JPSmyth

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I am a senior in college, a bio major with a 3.9+ GPA and research experience. I have been rethinking whether I should continue pursuing medicine, or going down the dental route. I wanted to ask SDN about it since you guys seem to have insight about everything.

Here are my pros and cons of medicine that I've thought of:
Cons:
Longer hours than dent (because I likely won't match into a very competitive lifestyle residency)
3-4 year residency where you are worked like a dog
Out of residency you can still end up working long hours + call
High stress? This doesn't really bother me though

Pros:
I personally think that medicine is cooler/more interesting than dentistry
More job satisfaction as a physician for me
I can try to go into a lower hour specialty like PM&R that isn't extremely competitive and not work too many hours a week
I've already shadowed hundreds of hours in different medical fields, and done a bunch of pre-med stuff for my resume

My reasons for considering dentistry:
You can work less hours per week (give yourself 4 day work weeks with no call)
Good salary
More freedom with owning your own practice
Very short "residency" period
DAT may be easier than the MCAT from what I've heard

I think that the only thing that I would have to do to shift my focus to dent would be to shadow a dentist for >40 hrs, rewrite my PS, and study for the DAT instead of the MCAT.

What are your guys thoughts on this? has anybody else on here experienced similar feelings? I will likely stick with medicine, but dentistry definitely sounds tempting.
Thank you for any input!
 

NotASerialKiller

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Pros:
I've already shadowed hundreds of hours in different medical fields, and done a bunch of pre-med stuff for my resume
You have your answer right there. You're pot committed, have to go through with it at this point.
 

Doudline

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You do not have a single reason to choose dentistry except lifestyle? The days are long, when you work 40h/week doing something you do not like. Very long.

If medicine is what makes you come alive, then go do that. It won't necessarily be all doves and rainbows and lazying in bed every morning, but passion and enjoyment is a much better vector of happiness than money is, imo. And there are specialties out there -competitive and uncompetitive alike- to provide you with a very decent lifestyle. Training is tough, but many have come before you and succeeded.

Good luck anyway!
 

shapley

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The DAT has a section that is difficult to study for if you've never been exposed to it prior but is still overall a bit easier (anecdotally from my friends who have taken both DAT and MCAT).

Dentistry although the lifestyle may seem awesome, is becoming more and more competitive, and a lot of it is about running a successful business nowadays, including location and having your own patients. It's a little worst than a doctor having to run their own practice (While common) is falling out favor because of the extra work it requires.
 
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I am a senior in college, a bio major with a 3.9+ GPA and research experience. I have been rethinking whether I should continue pursuing medicine, or going down the dental route. I wanted to ask SDN about it since you guys seem to have insight about everything.

Here are my pros and cons of medicine that I've thought of:
Cons:
Longer hours than dent (because I likely won't match into a very competitive lifestyle residency)
3-4 year residency where you are worked like a dog
Out of residency you can still end up working long hours + call
High stress? This doesn't really bother me though

Pros:
I personally think that medicine is cooler/more interesting than dentistry
More job satisfaction as a physician for me
I can try to go into a lower hour specialty like PM&R that isn't extremely competitive and not work too many hours a week
I've already shadowed hundreds of hours in different medical fields, and done a bunch of pre-med stuff for my resume

My reasons for considering dentistry:
You can work less hours per week (give yourself 4 day work weeks with no call)
Good salary
More freedom with owning your own practice
Very short "residency" period
DAT may be easier than the MCAT from what I've heard

I think that the only thing that I would have to do to shift my focus to dent would be to shadow a dentist for >40 hrs, rewrite my PS, and study for the DAT instead of the MCAT.

What are your guys thoughts on this? has anybody else on here experienced similar feelings? I will likely stick with medicine, but dentistry definitely sounds tempting.
Thank you for any input!
If you are daunted by a doctor's lifestyle, then go to Dentistry.
 

PugsAndHugs

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The DAT has a section that is difficult to study for if you've never been exposed to it prior but is still overall a bit easier (anecdotally from my friends who have taken both DAT and MCAT).

Dentistry although the lifestyle may seem awesome, is becoming more and more competitive, and a lot of it is about running a successful business nowadays, including location and having your own patients. It's a little worst than a doctor having to run their own practice (While common) is falling out favor because of the extra work it requires.
The DAT is a LOT easier than the MCAT. There is no comparison (I have taken both.)
The days are long, when you work 40h/week doing something you do not like. Very long.
This is VERY true. Shadow a dentist and decide if you can see yourself doing this for the rest of your life.
 

Goro

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Dentistry
 
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I would say dentistry, I heard med school is hard.
 

Goro

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GypsyHummus

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Ive been debating the same thing for about 3 years. Honestly, if you find more satisfaction in medicine, do that.
 

fancymylotus

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The DAT has a section that is difficult to study for if you've never been exposed to it prior but is still overall a bit easier (anecdotally from my friends who have taken both DAT and MCAT).

Dentistry although the lifestyle may seem awesome, is becoming more and more competitive, and a lot of it is about running a successful business nowadays, including location and having your own patients. It's a little worst than a doctor having to run their own practice (While common) is falling out favor because of the extra work it requires.


I am seriously debating getting an MBA for this very reason. And bc I like adding letters to the end of my name. Or something.
 

Gandyy

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The DAT has a section that is difficult to study for if you've never been exposed to it prior but is still overall a bit easier (anecdotally from my friends who have taken both DAT and MCAT).

Dentistry although the lifestyle may seem awesome, is becoming more and more competitive, and a lot of it is about running a successful business nowadays, including location and having your own patients. It's a little worst than a doctor having to run their own practice (While common) is falling out favor because of the extra work it requires.
@PugsAndHugs Speaks the Truth.

Yea here is the difficulty levels of the health professions Graduate Level Exams: Disclaimer: This is very rough estimate.

MCAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PCAT>>>>GRE.


Source: I've taken the MCAT, DAT and PCAT.

DAT was an official practice test. Didnt study for the PCAT, still made a 88 percent.

Studied for the MCAT for 3.5 months. Did much worse than both of those tests.

GRE... well... I havent taken the GRE.. but its.. the GRE.
 

GypsyHummus

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@PugsAndHugs Speaks the Truth.

Yea here is the difficulty levels of the health professions Graduate Level Exams: Disclaimer: This is very rough estimate.

MCAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>DAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PCAT>>>>GRE.


Source: I've taken the MCAT, DAT and PCAT.

DAT was an official practice test. Didnt study for the PCAT, still made a 88 percent.

Studied for the MCAT for 3.5 months. Did much worse than both of those tests.

GRE... well... I havent taken the GRE.. but its.. the GRE.
Lol PCAT.

Have you taken the OAT?
 

Cpt Ahab

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I've been debating this in my head as well. All I can say is try to do some more dentist shadowing and make your decision. You might end up being a bigger fish in a small pond if you do pursue dental school.

Personally, I've done extensive shadowing, and I know I want to be in a hospital setting for at least some portion of my week.

As a scribe I really like each ER. The typical patient is more less a puzzle and physicians solve it by asking questions, running relevant tests, etc.
I also like how ER procedures cross most specialties - you can reduce dislocations and fractures, suture, do spinal taps, remove foreign bodies (from eyes and butts!), intubate, and save lives in general. We also see a lot of Fx'ed teeth and dental caries, so theres that too.

I know I'll learn more once I'm MSIII and on my rotations/clerkships. Maybe I'll come to like something even more :)
 

futuremdforme

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Shadow a dentist. What if you hate dentistry? Even if the hours are short, they'll feel long if you hate it.
 

LabrattoRx

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I don't think the DAT is that much greater than PCAT in difficulty. IMHO the perceptual ability on the DAT is similar to Logic Games on LSAT in that once you "figure it out", you'll essentially score high on that part. The sciences are not that much more intense, and PCAT's math, is advanced.

I don't think the above poster (who claims to have taken all 3) is accurate since all PCAT practice exams administered via Pearson give you a "range" and not an official score. No way to identify an 88th% score. The MCAT is the hardest due to sheer endurance, and yes, more material, the DAT is also harder, but a respectable score on any of the 3 is good.

MCAT (10/10 difficulty)
DAT (7.5/10)
PCAT (6.5/10)
GRE (5.4)

My rough estimate.
 

GypsyHummus

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I don't think the DAT is that much greater than PCAT in difficulty. IMHO the perceptual ability on the DAT is similar to Logic Games on LSAT in that once you "figure it out", you'll essentially score high on that part. The sciences are not that much more intense, and PCAT's math, is advanced.

I don't think the above poster (who claims to have taken all 3) is accurate since all PCAT practice exams administered via Pearson give you a "range" and not an official score. No way to identify an 88th% score. The MCAT is the hardest due to sheer endurance, and yes, more material, the DAT is also harder, but a respectable score on any of the 3 is good.

MCAT (10/10 difficulty)
DAT (7.5/10)
PCAT (6.5/10)
GRE (5.4)

My rough estimate.
I have heard the PCAT is a joke. That there is an actual fill in the blank sentence portion. I mean really, what the ______.
 
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LabrattoRx

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I have heard the PCAT is a joke. That there is an actual fill in the blank sentence portion. I mean really, what the ______.
There are fill in the_____ but on the _____ there are 2, as opposed to only one on the _____. The PCAT is easier than both, but like I said the Percept Ability is easy to master. The Kaplan instructors simultaneously teach both the DAT and PCAT for the sciences as well. I'm not dogging anyone, just offering my opinion.

The math on the PCAT is challenging. And it is still 4h sitting for the exam. In comparison to the MCAT it may be a weak test, but don't forget now, the MCAT has a psychology and sociology section, and just a few years back, it was much shorter. The mcat is hard, but not impossible.
 

LabrattoRx

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I wanted to pursue dentistry myself until I saw the "soft" tissue, right above the nerve ending of a tooth. Something happened, just looking at that "soft tissue" was hard to stomach for me. I wanted vomit, and I've worked in blood and other intense labs. Just that "soft" tissue caught me totally off guard and I wanted to punch somebody.

all work an no play makes jack a dull boy
 

Gandyy

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I don't think the DAT is that much greater than PCAT in difficulty. IMHO the perceptual ability on the DAT is similar to Logic Games on LSAT in that once you "figure it out", you'll essentially score high on that part. The sciences are not that much more intense, and PCAT's math, is advanced.

I don't think the above poster (who claims to have taken all 3) is accurate since all PCAT practice exams administered via Pearson give you a "range" and not an official score. No way to identify an 88th% score. The MCAT is the hardest due to sheer endurance, and yes, more material, the DAT is also harder, but a respectable score on any of the 3 is good.

MCAT (10/10 difficulty)
DAT (7.5/10)
PCAT (6.5/10)
GRE (5.4)

My rough estimate.
The PCAT is more like a 2.2
 

acetylmandarin

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You don't get to see naked people in dentistry.

Maybe you should go into maxillofacial surgery
 

LabrattoRx

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There are passages and tricks on the PCAT. For example, not to "boast", but I do recall on the previous PCAT, that the passages were all given at the beginning of the chem section of the test, followed by the short answer questions. On the computer, this could alter someone's test taking strategies and trip them up.

The vocab is more difficult than the GRE. Sorry, but just in my humble opinion, the DAT and MCAT are not 3-4 times more difficult than the PCAT. I do agree that the pcat is the easiest, but 3.5X more difficult? Like I said the Perceptual ability is easy to master. But to each their own. Perhaps my thinking is aberrant. Dentists do make significantly more money.
 

LabrattoRx

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And while I'm here, the GRE is catered to a broad spectrum of students, so I'm not so sure it's applicable here. There will be a larger pool of test takers, so it's not designed iwht the same mission in mind.

Just my 2 cents.
 

BreakneckWalrus

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I wanted to pursue dentistry myself until I saw the "soft" tissue, right above the nerve ending of a tooth. Something happened, just looking at that "soft tissue" was hard to stomach for me. I wanted vomit, and I've worked in blood and other intense labs. Just that "soft" tissue caught me totally off guard and I wanted to punch somebody.

all work an no play makes jack a dull boy
For me, it was saliva. Volunteered in a dental clinic for 2 semesters, orientation had a video that showed what it would look like if saliva were red... It was horrifying. Other people's saliva, all over the place. Ugh. Seriously had considered dentistry until that point. Those two semesters were invaluable.
 

Dr Tony T. Chopper

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Did you seriously just list a pro of being a physician as "its cool"?
 

Gandyy

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There are passages and tricks on the PCAT. For example, not to "boast", but I do recall on the previous PCAT, that the passages were all given at the beginning of the chem section of the test, followed by the short answer questions. On the computer, this could alter someone's test taking strategies and trip them up.

The vocab is more difficult than the GRE. Sorry, but just in my humble opinion, the DAT and MCAT are not 3-4 times more difficult than the PCAT. I do agree that the pcat is the easiest, but 3.5X more difficult? Like I said the Perceptual ability is easy to master. But to each their own. Perhaps my thinking is aberrant. Dentists do make significantly more money.
I guess it is everyone's opinion. I find that most of the PCAT's test questions are mainly regurgitation and there is not very much serious critical thinking involved which is what makes exams especially difficult. In my PERSONAL experience with both exams, I have found that the PCAT is not even in the same ballpark as the MCAT is. For what its worth, I spent no time studying for the PCAT and scored in the 80's, and spent 3.5 months studying for the MCAT and scored considerably lower percentile wise.

As for the practice test, I took one with a "overall composite range" of 78-98%

As for the DAT, the exam is tough overall to do well in. I've only taken a practice exam, and I thought it was much tougher than the PCAT. Plus dental school is pretty competitive as well so you have to do well. However, I think the DAT is still considerably easier than the MCAT.
 
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LabrattoRx

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I guess it is everyone's opinion. I find that most of the PCAT's test questions are mainly regurgitation and there is not very much serious critical thinking involved which is what makes exams especially difficult. In my PERSONAL experience with both exams, I have found that the PCAT is not even in the same ballpark as the MCAT is. For what its worth, I spent no time studying for the PCAT and scored in the 80's, and spent 3.5 months studying for the MCAT and scored considerably lower percentile wise.

As for the practice test, I took one with a "overall composite range" of 78-98%

As for the DAT, the exam is tough overall to do well in. I've only taken a practice exam, and I thought it was much tougher than the PCAT. Plus dental school is pretty competitive as well so you have to do well. However, I think the DAT is still considerably easier than the MCAT.
At the end of the day when you tally your final score, I don't the DAT will be as hard as what some may think. For instance, in comparison to the MCAT, there is no physics, and the sciences are lumped into one "natural sciences". The math and RC will be manageable (for you probably), my understanding is there will be little to no calculus on the DAT. And as I understand it, the Perceptual really is easy to master, and is a significant part of your score. I personally didn't choose dental b/c I have an unusual affinity to biochem and medicinal chemistry. Another factor is that the PCAT is the only exam of the three, which is limited in when you can take it. the MCAT and DAT you can take year around.

I'm just trying to defend the PCAT. I do agree that it is regurgitation, but it is much more than the GRE. Also, the math is more difficult than the GRE. Actually for the GRE, if you go over trig and some vocab, you should be fine. That's why I can't lump the PCAT with the GRE. After having taken both,

whatever your scale is..... then PCAT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>GRE.

Like I said, the MCAT is moving to add soft sciences, psychol and sociol. So the way I see it, it's like an advanced reading section. Thank you for your correspondence.
 
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Gandyy

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At the end of the day when you tally your score, I don't the DAT is as hard as what some may think. For instance, in comparison to the MCAT, there is no physics, and the sciences are lumped into one "natural sciences". The math and RC will be manageable (for you especially), my understanding is there will be little to no calculus on the DAT. And as I understand it, the Perceptual abil is easy to master, and is a significant part of your score. I personally didn't choose dental b/c I have an unusual affinity to biochem and medicinal chemistry. Another factor is that the PCAT is the only exam of the three, which is limited in when you can take it. the MCAT and DAT you can take year around. Plus, at my age, the tuition is a bitch for dental.

I'm just trying to defend the PCAT. I do agree that it is regurgitation, but it is much more than the GRE. Also, the math is more difficult than the GRE. Actually for the GRE, if you go over trig and some vocab, you should be fine. That's why I can't lump the PCAT with the GRE. But in your case, you seemed to be a bright student so you should probably pick the MCAT in the end.
haha, listen man I'm not that bright at all. I wish I was. If I was as bright as a lot of people here on SDN, it would have made my hellish route to gain admission to medical school a lot easier. I've already been admitted to several medical schools so I did take the MCAT route ;). I see your point of view though. The biggest determinant for me of how difficult an exam is... is the ratio of critical thinking/regurgitation on an exam. Out of all of them, I think PCAT has the most regurgitation. Thats all I'm saying. MCAT is a beast of a test with layers and layers of critical thinking involved based on tons of required knowledge to integrate with completely unfamiliar passages in a very strenuous timed setting. The timing of the PCAT is very lax compared to the MCAT as well.

You are probably right that we cannot lump the GRE with the PCAT. The PCAT is still a health professios graduate level exam and the GRE is just a test that is catered to the general population for grad school.
 

GrapesofRath

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I've taken both in my long path of trying to determine which field to pursue.

The DAT is a fact based test. The MCAT is an analysis based test. There is no comparison. I honestly had a harder time with the SAT than I did the DAT.
The reading section is where it is essentially apparent how much of a difference there is between the MCAT and DAT and which is more demanding.

People also don't like hearing this sometimes but the competition on the MCAT is clearly more competitive than the DAT: ie the people you need to beat out on the top of the bell curve are of higher quality.
 
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I have friends who shifted their path from medicine to dentistry because they found it more interesting and they love their lives right now.

Conversely, I have friends who shifted to dentistry because they though the lifestyle would be easier and they are completely miserable in dental school.

Lifestyle is important, but make sure that you enjoy learning about dentistry and that the practice of dentistry is something that you can see yourself doing. Both fields will have many pros and cons but ultimately the most important thing to consider is what will make you happy.
 

Conflagration

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PCAT math isn't bad if you understand the concepts of why calculus functions work like they do. There's certainly tricks you can learn for the trig and for the calculus, although it requires a certain aptitude (or, at least not a "let's plug and chug" attitude for the duration of the section).

The GRE was pretty easy. I scored 159V/161Q without studying on a Kaplan practice test(78th percentile/80th percentile), which, according to my friend seeking a PhD in Communications, was harder than the actual test. It's essentially the SAT for college grads.

I've tutored PCAT math. A lot of the issues I found was that there were a lot of people who don't remember their basic algebra. Without algebra (or at least some conceptual understanding), calculus is completely foreign and makes no sense at all. A lot of my work was reinforcing and teaching high school algebra so that we could work through the calculus in an intuitive fashion.

There weren't a lot of pre-dents that I knew where I used to go to school, but the math for the DAT appears to be less intense because of the lack of calculus. You'd still be screwed without algebra, but that could be said for any of the tests.
 

allantois

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Pre-med and med students are more than welcomed to endure more struggles in their training starting from the MCAT exam.

FYI, there are very few dentists who are absolutely fascinated with the teeth and who think that they are saving the world. Generally, dentists I met were good in school, liked working with their hands and wanted to have a job that pays well yet doesn't consume all of your life. I've never met a dentist who expected to derive all of their happiness and purpose in life from their work.
 

GypsyHummus

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FYI, there are very few dentists who are absolutely fascinated with the teeth and who think that they are saving the world. Generally, dentists I met were good in school, liked working with their hands and wanted to have a job that pays well yet doesn't consume all of your life. I've never met a dentist who expected to derive all of their happiness and purpose in life from their work.
quite the opposite with pre-meds. They think that they are called on by some sort of divinity to become doctors. Dentists, as I have found, are much more down to earth.
 
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Gandyy

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quite the opposite with pre-meds. They think that they are called on by some sort of divinity to become doctors. Dentists, as I have found, are much more down to earth.
True. I think some of that also has to do with how grossly glorified the med school admissions process is.
 

jondoe123

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To the OP,
Residency is challenging and will make you think twice about why you did medicine. You will have peers who went dental who are making 150-200k while ur in residency and your spending all your weekends in the hospital. If what you want is to have a good lifestyle,make decent money while being usually <30 yrs old, go for Dental!
If you want lifestyle, dont do medicine. Not saying you cant have it but most docs spend long hours working, usually will have to cover some weekends, and there will be changing guidelines you need to be uptodate on.

If you want a lifelong challenge(not saying dental isnt but you know what i mean)-choose medicine
If you want the fun and lifestyle real early in life, or just love teeth-dentistry.

either way both careers are EXCELLENT and ur patients and staff will call u doctor. :) Its a good dilemna to have