Thinking about going to dental school and looking for the best DAT prep books? With the need for dentists expected to grow 18% in the next 10 years (faster than many other occupations), going into dentistry is a great career choice. With 66 accredited programs in the United States (including Puerto Rico), competition to get into the top dental programs is fierce. While most dental schools take a holistic approach in their admissions process and look at many different factors, a key element on your application will be the score on your Dental Admissions Test (DAT).
As a quick overview, the DAT is a computer-based multiple-choice test with four sections: Natural Sciences (which includes Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Perceptual Ability (PAT), Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning. It is designed to measure academic ability, scientific understanding, and your perceptual skills. It takes just over four hours to complete and can be taken in testing centers located around the United States and Canada. The test is generally taken during your third year of undergraduate study so that you have time to add your scores to your dental school application.
Like any high stakes test, it is extremely important to study thoroughly and with the best possible study guides for this exam. Your future career in dentistry is dependent upon a good score. There are many resources available to help you prepare for this exam. Here our expert team has selected the best DAT prep books and guides that will help you boost your score on the DAT.
Our Top Picks for Best DAT Preparation Books
Kaplan is the industry leader in test prep for a reason – they produce high-quality, effective materials that fully prepare people for taking high stakes tests. Their best-selling DAT 2017-2018 Strategies, Practice & Review tops our list of Best DAT Prep Books because it offers everything you need to prepare for taking the DAT, including a thorough review of each section, full-length practice tests, test-taking strategies, and added materials that let you study on-the-go. Once more, it becomes clear that Kaplan is particularly strong in test prep for health services tests, including the DAT
In this guide, Kaplan offers over 900 pages of review material covering Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, and Perceptual Ability. The book offers both substantive content for review and strategy content to help you prepare for test day. We particularly liked that this book comes with two full-length practice tests that you can take online. This is a great way to help you prepare for the experience of taking a computer-based exam that is over four hours long. These types of exams are very intense and can be stressful, and having the opportunity to experience a full- length test will help you better prepare mentally for the real thing. The practice tests will also highlight any areas of weakness so you can go back for further review before taking your actual exam. In addition to the practice tests, this book includes over 600 practice questions.
Another one of our favorite features is the 12-page pull out study section. You can simply carry these around for quick study on-the-go instead of carrying around the full book. Kaplan also offers a money-back guarantee, so if you do not increase your test scores after using this book you are entitled to a full refund.
As a foundational tool and universal go-to-guide, the Kaplan DAT cannot be beat.
The Gold Standard brand, founded by Dr. Brett Ferdinand is already a long-trusted company specializing in MCAT preparation. It jumped into DAT prep with the introduction of The Gold Standard DAT Comprehensive Review. This excellent DAT prep bundle provides four high-quality books that offer more than 1,400 pages of detailed coverage for each of the main topics on the DAT. In addition, readers are provided with two complete practice tests – one hard copy test and one online test – as well as more than 2,000 practice questions, ten hours of Natural Sciences teaching videos, and additional online practice questions. We also like that the book includes a section for preparing for your dental school interview. They understand that getting into dental school isn’t just about your test score.
All of the books are written in easy-to-understand language and come with glossy diagrams and colorful illustrations. The guides tend to begin with simpler questions and gradually work their way up in difficulty, making it easy for test-takers to slowly build up their DAT knowledge base and test-taking skills. They also offer moderately challenging “warm-up exercises,” which present a good opportunity for building up confidence before tackling more difficult questions.
Luckily, the Gold Standard Team stays true to its name. It continues to embrace its reputation with this self-study DAT course, which includes some of the best DAT prep books available.
Note: For those preparing for the Canadian DAT, Gold Standard offers its comprehensive Canadian DAT Prep Course.
While this book from industry leader Princeton Review is not as fresh as Kaplan’s competitor guide, it still offers a great deal of relevant study material for the DAT, and therefore deserves a top spot on our Best DAT Prep Books list.
This book offers nearly 900 pages of review materials covering each area of the test, including General and Organic Chemistry, Biology, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Subjects. We like that they also include strategies for tackling the more difficult questions on the test including the Math and Perceptual Abilities sections.
Princeton Review includes two online, full-length practice tests with the purchase of this book. These tests are a great way to prepare for the actual experience of taking the DAT, which at over four hours in length can be grueling. Taking these types of practice exams can build your confidence. They also highlight any areas of weakness. In addition to these practice tests, Princeton Review includes practice questions for each section and offers detailed explanations. This helps you not only know the right answer, but understand why it is the right answer.
Princeton Review’s test prep books are generally spot on with curriculum that is easy to understand and thorough to ensure you are fully prepared for your test. This book is no different, and is an excellent tool to help you achieve a top score on your DAT.
We Also Liked the Following Guides
TopScore Pro for the DAT – Computerized Sample Tests
Think you understand the DAT materials? Here’s your chance to prove it before you take the actual test.
First created in 1998 by ScholarWare, the TopScore Pro DAT testing software allows test-takers to practice hundreds of questions that are comparable to the real DAT. It offers three complete sample tests, over 840 questions, and test score reports. Helpfully, the software also comes with timer controls, allowing users to practice their timing skills in completing the DAT.
While offering limited help with studying for the actual DAT, the TopScore Pro does give limited guidance with the solutions it provides to the problems in the software. Note, however, that the software expires 7 months after purchase. Nevertheless, as an additional tool to your DAT arsenal. It will help build your confidence, practice you test-taking strategies, and see where your weak areas are before test day. This is the perfect tool for those looking for a realistic simulation of the DAT experience.
Note: ScholarWare also offers a Canadian DAT & Soap Carving Guide software.
Crack the DAT Ace Bundle for the Dental Admission Test
While not a traditional book, our list of Best DAT Prep Books would not be complete without this excellent resource. Crack the DAT offers several different digital study tools, with their Crack the DAT Ace Bundle Package being the most inclusive, covering everything you need to know to get a top score on your DAT.
This bundle, completely updated in 2018 to cover the most recent version of the test, contains instantly downloadable software that is compatible on both PC and MAC. The easy-to-use software provides thorough explanations for each of the sections on the DAT and includes ten full-length Perceptual Ability and Quantitative Reasoning tests along with five Natural Sciences and Reading Comprehension tests. In total, test-takers are offered over 2,000 DAT practice questions. You won’t find more realistic DAT practice questions in one package than what you get here. Because questions are in a digital format, they also help you prepare for the experience of taking the real DAT, which is a four-hour computer-based exam. Practicing with these tests will help calm your nerves and boost your confidence on test day.
One of the best aspects of this bundle is its ability to succinctly and accurately provide explanations for some of the DAT’s most difficult aspects. The package also contains hours of video explanations for both the Quantitative Reasoning and the Natural Sciences sections. Importantly, unlike other programs, this software never expires so test-takers can continue to use it as long as they need it.
We also love its mobility. Once downloaded to your laptop, you can study on-the-go. Crack the DAT also offers additional supplemental digital resources to help fit studying into your busy life including an app for your mobile device.
For the best chance to simulate the DAT before you actually take the test, Crack the DAT is ideal, making it one of the best DAT study materials out there. Although not cheap by any standards, we think that this bundle is well worth the investment for ambitious test-takers looking to get a top score.
The DAT may often seem like a labyrinth to test-takers and the best way to proceed through a labyrinth is with a guide. Enter Dr. Jim “Orgoman” Romano, the creator of the iconic DAT Destoyer, and a virtual Sherpa when it comes to the DAT.
With the DAT Destoyer, Romano, a professional tutor for over 20 years, has created a specific DAT study program that enables test-takers to tackle even the most difficult problems that may appear on the test.
The Destoyer contains learning material and problems on Organic Chemistry, Biology, Quantitative Reasoning and General Chemistry. What makes this book stand out is its ability to teach test-takers how to not only solve the questions in these areas on the DAT but also to fundamentally master the underlying concepts of the problems.
While undoubtedly attending one of Dr. Romano’s DAT bootcamps is the best way to understand his teachings, reading and completing the DAT Destroyer is the next best thing. DAT Destoyer reviews are in line with our own assessment: This is one of the very best DAT prep books on the market and essential to boosting DAT scores.
Organic Chemistry As a Second Language
To beef up on your organic chemistry skills, an outstanding source is the Organic Chemistry as a Second Language series, which is divided in First Semester Topics and Second Semester Topics. Both are authored by chemistry wizard and John Hopkin’s University senior academic David Klein.
The beauty of these books is that they provide excellent explanations of the underlying concepts of organic chemistry, ensuring that readers actually understand the concepts instead of merely trying to memorize them.
With its highly accessible discussion of complex topics and plenty of problems on which to practice, the Organic Chemistry as a Second Language books are a great addition to your DAT books toolbox. Organic Chemistry As a Second Language is almost like a secret weapon to master this portion of the DAT.
Barron’s AP Biology, 6th Edition
Do you want to be prepared for the DAT’s biology section? Like really prepared? How about almost too prepared? If so, Barron’s AP Biology might just be the ticket!
This book, now in its sixth edition, provides over 500 pages of in-depth and extensively comprehensive review of all biology topics. Areas covered include biochemistry, the cell, cell respiration, photosynthesis, cell division, heredity, the molecular basis of inheritance, classification, evolution, plants, animal physiology, the human immune system, animal reproduction and development, ecology, animal behavior, and a laboratory section.
In addition, AP Biology offers questions with which to practice the knowledge presented in the book as well as three full-length AP practice exams (one of which is accessed online), which can similarly be used to practice the acquired knowledge.
This guide offers DAT students rich details on a host of biology topics. As such, it will undoubtedly greatly augment your biology knowledge, making it one the best DAT prep books if you need a thorough review of this section of the test.
CliffsNotes AP Biology, Fourth Edition
While also not written for the DAT specifically, CliffsNotes AP Biology remains a great resource for the biology section of the DAT.
Since this book is targeted at high school students, it explains complex biology topics in a simple manner, making it easy to understand a range of biology topics. It provides instruction on 14 subject areas of biology, offers 12 laboratory exercises, and provides two full-length practice tests with answers and explanations.
One thing to note is that the third, and not the latest, edition is better for DAT preparation as the topics covered align more closely with the American Dental Association’s biology outline. All in all, CliffsNotes AP Biology is a very popular and excellent biology review guide for the DAT, notwithstanding its different target audience.
Sterling Test Prep DAT Books
Sterling Test Prep offers three DAT practice books for the DAT: DAT General Chemistry Practice Questions; DAT Biology Practice Questions; and DAT Organic Chemistry Practice Questions
These three books from Sterling Test Prep focus on mastering the General Chemistry, Biology, and Organic Chemistry portions of the test. You can purchase all three as a bundle or choose the individual volume you need, which is great for your budget. Each book follows the same format, which is all about completing practice questions and developing test-taking skills.
Together, these guides offer 3,370 practice questions (1,500 Biology questions, 1,150 General Chemistry questions, and 720 Organic Chemistry questions). While these books might appear to focus solely on testing, they are a great educational tool as they offer detailed explanations for both the correct answers and the incorrect answers to the problem. These explanations are particularly useful in understanding crucial concepts that often elude test takers. Their explanations help you really learn the concepts, which will help you in your dentistry studies well beyond test day.
Each book is just over 500 pages full of practice content. We were happy to see the Organic Chemistry book is newly updated, correcting many of the factual errors that plagued the previous edition.
If you are looking for a guide to really help boost your scores in any or all of these three subject areas, these books from Sterling Test Prep are great tools to add to your study arsenal.
DAT Flashcard Study System
If you are the kind of test-taker who struggles with the more traditional study methods and reading review books, the DAT Flashcard Study System (full title: DAT Exam Practice Questions & Review for the Dental Admission Test) is a fast and efficient method of making your studies portable and more entertaining.
Covering all of the essential components of the DAT, these Flash Cards take advantage of the spaced repetition study method. Thus, users can acquire the immense amount of factual knowledge necessary to conquer the DAT in an efficient and optimized manner.
The topics covered seem endless and include, to list just a few, Alkanes, Electrons, Quadratic Formula, Classical Genetics, Grignard Reagents, Fractions, Polymerization, Real Numbers, Smooth Muscle, Wolff-Kishner Reduction Reaction, Ground State, Corresponding Angles, ATP, Esters, Bronsted-Lowry Theory, Exponent Powers, Monera, Empirical Formula, Slope-Intercept Formula, Reactants, Percentages, and more.
While the flashcards contain copious amounts of information rather than bulleted highlights, they do offer the ability to study in a different format than textbooks. They are also much more portable and allow you to study on-the-go. For that reason, this is one of the most user-friendly DAT prep review guides available. Ideally, non-traditional learners will combine this resource with one of the best DAT software bundles reviewed above.
McGraw-Hill’s DAT with CD-ROM
McGraw-Hill’s DAT test prep book offers a complete review of each section of the DAT along with test-taking strategies to help guide you through test day. Although it is still in its 2012 edition, we like this book though because it includes a full diagnostic test you can take at the beginning of your studies. This is a helpful tool to help with time management as you will know which areas of the test you need to devote more study time to in order to achieve a higher score.
McGraw-Hill also includes three full-length practice tests with this book, two of which are digital that are on the included CD-Rom. Their tests offer detailed explanations of the answers to help you really learn and understand the subject matter. We also like their logical lay-out and colorful illustrations. At 544 pages, this book is very reasonably priced, making it a good resource if you are on a tight budget. Overall you will find a more thorough review of the key subjects in the other books we list here, but this guide from McGraw-Hill shouldn’t be overlooked as an additional tool to help you fully prepare for taking the DAT.
Several companies offer traditional in-person classroom prep courses and robust online courses to help you prepare for your DAT. If you learn better in these types of environments, be sure to check out the course offerings from Kaplan and Princeton Review.
Are you ready to take the DAT? If so, you must first apply through the American Dental Association and pay a non-refundable test fee. They also require you to read their DAT Guide. You can take the DAT at any time during the year. You can find a test center near you here.