Iman Zarrinkoub | 25 AAWhat is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
The first piece of advice I would give is to get advice from someone who has gone through it before! I had been in contact with a dentist in my hometown and he was the one who directed me to Crack the DAT and he gave me study tips. That being said, it’s important to know yourself, it’s never a good idea to blindly copy someone else’s game-plan to a tee. Ask yourself things like, “Do I study better with notes or flashcards or videos?” and, “How many hours a day can I be productive?” Get tips from multiple sources and develop a schedule that best fits your lifestyle.
My second piece of advice is to be true to your chronotype! Some of us are early birds and some of us are night owls. Living with my family who wakes up at 6 AM, I originally felt guilty about rolling out of bed when they’re already in meetings/school. But don’t! As long as your are honest to yourself and have a plan, it doest matter if you’re most productive from 8 am to 4 pm or 10:30-6:30 like me. The most important thing is consistency, and to make time in your day for non studying activities, like exercise or time with friends or even watching TV. Give your mind a rest so it can focus when it matters most!
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
Crack the DAT was my mentor’s first suggestion and I’m glad I listened to him. I used Crack the DAT to test myself every week throughout my preparation. What’s great about the Crack the DAT software is that it is almost identical to the real deal, so you will feel very comfortable with the format on exam day. Additionally, I found the questions on Crack the DAT to be on the more rigorous side, which is excellent preparation for the DAT. It’s like using a medicine ball to practice passing a basketball. If you put in the work with Crack the DAT’s question banks, review the detailed explanations for each question, watch the review videos, etc, the exam day will be a slam dunk!
After taking my first practice PAT on Crack the DAT and getting less than 50% right, I was worried. But Crack the DAT has problem generators and ample questions to prepare you in time for the exam. Before I started, I watched the video tutorials on each of the 6 sections which I found very helpful. And week by week I’d do more and more problems until I got more familiar with the question types. I also appreciate that Crack the DAT keeps up with new developments like the floating cube questions that appeared for the first time this year on the exam. They put in a lot of effort to make 2d/3d models, and text and video explanations, and they definitely helped me understand the questions better.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
The first thing I would do is probably not undertake the writing of my personal statement in the middle of my studying. I went through so many drafts, feedback from others, rewrites, etc. That, in addition to taking care of my dental application derailed my studies for a couple weeks in June, and if at all possible, I would recommend separating the two to make your life easier. Both components of your application of dental school deserve your 100% attention. After having neglected my studies for a few weeks, I became rusty and it took awhile to get back up to speed.
Another thing I’d do differently is to not get too discouraged! Even in the couple weeks before the exam, I was still getting questions wrong and not scoring as high on my practice tests as I ended up doing on the real thing. It was quite stressful that final week and I was pretty nervous going into the exam. I even considered rescheduling. But resources like Crack the DAT are intentionally rigorous, they are meant to challenge you. As I said previously with the medicine ball analogy, over-preparation is the key. It’s good to feel some pressure to motivate yourself, but don’t dismay if your scores don’t seem to match your effort. If you are working hard, it will pay off.