Wow it’s been exactly a year since I found out about my acceptance into dental school on December 1, 2015! It was probably one of the best birthday presents I could ever ask for. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had applied to 16 schools, received 6 interviews and 5 acceptances (I didn’t attend one of the interviews because the plane ticket was a little pricey and it was a bit lower on my list). My interviews started in September (in order) – University of New England, University of Indiana, University of Detroit Mercy, Tufts, and University of Michigan. I always had my eyes on Michigan for a number of reasons.
The day of I remember waking up at 5AM and immediately checking my email. I found my first acceptance from Indiana University. I was happy to know that at least I would be a dentist somewhere somehow! But of course I was still anxious. I really couldn’t stop myself so the next thing I did was log in to student doctor network (not always the best idea) and prowl around Continue reading “The Best Bday Present”
Yesterday in the oral surgery clinic we had a rather long case involving a woman in her 30s who had to have all four wisdom teeth removed, a biopsy from a cyst, as well as an implant for #11. Everything went great. Although this was one of the first times I had seen such a huge chunk of the maxilla crack off with the tooth. Apparently the fusion of tooth with bone is called ankylosis. I was so surprised when I saw the oral surgeon pull this out of the patient’s mouth. At first I thought the tooth was rather large then upon looking at it I could see the porous bone that had cracked off from being fused to tooth #1.
Working in the oral surgery clinic is amazing. I am so excited for all that I am learning because although this is different than general dentistry, this should give me a head start on information I will learn and experiences to come later while I am in dental school.
I finally took my DAT on Saturday. I went in feeling fairly confident, a bit nervous for sure but definitely more excited than anything to get it over with. After prometric had me sign in and wait in the room before all the body checks and whatnot I finally sat in my chair with the computer, took a deep breath and started the exam. The first part was biology and I was a bit annoyed that I couldn’t jump from one section to the next as easily as I had hoped. Usually I would have started the chemistry first, orgo, then biology last. It wasn’t a big deal since during the practice tests I had ended up with 24 min remaining for the science section comprised of 100 questions from these three topics. During the biology section there seemed to be a lot of material that I had not expected and thus had not formally covered which kind of surprised me…fortunately I knew biology well enough to make well-educated guesses based on my resulting score…there was surprisingly a lot of stuff about bugs on the exam…lucky me because I’ve been a bug-lover my whole life, so apparently to be a dentist it’s important to know about grasshopper’s malipighian tubules. Then for the general chemistry and organic chemistry, I literally felt like I was taking a different test. All the practice tests and questions seemed to have prepared me for a test that was more heavily empirical than conceptual. The test I took seemed to be majority conceptual rather than number plugging and formulas. I was definitely unprepared for this and felt that I was just “guessing” and was unsure of my answers throughout the general chemistry section. The organic chemistry ended up not being as bad as I felt gen chem was although my scores told otherwise. Last was the perceptual, then reading, and math section. Finally after the exam was a quick survey I had to take before seeing my scores. Admittedly I hardly read any of the survey questions as I could feel my heart beating out of my chest as I was about to see the scores that could determine the next 4-5 years of my life.
- Perceptual ability: 22
- Quantitative Reasoning: 24 (😭😀)
- Reading Comprehension: 20
- Biology: 21
- General Chemistry: 21
- Organic Chemistry: 18 😩
Total Science: 20
Academic Average: 21
So anything above a 19 is considered good/competitive. Generally schools look at the academic average and the perceptual ability before looking at the other scores. So I did pretty well since most of my scores are in the 20s. That orgo score did make me panic though. When I took the 2007 and 2009 practice tests I had scored in the mid to high 20s!! I really felt that I took a different exam. 18 isn’t horrible but if anything it really bothers me that I wish I had known the differences between the new DAT 2015 which they had apparently changed but since it’s such a new test a lot of the test prep knew of the changes but didn’t exactly have the best idea of how to replicate the exam. If I had taken the DAT back in 2014…anyways I got my scores and I can definitely move on to the next step and apply this term. I’m also surprised I got the score I did in gen chem as I felt so confused and unsure throughout this section and at least moreso than orgo. I was also quite happy about my perceptual ability score 🙂 the average for most schools is a 20 or 21. As for the average for most schools for AA is a 19 or 20. So I am a little above the average which I’m happy about. I talked to my friend Judy who is a D1 this year and she said she knows many students who have that one score in the high teens but it obviously did not prevent them from gaining acceptance. And getting above 20 AA should put me 2 std dev above the mean (17) if I’m not mistaken.
The DAT was definitely my biggest obstacle at this point and I am happy to be disciplined enough to dedicate time to self-study and to overcome this test. Looking back on my study habits and attitude during my undergrad years, I have learned so much within just this past year. My attitude has changed in that I felt more confident and scoring well actually seemed like a possibility.
Anyways I am relieved to be done with the exam although admittedly I miss studying long term for something but I’m sure I will have many such opportunities in the future 😛
Another good feeling that I’ve been having has resulted from taking practice DAT tests and seeing my surprisingly good score. I remember the point where I felt quite friendly with the DAT, as in, it was no longer an enemy. A week to a month ago I felt good and just had to “fill in the cracks” and now I feel that I am just reviewing. I always have a bit of worry because I never want to be too relaxed as then I will get lazy and I’ll end up reading a question over 10 times simply because I cannot get my mind to focus because my mind doesn’t see the importance of something. Thus, I must maintain a good equilibrium of being slightly panicked and relaxed. If anything, I feel excited and am happy that I still get to spend time with people while studying for the exam.
Anyways, back to studying!
Had lunch with my friend, Judy, who’s now in her first year of dental school. We planned to meet at one place but miscommunication and we ended up going to different restaurants! We decided to get food where we were and meet at the dental school.
We chatted for a bit then she showed me around the lab! She said there’s a steep learning curve and that it can be frustrating, time consuming, but at the same time, therapeutic and fun. I also met another one of Judy’s classmates. I asked if it was difficult getting used to using the little mirrors rather than looking directly at what you’re working on. They said it definitely was at first because it’s so easy to just bend over the patient until you realize you’ve been doing that for the past 3 hours and your back and neck starts to hurt. The classmate then showed me a little yellow piece of paper, a small card rather, that had shapes on it that she said she had to trace while looking only at the mirror.
Seeing all this just makes me so excited to start dental school. I just need to do a couple things first haha like finish up classes, take the DAT, and finally, APPLY! Can’t wait for this summer 🙂