.

One key Reynolds highly suggests: Plan and study to only take the test ONCE. In addition to it simply becoming expensive to take several times, dental schools compare all your scores to see if you actually did better or not each time you take it.

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