Featured Student of April

Meet Marissa Fabros, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Marissa to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of April.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?

Approach your studying as if you do not have the option to postpone or retake the exam. Having been my actual situation (unless I wanted to delay starting dental school for another year), I think this mentality made me study harder, more focused and more efficient with my time. I say this because you’re likely to encounter a number of temptations to procrastinate – from weekend brunches to nights out to binging on Netflix. While it’s important to take care of yourself, having this mindset should help you to prioritize and manage your time.

Keep in mind that I am not suggesting that you wait until the very last minute to take your DAT! It’s certainly important to give yourself enough time to have the option to defer your exam date or take the exam again should your circumstances require that. I also realize this advice may not work for everybody, but if you are like me and work well under pressure, this motivation may help you get the most out of your study days.

How did you use DAT Bootcamp to prepare for the DAT?

DAT Bootcamp was my primary resource for studying for the DAT. About a year and a half before I was planning to take the DAT, I signed up for DAT Bootcamp’s DAT Question of the Day for light daily studying. I found this incredibly helpful because it helped familiarize me with the types of questions that might be asked and also gave me an idea of my strengths and weaknesses.

A little over a month before my scheduled exam date, I used Ari’s Study Guide which was very useful for identifying additional study materials given the overwhelming number available on the market today. Other than subscribing to DAT Bootcamp, I ultimately went with Cliff’s AP Biology 3rd Edition, CourseSaver and the 2007 and 2009 ADA DAT practice tests. I also purchased the 2016 DAT Destroyer and Math Destroyer, but due to time constraints didn’t get a change to utilize these very much.

I used Ari’s Study Schedule to map out my study plan. Because I was on a condensed timeline, I had to adapt his 10-week plan into the 5 weeks. I separated the activities in the plan into three categories: learning (watching Chad’s videos, reading Cliff’s, reading/watching PAT section tutorials), reviewing (general review, DAT Bootcamp subject tests, DAT and Math Destroyer problems) and testing (DAT Bootcamp full length tests , ADA DAT practice tests).

I followed all the learning activities exactly, just in a shorter timeframe. However, when it came to review, I customized my plan to focus on my weaknesses. I spent the majority of my time dedicated to review studying my Biology notes and using the DAT Bootcamp’s PAT resources in lieu of taking any of the DAT Bootcamp subject tests or doing additional Destroyer problems. I also tested on a slightly different schedule; I took a practice exam every other day in the two weeks leading up to the exam rather than every day in the week leading up to the exam. I used the alternate days off to review and relax a bit so I would be “fresh” for the next practice exam.

What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?

Given my timeframe, I think the most obvious answer to this question is that I would have given myself more time to study. Because I was in school and worked during my days off, I waited until my winter break when classes were over to begin studying. While it was very helpful to have a few open weeks before the DAT to dedicate completely to studying, I think I would have mastered more material had I spent even 1 – 2 hours each weekday or a few hours on the weekends during the semester preparing for the DAT.

My shorter timeline also meant no days off, which meant I was spending about 12 hours a day every day studying without any significant breaks. Having been able to afford to take a few hours or even an entire day off every now and then, just like those built into Ari’s Study Schedule, would have given me the chance to catch up when I was falling behind rather than removing items from my study plan altogether. More importantly, time should be set aside to take care of your wellbeing, whether that means spending time with family and friends, exercising, or just taking a nap!

Good luck studying! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at marissa.fabros@gmail.com.

  • Biology21
  • General Chemistry26
  • Organic Chemistry30
  • Reading Comprehension26
  • Perceptual Ability25
  • Quantitative Reasoning30
  • Academic Average27

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