vlct0ria

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2008
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Dental Student
Is it looked down upon to take a lighter course-load one semester to study for the DAT (if I take it end of April-early May)? I know dental schools are interested in the rigor of your schedule, so I'm a little worried about it...in my situation, as of now I'm scheduled for 16 hours in the spring, but I am considering dropping down to 12 (need to keep 12 to keep my scholarship) if I don't think it will really hurt me (I'm already ahead of schedule in my major, so I have no problem finishing my classes and graduating in time)...would dropping only 4 hours make a difference? My other thought was that I should study like crazy over winter break and through January, and take the DAT in Feb? Any opinions?
 

DrReo

"Thread Necromancer"
10+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2007
3,118
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Academic Administration
Is it looked down upon to take a lighter course-load one semester to study for the DAT (if I take it end of April-early May)? I know dental schools are interested in the rigor of your schedule, so I'm a little worried about it...in my situation, as of now I'm scheduled for 16 hours in the spring, but I am considering dropping down to 12 (need to keep 12 to keep my scholarship) if I don't think it will really hurt me (I'm already ahead of schedule in my major, so I have no problem finishing my classes and graduating in time)...would dropping only 4 hours make a difference? My other thought was that I should study like crazy over winter break and through January, and take the DAT in Feb? Any opinions?
Sounds good. As long as you're on track.
You can take it early, if you're ready.... If you don't do well, you can take it in spring. As long as you earn good marks in both!
 

Stephie3

10+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2008
387
1
Status
Pre-Dental
i took 13 hours the semester before the DAT, got a 20 AA on the dat, and got into four schools. study on into the summer and take it in early july if you have to. focus on nailing the DAT, b/c that is more important than one semester.
 
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Is it looked down upon to take a lighter course-load one semester to study for the DAT (if I take it end of April-early May)? I know dental schools are interested in the rigor of your schedule, so I'm a little worried about it...in my situation, as of now I'm scheduled for 16 hours in the spring, but I am considering dropping down to 12 (need to keep 12 to keep my scholarship) if I don't think it will really hurt me (I'm already ahead of schedule in my major, so I have no problem finishing my classes and graduating in time)...would dropping only 4 hours make a difference? My other thought was that I should study like crazy over winter break and through January, and take the DAT in Feb? Any opinions?
As long you aren't consistently down at the 12 credit range, you will be fine. If you were taking 12 every (or most) semester, schools may question if you can handle the stressors of a dental school course load which is more than double that. But if you are just doing it for this semester, you are just fine. If they ask at the interview why you took only 12 (which they won't ask), just tell them the truth. Most of the time I took 18-21 credits per semester, but two semesters I took 12 and 13 credits. Nothing was ever questioned of the minimal number of credits.
 

Doc Smile

senior member
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2008
833
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Dental Student
I am currently taking 21 credits and am studying for the DATS. this is my third semester and i am graduating two semester early. The good thing is that i am taking Microbiolgy, compartive vertabrate anatomy, organic chemistry, and two honors courses which, for the sciences at least, help study for the DAT.

my advice is for you to take as many classes as you can without letting your grades suffer. study over your breaks and when you dont have a lot to do. Or just join a fraternity so you can study all the time then go party at night :) thats how i handle the stress.

good luck
 

leoele

10+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2008
65
0
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Dental Student
IMHO, studying for the DAT is garbage. You should be reviewing stuff you already know, and brushing up on things you have forgotten. In addition, there isn't really all that much you can do to improve your scores in the reading and math sections. Just get your hands on as many practice exams as you possibly can, and use those to pinpoint the trouble areas. Give yourself a month, and call it good. Don't overdo it and psych yourself out. It happens! I have friends that did not get into dental school this cycle because they put off taking the DAT. The extra time they spent studying, cost them time and their applications have ended up at the bottom of the pile.
 

DrReo

"Thread Necromancer"
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Jun 29, 2007
3,118
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Academic Administration
To be honest, I wish I took a lighter load when I interviewed. I missed a lot of classes with a 20 credit load!
 

hoss19

half iron, half man
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 1, 2007
422
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Bawlmore
Status
Dental Student
I would recommend taking a lighter schedule IF you want to take the DATs early to give yourself another shot down the line if you bomb the test.

If i were to do it all over again, this would be my game plan:

During the spring semester: I would say it is best to organize and mobilize DAT study material, techniques, etc (ie buy destroyer, sign up for kaplan, find potential studymates). You can do this with a normal course load.

May15-25th: On the week aadsas comes out, shift your focus to completing the application for a week or so.

[Starting NOW, begin to think about your essay. Mine took over 20 drafts and a ton of people read it (but you need to give them time to give you feedback). overall, the process lasted about four weeks and this delayed my applicaiton submission until early july. still though i got 6 interviews before dec. 1 with a mediocre gpa and DATs (see predents)]

Late May - Mid July: Get to studying, for as much time is needed to ramp up for the DAT (for some of you this is less, for some of you it is more).

July: Take DATs

The rationale behind this is that there is ample time (6-8 weeks) before aadsas app gets to schools. So if you submit on or near may 25th your app arrives mid/late july. in the meantime during this period you have nothing to do but sit on on your hands (well, in terms of the application process at least). The DATs take 3-4 weeks to get to schools. Feasibly you could take DATs in early july and they may still get to the school before your app.

the only problem will this path is if you bomb the DATs after a mid july test date. you need to wait a full 90 days to re-take the exam. Thus you may have to wait until october for a retake if you follow this plan.

I hope this all is helpful.
 
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