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!

A Guide to Success on NBDE Part II

You've come a long way in dental school and now on the home stretch! I have outlined just how to be successful on the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part II. See below for an excerpt:

You can find the entire article by visiting The NEXT DDS
It is free to enroll!

A Guide to Success on NBDE Part 1

I have written a guide on how to pass the NBDE Part 1. This is an important time for you and I do hope that this guide is beneficial. Ihave attached a snippet below, please follow to think for the entire article on The NEXT DDS

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