I’m Rescheduling My DAT…

Some of you may recall, but earlier this summer, I announced that was taking the Dental Admissions Test or DAT in early/late August. I have been studying this summer and working up to the exam, but lately, things just didn’t seem quite right.

I was waking up in the middle of the night panicking about this exam. My brain would go through things like, “What if you fail?”, “What if you need to retake it?!”, “You’re not ready, you’re not ready, you’re not ready!!” I would literally work myself to tears. Lately, I’ve also noticed that I put off studying. I had such a good momentum going earlier this summer, but lately, I’ve honestly been avoiding it. Studying for the exam reminded me that I have to take it and that would bring all those horrible thoughts flooding back which I wasn’t fond of at all.

Pushing away my studying meant that I could not think about failure for a good portion of my day. Pushing away the organic chemistry and general chemistry and biology and math meant that I didn’t have to think about the time crunch that is the DAT and the intenseness of it all. In some ways, I’m happy that I pushed it away but I’m also frustrated with myself for allowing fear to partly be the reason I lost my motivation and momentum. I literally sobbed after canceling my original DAT appointment. SOBBED! Were they tears of joy? Sadness? Relief? I feel like it was a bit of everything. I was happy in the sense that I had just allowed myself some room to breathe and I would now have more time to prepare. I was upset because I had already spent two-ish months preparing for this exam and I was feeling like I had just wasted the money that went into that preparation. I truly felt like a failure for not just taking it when I decided to take it originally. But then with that I also felt relief in knowing that my exam was no longer weeks away, but now months away again. I also knew that I wouldn’t burn myself out coming into this semester which was REALLY important to me considering my course load for this fall.

After some thinking, and hopefully good thinking, I decided to reschedule my exam to better prepare myself mentally and truly crush this DAT. School has always been intense, especially this past year and I know that dental school is only going to be more intense, and there is going to come a time when I can’t just reschedule something until I feel more confident in my knowledge and abilities and ready to deal with that something. I’m thankful though, that I have the opportunity to learn from my DAT journey leading up to now. As of right now, the current plan is to take the DAT over Thanksgiving break. That will give me plenty of time to be very settled into my upcoming coursework and it will also give me plenty of time (hopefully!) to find my confidence in the knowledge and skills that I’ve already built for the DAT and then also to polish up everything so that I absolutely destroy this exam.

Hopefully I’ve made the right choice and we’ll see how round two of my study extravaganza goes for this monster test. Have a good week everyone and don’t be too hard on yourselves! 🙂 See you next weekend.

Let the DAT Studying Commence…

DAT
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

This upcoming week is finally the week that things kick into gear. I begin my study schedule for the Dental Admissions Test or the DAT. For those of you who don’t know what the DAT is, it’s basically the SAT or ACT, but for dental school and it’s tough.

There are four sections on the exam, the survey of natural sciences, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability or the PAT. In total, I believe the exam is 4.5 hours and there’s an optional 30 minute break at some point through the exam (Thank goodness!). The highest you can get is a 30 and most dental schools admit students who average a 20 on the exam. From what I’ve heard, the PAT section is the toughest, and based on my study program, that seems to be the case, as there is a lot of focus on the strategy behind that section.

For the PAT, there are 90 questions and you have 60 minutes to answer them. The questions on that section are supposed to include keyhole, cube face, folding, and hole-punch problems that all come with their own twists and mind-breaking characteristics. From what I’ve heard, that section is meant to test how you do with visual things but it’s also meant to destroy you and tire you out mentally. Yippeeeee. I’m most nervous for the other sections.

The survey of natural sciences section is exactly what it sounds like, a survey of all things from basic biology to organic chemistry. The reading comprehension section involves scientific articles and those articles are followed by a variety of questions testing how well you understood the article. The quantitative reasoning section on the DAT is the math section of the exam. As far as I know, it’s supposed to cover algebra through pre-calculus, which is super manageable for me.

To prepare for the exam, I’m going through DAT Bootcamp. It’s a program created by a student who did extremely well on the DAT and has shared their study schedule as well as a BUNCH of incredible resources to crush this exam.

I’m nervous to begin this journey but I’m also really excited because I look forward to the progress I make and all that I get to review and learn this summer. You’re all on this ride with me so let’s crush this DAT! See you next Sunday. 🙂