How to Ace Reading Comprehension on the DAT Exam When English is a 2nd Language

DAT Reading


The Dental Admission Test (DAT) or the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) are both standardized tests that assess students' academic aptitude and knowledge in their chosen field of study. Whether you're a native English speaker or not, the reading comprehension section of either exam can be challenging. For non-native English speakers, it can be even more daunting. Don't worry, though: with perseverance and practice, you can ace the reading comprehension section of the DAT or OAT. Read on for tips on how to improve your reading comprehension skills and be better prepared for your exam.

Start by improving your vocabulary

One of the main challenges faced by non-native English speakers when it comes to reading comprehension is the vastness of the English vocabulary. With thousands of words to learn and understand, it can be overwhelming. However, there are strategies that can help.

A proven strategy is to set aside dedicated time each day for learning new words. This can be facilitated by subscribing to a service like WordDaily, which delivers daily vocabulary to your email. Alternatively, you can utilize vocabulary books or explore online resources that offer word lists and definitions. By consistently exposing yourself to new words, you can gradually enhance and broaden your vocabulary.

To reinforce your learning, it's important to quiz yourself regularly. This can be done by creating flashcards such as anki or taking online quizzes. Testing your knowledge will not only help you retain the new words but also identify areas that need further practice.

Lastly, don't just stop at memorizing words. To truly master them, try to use the new vocabulary in context. Incorporate the words into your speaking and writing, and pay attention to how native speakers use them. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of their meaning and usage.

By implementing these strategies, you can improve your reading comprehension and feel more confident navigating the breadth of the English vocabulary.

 Read Every Day

One effective way to improve comprehension in English is by reading extensively. The process is actually easier than you might think. To get started, choose blogs or articles that align with your interests or field of study. As you read, don't fret about fully understanding every single word or concept in the text. Once you have finished reading, take the time to summarize what you have learned. Additionally, make note of any unfamiliar words or phrases that you can research at a later time. This active approach to reading will help you build your language skills and expand your knowledge in a meaningful way.

 Take your time and read carefully

When engaging in reading comprehension passages, it's of utmost importance to resist the alluring temptation of rushing through the text. Instead, take ample time to immerse yourself in the words and phrases, delving into their intricate details for a comprehensive understanding. By reading with meticulous attention and focusing on each sentence's broader context, you can unravel the hidden layers of meaning embedded within. To enhance retention, employ the technique of creating a vivid and captivating story in your mind, allowing the information to come alive and etch itself into your memory. Additionally, consider underlining the key points within the text, providing visual cues that facilitate effortless recall in the future. Remember, it's not solely about deciphering unfamiliar words, but also comprehending the nuances and subtleties that permeate each passage. By fully immersing yourself in the text and actively exploring its many dimensions, you can unlock a profound level of understanding that goes beyond the surface.

 Work with practice tests

By working through practice tests, you'll be able to apply your reading comprehension techniques in a timed environment. Doing this ensures that you're not only reading comprehension adept, but you're also accustomed to taking the test. These practice tests allow you to assess where you need to focus your studying, too.

 Use online resources

There are numerous online resources accessible to non-native English speakers who are eager to enhance their reading comprehension skills. These resources provide a wide range of options, including free vocabulary building exercises and reading comprehension activities tailored to various proficiency levels. Additionally, some platforms even offer specialized content designed specifically for standardized tests. Moreover, for those seeking a sense of community and daily reading practice, there are study groups available that regularly share engaging reading passages. One such example is Dr. Jim Romano's Study Group, which can be found on Facebook. By joining this group, individuals can gain access to a wealth of valuable reading materials and engage in discussions with like-minded learners. Explore the provided link to discover more about this study group and take your reading skills to new heights.  Find daily reading on Dr. Jim Romano's Study Group. Happy learning! 


Reading comprehension on the DAT or OAT can be a daunting task, even for native English speakers. The ability to understand and interpret complex passages requires practice and perseverance. However, non-native speakers can level the playing field through dedication and consistent effort.will be. Good luck mastering reading comprehension on the DAT or OAT!

To improve reading comprehension skills, it is crucial to focus on vocabulary enhancement. Building a strong foundation of words relevant to the test content is essential. Additionally, making reading a daily habit can greatly contribute to overall improvement. By exposing oneself to a variety of texts, carefully analyzing them, and practicing with mock tests, one can develop the necessary skills to excel in this area.

Fortunately, there are numerous online resources available that can aid in the learning process. These resources provide additional practice material, strategies, and tips to enhance reading comprehension abilities. The more exposure you have to specific vocabulary, texts, contexts, and styles, the more efficient your reading comprehension will become.

Remember, improving reading comprehension skills is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and dedication. By staying committed to your goals and following a structured study plan, you can significantly increase your chances of success on the test.

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