DAT Reading Comprehension Strategy

Reading Comprehension Test

This is a method called search and destroy posted by “VicViper” in the studentdoctors forums located here. This method has shown dramatic results, the developer of this method received a 30 on the Dental Admissions Reading Comprehension Test. Using this method requires practice and you should refine this method using simulated test software such as CrackDAT. The method is listed below.

Search and Destroy Method

This is a method I used and it worked for me, but it very well may not work for you. It is also very risky because it can take a significant amount of time if you get stuck. Being a fast reader also really helps with this strategy. Please don’t go into the DAT and use this without trying it out and seeing if it actually works for you first, and then practicing with it if it does. I REPEAT, it worked for me, and it may or may not work for you!

That said, Search and destroy works most of the time, but you need to find a search and destroy method that works well for you.

Here’s what I did, but it’s really risky because it can take a ton of extra time, and it didn’t work for every question, but the first practice test I tried this on I got a 29, and on the actual DAT I got a 30 (Though I was lucky on getting 1 passage I was already familiar with). First, you need to be able to read through and only focus on key terms, that is the most important thing, as most everything else is filler.

1) Look through ALL the questions for a passage, and look for any word that could POSSIBLY resemble a key term, any names of muscles, chemicals, enzymes, places, names, etc. Put these terms in the back of your head.

2)Start BROWSING through the passage carefully looking for any word that might be a key term, and every time you come upon an important looking key term, read the sentence it’s in closely, and then go through ALL of the questions for that passage and see if that term is used in any of them. If it is, you should be able to easily answer the question, as most often key terms are only used in the paragraph where they show up, and the one after it.

3) Continue to go through the passage slowly, and if you need to, go through the questions again to refresh your memory of what terms to be looking for.

4) Keep going through all of your remaining questions for that passage whenever you come across a key term, and as you are going through, make a mental sketch of how the passage is laid out.

5) Once you’ve gone through the entire passage, you should have maybe 3 or 4 questions left. Go back and look at them, and then focus on 2. Start skimming through the passage again, looking for those key terms, and if you see key terms related to some of the other unanswered questions, jot their location down on your paper.

6) At this point, focus on any questions that do not work for search and destroy – often these are question which asks “Which of these is not mentioned” or the ones which give a statement, and asks you if it is true or false, and if the reasoning given in the question is proof of the statement.

7) Go onto the next passage, and if you’ve spent more than a third of your time, know that you’re going to need to either a) speed up, b) not be as through, or C) Use a backup strategy.

Like I said, this worked well for me, but on the actual test I was 2 minutes over on my first two passages – I consider myself a fast reader, and it is still very risky. This isn’t for everyone, try it if you like, but then if it doesn’t work on your practice tests, use a different SnD method. RC is definitely a good part practice and skill, but luck also plays a big part in it.

The Kaplan Method

The Kaplan method is a great method for the DAT. The more recent versions of the DAT has cut back on search and destroy questions. There are now many more tone and inference questions on the DAT. The Kaplan method allows you to do well on the tone and inference questions, while the search and destroy method makes it tough to get these questions correct. The Kaplan method is outlined below:

  • As you are reading look for a general tone the authors trying to convey. Also see if the author takes any position on the issue he or she talking about. Also look for any points of view the authors try to make.
  • For each paragraph make a note of each key term in that paragraph. So if you get any search and destroy questions you know exactly what paragraph that key term is it. Also this helps you reference back to any paragraphs that contain questions.

That’s the Kaplan method in a nutshell good luck on your DAT!

More Reading Comprehension Resources

1. Crack the DAT Ultimate Bundle Package for the Dental Admission Test (2011-2012 Edition)

2. Barron’s DAT: Dental Admissions Test (Barron’s How to Prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (Dat))

3. Kaplan DAT 2009-2010 Edition (Kaplan Dat (Dental Admission Test))

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