Managing Stress on DAT Exam Day

Exam day jitters are commonplace, especially when facing a high-stakes test like the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The mixture of anticipation and anxiety can either fuel one's focus or freeze it. For pre-dental students seeking to turn stress into success, mastering the art of calmness ahead of exam day becomes a crucial endeavor.

In this post, we'll explore tangible tactics to manage stress before and during the DAT, ensuring you walk into the testing center with the confidence and concentration necessary to perform at your best.

Pre-Exam Preparation

Develop a Study Plan

A solid study plan is the foundation of exam preparation. Break down the DAT content areas and allocate time for each. Remember, a prepared mind is a less stressed mind. Using the DAT Destroyer will provide you with the needed foundation to feel confident on test day and tackle even the most challenging problems with ease.

Take a DAT Test Drive

Before the test, make sure to visit your testing center. This way, you can familiarize yourself with the testing room and ask any questions you may have. While you won't take an actual exam, you can practice on the computer and go through a tutorial to help you answer questions. I highly recommend this preparation step.


Ensure adequate sleep, nutrition, and hydration in the days leading to the exam. A well-rested body and mind function at their peak.

The Night Before

Double-Check Your Essentials

Pack everything you'll need for the test the night before. This includes your admission ticket, identification, snacks, water, and any other allowed materials.


Relax, read a book, or engage in light exercise. Avoid strenuous activities or cramming as these can lead to heightened anxiety levels.

Visualize Success

Spend some time visualizing a successful exam day – from waking up feeling energized to answering the questions with certainty.

Day of the Exam

Start with a Positive Routine

On exam day, follow a morning routine that makes you feel good, be it a short walk, a healthy breakfast, or meditation. Steer clear of anything that disrupts your tranquility.

Arrive Early

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the testing center without rushing. Being early can give you a few moments to acclimate to the surroundings.

During the Exam

Deep Breathing Exercises

If you feel panic setting in, take deep, steady breaths. Deep breathing is a proven technique that reduces stress by lowering the heart rate.

Regular Breaks

Use your breaks wisely. Stand up, stretch, and if possible, refresh yourself with a snack or water to keep your energy levels up.

Focus on One Question at a Time

Avoid being overwhelmed by the entire test. Concentrate on the question in front of you as if it's the only one that matters.

Positive Self-Talk

Engage in positive self-talk to boost your confidence. Remind yourself that you're prepared and capable of tackling the challenges ahead.


Reflect, But Don’t Ruminate

After the exam, it’s natural to think about how you performed, but obsessing over every detail isn't constructive. Learn from the experience and then focus on your well-being.

Reward Yourself

Regardless of how you feel the exam went, reward yourself for the hard work and effort you put into preparing for the DAT.

Stress is an inevitable part of any exam experience, particularly one as important as the DAT. However, by employing the strategies outlined here, pre-dental students can manage stress effectively, paving the way to a calm, collected, and successful test day. Remember, while the DAT is a significant milestone in the pursuit of a dental career, it does not define your entire future. Prep well, stay positive, and embrace the experience with confidence.

Older Post Newer Post