The summer before my senior year of college was by far the busiest summer of my life. Not only was I studying to retake the DAT on August 8, I was also working 40 hours a week as a research assistant with my chemistry professor AND planning a wedding for July 21, 2012. Talk about busy.
Lets dive into my study strategy for the DAT round 2. A strict schedule was absolutely necessary to make everything fit into the day. I did research at my school from around 8am to 4:30pm. I went home, ate supper and was back up to our campus student center within an hour. I would study for two and a half to three ours and then hang out with my fiancée who had just gotten off work. It was a long day sometimes but it wasn’t too bad.
So what materials did I use?
First and foremost, as I mentioned in my previous post, Chad’s Videos were my number one go to resource for general chemistry and organic chemistry. Chad was pretty much my best friend for a good three months. He is a fantastic teacher and knows exactly what to focus on so you don’t get bogged down by unnecessary detail. Just to give you further proof of his magical powers, I used his videos for my first DAT attempt but did not focus or take studying very seriously so it’s basically like I didn’t use them. I scored a 16…yes a 16 on organic chemistry. Round 2, I buckled down and took full advantage of his videos, the review questions he gives and the concise notes he makes available to users. On my second attempt, I scored a 22 on organic chemistry. I’m not saying this to brag. Chad’s videos are just such an amazing resource, I don’t want anyone to miss out on them when studying for the DAT. It was the only resource I used for chemistry so my improvement can only be attributed to these videos.
I also used Chad’s math videos as well which are good place to start so you know what kind of questions are focused on. More practice is probably necessary beyond his videos for math, though. I didn’t get anymore practice and it showed in my math score.
As for biology, I used an AP study guide from a Campbell biology textbook. It was a general overview of everything that would be on the test. Campbell’s text is actually one used as a reference to make the DAT, can’t go wrong there. I have been looking for that specific review book online but haven’t found it to post a link. If I do, I will link it later. I have read a lot of good things about Cliff’s AP biology, I’m sure it is mostly the same material. I majored in biology for undergrad so I just read through that short review book once and called it good for that section. Chad’s Videos were in the process of posting biology videos which could be a good resource now that they are complete. Chad also works with a current dental student named Alan. Alan came out with Alan’s Notes which are a complete list of biology terms and their definitions. They are a great resource.
On the perceptual ability section, I was already pretty confident. I like those kind of puzzles and am pretty good at them. I ordered Crack the DAT PAT and did two of the ten or so practice tests.
The reading section I didn’t study for at all. I like reading and have good comprehension. I would recommend reading news articles on the computer to get used to reading long documents on a computer screen, although most of you are probably used to that already. Science articles that aren’t too dense would be good practice as well since the articles on the DAT are science oriented. My articles were not like research articles, though. They just talked about a science topic.
I studied every night except Sunday which I took off so I could have a break before starting the week again. I studied each section one at a time; I liked building on what I learned the previous day. Some people I know liked to bounce around, a couple days on bio then a few on gen chem. That’s not my style, but if that works for you, go for it.
I stuck to my routine all summer except for the week I took off for my wedding and honeymoon. We had a strict rule of no studying for that week which I was more than happy to comply with.
I had two weeks after my honeymoon before my test. I used the first to finish up some material I hadn’t covered yet and then reviewed everything on the last week. I also took old DAT tests released by the ADA. One is free the other costs $27. Click the “old DAT tests” link and scroll half way down the page to find these tests.
The day of the test, I felt prepared and ready to go, but still slightly nervous. After buckling down for the whole summer and treating Chad’s Videos as if it were a college course taking detailed notes and periodically reviewing them, I felt really confident coming out of the science section. That confidence more than likely helped on the rest of the test. I ended up with a 21 and was beyond ecstatic. It was a nice improvement from the 18 I got on my first try. If you want to know specifics about my scores in each section, message me and I will let you know.
I hope this break down gives you some ideas about resources! Remember to find what works for you and stick with it.
Good luck studying!