Dental School Coach: Justin got 24AA and 26TS on the DAT

Dental School Coach: Justin got 24AA and 26TS on the DAT


– Hi, my name is Zia, I’m
the Dental School Coach. Today I have one of my students with me. His name is Justin. He did amazingly well on the DAT, and that’s why I want to interview him. Justin, why don’t you go ahead
and introduce yourself to us. – Hey guys, so, my name is Justin, like Zia said. Let’s see, I took the DAT
pretty recently, last month. I had been out of school for quite awhile, so a lot of the courses and
material was not very fresh in my mind. Let’s see, my background, I
just completed nursing school, so that was kind of fresh. But yeah, that’s me. – What was your DAT score? And what was your breakdown? – Yeah, yeah, so I have
my score right here. My academic average was 24, my total science was 26. – You’re killing it, man. You’re killing it.
(laughs) – A lot of work. A lot of work went into that. But let’s see, O chem was 30. Gen chem, 26; Bio, 25. – Oh wow.
– Yeah, those are wow. – You gotta tell us all the secrets, man. (laughs)
– Yeah, I want to. – So where should we begin? You know, let’s take
us through the journey of taking the DAT. I know that you had
been working full time. And then you had to stop working for a few months to focus on the DAT. So give us a glimpse of your
day, how it looked like, and you know, what your
study schedule looked like, and how did you study for the DAT? – Sure, sure, so. As you said, when I started to study for the DAT, I was still working full time. And I attempted to study for
the test as well as work, but I kind of realized that my
progress wasn’t really going, you know, like what I wanted it to be. And I realized I had to quit. So, I quit, and I could study full time for the test. I would basically just wake up, study, and then sleep. Like literally, 12 plus hours a day. – Oh wow, that’s the
dedication right there. – Oh yeah, for about three months, I did like that, and
it paid off, so that’s. – Now that you have a 24
academic average and 26 TS, I think you are going to
get into schools that, any school that you’re going to apply to. So having said that, let’s take us to the individual subtopic of the DAT. Now let’s start with biology. What did you use as the resource material for the bio section, and how did you prepare
for the bio section? – So just in general how I kind of learned what materials to
use and that kind of thing, to develop a study plan, I went to Student Doctor Network and just looked at several
other people’s breakdowns. Like other successful people, and just took a little
bit of each one of those. And I kind of just developed
my plan from there. So for biology, I used, the Cliffs Notes AP Bio. – Okay, do you have it in front of you? Do you want to show it to the audience? – Sure, sure. So its looks like this.
– Okay. – And specifically, it’s the 3rd edition. That one is great because it has a lot of info on like plants. I don’t know, it was highly recommended to get the 3rd edition, so I did. I read that, a total of two times all the way throughout, and then just kind of
randomly, as I’m studying, if I wanted to look up something, I would go to, let’s see. So for bio, I used Dis. I also used the blue book,
the Kaplan Blue Book. – Okay, so you have that with you? – I do, yeah. It was just okay as like a, I don’t know. As like a starter, ’cause
it’s pretty not very detailed. What else did you study for bio? ‘Cause I know that Cliff Notes. I also use Cliffs Notes,
I used the 2nd edition five years ago, when I was taking the DAT. It’s highly recommended as far as the most used study material. – Yeah.
– But it’s not enough. I think, I feel that sometimes you get questions that are higher level. You can probably get a 21, 22 easily. Did you supplement your bio
studying with something else? – Oh yeah, oh yeah. I used a few other sources. One of the things I used
was Feralis’s notes, which I got from the
Student Doctor Network. I pulled a lot of stuff
from his breakdown. That was pretty helpful, but I didn’t like read
those super in detail. That would be something
maybe I would refer to if I wanted to look at a certain topic. – Okay.
– However, I think, one of the main things I
used that helped the most was the DAT Destroyer.
– Okay. – Specifically for biology. I mean, honestly, some of the
questions on the actual test were pretty similar to
some of the questions in the Destroyer, and it just really
prepared me really well. – Right, right, I can relate to that. I also used the Destroyer
book, and oh my God, it’s so hard. It was so hard to use, not just because the sheer volume of questions they have, but also difficultly
level of the questions. So it goes through very in depth materials in the bio Destroyer book. So how did you study for the bio? How did you study bio Destroyer and also the Cliff Notes? – Yeah, so like. Okay, so I began, like I said. Since I had not studied
a lot of this biology in such a long time, I
wanted general overview. So I did the Kaplan Blue
Book, just the bio section, real quick, nothing too detailed. And then I went ahead and read
the Cliffs AP Bio book once. Took, you know, I don’t know, I started to take notes, but then I kind of realized
that that takes a lot a lot of time, so I just kind
of settled with underlining. And then just kind of
constantly going back over stuff if I needed to or whatever, So I went ahead and
underlined a lot of things in the AP Bio book, and after I did that, as far as bio goes, I went straight into the DAT Destroyer. And I did those questions, and an important thing to
note about the Destroyer is, you have to understand,
like, everything from there. So don’t just, I don’t
know, don’t just know like, “Okay, I got a question
right, that’s cool.” Know why the other answers are not right. Know as much as you can
about why that one is right. And like just try to dive as deep as you can with it, you know? – So I think that’s good enough for bio, what do you think? Do you have anything else to share? Feralis’s Note, AP Bio book,
and then DAT Destroyer. So let’s move to gen chem. What did you use for gen chem? – So for gen chem, like I said, I hadn’t looked at this
materials in so long, so I needed a refresher. I was, for most of the sciences, I was pretty much starting at ground zero, so I needed just to get back in the game. So I stumbled upon Chad’s videos, and I used Chad’s videos to
get into O chem, chemistry, and I did use him for the math as well. And the thing about Chad’s videos, is a lot of people on
Student Doctor Network, they’ll send you to the
Course Saver website, which I think is like, last time I looked, it was like $25 or something like that. Well if you go to his actual website, like it’s called chemistryprep.com, he has courses there. You can get a site wide
subscription for $10 a month, which is what I ended up using. So that was what I did
for chemistry and O chem. – Okay. Yeah, I think Chad separated
from Course Saver website. A few years ago, and he has his own site. I think it’s, I don’t know, let me quickly check, I think it’s called chadsvideos.com also. – Yeah, I just looked, and it’s actually chemistryprep.com. That’s where the actual
courses that you can pay. He does have a website chadsvideos.com, but I think it’s like an intro thing. – Okay, got it, got it. So I link that URL down
below in the YouTube video so that people can go and check him out. So how did you practice the
questions on the chem DAT? – So, chem. Well, a lot of the chem
was in the DAT Destroyer, ’cause you know, that
comes with bio, chem, and O chem as well, and math. But yeah, that’s how I did a lot. So what I did for chem was I
started off with Chad’s videos. I watched the videos. Some more than once. You know, I did all of his questions, his quizzes that he provides with those. And then I immediately
went into the Destroyer. This was a little bit, so I feel like that’s kind of a big jump. Especially for me. Like the material in the Destroyer compared to Chad’s videos is, like, a lot more advanced. So about a third of the
way through the Destroyer, I kind of realized that I was
heavily lacking in chemistry, especially the concepts. So what I did was I bought the Exam Cracker’s chemistry book, and I went all through that, and I would highly
recommend that, you know, if you need extra help. And I have it right here. – It’s the MCAT book, right? – It is. Yeah, Exam Crackers are MCAT, but they, you know, the material is like the same as the DAT. Yeah, it was really helpful, I feel like, it really kind of dumbs
down certain concepts. It breaks it down well and makes it easy to remember and (audio cuts out). So I went through all of that. And did that in about four days, and then came back to the Destroyer. Felt a lot more prepared,
finished the Destroyer. I actually went through the
Destroyer a total of two times. So that’s what I did for chemistry. – So what was the distinguishable factor for Exam Crackers chemistry book? Because I haven’t heard
a lot of people use it for the DAT, so what do
you feel that you got? What benefit did you get out of it? – So Exam Crackers, it just
really broke the concepts down into like a really simple and
easy-to-understand language. You know, it’s been so long since I’ve studied those sciences that I really needed just a
basic breakdown, you know? Also, throughout the
book, they have little, some pneumonic devices, just
little things on the side that’ll help you remember certain things. And that helped a lot. – I think the book is written
in a funny way as well. So that really helps. I remember that book from my friends when they were taking the MCATs. Exam Crackers, I mean, it’s an amazing resource for the MCAT, so I guess you can also
use it for the DAT. – Oh yeah, yeah. – So in terms of
understanding the material, how is Chad’s video
different from Exam Crackers? ‘Cause he also makes it very easy, right? And I’m sure that that’s what you explained as well. – Yeah, Chad’s video was good. You know, he also provides a PDF file, and while you’re doing Chad’s videos, I would actually highly
recommend, before you start, printing that PDF off, ’cause it gives you plenty
of space to take notes. And go ahead and take notes, you know, where he’s talking about
whatever topic he’s on. That way, it’s just
easier for organization. So Chad’s videos, like I
said, it was very helpful. I think it’s a little lacking in concepts. ‘Cause it’s more of a review, so he doesn’t dive super
deep in a lot of stuff. But he has a lot of
good practice problems. – So what I understood is that, because you are so many
years out of school, getting through the Exam Crackers book was much more helpful to solidify the concepts in your head. And I think Chad does a good job. Chad is good enough to get a 20. But to get a 24, 25, 26, you need to do some more prep, you need to do some extra step. Did you do the same thing for
organic chemistry as well? – Yeah, I pretty much did, yeah. I went through Chad’s videos, O chem. Oh, for O chem, so I did the
Chad’s video, that whole thing. And then I also went ahead and bought the DAT Destroyer
O Chem Odyssey book. – Oh, okay, that looks fancy. – Yeah, yeah, it’s very in detail. You know, I was just looking in here. They have some things in here that don’t really pertain to the DAT. Just a couple of chapters like
amino acids and I don’t know, that kind of thing, but
that was really helpful, providing a lot of reactions and problems, and it helped to, I don’t know, just make me understand O chem better. – That’s good to hear, so you bought that on top of the DAT Destroyer O Chem series? – Yeah, actually, I went ahead and bought, so I bought three books from
the DAT Destroyer people, which is Dr. Jim Romano. So I bought the Destroyer,
the O Chem Odyssey, as well as the Math Destroyer. And I kind of made a mistake
by buying them all separately. ‘Cause they have a package deal, you can save like $100,
$150, something like that. But I would recommend
buying it in a package if you know you’re going to get all three. – Okay, how much money
would you have saved if you bought the packaged? – I don’t know off the top of my head, but I’m sure it was like
a hundred, 150 bucks, something like that. – Yeah, that’s a lot of money though. If you’re applying, a lot
of the undergraduates, they don’t have as much
money to pay for it, so. Guys, get the bundle, it’s
gonna save you a lot of money in the long run.
– Yeah. – All right, so let’s move to English, reading comprehension. How did you study for that? Because a lot of my
students come back to me and tell me that, you know, what do you recommend for
reading comprehension? And honestly, there isn’t many things you can do except reading a lot. So what did you do? – So reading comprehension. Sorry, I’m kind of looking down at my notes at the same time. Reading comprehension was one of my, no, that was my weak point. That was the part that I
had to work on the most. – Okay. – I took the DAT once before back in 2010, and I got like a 17 on there. Reading comprehension has
always been a weak point in several different types of tests, so I knew I would have to
work pretty hard on this. So I looked at a lot of Student
Doctor Network breakdowns. And a lot of people were saying to look at Scientific American. It’s a website. You can go on and they have several different scientific articles. And they were suggesting
to increase your speed, you read like three of those, three articles like in the morning, before your studying or whatever. So I did that. And in order to kind of feel like I was really getting something from that, ’cause, you know, you can just read it, and just kind of like, you
might start daydreaming, just kind of half effort or whatever. So what I did was, before I read it, I would first highlight
it and copy and paste into a Word document and get a word count. Then I would start a timer and, you know, see how long it took me to
read a certain amount of words. Because the thing is, on the DAT, they’re gonna give you a
certain amount of words in three passages. So I would try to base that. Instead of saying, like, “Oh, this passage was
four paragraphs long.” Like, I mean, you could
have a short paragraph, you could have a long paragraph, I mean. It’s kind of hard to judge off that. So I think judging by your word count is the better way to increase your rate. And basically me increasing my
rate was, for the most part, just cutting down the amount of time I was daydreaming while reading, you know? (laughs) you know, it was like
just keeping that focus. – It’s hard to keep that focus, I mean, I understand how hard it could be to read those boring passages. But you gotta get used to it, you know? Dental school is not going to be easy. It’s a lot of reading. So make sure that you get used to reading. But I do, I did use Scientific American. Both when I was taking the DAT and also when I was taking the GMAT. It’s highly recommended for both exams. And I think it’s highly recommended for any standardized exam because of the reading
comprehension section, where you have to read a lot, and what Scientific American
does very well is that they break down the science materials into very readable passages, like, they make it easy for regular people, who are not coming from
a science background to understand that very well. So as Justin mentioned,
make sure that you know, you time yourself while reading
the topics or paragraphs. And make sure that you take notes, so that you don’t forget
what you’re reading. So I know that DAT reading
comprehension passages could be long. It could be very long. Did you use Search and Destroy? In a method to find answers, or did you do something different? – Yeah, so that would actually
lead into my next thing. So I did use the Scientific
American strategy, but to be honest, what I
felt helped the most was, I just, so I went to DAT Q Vault, and I bought the reading
comprehension package from there. I think it was like $15. And what I would do is
I would do a passage with questions per day. And I would do that, just one passage with the questions, per day. Instead of reading Scientific
American sometimes, and I felt like that really
helped me out the most, because it allowed me to kind of play with different strategies. And see what works the best. – Interesting.
– So. There were some cases where I
could use search and destroy, and there were some cases where, you know. For example a tone question. – Inference question.
– Yeah, yeah. – You can’t use search and
destroy for inference question. I think those really gave
me a lot of hard time, ’cause you have to like think about them, kind of read like top
and bottom of the passage and kind of find out what
exactly they’re asking us to go back to refer to, that’s hard. – Yeah, and so I looked at several different people’s strategies, and I would try them out,
see what worked best. Some people are saying
they would take little, like a short note for each paragraph. But for me, like, I was
always running short on time, so like I didn’t really
have time to sit there and write something for each paragraph. You know, that really didn’t work for me. I felt it was easy enough to kind of just remember in a general idea
of where something was in the paragraph and just easily
scroll through to find it, you know, I didn’t have
to write something down. – Got it. – So for the reading comprehension,
I also used Boot Camp. That was one of my sources. – DAT Boot Camp, right?
– Exactly. I felt the DAT Boot Camp was probably a little closer in reality to what the actual test is like than DAT Q Vault. Some people say Boot Camp is
harder than the actual test. I would say it’s slightly harder. It’s pretty comparable to the real thing. – That’s what I heard as well. – What I would. What I kind of think, now, the thing is, I only did four passages from Boot Camp, so I have kind of a small sample size, but what I found was Boot Camp gave three passages per practice test, right? And one of them was pretty hard, one was kind of medium, and one was kind of easier. Like they do a good job of
mixing up the difficulties, and that’s exactly how
my actual test went. So you know, you have three passages. My first passage was super hard. Like, oh my God, it was so hard. I went in with a game
plan of only spending 20 minutes per passage because they give you 60 minutes, three passages, 20 per passage. So I was going to try and not spend, but I ended up spending 30
minutes on the first passage, ’cause it was so hard, like, and then my very next
passage was super easy. And I was like, “Golly,
I wish I hadn’t had. “maybe spend more time on this one.” ‘Cause I’m just like rushing through it. I was having to rush questions that, if I spent just a little bit more time on, I could know for sure
I was getting it right. And then the last passage was
kind of medium difficulty. That’s how that went.
– Great. And reading is always
a challenge for people that are not English speaker, like myself. But, you know, the main idea
is to do a lot of practice, and do it systematically. And when you’re practicing,
make sure you’re focusing. Like as Justin mentioned, you know, focus is the main idea. If you are not focusing on
the passage, you can just, read through things without, you know, you’re not going to understand what you’re reading. So that’s the key to do well
in reading comprehension. So we covered reading comprehension. The next topic that I have in mind is PAT. What’s you story about PAT,
how did you study for it? What are some of the
resources that you have used? – Yeah, so for PAT. Let’s see, I did end up buying … Oh, what is it, I can’t think of it. – Crack the PAT? – Yeah yeah, that one. I did end up buying that
one ’cause I remember I used it back in 2010. Kind of ran out of time. Only ended up using the
first practice test. But what I did for the
PAT, for 99% of the time, was I used DAT Boot Camp. I would use the generators, and I felt those were pretty helpful. – So can you you repeat what you said? You used the DAT Destroyer? Sorry, DAT Boot Camp, and what else? – So I used Crack DAT, I only
did the first test from it. And then for the other 99% of my PAT time, I used DAT Boot Camp. And I would use the generators, those are pretty awesome. – The generators? Where is that from? – Oh, so that’s, they give PAT generators
in the DAT Boot Camp. So all it is is practice for each subsection of the PAT. It’s just unlimited practice problems. And I would time myself for each one. And I kind of realized what, like which areas I needed more help in, and that kind of thing. And what I would do is I would spend 15 minutes per subsection, and I would do like two subsections every morning before I started
studying everything else. So I was doing like 30 minutes a day, in the morning, on PAT. And you know, if there was a subsection I needed more help on, I would spend more days doing that. One thing to note about
the PAT, these generators, I feel like the generators
are a maybe a little bit kind of basic compared to the actual exam. The thing is I never actually did any full length practice tests for the whole thing, but as well for PAT, and I’ve heard from friends that the actual practice tests on the Boot Camp are a lot more similar to the actual test. So the generators are a little bit basic compared to the practice
tests and the actual exam. So when I got to my actual exam, the real questions were
a lot more challenging than just these generators. – Okay.
– So I was actually a bit under prepared for the PAT section. – So focus on the DAT
Boot Camp’s practice exam. More than the generators, okay. – Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong, the
generators can help, but don’t use that as your sole source of studying for the PAT. – Okay, so start with the
generators in the beginning. – Yeah, sure.
– But then do a lot of practice
exams from the Boot Camp. Okay, so that brings to our
last section of the DAT, math. What did you do to prepare
for the math section? – So what I did was, as I mentioned before, I bought the Math Destroyer,
which looks like this. – Okay, it hasn’t changed in awhile. – Yeah, so they, I think they have like 18, I think they have like 18
or something like that, practice tests, full
length practice tests. Like 40 questions a test. And so I went ahead and did
10 of those practice exams. To be honest, I really
didn’t time most of them because it took me a long time to do them. They were pretty challenging, and also it’s been so long since I’ve done a lot of that math stuff. It’s been forever since I’ve
looked at trig or a log, you know, log functions, or some geometry. Yeah, I didn’t know
anything about all that. I’d forgotten it. So I had to like pretty
much relearn a lot of stuff. Man, I can remember, some nights I would spend three hours
just trying to figure out how they did one problem. But I got it, that’s the point. (laughs) – That’s the point, you have
to work through the problems and get it.
– Yeah, for sure. And the thing is, I feel
like when you struggle with a problem, and you eventually get it, that really sticks in your head, so that way if you were
to come across is again, you can, you know, instantly, Oh, I know how to do that. So I did the Math Destroyer,
10 problems there. The DAT Destroyer itself
comes with a math section. I did those, but I felt like those were a little bit easier in comparison to the actual Math Destroyer. Did all those. Oh, and I did the DAT
Boot Camp’s math portion. – Okay, how was that? – I felt that was really representative of the actual exam.
– Okay. – So, yeah, if you were to try to get 21 and above, like if you want to get
your max possible score in the math section, I would advise you to do
all of the practice tests from the Math Destroyer twice. Know that, know the
explanations really well. And as well, go ahead and do all of the practice exams from the Boot Camp. – All right, so everyone
listening in to Justin, make sure that you do the DAT
Destroyer math section twice, each of them twice, so that
you get the best out of it. I know that you had some
interesting ideas about test-taking and test-prepping.
– Yes. – Do you want to go over that? – Yeah, sure, so just some
extra miscellaneous things that I think would be helpful. Let’s see, so what I did for my study day, ’cause you know, 12 plus hours a day, that’s a long time. You’re going to get
bored, you’re gonna want to do something else, and some things will work
differently for other people. Like some people, they want to
take an hour, go to the gym. Maybe a lot of people,
whatever works for you is best. What worked for me was,
I would do this thing where I studied, you know, only focus on studies for 50 minutes, and then 10 minutes I
would just chill out, like go look at Instagram or YouTube, or walk around outside, whatever. But I would come back
after that 10 minutes, and study for another 50 minutes, and just, that’s how I got through my day to such a long day. And, I don’t know, I feel like
that’s the best way for me to be the most productive. During those 50 minutes,
I didn’t look at Facebook, I didn’t look at anything, it was just straight studying, you know? – So how did you … How did you keep yourself accountable to not go more than 10 minutes when you have to break? – Yeah, well I’m gonna be honest, man. Sometimes I did go over
10, I would go like 12, but that was the goal. And having that as a goal
helped me to come back. But I did my best to stay on 10 minutes, and what I would do is I
actually made a spreadsheet, an Excel spreadsheet, and
wrote down the exact times of when I was going to break, when was my next, I
don’t know, study time? I kept time on a spreadsheet. – So basically making sure
that you are not going over the 10-minute mark,
and even if you go, like make sure that you know about it, so that you are aware of how many minutes you’re spending taking a break. ‘Cause some people, including myself, I’m guilty of it, whenever
I’m taking a break, sometimes 10 minutes
could become 50 minutes, you know, or an hour, two hours. So did you take any longer
break than 10 minutes? Or do you just do 50-10, 50-10, and 50-10? – Yeah, when I was eating, that was usually like 20-30 minutes. – But you did not take any other break? It just like went on from? When did you wake up? – Different times, I
think like eight o’clock, something like that. – Okay, so 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., you would just study? And then you would just go to sleep after you finished studying? Okay, so that’s I think normal
for people taking the DAT, because it’s a lot of material
that you have to cover over that two month, three month period that you have to study. So that’s, I think that’s ideal. What advice do you have for
people that are out of school and kind of trying to learn
or relearn the material that they haven’t seen in a few years? – I would start basic. So the general idea is you start basic, and then move your way up
to more advanced materials. And another thing, so
that’s the general idea, and another thing is, like,
don’t ever get comfortable with a subject. So always try to be
learning something new. No amount of studying is too much. I can remember, the day before the test, I was still looking up
certain reactions for O chem. I was still learning,
the day before the test. And I think that’s how
you do the best you can. – So continue learning every day, and make sure that you
don’t get comfortable with one of the topics or one
of the subjects in the DAT. All right, got it, got it. So the next topic that I do
want to talk about is that, you know, while taking the DAT, what was your support system like? You know, some people feel
that they have to kind of close themselves in a room and just study, and kind of have to sacrifice some of the social
activities during the DAT, so what was the process like for you? Like, did you have to
sacrifice social life for three months, or did you? – Oh yeah, oh yeah. My friends, they knew what I was doing. And I really didn’t talk
to hardly anyone, man, I just locked myself in my apartment. I was supposed to go to a wedding. It was my cousin’s wedding, I didn’t even talk to
my aunt to let her know, I was just strictly focused on this. Like I had very little
communication (chuckles) with the outside world, I mean, but I don’t know, I realize
I’m a little bit different. Probably most people want to, you know, talk with their friends or something. – No but I would do the same thing. I would just close myself down in one room and just study for three months straight. Some people do it differently, and some people want to spend their time with their spouses, or
with their boyfriend or girlfriend, you know? Whoever they might want
to spend time with. It depends on your individual preference, but you have to spend the
time and energy, you know, focusing on the DAT
and not something else. And it’s hard for a lot of people. – Right, and another thing is is like, everyone is different. Like, we’re all starting from
different starting points. Some people, like maybe they
just took this certain class, so they really don’t need to spend as much time as someone like me, who hasn’t studied that in like seven years or something. So I had a lot of ground to cover, and so I really kind of had
to cut out most other stuff. If you’re a little bit more
familiar with the subject, well, maybe you can go
out an hour or two a day, or you know, you don’t
have to be as strict. – Exactly. All right, so, aside from that, what other advice do you have for people that are taking the DAT? – So I have a few other kind
of miscellaneous things. Let’s see, one of the
things is test anxiety. Like I said, this was my
second time taking it. I kind of remembered, the
very first time I took it, the night before, specifically the night before, I didn’t sleep well
’cause I was so nervous. Even upcoming to the exam,
like I don’t know a month out, three weeks, two weeks, whatever, I found myself getting kind of nervous. Getting real anxious. And I really think the best way to get rid of that is to study
your absolute hardest. If you have it in your mind that you know you did everything you could do, and you left nothing on the table, I mean, you can’t really be mad if you don’t get the results you wanted, ’cause you know you gave
everything you have. So I made it my point to really try to do as best I
could every single day. You know, don’t go over the
10 minute mark of break, just give it all I had. And that really kind of helped to relieve some stress or anxiety
or that type of thing. – Okay, that’s a really good advice, because, you know, I feel that sometimes
I’m not doing my best. And when I don’t do well on the exam, you know, I have only myself to blame. And if you do absolutely the
best you can do yourself, I don’t think you leave any room for that guilt or blame that, oh, I haven’t done enough to practice or to prepare for the DAT. But that’s a great piece of advice. – Yeah, oh yeah. I have a couple more. Scheduling, scheduling the test. So scheduling the test. So this is a pretty big test. This is a really big test. There’s a lot of material to learn, and learning all that material is going to take a lot of time, so it’s pretty hard to schedule an exam. It’s pretty hard to know exactly when you’re gonna be at your peak, when you’re going to, you know, feel like you’re comfortable
with every section, especially a month out
or something like that. – Right.
– What I would do, is probably about a month out, I would go ahead and schedule your exam. Or maybe even a little bit earlier, like I don’t know, just go
ahead and get a date down. And what that will do
is that will give you a realistic date of when
you’re going to take it, and that will make your
study time more efficient. That will mean, like,
if you have a date set, like you’re gonna not
try to, I don’t know, play around as much, you’re
going to be a lot more focused, ’cause you know, okay, I have
to get done by this date. Now, that being said. Since it is so far out, and the test is quite a
big scope of material, there’s a good chance you
won’t be ready by that time. So don’t be afraid to push it back. Push it back, don’t be
afraid to push it back, maybe two weeks. I myself, I did push it back two weeks, and I feel like that was probably the smartest thing I ever did. But before I pushed it
back, I knew I had a date, I was super stressed,
because I didn’t feel ready, you know, I’m constantly
just trying to cram in as much info as possible. And it was just, ugh, it was so stressful and I hated it. So I pushed it back two weeks, and that gave me the time I needed to go ahead and dive
deeper into each subject and really learn it well. And I feel like that was really helpful. But the thing is about pushing it back, is don’t be afraid to do it, but at the same time,
it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of constantly pushing it back. Some people push it back
like five or six times. That’s just, you don’t need to do that. Don’t do that. Like, the thing is, you know, this test is a big
test, a lot of material, and you’re never going to feel 100% ready. You can be prepared, but you’re never gonna feel ready, so. At some point, you gotta just, you know, have confidence in yourself, know that you put in the work beforehand, and that you’re prepared.
– Right. – To take it. And another thing is, you know, that can be tricky about scheduling is, if you schedule it too far in advance, I mean, if you schedule it too far out, you might forget some stuff, you know? You may not be at your peak time, so you want to schedule it
whenever your peak time is. – How do you know? How do you know what is your peak time? – You just kind of start off, like maybe a month or a
month and a half in advance, and you just set a date. Then, when that date approaches, maybe a week or two out, you have to have an honest
conversation with yourself, and just ask, am I ready? And if you really don’t
feel like you’re ready, that’s when I would say
go ahead and push it back a couple weeks, and make sure
you’re in your peak time. – Cool, what’s next? – So that’s scheduling. Next is, probably the last
thing I have, is bad days. – Oh okay, tell me about it. – Yeah, man, so there are. You have to accept the fact that you’re going to have some bad days. There are gonna be days
when a practice test doesn’t go well, like
you just scored badly. There’s gonna be days when you
can’t, for whatever reason, can’t remember a certain reaction from O chem or, you know, just. There are gonna be days when
nothing seems to make sense. – Okay.
– What you have to do, is you have to just
chalk it up as a bad day, and come back to it the next day, and keep coming back to it. Keep trying to figure it out. You know, keep trying to learn. Don’t let it, don’t let
that one or two or whatever, don’t let those short term failures discourage you from your longterm success. – Yeah.
– Once you change your mentality as, you know, these struggles, these bad days are just a part of the process, to me getting to where I’m trying to go, then that’s when you
start to be productive, you can score well,
and that type of thing. Just kind of realize that
there are going to be days when nothing makes sense, but
just keep pushing through it, and keep coming back to those materials. And eventually, you’re gonna get it. It’s gonna make sense,
and you’re not going to have anymore problems with it, but yeah, don’t get too discouraged when you have a bad day. And just keep coming back to it, I think, is the key to doing well. – Got it. And I want to ask you one last question. It’s that, how did you
sustain your motivation for such a long time? For three months straight? You know, you’re waking
up, you’re studying, you’re studying 12-15 hours a day, how did you sustain that motivation? – Yeah, so that’s a good thing. Motivation is key. You know, like I was saying,
I kept an Excel spreadsheet about my time and that kind of thing. And what I learned was, is not all hours, not all
study hours are created equal. You could have an hour where
you just are not motivated, and you just kind of slack off, you don’t cover as much material, or you could have 30 minutes, and you’re super motivated,
and you covered a lot. So you’re right, motivation is key. How I kept that is, I wrote down some motivational phrases. That I really enjoy, and posted them on my wall. I actually still have them, if you want me to zoom in. – Yeah, show me some. Show us some, some of the motivational things that you wrote down. – Sure thing, man. So let’s see here. I don’t know if you can read that. – I can read it. The only way to get to where you are. The only way to get to
where you want to go is through hard work. Get there.
– Yeah. – That’s amazing man. That’s amazing.
– Yeah. So that was one thing, that’s one phrase that
kind of meant a lot to me, and it’s like, going through this test is hard. The only way to get the
score you want to get is you have to put in a lot of hard work. And that’s just kind of what I would always keep reminding myself. – Yeah, for sure, I mean everything, any good things take hard work, so. This is definitely the key to success, in the DAT or even in any board exams that you’re going to be taking, or any exams that you’re going to be taking in dental school, so definitely, hard work is the key. – Yeah, also, so like I would watch some motivational videos. YouTube videos.
– Which one did you like most? – Oh, Eric Thomas is my favorite. – I like that guy, he’s the man. So I used to watch his
video pretty much every other day to keep myself going. DAT could be exhausting.
– Yes. – And just, the stories that he’d tell, and that nine-minute
video or 14-minute video is just the key to getting, you know, staying on top of what I was doing. – So like I would take 10 minute breaks, sometimes during my breaks,
or even while I’m eating, I would watch one of his videos. Also, I guess I’ll go ahead and
show you this, too. (laughs) So I watched his videos a lot, and I learned a lot from his videos, they were great motivation, and so I took another
phrase from his thing, his videos, which was,
“I can, I will, I must.” And so you can see, I have that on my wall, and that’s like directly
in front of my study desk. So during times like
whenever, I don’t know, I would come across especially O chem, ’cause I didn’t remember anything. Like sometimes, it
would feel like this DAT was too much, too big of
a mountain to overcome. I would just feel just exhausted. Not motivated, and I would just look at, “I can, I will, I must.” And that was just. I’d just say that to myself, and that kind of got me through
some really sticky points. – Got it, got it. Definitely, his videos, the thing that kept me going for the DAT. All right, do you have
any last minute advice? – Any last minute advice. – Any idiosyncratic
advice that people should follow testing day?
– Yeah, so. Don’t get too nervous. But at the same time, you know, just prepare as much as you can. Dive deep into each subject. I didn’t mention this yet, but Wikipedia is going
to be your best friend. You’re going to always
be looking up there, looking up stuff. Oh, another thing, for videos, videos can be really helpful to learn. And another thing is, you can put these videos
on like 1.5 speed, and you can cover a lot
of information easily in a short amount of time. That was helpful. On the day of the test, I’ve heard it’s a good idea to go ahead and go up to the testing center the day before your test, to make sure you know how to go, and that kind of thing. I didn’t really do that, I just got there like an
hour and a half early. – I would just spend that time studying, to be honest with you. – Yeah, that’s what I did. I thought I was going to, my original plan was to go
up there the day before, but then at the same time,
I started to realize, I was a little bit behind my study plan, and I felt my time would
be better used by studying, so that’s what I did, and I just there an hour or so earlier than my actual test and just brought some
study materials to go over. I went ahead and brought
a couple of snacks, you know, just whatever,
for your break time. I think you get like
30 minutes for a break. – What did you eat during the break? – What did I eat? Well, I like these Lenny
and Larry protein cookies. – Okay.
– So, I had those. I don’t know, whatever you
do is best, go for that. – ‘Cause I remember, someone
on SDN recommended prunes, and I don’t know like something sweet so that you have good amount
of sugar in your brain. Because you’re exhausted after taking the science portion of the exam. – Yeah, so for me, I’m a pretty big coffee drinker. As you can see. So caffeine is kind of a thing for me. This is probably not for everyone, but I went ahead and brought
these little caffeine pills. Just a little 200 milligram cap. – Which one, what is it called? What brand is it? – I can actually show
it to you if you want. – Yeah, show me. – All right, give me
like a minute, hold up. So what I have is these, they’re called Jet-Alert. – Okay, Jet-Alert, okay. How much is that? – Oh, they were real cheap, it’s like three bucks for 90 caplets. – Three bucks or 30 bucks? – Three.
– $3, no way! – Maybe four, they’re really cheap. – ‘Cause on SDN and other forums, you hear about doxiderol, which
is like $30 for 35 capsules. Or OptiMind, OptiMind is expensive. OptiMind is like 45, it’s you know, supplement caffeine pills
slash energy provider. – I guess everyone kind of has their own opinions about those kind. And then you could also
get into nootropics, I don’t know if you ever? – Yeah.
– Thought about those. Personally, I don’t
really think they do much. For me, like I was saying,
these little caffeine pills do just what I need, so, you know, don’t go crazy and take
like three or four. Just take like one, and you’ll be good. – You’ll be good. Okay good, ’cause I can’t
take more than one at a time. – Yeah, no no.
– I mean in one day. All right, so that’s, I think we covered a lot of materials here. So let me recap what
we covered, and you can kind of tell me like what I missed. So we covered about the
resources that you used to do really well on the DAT. We talked about your study habits. We also talked about
how you study, you know, like the schedules that you had. And we talked about
some ideas to implement on the test day so that you are, you are doing optimally in the main day. And we also talked about
some of the, you know, outside advice, for example, you know, maybe caffeinate yourself or take some snacks during
the exam, stuff like that. Have I missed anything, Justin? Or do you have any last minute advice that the pre-dents should follow to do really well on the DAT like you did? – Um, I think we pretty much. I’m looking at my books. So the only other thing I
would say is the Exam Cracker, they’re great books. We mentioned the chemistry one, but I did use the O chem one periodically, I would just kind of look
at that on specific topics, and I didn’t really have
time to go through it, but if you have time, the biology
book from the Exam Cracker is also good.
– Okay. – But yeah, those are things
that we didn’t mention, but I think they’re helpful too. – Okay, good good. So, thank you so much, Justin. This has been an amazing interview. I think people are going to be benefited by this interview. Although it’s long, it’s
going to be close to an hour, but I’m sure that, you
know, people are going to get a lot of value out of this interview. Thank you so much for doing this with me. – Yeah, no problem, man.

Danny Hutson

6 thoughts on “Dental School Coach: Justin got 24AA and 26TS on the DAT

  1. This is sooooo helpful!! Thank you so much for the tips and breakdown for how you were able to perform so well!! I'm studying for the DAT starting today. I feel much more confident after watching this. Glad I searched for tips before I started studying. Thanks guys!! And congratulations Justin!!! 🎊🎉. I would love to hear a follow up about how your first 1 or 2 years of dental school went so far!! I'm sure youre doing JUST FINE! 😄

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