The Gold Standard DAT: A Review

The Gold Standard DAT is an awesome addition to your DAT prep armamentarium!
I was given the opportunity to review the products and there is much to be said about them.
The Gold Standard brand has been around for quite some time and has been a house hold name in the medical field, particularly with MCAT prep.  It is fairly new to the DAT arena with it's launch of DAT test prep materials around early 2013. Since then, it has been a great contender among popular DAT preparation materials.

If I were to describe The Gold Standard DAT package in one word it would be COMPREHENSIVE.

I spent a couple weeks going through the materials because I really wanted to do it justice. Upon opening the package that I received, my initial reaction was one of awe. Before I opened any of the books I was taken aback by 1) the packaging: the books come enclosed in a hard covered box that keep the books nice and secure and 2) the quality of the books/pages: the book covers are of really high quality with a matte finish; and the pages are thick and glossy which makes the illustrations, pictures and diagrams really pop. I have honestly never seen test prep materials of that kind of quality. One of my first thoughts was "wow, someone really paid attention to detail and someone really cared about the quality of products that they produce." As I perused the pages of each book, I realized that those sentiments were not only true for the packaging and pages but also of the information within the pages as well.

The materials are, as stated before comprehensive. The Gold Standard DAT takes on a multimedia approach with their collection including textbooks, MP3s, Videos, flashcards, online resources, etc. It does not skimp on the details but is concise and to the point enough that it is easy to go through. The books are broken down into pretty short chapters which has practice questions at the end of each with solutions provided throughout the book. The illustrations and pictures on each page are also well depicted. Not only do you receive books with good, solid and pertinent information to do well on the DATs but many tools to augment your studying and to continuously test yourself throughout your preparation process.

My Opinion:
It has been several years since I took the DAT exam and I am sure there have been some amount of changes. If I were taking the DAT around this time I would honestly consider The Gold Standard for my DAT prep. While the prices aren't the lowest, there are several packages that you can choose from based on what fits your budget, your need, and/or your study habits. Plus, I am of the belief that you get what you pay for.
If you like going through textbooks then perhaps the four (4) book set will work well for you. It does come with 2 full practice tests. Likewise, if you prefer software and/or other online tools there are options for that as well. I think the different packages cater to each individuals' study style.

I have outlined all the packages below for your convenience, and I must mention that all their items are currently discounted.

The Complete Course Package  COST $499.00 $399.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 15 hours of Natural Sciences review with 6 months online access
  • 3 hours MP3 review files for the natural sciences 
  • TopScore Pro software
    • 3 full computerized DAT practice tests and 18 exams
    • 7 months online access
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 52 flashcards
  • Interview DVD
  • Bonus: Medical School Interview + MMI DVD: 100 min (can be used to help with Dental School Interviews)
  • Bonus: Science review flashcards (just ignore physics)

The Complete Package (minus Topscore Pro)  COST $399.00 $299.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • 15 hours of Natural Sciences review with 6 months online access
  • 3 hours MP3 review files for the natural sciences 
  • 52 flashcards
  • Interview DVD
The Gold Standard DAT 4-book set + Interview DVD + Science flashcards

The Gold Standard DAT 4-book set + Interview DVD + Science flashcards


The Complete Four Book Review Set  COST $199.00 $149.00
  • Complete four (4) book review set (1408 pages)
    • (DAT Bio, DAT Chem, DAT QR&RC, and DAT PAT) 
    • 2 full practice tests
  • Online access code with 3000+ practice questions
    • Compatible with PC and Mac

Individual Books  COST $49.95 $29.95
  • Comprehensive Biology review with over 300 practice questions with solutions
  • 400 pages

  • Comprehensive Chemistry review with 650 practice questions with solutions
  • 414 pages

  • Comprehensive review of Math and English skills with 350 practice questions
  • 314 pages

  • Complete and innovative preparation for the PAT
  • 280 pages

DAT Practice Tests
  • TopScore Pro  COST $65.00
    • 3 computerized practice test
    • 840 comprehensive questions
  • Gold Standard Online Practice Tests   COST $60.00
    • 2 full length practice tests
    • ADA format

DAT Videos
  • The Medical School Interview
  • DAT Natural Sciences Review  COST $199.00 $98.00

*Disclaimer: This is not an ad. I do not work for/with The Gold Standard DAT*

Surviving D1 year: Taking Notes

You made it to dental school and you are now a D1! The fun begins now and the pace will pick up very rapidly. There will be many obstacles to overcome over your tenure in dental school, one of the first ones will be mastering the art of note taking.
Luckily, I went over the different ways you can go about taking notes. The article can be found on The Next DDS website, but you may find an excerpt below.

Click on the link above or the graphic below to go straight to the article

Remember, you all can become members of The NEXT DDS! It is absolutely free to enroll.

ADAT - What Is It and How To Prepare For It

I recently wrote an article about the Advanced Dental Admission Test, otherwise known as the ADAT. In the article I outlined what the exam entails and how to prepare for it.

See excerpt of the article below and follow the link to read entire article.

You can find this article and many more on The NEXT DDS website, and it is entirely free to enroll!

What I wish I Knew Before Going to Dental School

Me pictured above practicing and
perfecting my preps in the simulation lab
(2nd year of dental school)
This is one of the most common questions I get asked by pre-dental and dental students ( followed by, If you had to, would you do dental school all over again? - that is for a different post).
First of all, let me start by saying that getting accepted into dental school was one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Becoming a dentist was the career choice I made at a pretty early age and worked tirelessly towards that goal. I remember saying "If I could just get into dental school, the rest would be history!" and so it was, but little did I know...

Fast forward a couple years later and these are a few of the things I wish I had known before going to dental school:

1. The Best Decision of my Life
Dental school was great! I can say that now that it is over for me, but you will not necessarily feel this way going through the process. When I think about the totality of experiences I had, the life long friends and colleagues I made and the lifestyle that it affords, I cannot honestly think of a profession that I would have preferred. I love what I do! and it is very rewarding.

2. That it would test you not only mentally but spiritually, emotionally, financially and otherwise.
There will be many exams throughout your four years of dental school. You will spend countless hours studying and may even at times have to pull an all-nighter or two (I do not recommend this). When there aren't regular semester exams there are board exams and they can be stressful. Besides those tests, there are situations that will test almost every facet of your being. You have to have the mental fortitude for the myriad of things that get thrown at you. There will be requirements and deadlines and things that are totally out of your control that you will somehow be responsible for. I have had friends who at one point completely broke down under the pressure and likewise there were the ones who thrived under the pressure; who used that pressure as fuel and rose to the occasion. Regardless of which category you end up falling under, it will build character and you will end up being thankful for those experiences.

3. Note taking skills
It is very important that you have good and accurate notes and outlines. You will have to pay keen attention to this for at least your first 2 years of dental school.  You will have to figure out quite quickly the best way for you to take notes. You may prefer the good ol' traditional pen and paper, or you may prefer to use a note taking app on your computer if you're a fast typer. Personally I made notes on or at the bottom of the power point presentations that were released for each class and I sometimes just took quick notes in a physical notebook as I can write faster than I can type. There were colleagues of mine however who preferred such tools as Microsoft One Note or another note taking app with cool features.

4. That all my textbooks would be electronic and that I would rarely read them (shameless)
I don't know about you but I am traditional when it comes to my books. I like to open a book and smell the fresh scent of paper, I want to feel the pages under my fingers and I want the opportunity to use my physical highlighter and sticky-notes. So needless to say, I found it cumbersome to use my electronic textbooks the way that they were intended to be used. I mainly used the powerpoints issued, took really good notes and used the books as references - or use almighty Google and YouTube (thank God for them).

5. Study Habits
Figure this out quickly! As in, before your first major exam quickly. You will be doing a lot of it and you will be tested constantly so it would be wise to figure it out before those grades start to go in and become part of your permanent record (yikes). Do you study better with a partner? Do you study on your own and then meet up with a group for discussion? Do you prefer group study all together or are you the type that do best on your own? Take a little time to figure out what works best for you - just not too much time.

6. Dental School is FUN! and there is TIME
I know all the above sounds daunting but contrary to popular belief, there were lots of fun times in dental school. You will make very good life long friends and attend each others weddings, baby showers and birthday parties. There is TIME to do what ever you want to do. You don't have to give up your hobbies and the things you like to do for fun. There will be time for vacation and spending time with family and loved ones. Many people were surprised that I was able to keep this blog up and running all throughout dental school! It all boils down to how well you manage your time.

If you are about to start dental school, be excited! but also be prepared. You are in for a treat.

Feel free to contact me with questions or leave comments below.

Dental School Examination Guide

Over the years I've written articles on the different standardized exams. Below I have populated a list of of all the articles I've written the DAT and NBDE exams. Just follow the links and feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.

Dental Admissions Test (DAT):

National Board Dental Exam (NBDE) Part 1:

National Board Dental Exam (NBDE) Part 2:

PS: I am currently working on pieces about licensing exams and the new ADAT (exam for post-doc programs). So, stay tuned.

Graduation and Board Certification 🎓✅

The last time I wrote, I mentioned that I was on the home stretch of preparing for and sitting the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) written examination <-- this is the exam taken as part of the process to becoming a board certified Orthodontist. I am very pleased to announce that all my hard work and studying paid off. I passed!!!

I have taken many standardized exams in my time but this one was by far the one I was most nervous about. When the email popped in my inbox I remember being overcome by a flood of emotions; my heart felt like it would literally bust through my chest, my palms got sweaty and I could barely breathe lol! My co-resident had to open the email for me and deliver the good news, phew!! 

I've also since graduated!! 🎓🎓and I had the great fortune of sitting exactly 5 rows away from President Barack Obama, as he delivered our commencement speech.

Graduation Day! Ticket in-hand eagerly awaiting the arrival
of President Barack Obama

Howard University 2016 Commencement Speech (in case you missed it)

This was a historic day and I will never ever forget it. His speech was very inspiring 
and a strong reminder that your Passion must be matched with Strategy.

I was this close to the President

Howard University Orthodontics, class of 2016!

From job/contract negotiations, apartment hunting, board exams, several research presentations, graduation and lots of other residency related things and... just life in general, the last couple weeks has been nothing shy of eventful and amazing (stressful too, at times). The only thing missing is the icing on the cake - my certificate to solidify my new title as Orthodontist. Stay tuned.

Orthodontics Board Exam

As many of my readers know, I was accepted into my dental school's Orthodontics Program in July 2014 and since it's a 2 year program, that leaves me with just about three (3) more months until I get the official title of Orthodontist. I'm very excited for this accomplishment and embracing the impending next steps of my life, ahem real world.
But before I graduate from my program and move on to bigger, brighter and better things, there are a couple hurdles to jump over - one of the biggest right now being the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) written examination, yes another national board exam.

With just about 2 more weeks remaining until I sit this exam, there's a lot of burning the midnight oil and exam anxiety at this time. You would think taking these standardized exams would be a breeze by now, but no. I still have to call up on all the things that I've done in the past to get through my studies and remain focused. There is a world of material to cover with only so much time left - so staying organized is key. I've been struggling this time around with the staying focused bit. I have a lot of things going on: employment contract negotiations, research and grand case preparations (finalizing my research and presentations for 3 research symposiums coming up within the next 3 weeks), chief resident duties, family...stuff, blogging over at The NEXT DDS, to name a few.
This is however, nothing new to me and I will be plummeting through like I always do!

Wish me luck!

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