DAT Prep: Gold Standard is a newcomer in DAT preparation material. While shopping around for resources to buy, I came across DAT Prep: Gold Standard, but could not see myself investing so much money in an untested system. With the first edition prep books released in the early summer of 2013, there were no reviews before taking my DAT. After my exam, I was presented with an opportunity to review the DAT Prep: Gold Standard system to see what makes it tick. Is there still room for this newcomer in the world of DAT prep material. I hope you find the following comprehensive review helpful in figuring out if DAT Gold Standard is right for you!
With my DAT experience covering a vast amount of resources, I have learned what books or programs effectively teach the material to mastery and in an efficient way. You can read about my breakdown on Dental Admissions Test (DAT) Part 2 – Planning, Strategies, and Resources. In addition to thoroughly reviewing the material personally, I have shared the material with a colleague of mine, Kristine Angeles, who is currently using this series to prepare for her upcoming DAT.
Even though DAT Prep: Gold Standard is new to pre-dents, the company The Gold Standard (RuveneCo.) has been a big name in MCAT preparation since 2001. Gold Standard Multimedia has developed new resources focused specifically on DAT material in addition to revised versions of the MCAT material for the natural sciences sections.
The DAT Prep: Gold Standard comes in several different flavors:
- 5 Full-length Practice Tests (2 gold standard, 3 TopScore Pro)
- 4 Books
- 12 Natural Sciences DVDs (15 hours of content)
- MP3s (3 hours of key points)
- Online Access Code for 2000+ additional questions
- Interview DVD
- TopScore Pro (direct link from Scholarware – Makers of TopScore Pro for $60)
- Medical School Interview + MMI DVD: 100 min; can be used to help for dental school interviews
- A full deck of 54 MCAT flashcards to help you review (just ignore the physics)
Complete package without items in RED (TopScore/bonus items) – $399
Complete 4-Book Set – $199
- All 4 books covering the topics
- 2 Practice tests (one physical, one online)
- Online Access Code (2000+ additional questions, 10 hours of video explanations)
Individual Books (include access codes for online questions)- $49.95
Quality of Books (Material):
The books are of the highest quality I have ever seen in prep material. The cover is made of a stiff and raised cross-hatch design. Very elegant. The inside of the book is in full color and large font allows these books to be placed on a book stand and far enough away to reduce eye-strain from long study sessions. Paper quality is thick and glossed making diagrams more vibrant and pages more durable if something minor spills on it. On the other hand, erasing pencil is almost impossible on this paper so try not to mark up the book too much!
All explanations were very straightforward and did not divulge into areas outside of the scope of the DAT. Getting through multiple chapters in a day should not be overly difficult thanks to the format of the books. In some sections like the PAT, difficulty ramps up as you get further into the guided examples. This makes the PAT section of Gold Standard my favorite resource for PAT preparation. Most other prep materials show a really simple question and then immediately ramp up to a problem set. The Gold Standard goes through a number of training questions, with each increasing in difficulty while including an additional component to the technique. When reading through the material, I was surprised by the accuracy of the “training” using the same techniques I had acquired only after completing hundreds of sample problems.
Quality of Practice Questions:
For BIO, CHEM, RC, QR, and PAT, material is broken down into a number of chapters with “warm-up exercises” immediately after each chapter. These warm-up exercises range from 5-15 questions depending on the depth of the chapter. The difficulty of the material in these warm-up sections is just right for the DAT, but would not recommend using these warm-up questions as your only practice questions prior to taking full length practice exams. I still strongly believe it is essential to use a resource like DAT Destroyer to build speed by challenging you with more difficult questions you will ever see on the DAT. The book has thorough solutions explaining each answer in a paragraph or so. The explanations are very concise and easy to understand and recommends pages to review for more information.
I was extremely dissatisfied with the organic chemistry section of this DAT prep material. While it does explain the information, it does not ask a single checkpoint/warm-up question immediately after a chapter. This is crucial to keeping up with the information and seeing how well you understand the concepts. I would strongly recommend supplementing the resources provided by Gold Standard or using another resource for Organic Chemistry. DAT Prep: Gold Standard tried to correct this mistake by including additional online practice questions that complement the chapters. Please read the online resources section below for more information.
Quick Review Notes:
Each section has a number of review pages that are a great resource when you have a few minutes to spare. I found any sort of condensed notes extremely useful the days before my DAT. I recommend using these pages as well. It would be nice if the pages were perforated so they can be easily removed from the book for more convenient use.
The only (physical) full length practice exam is included in the end of the PAT book (referred to as GS1 and also available as an independent online exam for $30 dollars). The other practice test (GS2) can be accessed by purchasing the 4-book set or creating an account on their website www.dat-prep.com and purchasing it for $30 dollars. Gold standard could benefit from the addition of a practice test to each of their books. Every student preparing for the DAT wants practice tests and a lot of these prep materials do not include more than 1 or 2. A new company like Gold Standard should be including more practice tests with their material. Another newcomer of summer 2013 took advantage of the lack of full practice tests (DAT Bootcamp) and is now one of the resources that many people consider a necessity.
DAT Gold Standard has a barge of resources available in different forms. This includes 15 hours of natural science videos, 3 hours of audio review to play on the go (digital), flash cards, and an interview guide video.
Additional Digital Resources
Free resources available to everyone:
Registering to create an account on their website allows you to access the following content completely free of charge. Overall I think this is a generous gesture from DAT Gold-Standard and I recommend everybody to take advantage of it.
- Free Question of the Day
- DAT Mini-Practice Test (GS-Free)
- Video of the Week
- Picture (diagram) of the Week
- 1 Hour Limit of Recorded (video) Lectures (any topic you want)
DAT Gold Standard has a barrage of additional resources that are available as part of the individual books or bundled with one of the larger packages above. Individual books (or the box set) can be registered on their website to access hundreds of additional questions for individual sections. A full breakdown of each subsection can be reviewed here, but a summary of the total number of question can be found below.
As you can see in the table above, the lack of Ochem questions available directly in the book has been corrected with 373 available online questions. PAT comes with 1,340 questions available online (approximately 13+ practice test worth of questions) , and reading comprehension (RC) comes with an additional 400 questions online (approximately 8 tests). These extra questions easily push DAT Gold Standard into the top tier providers for PAT and RC questions. QR and general chemistry on the other hand could improve with an expansion of their online question question library.
Purchasing the 4-book set increases your video limit from 1 hour to 10 hours allowing you to view 2/3’s of the available content online. This is more than enough to review videos for sections you need help with. The $399 and $499 come with DVD copies that you can re-watch as much as you would like.
High Quality PAT Explanations:
The video embedded below is an example of the quality of the material provided by DAT Prep: Gold Standard. This is one of the best videos that explains keyholes in under 10 minutes.
While I am not convinced the Natural Sciences section is the ultimate resource for the DAT, I still believe it is an excellent resource to utilize. The curriculum is well thought out and the quality of the material remains strong throughout the book in addition to the online resources. For the past 6 months I have been recommending the PAT book for those who need help with strategies and the RC book to everybody who has been looking for more passages to practice with. DAT Gold Standard will get you 10 tests worth (100 questions in book, 400 online) of practice. The QR bundled with the RC book is a welcomed bonus and still recommended as a review resource for most students. You can purchase copies of the book directly from dat-prep.com, ebay, amazon, walmart, among other etailers. You can find the 4-book set for as low as $115 shipped on walmart.com!
A dental student just posted a short video review of the series which includes a giveaway for the 4-book set which runs until May 15th.