Tips for Preparing for the DAT

Students intending to apply to Dental School are typically required to take the DAT, Dental Admission Test. This test is administered by the American Dental Association.

Step one: Start early. Set aside regular review sessions for at least three months before you take the test, longer if you are uneasy with standardized tests. My advice is to schedule 30-45 minute time slots every day or so--do not wait for a longer amount of time to study. You will be more likely to make progress if you can put in shorter sessions more often.

Step two: Go to http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test

Familiarize yourself with all information provided about the DAT.

Step three: Study the sample questions provided for free. http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Education%20and%20Careers/Files/dat_test_sampleitems.ashx

I cannot overemphasize how helpful it is to study practice questions provided by the company that creates the test.

My advice is to work through the problems, one-by-one, untimed. Look up the answers right away. If you get a question wrong, study to make sense of why the right answer is the right answer. If you aren't sure, you can often google for more information, even the occasional you tube video, that may help you make sense of it.

Step four: Consider purchasing and taking the practice test they offer (a link is available towards the bottom of this page: http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test). It might make sense to study for the practice test as if you were studying for the real test, then see how you do. If you do well, you are ready. If not, you may need further preparation.

Step five: If you feel you need more support than this individual review, a few resources may help:

1. The Writing Center www.writingcenter.appstate.edu

They can provide feedback on practice essays and sentence corrections.

2. The drop-in math lab. Find out more here.

The above services are free to Appalachian students. You may also find it helpful to create a study group with others who plan to take this test, or to ask professors or other students to find out what approach to review helped them the most. You also should find out what score you need to be competitive on the test. That may give you a sense of how much effort will be needed to do well.