Meet Alexa, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. Alexa, a student with a full-time job, was able to crush her DAT with the help of DAT Bootcamp. I’ve asked Alexa to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of September.
As a student working full-time, what were some challenges you faced preparing for the DAT, and how did you overcome them?
Time was my limiting factor. I tried to study for 5 hours a day on weekdays and full 8-10 hours on weekends. However, I had so many other priorities (shadowing, volunteering, work), I couldn’t balance everything in the beginning because I wasn’t prioritizing studying. My advice is to absolutely make DAT your first priority for two months before you take it. If you have more than one commitment (i.e. shadowing, volunteering, all the other pre-dental activities, family), be selfish with your time for now and call off those extra activities with no regret.
Organization was also a challenge. There is so much information coming from so many different resources (Bootcamp Bio Notes, AP Bio, Bootcamp). Keep a calendar of what you did and what you plan to do each week. I used a whiteboard calendar and planned my week loosely based on the 10-week study guide and altered it by adding in more work on the sections I felt least comfortable with (PAT was my weakness). I wrote my scores from practice tests on the calendar as well, so I could track my improvement.
Stress was also a challenge. Celebrate your minor accomplishments, and don’t worry if you failed a practice test in the beginning. After getting “Less than 15” score on the PAT tests in the beginning, I had to repeat to myself “Doesn’t matter, get better.” I kept at it, working on the individual PAT sections over and over. I started to see my score gradually go up.
What advice would you have to other students working full-time while studying for the DAT?
If you work full time, you know that your time is precious. So, instead of following the study guide religiously, go more off of your practice scores, and start building up your lowest score sections.
After work, I was often tired and not in the mindset to study, so I would motivate myself in different ways: going to a coffee shop, going outside for an eye break or watching my favorite motivational speakers. It seems trivial but make yourself happy while studying; this can really improve your motivation and prevent burn out.
What is something you would have changed to help your study schedule go more smoothly?
I wish I would have taken more practice tests regularly, and then use that score to determine what I needed to study for that week. Although the study guide is great, if you are really struggling in a section, you want to know early on to tailor your studying to have a well-rounded score. I would suggest taking one practice test at the end of each week if possible. If not, take the individual sectional tests regularly throughout the week.
If there is something you want to touch on that I haven’t asked, feel free to include it. Thanks for contributing back to the community! Let me know if you have any questions.
I would recommend to review as many questions as you can in the last week before the DAT. I was surprised that I had forgotten many of the tricky questions I answered early on in my studying. It makes no use if you did the question but didn’t remember it for the test.
- General Chemistry30
- Organic Chemistry26
- Reading Comprehension23
- Perceptual Ability23
- Quantitative Reasoning21
- Academic Average24
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