Dat tips, (for the average test taker), CRACK the PAT, KAPLAN, ACHIEVER, TOP SCORE, DAT qvault, etc


Let's just face our fears
Mar 5, 2011
I think I stayed up countless nights after I graduated thinking, this test will make or break my hopes of getting into Dental school. I had convinced myself before even familiarizing myself with the material/ test that I could not compare to other test takers because of my bad memories of the SAT.

Well, I recently faced my fears and these are my tips on taking the test. My ultimate goal was to achieve an academic average of at least a 21, and take it once. My science GPA was low, and so I really needed a higher than average science score. I achieved these goals surprisingly, and I want to give you the best information I can.
BEFORE you take the test please read my suggestions :


I graduated from my university a while ago and I kept telling myself that I will sign up for the test once I feel that I have studied enough. To some, this might seem like common sense, but it was not until my personal friend became worried for me/ a personal event that I payed and designated a date to take the test. YOU MUST DO THIS, ESP if you have GRADUATED b/c it costs a lot of money to reschedule and it will force you to stay organized. IT was one of the biggest things I had to deal with, and im not sure why it took so long. It cost me ten dollars to reschedule before 2 weeks, then 75 dollars 2 weeks to 1 week before, and then finally 100 dollars to change the date 1-7 days before the test. Pick a time that is around three months if you havent looked at anything, and 2.5 months if you have already started studying.


Try to stay positive, and confident. THIS WAS MY BIGGEST FAILURE. I kept coming onto this site comparing my abilities with others who kept posting scores that seemed impossible.


I regret immensely not taking my test during the summer before my senior year of college or the summer after my first year out of college. IT was a struggle to balance everything with the uncertain circumstances of life when you graduate. Student loans will come and it will diminish confidence and time. I wasted lots of time. I bought my practice material SO SEPARATED. BUY IT ALL TOGETHER. NOW. TODAY. THIS MOMENT. should take 3-4 MONTHS tops. YOU WIll forget if it's longer.

STep / TIp #4

Take practice exams in the beginning, middle, and esp towards the ends. Even if it is the second time around it is a really good helpful tool. make sure to use notecards. the big ones: not the small ones, nor the medium. the large ones are the best.


This is what you should do while studying:


GET CHAD's PREDAT videos. (my BEST INVESTMENT personally)

I found a coupon code online and for three weeks I got a set of videos for math, chem, organic chem, and biology (free). with lots of quizzes. Mainly I used his videos for chemistry and organic chemistry. I think if i used his videos without destroyer I would still have received a score above 21 in the chemistry/ organic sections. MORE than enough. FOR THREE WEEKS. it was my main study material. I think this was my favorite material because he was the teacher and he wasnt that soft on the students. he gave great tips on the tricky questions. I enjoyed him :) Also, once u purchase the course, you get printable handouts that I found really nice. YOu should definitley make notecards on the lectures and the quizzes for the chem and organic chem. THe large note 6x4. IT is worth the investment.


This pricey course probably would buy all your study material and more! It was really really expensive. and I FOLLOWED THE CROWD AND I REGRET IT SO MUCH. Personally, I think it could work along with the other materials, but You must take the test after you take the course. IF anything, chad's videos was way better. in terms of detail and challenge. I went through the course twice and never signed up for the test because they would make you feel horrible and not feel prepared. the lectures were not helpful and very few and very bulky. I kind of want my money back. Although, the instructors were really really nice. when i think back on it, I never used it while studying seriously for the test. it just doesn't mesh with a student who needs more confidence


Alrighty, So I was in a dental club and I read post after post on it. That if you can get thru it, over and over, then you will get an awesome score on the science chem/ general chem. Please listen to me. I went through that book I don't know how many times. I even made note cards. I even tried to memorize questions. IT was way overkill by the time I took the test. I would postpone my test because after watching chads videos i would say I need to go over that book again. every section. MY friend gave me the book and I felt like it was my onlyhope. IT MOST Definitley is not ur only hope. FIrst things first.

It is a good material. but I would not go through it more than once like i did. just do practice problems after watching chads videos if u dont feel confident. BUT really, it was not even that crazy slash slightly confusing on the real test. IT was really BASIC. and . . . You should focus on the basics. Not something crazy like DAT destroyer. IM not saying I regret the practice problems but it should not have been the deciding factor on whether i was ready to take the test or not. CHad's videos is way more than enough for the science chem/ gen chemistry.

IF you do get a chance to use this, make sure to go over the biology section and make note cards because it's so random and i think it will help. also, i think the math section was pretty good. so make notecards for those sections as well.

Crack the PAT

Is this essential. I think so. Reason: bc i think PAT is hard for me and I think it was a good tool to use if you are confused on this section. IT is challenging and what you make on the tests is quite similar to wht u make on the actual. I made a 20 on this section. And I think i could have taken a lot more tests and practiced a whole LOT more to get better. I think for the PAT, this is enough. esp, if u keep using it. I thought the cube counting was ridiculous for some odd reason, but the DAT had even harder ones. PPL practice this program every week. Just do it as a routine. I think I regret not taking this section a little more seriously by checking answers on top front end etc. ON the real DAT the KEY holes was a lot harder. I took forever on that section. . . and got a little scared. Also, the angles were easier for me on the real test, but then again thats just me. PRactice i guess? i gave up on the angles. although, I really should have taken more tests.

Just be aware that it is sooo annnoying about how u use the program. it really should be more like top score or dat achiever. ugh. ugh. but still. guys. you got to get it.


Math is my worst subject. I kept scoring super low on my tests bc im just not good at sat kind of algebra math. it is alot about being fast at calculating which I AM NOT PPL. Although, i made all A's in university math classes, it was just not good. IT was a flash back of the SAT math where it's a lot about being good at mental math. which I am so not.

Math destoyer was expensive as heck. I did three tests and after taking the dat, I dont think it was worth it. Just for me. On my practice tests I kept getting a 18, and wound up getting a 19. So, I think what I did was use the practice test math. THat was more than enough and the dat destroyer math. I could have studied a lot more question types. esp. the permutation, combination crap. . . but i never did ppl and i was so over that part by the time i took that test. CHAD Explains those concepts pretty well.

So this resource was not, what i would recommend. it was way tooo hard and it wasnt reasonable. USE practice exams for the math sections because they are accurate. There was trig, there was basic money problems, and the ones i got wrong were the interesting word problems that I didnt much get in the practice exam math sections as well. So, guys, utilize the practice exams!

THis is someone who has bad mental math. . .. so I was really happy with my 19 lol. it could have been much better if i made notecards and made question types etc. but the dat math destoyer. no good. i want my money back :(


This was a really good source for me, and I think it gives a thorough description on biology basics. I think this is the one science section that I think needs to be studied in great variety. THis is the initial resource, and it needs to be supplemented with other material. Personally, i took notes from the campbell book, and I even used the biology notes that were posted on predds.net. I will be honest and say that i thought, this section would be the easiest, but it turned out to be my hardest. Mainly bc i thought i should passively study biology, and activily study chemistry. You have to study biology weekly and activiley if you want a high score. I got a 20 in the biology section, and i think if I studied harder for biology, then it would have been easier. just study the vast material out there. Ur practice tests should show u a lot of variety and should show ur weaknesses in biology, make sure to utilize that tool. I wish I had studied biology more than just this ap book, bc there is a lot more out there.

also, I went to UCLA, and I never had the chance to take an anatomy and physiology course. I think that would have really really helped in my test. This section was challenging for me.

DAT qVAULT biology-
I enjoyed this resource. because I think it was quite similar to the test I took on the real dat. It was very broad, and the biology section was really broad. I only wish I didnt use this program passively. U HAVE TO activily study from it. take the questions, do some research and study. be focused. I regret not taking all the tests and making note cards. PPL TAKe the TESTS AND ACTIVLEY study notecards. i believe this resource was 50 dollars. There were seven tests

19/21/22/17/19/20/ never took the last one. As you can see, right at test number four i started to slip. reason was because i stopped studying biology for a while to focus on chem. I highly suggest not doing that! do not. you need to constantly keep up with biology. it's not like chem or organic chem on the test. it's not basic on the exam. there are basic questions, but here are some weird ones that I thought were evenly grammatically incorrect.
if you see my last three tests, it is a good indicator of what I got on the actual. I think it was a good material that ppl tend to not talk about.

Telybilly YOUTUBE videos:

He listed his resources and supplements and scores. I think it would build confidence and focus watching his videos. He told in one video that he used High Yield Organic, and destroyer. I personally think after going through high yield, that it was too much if u had destroyer and chads videos for chem. again, i think Chad's videos are sufficient for chem/ organic chem.



Ok, I thought throughout, maybe ill just wait to finish studying to try the practice tests. I took kaplan and it was really scarring to go through whole process of looking at such bad scores. BUT really, you need to take one test from each in the beginning of ur studies. JUST ONE bc u need to save the last four for other days. MAKE NOTE CARDS, and FAmiliarize urself with strategies you might use slash the timing.

I believe out of all the practice tests. this was the best overall resource in terms of what was reasonable to see on the tests. IT was way harder for the chemistry sections/ and probably a little easier for the critical reading parts. When i mean harder, i mean, the same type of questions just, maybe you have to read a little/ they wont be the heading of the paragraph like in TOPSCORE. Regardless, What you get on Top Score, I think is a reasonable estimate of what you will actually achieve. IT was harder though in the sciences, to be quite honest.

Test#3 ( i took that first)
3 Biology 19
3 Chemistry 20
3 Organic Chemistry 23
3 Total Science 20
3 Perceptual Ability 21
3 Reading Comprehension 21
3 Quantitative Reasoning 20
3 Academic Average 20

Test #1 took this second

1 Biology 21
1 Chemistry 19
1 Organic Chemistry 21
1 Total Science 21
1 Perceptual Ability 21
1 Reading Comprehension 22
1 Quantitative Reasoning 21
1 Academic Average 20

Never took test #2

My actual scores

Biology 20
Chemistry 24
Organic Chemistry 25
Total Science 22
Perceptual Ability 20
Reading Comprehension 19
Quantitative reasoning 19
Academic Average 21

I thought DAT achiever was a lot a lot harder than the actual exam. IN addition, i thought that it was a great resource to use to get ur timing down and to see a harder test overall. I guess one of the DATachiever tests would be worse case scenarios if it were ur actual science sections/ reading comprehensions/ perceptual ability.
In terms of quantitative reasoning, i thought this was the best in terms of the types of questions u will see on the actual exam. Make notecards and study them. It was a good test to take before u go in. JUst DO NOT reschedule if you did LOW bc it is a LOT harder in terms of chemistry/ organic chemistry/ reading comprehension/ perceptual ability. The perceptual ability was a good program bc it had harder key holes. So if i could go back and really practice. I would have done some more key hole questions. It probably would have helped. THe chemistry sections were good bc it was fair to what u were studying. BUt on the real test, it was a lot more basic. So, as you can see by the last test, i scored the lowest i have ever scored on a practice and i felt depressed. BUt coming out of the actual test, i scored high overall. so keep the faith.

Test #1
biology 21
chemistry 19
organic chemistry 20
Total science 20
perception ability 17
reading comprehension 15
quantitative reasoning 17
academic average 18

Test #2
biology 19
chemistry 17
organic chemistry 18
Total science 19
perception ability 18
reading comprehension 17
quantitative reasoning 18
academic average 18

Test #3

biology 16
chemistry 15
organic chemistry 18
Total science 17
perception ability 16
reading comprehension 15
quantitative reasoning 19
academic average 17

My actual scores

Biology 20
Chemistry 24
Organic Chemistry 25
Total Science 22
Perceptual Ability 20
Reading Comprehension 19
Quantitative reasoning 19
Academic Average 21


Thoughts after taking the test:

#1 It was a good idea to take the practice tests with ear plugs and the whole way through. You can bring in ur own foam squishy ear plugs, and make sure to pack ur lunch. Also, the test is done with a laminated sheet that you can make. use a marker that doesnt erase bc when u sign up for the test, it tells you that the marker will not erase. Practice using the overhead projector markers. I wish i had used it more.

#2 I think chads videos was way more than enough for the chemistry section. it was quite basic.

#3 actively study biology. keep reviewing and quizzing urself. make sure not to rely on the practice tests to represent what you know. the material is broad. make sure to tackle both easy and hard concepts. try to go over sections like development, and cell biology. the main themes of biology. I also studied a lot of plants and i thought that was unfortunate i didnt see a plant question. i took way too many notes for that. I wish i would have read through cambells briefly and watched more youtube videos. I thought this section on the test was either easy and straight forward/ really confusing and worded badly.

#5 Practice perceptual ability as hard as the sciences. It needs practice to do well on. I really rushed it for perceptual ability and wished i spent more time on subjects like top front end and cube counting. overall, what you usually get on crack the dat is comparable of what you will get on the actual test.

#6 Make sure to practice the reading comprehension on dat destroyer and top score. IT was a mixture of the two. definitly more like top scores, but not as easy to locate. Loooking back on the passages. this was the hardest section overall for me. I had no resource to practice and have always felt that i was hooked on phonics after reading a practice passage. I felt that the passages i got had science background that you could have known to help you answer some of the questions. in addition, the passages are shorter than dat destroyer but as long as top score. The wording is not difficult, nor was it impossible. it was harder than top score though for sure. Therefore, i would probably take time to read the whole passage bc i just did search and destroy and. . .. found that ineffective on my last passage. So i would try reading through as fast as you can possibly? and taking notes? im not sure, i never mastered this section.

#7 for math, take time to learn trig and triangles. also, take time to look at algebra questions. theres a lot of videos and material outthere. I even peeped into a gre math book. I think it could all help with this section. BUT MOST OF ALL. I know they tell you not to use a calculator on the math section, BUT YOU CAN USE the keyboard number part for the calculator on the test. it didnt work on the practice tests, but it does work on the actual test. I suck at mental math so i relied on my calculator for big calculations lol.

#8 make sure to do something else other than study and feel like the world is ending. I found it a lot better to talk to someone who has patience to listen to how bad you may feel about the tests. Also, they could help keep you accountable on the time you have left on practicing/ studying for the test. it is good to go on a journey with a close friend. I did, and i believe she helped me a lot, by encouraging me. If god wants you to be a dentist, he will let you know.

All in all, I want to let ppl know. that i am not above average in any way. I studied chads videos and quizzes, used the ap bio book, took the two practice programs, and did crack the dat. I feel that it can be done in two months or more. Just make sure to sign up for the test, do the practice exams, and just keep believing that you will do ok. For the critical reading, itis easier on the real exam. for the sciences, just watch chads, for the quantitative reasoning practice ur timing, for the perceptual do crack the pat. you will do fine. If ur like me and lack in the reading and math, then you probably should look for more tips. i didnt do so hot on those sections. but i met my personal goal.

I just wanted a 21 or higher and i achieved that. Thank GOD. it might not be high compared to everyone else on this forum, but it was enough for me. personally.

I took this test on 12/18/2013
and they dont give percentages anymore. I was looking for it all over my sheet they gave back, but i read a post and it said they dont do percentages anymore. maybe they were unrealistic to begin with. another reason to just take the freakn test. Dont focus on this website when it comes to comparing ur scores to others. there are obviously crazy geniuses on this site.
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5+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2013
Dental Student
Congrats on your scores and hard work! And thank you for the post, needed some motivation right now :)


2+ Year Member
Dec 23, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to break down the different study materials!