Oct 8, 2020
  1. Pre-Dental
Hi, everyone! I have included a TL;DR at the bottom if you wish to gloss over the detail.

To offer you a bit of a background on me in that it may influence your thought process, I am a former finance professional. I am fully licensed in finance (Series 7, 63, 65) with a distinguished six year career. After accomplishing some material objectives for my family, I am finally able to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a DDS.

I have just finished my third tri and going into my fourth. I have finished all of my sciences excluding genetics, which I plan to take next tri. I have a GPA of 3.92.

I have done HOURS of research online, but everyone is pulling in a hundred different ways, it feels like. Many DAT-focused websites were recommending that the #1 tool for DAT Prep is Kaplan, which I recently purchased their Self-Pace Plus study package. However, it appears that many folks here are recommending other tools.

I have taken the Kaplan Benchmark exam. I scored 14AA, 14 TS, 13 Bio, 14 Chem, 16 OChem, 16 RC, 13 QC, 12 PAT. I am not worried about this score too much. I didn't do any material review pre-exam. I also rushed through most questions since time was a huge challenge for me. I recognized almost all of my questions asked, but because I had not gone over them in some time, I had forgot the nuance and the detail. I feel like with some brushing up, I'll be okay.

With all of this said, I would love guidance. What tools are best for someone like me? There is no cost I will spare. I am dead-set on accomplishing a 26 on my DAT. I will be doing 8-10 days for the next two months to take my exam in December. My objective is to get into dental school by August 2021. Challenging, perhaps, but I think it can be done.

The reason I am aiming for a 26 is because I do not have the field experience of many or most of my competition. My background is fully Finance. Distinguished it may be, but that's finance and this is dental. I also would like to get into a specific dental school that's extremely competitive. It's critically important to me that I accomplish this 26.

Too long; didn't read summary:
Background: Finance exclusively
GPA: 3.92; Science GPA: 3.92
Kaplan Benchmark DAT Score: 14AA, 14 TS, 13 Bio, 14 Chem, 16 OChem, 16 RC, 13 QC, 12 PAT
Initial Challenges: Time kicked my butt, material review, etc, across all categories
DAT Score Objective: 26
Reasoning for Score Objective: 1.) Wish to get into a specific dental school that I absolutely love
2.) Lack dental field experience; need this score to be competitive
Current DAT Study Program: Kaplan's Self Pace (One week into it)
Budget: Open
Hours available set to study: 8-10 hours a day with one day off a week
DAT Exam date: Early to Mid December

* What programs/material do you guys recommend that will help me accomplish my goal of 26AA?
* What do you guys think of the Kaplan material? Should I continue with it or discard it now since I do not have much time to begin with?

Show me the light, folks! Words couldn't express how grateful I would be for any guidance, advice, and recommendations.

Last edited:
Jan 5, 2020
  1. Pre-Dental
Currently going through this application season so take this advice however you see fit.

My first recommendation is plan more than 2 months to study if you want to get that score without risk. For some two months may be enough, but I think that is true for an exceedingly small portion of people. I understand this is challenging given your plan to get in this cycle.
Second tip would be to try and get more dental experience, regardless of getting a 26 or not I think dental experience is important (just some form of shadowing would be adequate).
It took me 3 months to get to a 20 on practice tests, and took another 3 to get to 26s/27s on practice tests. I have a breakdown (you can prob find via my profile) if you want to see what I did.

I have no idea about Kaplan but I haven't heard amazing things.

Best of luck!
Dec 18, 2019
  1. Pre-Dental
I recently took my DAT and tried to use the Kaplan blue book to study at first and did not really like it, the material was not all that relevant and I have heard that most of the material is just recycled MCAT material. I would personally recommend using DATBooster for mastering the DAT it helped me score a 25 and if you need even more practice I would recommend using DATDestroyer as it will give you lots of higher-level questions. I also think that you do not need a 26 to get into dental school, work on your experience first, try to get some dental shadowing in, or maybe work as an assistant part-time but you really need the experience. I know you can do it, a 26 on the DAT is achievable but without a science background, you will have to up in a lot more work than most of the traditional students, so I would set aside closer to 4 months of full time studying to achieve that goal but you might be able to squeeze it into 2 or 3.
Apr 27, 2020
  1. Pre-Dental
Got a 25AA using Chads videos/CrackDAT to review, and Destroyer and CrackDAT to test myself.
Kaplan is not the way to go.

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