6 Ways to Keep Calm and Overcome DAT Test Anxiety

It's estimated that between 40% and 60% of students suffer from some level of test anxiety. A good chunk of these students will soon be taking the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) exam, a test designed to assess the knowledge of prospective dental students. 

Are you experiencing anxiety as a result of the upcoming DAT exam? Need help keeping calm and overcoming that anxiety? Here is the article for you. 

Below, we're going to cover 6 ways to combat DAT test anxiety. We're also going to provide you with a wealth of other information, helping you approach the DAT exam with as clear a head as possible. Let's go! 

What Is Test Anxiety?

Essentially everyone feels some level of stress over an upcoming exam. Not everyone, however, experiences anxiety over an upcoming exam. 

Anxiety differs from stress in that it can be debilitating. It can result not only in racing thoughts but an inability to concentrate and extreme feelings of dread as well. Physical symptoms can also crop up, including a racing heartbeat, headaches, and even nausea. 

So, in essence, test anxiety is an extreme mental and physiological response to a test or exam. It can occur both before and during a test. Anxiety levels vary from individual to individual and can range anywhere from mild to severe.  

What Causes Test Anxiety? 

Now, you might be wondering: what causes text anxiety? In truth, it varies from individual to individual. That said, there are some common causes. 

Like with most types of anxiety, a lack of control is one of the culprits. Students have no idea what will be asked on the exam.

As such, even if they study a great deal, they might still not be able to accurately answer test questions. This causes them to feel like they're out of control, and thus anxiety presents itself. 

Another cause of text anxiety is a feeling of ill-preparedness. If a student hasn't studied enough for an exam, they're bound to have anxiety over their ability to pass it. 

The consequences of failing an exam can also lead to anxiety. For example, if a student fails to pass the DAT, they won't be able to make it into dental school. This will set back the pursuit of their career, a thought that is sure to bring on anxiety. 

Potential Consequences of Test Anxiety 

Test anxiety isn't just an uncomfortable feeling. It's something that can have major consequences depending on the circumstances. This is because, as stated above, test anxiety can be debilitating. 

Let's say that test anxiety makes it difficult for you to focus. If you're having trouble focusing, you're going to have difficulty retaining information. If you can't retain information, you're bound to be ill-prepared for the upcoming exam. 

Or, you might have severe test anxiety. This can lead to panic attacks, which might make it impossible for you to even take the test in the first place. 

Depression, angry outbursts, and irritable behavior can also spawn from test anxiety. These symptoms will not only negatively affect your own life but the lives of those around you. 

Lastly, test anxiety causes a person to feel as though they're not good enough. In other words, it reduces a person's confidence. If you don't approach your test with confidence, you're almost certainly going to struggle with it. 

How to Know if You Have Test Anxiety 

Test anxiety can bring on a range of different symptoms. Some of these are physical. Others of these are mental. 

Physical symptoms of test anxiety include headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, excessive sweating, and a rapid heartbeat. You might even feel as though you're going to pass out. 

Mental symptoms of test anxiety include self-doubt, negative self-talk, anger, depression, low self-esteem, and distress. You might also become forgetful and have trouble retaining information. 

Dental Admission Test Preparation Tips

A key component in staving off test anxiety is to prepare yourself adequately for the test in question. When it comes to DAT preparation, this entails the following: 

Create a Study Schedule

First and foremost, you should create a study schedule. This enables you to focus your energy on studying during given times, and on taking breaks during other times. It helps ensure that you don't burn out. 

Realistically, you can study 3 or 4 hours a day. We advise studying for no more than a few hours at a time. Between each study session, be sure to designate at least an hour of downtime. 

Practice Self Care 

When a big test like the DAT is coming up, there's a tendency for students to dedicate all of their time to studying for it. This habit is, in fact, born out of anxiety. 

However, it's generally counterproductive. See, when you do this, you neglect yourself and your own mental well-being. As such, instead of studying non-stop, be sure to take time for self-care. 

Self-care is essentially anything that makes you feel good. Watch a movie, go for a walk, hang out with your friends, etc. In essence, have a life outside of studying. 

Combatting Anxiety Before the DAT Test 

Combatting anxiety on the day of the test requires taking some measures prior to the test. Generally speaking, if you do the following things, you'll have a clear mind throughout the exam. 

1. Get Good Sleep 

Good sleep is imperative. You need to sleep 7 to 9 hours every night, ideally at the same time every night. If you don't get good sleep, your mental constitution will be weak, and you'll be much more prone to anxiety. 

2. Practice Mindfulness

Another thing you can do to save off anxiety is to practice mindfulness. This entails being in the moment and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and insecurities.

There are all sorts of ways to practice mindfulness. You could do yoga, meditate, or simply sit in a quiet room and be alone with yourself. 

3. Avoid Cramming

One of the worst things you can do in studying for the DAT exam is to cram. Cramming involves trying to retain substantial amounts of information in very little time. Not only is it generally ineffective, but it's also almost sure to induce anxiety. 

Instead of cramming, be sure to space your studies out over the span of months. This will give you time to retain info and will ensure that you don't get overwhelmed. 

4. Eat a Balanced Diet 

A healthy diet contributes to a healthy mind. Therefore, you need to maintain a balanced diet in the lead-up to the DAT exam. Make sure that you're eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein. 

Keep the consumption of junk food to a minimum as well, as it can create mental volatility. 

5. Talk With Your Family/Friends

Studying for the DAT test is a stressful experience. If you're doing it entirely on your own, you're almost certainly going to feel isolated. Isolation can lead to burnout which can, in turn, lead to anxiety. 

Therefore, it's imperative that you talk with your family and friends throughout your studies. They'll help keep you socialized and ensure that you're getting the support that you need. 

6. Get Help from a Professional

There's no shame in turning to a professional during such a stressful time. A psychologist can help you manage your anxiety in the lead-up to the DAT, giving you tools and strategies for combatting stress and overwhelm. 

Managing Anxiety During the DAT Test

If you suffer from test anxiety, you're almost sure to experience anxiety while taking the DAT exam. Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage it. 

Positive self-talk is vital. Tell yourself you're prepared; tell yourself that you're capable; tell yourself that you can do it. It doesn't sound like much but it helps you to support a positive mindset. 

Deep breathing can help as well. Slowing down your breathing in this manner can also help to slow down your mind. This can reduce the effects of anxiety. 

Finally, you need to take breaks. Take a few minutes between each question to simply exist. If you're constantly stressing over each question, your anxiety will overtake you and affect your performance. 

Staying Focused During the DAT Test

Staying focused during the DAT exam can be difficult, especially if you struggle with test anxiety. However, there are a few things you can do to help ensure a focused mindset. 

First and foremost, get yourself physically comfortable. The more physically comfortable you are, the less you'll be distracted by potential pains and discomforts. 

In addition, you should break the test down into parts. Go full-throttle for one part, then take a mental break and proceed to the next part. 

You should also focus on only a single question at a time. Thinking about other questions will muddle your thoughts and result in sub-par critical thinking. 

Keep DAT Test Anxiety at Bay With the Help of Orgoman

If you're looking to combat DAT test anxiety, you should seriously consider using our online study platform, Orgoman. Our platform is catered specifically toward those studying for the DAT as well as those studying for the OAT (Optometry Admission Test). 

We not only offer a range of DAT study resources but tutoring services as well. Our platform will help you study in a clear and organized manner, and therefore curb a great deal of the stress and anxiety you're experiencing over the upcoming exam. 

Learn more about Orgoman Destroyer books now!

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