Which science classes do i need to take for the DAT?
I found this really helpful breakdown on the 2018 DAT Program Guide which explains in detail exactly is covered on the DAT! Specifically, these are the subjects that are tested:
- Molecular Biology
- Diversity of Life (biological organization, major taxa: plantar, animalia, protista, fungi, eubacteria, archaea, and their integrated relationships)
- Structure and Function of Systems (Integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, immunological, digestive, respiratory, urinary, nervous/senses, endocrine, reproductive, and integrated relationships)
- Developmental Biology (Fertilization, descriptive embryology, developmental mechanisms, and integrated relationships)
- Genetics (Molecular genetics, human genetics, classical genetics, chromosomal genetics, and genetic technology, and integrated relationships)
- Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior (Natural selection, population genetics/ speciation, population and community ecology, ecosystems, and animal behavior (including social behavior), and integrated relationships)
Classes to take: Really you need the freshman and sophomore level biology classes!
Keep in mind that the creators of the DAT questions are theoretically designing the questions so that a junior in college should be able to answer them (if you're planning on not taking a gap year, you would theoretically take the DAT in your junior year). Applicants also come from a wide variety of degrees, and not everyone will be a science major--they have to make the questions answer-able to them, too!
That said, if you have the chance to take more science classes, this will give you a better background and might help you on the test and later in dental school (plus, biology is the best, so there's that too!)
But Lindsey, how do I know what will be covered in each of the biology classes taught by my university? When you look at the handbook for your Biology department, there should be a brief discussion about what the class will cover. Not helpful? Ask an upperclassman or reach out to the science professor themselves and ask them for the details!
- Stoichiometry and General Concepts (Percent composition, empirical formulae, balancing equations, moles and molecular formulas, molar mass, density, and calculations from balanced equations)
- Gases (Kinetic molecular theory of gases, Dalton's, Boyle's, Charles’s, and ideal gas law)
- Liquids and Solids (Intermolecular forces, phase changes, vapor pressure, structures, polarity, and properties)
- Solution (Polarity, properties (colligative, noncolligative), forces, and concentration calculations)
- Acids and Bases (pH, strength, Brønsted-Lowry reactions, and calculations)
- Chemical Equilibria (Molecular, acid/base, precipitation, calculations, and Le Chatelier’s principle)
- Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry (Laws of thermodynamics, Hess’s law, spontaneity, enthalpies and entropies, and heat transfer)
- Chemical Kinetics (Rate laws, activation energy, and half-life)
- Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (Balancing equations, determination of oxidation numbers, electrochemical calculations, and electrochemical concepts and terminology)
- Atomic and Molecular Structure (Electron configuration, orbital types, Lewis-Dot diagrams, atomic theory, quantum theory, molecular geometry, bond types, and sub- atomic particles)
- Periodic Properties (Representative elements, transition elements, periodic trends, and descriptive chemistry)
- Nuclear Reactions (Balancing equations, binding energy, decay processes, particles, and terminology)
- Laboratory (Basic techniques, equipment, error analysis, safety, and data analysis)
Classes to take: Definitely General Chemistry 1 and 2, and that's about it! Again, refer to the handbook or your chemistry professor for the specific details to make sure you're not missing anything!
- Mechanisms (Energetics, and Structure - elimination, addition, free radical, substitution mechanisms, and other mechanisms and reactions)
- Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules (Spectroscopy (1H NMR, 13C NMR, infrared, and multi-spectra), structure (polarity, intermolecular forces (solubility, melting/ boiling point, etc.), and laboratory theory and techniques (TLC, separations, etc.))
- Stereochemistry (Chirality, isomer relationships, and conformations)
- Nomenclature (IUPAC rules and functional groups in molecules)
- Individual Reactions of the Major Functional Groups and Combinations of Reactions to Synthesize Compounds (Alkene/alkyne, aromatic, substitution/elimination, aldehyde/ketone, carboxylic acids and derivatives, and other. For each area listed above, the following sub-areas apply: general, one-step, and multi-step)
- Acid-Base Chemistry (Ranking acidity/basicity (structure analysis and pH/pKa data analysis), and prediction of products and equilibria)
- Aromatics and Bonding (Concept of aromaticity, resonance, atomic/molecular orbitals, hybridization, and bond angles/lengths)