DAT practice tests are the best way to get ready for the DAT test. However,
for the most benefit you must take almost a scientific approach to taking practice tests.
One month before your test date, start taking 2 to 3 practice tests per week.
Get the most out of each practice test by:
- 1) only taking the tests once you have studied for it
- 2) be systematic about it
- 3) make sure you have time to review each test after taking it
- 4) treat each attempt as an opportunity to learn and improve
- 5) follow you performance and adjust your review schedule accordingly
How do you achieve that?
We broke it down for you below:
1) Study for the practice test.
Large goals are usually easier to achieve when you break them down into smaller goals or milestones.
You can think of practice tests as those milestones.
For each practice test, set a small goal for yourself such as improving your score in one section by one point or changing your answers on fewer questions thereby minimizing what is commonly referred to as "second-guessing." If you study daily in a manner to achieve these small goals for each practice test, you will ultimately be improving your test-taking strategies and overall performance at the same time.
2) Take practice tests systematically.
Similar to the examinations you will have throughout your dental career, the DAT tests your stamina more than anything else. You need to, therefore remember, to have a few ‘trial’ runs before the actual exam to make sure you know how to manage your time and focus.
3) Review your practice tests
Taking a practice test is only the beginning; your post-exam review is where your "true gold" lies. Reviewing your practice test not only shows you which questions you missed, but also why you missed those questions.
- Did you just not remember the material?
- Did you have to guess?
- Did you forget an equation?
- Did you misread the question?
- Did you read all the answer choices?
- Did you change your answer?
- Did you run out of time?
4) Learn and improve from each practice test, make DAT notes.
As you think about each question above, go a step further by writing your thoughts down along with key information from the explanations for questions you missed or guessed on.
If the explanations are still not clear to you, research the answers and write out how that answer makes sense to you along with any method you can use to arrive at the answer faster.
These notes will become your "DAT Gold Notes."
Gold Notes are your personal, condensed DAT prep notes that contain the most valuable learning points from each DAT practice test you take. Limit your Gold Notes to no more than two pages per test and review them before each practice test you take in the future as well as the day before (or even the morning of) your actual test day.
5) Monitor your performance and recalibrate as necessary.
If time permits, track your practice test scores as you go.
Making a game out of your DAT prep or competing with friends will keep you engaged in the process and, most importantly, motivated. At the same time, should you notice a drop in your scores despite your best study efforts, it may serve as the earliest indicator of burnout. In which case, you likely need to take a week off from practice tests altogether or at least reduce the number of weekly practice tests you are taking. On the other hand, if your scores plateau, consider that as a signal to tweak your study routine or techniques.
Such tweaks may involve adjusting the time of day at which you study, reviewing more flashcards, or simply focusing on different subjects. Follow this guide and you will be ensuring that you are not only going through the practice tests to check the final score, but also learning and improving along the way.
Best of luck to you!