DAT Experience after two Attempts with Bootcamp and Booster

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New Member
Apr 15, 2024
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Hey everyone! Hope the studying endeavors are going well! I recently took the DAT for the second time and wanted to share my experience in the hopes of helping anyone who might be struggling with the daunting process that is the DAT. A little background on myself. I graduated after the fall semester of 2022 with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry and had a cumulative gpa of ~3.5. It was not until after graduating that I decided I wanted to pursue dentistry so preparing for the DAT was entirely new to me.

First Attempt

Study Timeline
Started studying around the end of April 2023 and was set to take the DAT towards the end of July 2023. This gave me about 2.5 months to study which seemed to be a pretty standard timeframe for many who had taken the test. Additionally, I was working part time while preparing.

Study Materials and Method
After some personal research I decided to use DAT Bootcamp. It had very positive reviews and was acknowledged for its informative Ochem video lessons (This was a major attraction for me since Ochem was not my strongest subject). This was the only study material I truly utilized. I tried to follow the study guide schedule that was provided, but found that the amount of material I was supposed to cover could often be overwhelming. I typically watched the video lessons and answered several practice questions for each subject. Additionally, I completed the first 5 practice tests by section and the last 5 as full length tests. Although I did not do everything assigned on the study guide, I still spent around 5+ hours studying daily. Throughout this process my average test scores were around an 18 but I was hoping to really show up on test day.

PAT - 18
QR - 19
RC - 25
BIO - 17
GC - 17
OC - 14
TS - 16
AA - 18

Welp. Not quite the results that I wanted. I was totally bummed out. I had just spent over 2 months studying and didn’t come close to the score I thought I could get. Although an 18 is about average, I knew it wouldn’t be very competitive at the schools I wanted to go to. It really made me question whether I was smart enough to pursue this field.

Second Attempt

Study Timeline
Started studying in early January 2024 and set the test date for the first week of April 2024. This gave me about 3 full months to prepare. Additionally, I was taking graduate courses and working part time while preparing.

Study Materials and Methods
This time around I decided to use DAT Booster. It had just received some major updates and was more affordable for me at the time. Additionally it had the higher score guarantee which was also a plus. I decided to use the 12-week study guide that they provided. This time I was sure to complete every task that was assigned for each day. This included watching videos, reading the study notes, and answering all question banks. Additionally, I took the full length practice tests each time to get familiar with sitting for over 4 hours. Getting closer to the test date. I really focused on the areas I was weak at. I took more handwritten notes, made ochem flashcards, did a lot more practice problems, and even made quizlets to help me review. On average I spent about 5-6 hrs a day studying. Nonetheless, my average test scores on the practice tests were around a 19 so I did not expect to improve too much.

PAT - 22
QR - 23
RC - 20
BIO - 21
GC - 21
OC - 18
TS - 20
AA - 21

Post test
I honestly can’t express how rewarding it was to see those numbers. It made those long, difficult, and often frustrating days totally worth it. I definitely felt that I was more prepared this time around and my hard work paid off.

My takeaways
I certainly studied the first time I took the DAT, however I must admit that I was not nearly as committed as I was the second time. I went on several trips and allowed myself to be lazy or skip certain materials when I knew that I shouldn’t. The second time around I made sure to stay disciplined and study more effectively everyday. Furthermore, I liked the material found in DAT Booster more than DAT Bootcamp. Both are great programs, but Booster’s videos and written material was just more straightforward and easier to understand. Additionally, I found Booster’s practice tests to be much more difficult than the actual DAT which I believe contributed to my overall success the second time around.
My advise
The most important piece of advice I can give is to stay disciplined and focused when it comes to studying. For the 3 months that I studied for my second attempt I actually deleted social media and missed out on several social events in order to study. Although it was certainly a bummer missing out on stuff, I believe it was the biggest reason why my score improved. Next I recommend sticking to whichever schedule you choose. Following the schedule and completing all tasks assigned for each day helped me stay on track and gave me plenty of time to determine what areas I might need more work in. Additionally, do lots of practice problems. I did tons of practice problems to simply familiarize myself with questions that I might see on the test. Finally, try to do all full-length tests. Taking each full-length test definitely helped me become conditioned to the long, strenuous hours that you will face when it comes time to take the DAT. Being accustomed to sitting and focusing for that amount of time will certainly help you come test day.

Overall, I want everyone who is taking the DAT to remember that you are smart and capable! It is certainly a daunting test, but with the proper preparation and mindset you can definitely get the score you want! I hope this information helps and I wish you all the best of luck!


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