fellforit

7+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2010
124
4
Status
Dental Student
I know the conventional wisdom is to take the DAT spring of junior year. Right now I'm a sophomore, and by the end of spring semester I'll have finished all the science covered on the exam. My question is, what are the cons to taking the DAT at the end of this coming summer (summer before my junior year)? I won't be applying until the 2012-2013 app cycle. I did a search for this and a couple old threads came up, but it seemed like they never reached a consensus.

As I consider it, here are my pros:
1) My junior year is (as planned) already very busy, I have a lot going on (lots of science classes) and a lot of difficult courses scheduled. I'm afraid that I won't have time to dedicate to studying for the DAT the way that I will this summer.
2) It will be fairly soon after finishing o chem and bio, so I'll have less to "relearn" while studying.
3) I have 3+ months to study, a luxury that definitely won't exist if I take it as a junior in the spring.
4) Plenty of time to retake in the spring/early summer of the following year if I'm unhappy with my scores.

My cons are:
1) If I don't get in my first cycle for whatever reason, I might have to worry about my scores expiring.
2) I won't have had anatomy, which from what I've heard is very helpful. (I did take a high school anatomy class that has helped me significantly on the practice tests I've taken, and I can definitely drill anatomy over the summer -- but it's not nearly the same as taking college-level coursework.)

So, what are your thoughts? Should I plan on taking the DAT next August, or push it off until Feb/March of 2012? What are the pros and cons that I haven't thought of? If you took it over the summer (or waited, for that matter) are you glad you did? Would you do things differently?

Thanks!

(I posted this over in DAT discussion and got no bites, so thought it might be more appropriate for here. Hope that's okay.)
 

Maygyver

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2008
2,309
27
Status
Pre-Dental
You don't really need anatomy. Physiology is better. The only major pro with waiting is that you will have had more upper level biology classes which will make the biology section easier. Just do what you feel is right. If your stats are good you should get in the first cycle.
 
Apr 17, 2010
103
0
Status
Dental Student
I think that you should definitely take it next summer if you can. I had also planned to take it spring of my junior year but because of my other responsibilities I had to push it to the end of July. My scores weren't mailed till the end of August so my app was a little late.

As far as anatomy.. I'm only now taking that class as a senior. I don't feel like I cheated myself by not taking it before the DAT. The science you need is not this detailed and more focused on the things you learn in Bio1 and 2.

Your scores: I really don't think they expire that quickly but I'm not sure

PROs:
1) you have a chance to retake and still be early in your app cycle incase you're not happy with your score
2) You should be thankful you have an entire summer to dedicate to nothing but the DAT. It was so hectic for me to try to study with everything else going on in school, writing my personal statement, getting letters etc. Its just something to get out of the way.
 
Feb 17, 2010
204
0
Status
I think that you should definitely take it next summer if you can. I had also planned to take it spring of my junior year but because of my other responsibilities I had to push it to the end of July. My scores weren't mailed till the end of August so my app was a little late.

As far as anatomy.. I'm only now taking that class as a senior. I don't feel like I cheated myself by not taking it before the DAT. The science you need is not this detailed and more focused on the things you learn in Bio1 and 2.

Your scores: I really don't think they expire that quickly but I'm not sure

PROs:
1) you have a chance to retake and still be early in your app cycle incase you're not happy with your score
2) You should be thankful you have an entire summer to dedicate to nothing but the DAT. It was so hectic for me to try to study with everything else going on in school, writing my personal statement, getting letters etc. Its just something to get out of the way.
:thumbup:

Taking it at the end of next summer will probably be your best bet. The anatomy/physiology on the DAT isn't that detailed. You could easily pick it up while studying for the DAT over the summer. Taking it early means that you can get your whole application out earlier, which is ideal. I also wanted to take my DAT in spring but had to keep pushing it back until summer, which delayed things. Don't let that happen to you!!!!

You can always retake the DAT if you need to (but study as if your first try is going to be it). Then spend the rest of your junior year making sure you have everything ready so you can submit your app the first day that the cycle opens (in 2012?). That'll give you a better shot at earlier interviews and a better shot at acceptances (assuming the rest of your app is good). Try to make sure everything is good to go the first application cycle and then (hopefully) you won't have to worry about a second cycle.
 

LittleTomato

5+ Year Member
Apr 24, 2010
95
1
Status
Pre-Dental
I took the DAT the summer after my sophomore year as well. It was a really good choice. I had two and a half months to focus just on my test without having to worry about all of my other classes, and my organic chemistry was still fresh in my mind.

You don't need any other classes but bio 1 and 2 to take the DAT, especially with the whole summer off to study. Then if you want to retake it, you will still have ample time to do so.
 
OP
F

fellforit

7+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2010
124
4
Status
Dental Student
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I think I'm going to take it this summer. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing some big, important reason for taking it later. Hopefully I can do really well in August and go into my junior year with one less thing to stress about!
 

Seahawk

Nothing to do here
5+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2010
786
16
Status
Dentist
I'm going to be taking it summer of sophomore year too. Since organic chem and the rest of the pre requisites will still be fresh in my mind.
 
Last edited:

ah1989

5+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2009
134
1
Status
Dental Student
I took it the summer after my sophomore year, and I'm so glad I did. The science courses were more fresh in my mind then than they would have been after my junior year. Also, this made focusing on apps after my Junior year so much easier bc I didn't have the DAT to worry about. It also gives you extra time to re-take if you need to (but don't bank on that, you don't want to go through all that studying twice ;))