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Princeton Review DAT Prep Review
Our comprehensive evaluation of the Princeton Review DAT prep course
Taking the DAT is the first and arguably most stressful step on your path to becoming a dentist. And when it comes to studying for the DAT, a lot of students choose Princeton Review to help them prepare. But just because a course is popular, does that mean it’s effective? And worth the money? In this detailed review, we break down everything you need to know about the Princeton Review DAT prep course.
In comparison to other DAT courses I’ve studied with, the Princeton Review DAT curriculum is undeniably deep. I knew going into this course that they had a lot of study resources to offer: 55 hours of live class time, 4,600+ practice questions, 4-full length exams, stacks of workbooks, etc. But the thing that impressed me the most was actually the structure of this course.
Princeton does an awesome job of synthesizing massive amounts of content that need to be learned down into a streamlined and highly digestible framework. You bite off lesson chunks in easy-to-understand amounts, and in a pattern that naturally builds on itself.
You don’t jump from topic to topic like some other courses I’ve taken, or even from subtopic to subtopic.
Princeton Review uses a rotating exam of specialist instructors to teach discrete subjects in a sequenced order. In total, you’ll see somewhere between 3 and 5 different instructors depending on which course you select and the mix of instructors they happen to have going for that round.
For me, this was four instructors. And I love this about Princeton Review’s approach.
DAT Bootcamp takes a similar tact, but I actually think Princeton Review pulls it off better. Their teachers are all diehard DAT teachers with really narrow focuses. Not to mention, the integrated online work is a great complement to the live class time.
Everything just seems to fit in nicely and naturally together – the live class time with assigned homework, online drills, video lessons and other study features. It’s a very tidy but robust package that I really, really like and was impressed with. In short, their core DAT curriculum is a large reason why Princeton Review nabbed our Editor’s Choice pick.
Princeton Review DAT Practice Tests & Questions
So one of the core tenets of Princeton Review’s DAT prep package is practice, practice, practice. This obviously isn’t anything novel, but they back up their package with quality work. In total, you get 4 full-length, computer-based practice exams and 4,600+ practice questions.
The practice questions are spread pretty evenly among the six topics, with maybe a slight skew towards bio and chemistry.
Those are some pretty impressive numbers. It’s not as much as some other prep providers, like Kaplan, but solid all-around. And again, beyond the quantity, I also really liked the quality of these practice questions.
I found them to be highly realistic of real DAT problems in terms of length, difficulty and content. I think this is particularly true for Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) questions. PAT problems are more or less the biggest problem area for prep providers in terms of providing realistic practice work, but I think Princeton Review nails it.
Now, if there was one flaw with the Princeton Review course that I found, it was the answer solutions that accompany the practice problems. In most cases, I found them to be a little lacking. I mean they’re not bad by any stretch – they give you sufficient detail to know why an answer choice was right or wrong, but by and large, they were just a little on thin side (especially as compared to Kaplan and DAT Cracker).
It’s really the only issue I could find with the Princeton Review prep package, and I just would like to see a little more meat around most of their text explanations.
It’s loaded with 800+ pages of test taking insights, content review, drills, sample problems with solving demonstrations, and a bunch more helpful study material. But despite its heft (the thing weighs a ton), it’s really well-organized. This massive text is broken out by subject and attacks each underlying subtopic in detail before moving onto the next logical bit of subject matter.
And all the while it conveys the material in a way that I found to help with material comprehension and retention. You start with content review, then move into tips and tricks for problem solving, sample problems, and then drills to reinforce. It’s a classic and effective structure.
However, the Princeton Review textbook package isn’t limited to Cracking the DAT. You also get a handful of supplemental workbooks with your Princeton Review prep package. This includes a workbook with an additional 500 pages, compendium full of drills, and maybe most importantly, a 3D practice kit for the PAT. In my opinion, as the PAT is about the hardest part of the DAT for most people, this practice kit has extra value.
All in all, I love the suite of Princeton Review prep books and think they offer about the best written study material in the space.
Princeton Review DAT Classes
As I mentioned at the top of this article, live classes are at the heart of this Princeton Review course, and in my opinion, are one of the biggest draws of this package. In total you get 55 hours of live class time.
That’s roughly 20 more live class hours than you get with live class competitor Kaplan. Though 20 hours may not sound like a lot, when you’re talking DAT prep, that’s huge. I mean it’s nearly 3 full days of study time with an expert instructor.
And on that point, to refresh, Princeton Review employs a team of rotating subject matter experts rather than one generalist (see Kaplan, again). I don’t always mind a generalist, as some can be very good if they’ve been teaching to the exam for years, but having specialists is always a bonus. I had 4 instructors across my class time and liked all of them.
They were all crazy smart and great communicators. In addition, they were very open and approachable. Basically, it was just clear they wanted all of their students to fully grasp all of the topics. In short, if your main priority is live class time in your prep, I can without a doubt say that Princeton Review is the best in the DAT prep space.
Supplemental DAT Study Resources
Princeton Review offers a few cool supplemental resources, but nothing seriously worth writing home about, apart from maybe the 3D practice kit for the PAT. That is an awesome complement to the main course instruction around the PAT and a pretty big value add.
The PAT is the most difficult portion of the DAT for 90% of takers (I’m completely making that stat up, but it definitely feels like it), and this kit is a massive help. It trains your brain to think spatially and allows you to conceptualize problems. I give it two thumbs up, but the rest of Princeton’s extras are just alright.
User Experience & Interface
One of the nice things about opting for a major prep provider like Princeton Review is that their tech is awesome. Like Kaplan, they have the resources to build out a fantastic digital platform that’s clean and easy to use. It’s modern, sleek and really responsive. I had no issues with lag times or functionality. 5 out of 5 stars on this front in my book.
The Princeton Review Money Back Guarantee
So here’s the down-low on Princeton Review’s money back guarantee. If you take their basic Fundamentals DAT prep course, you get a better score guarantee. This basically means they guarantee your score on the DAT will improve from your baseline, but not by any specific amount.
In essence, score .01 better and they’ve met their promise. So it’s a nice, but not huge promise.
However, things get interesting with Princeton’s DAT 20+. In this package, Princeton Review guarantees you will get a score of 20 or better. Yes, if you’ve done your research on what score you need to get into a solid dental school and paused, you read that correctly.
So this has instant appeal. But before you go crazy, know that you need to have a baseline score of at least 17 on the DAT to get that assured 20. So it’s not an open promise. It’s still a really nice backstop if you meet their starting thresholds, but check the fine print.
Verdict: Princeton Review DAT Prep Course
After my second class session and about an hour into studying with the online prep materials, I knew the Princeton Review DAT prep course would be right near the top of our best DAT courses list. Their curriculum is thorough and well-structured, and the integration of content review is best-in-category. The same well-designed pattern of teaching holds throughout their live class sessions, which are a highlight of the course.
I was also a big fan of Princeton Review’s practice material. Their practice exams and questions closely replicate the real DAT, especially the PAT section, in terms of length, content and difficulty.
If there was one shortfall with the Princeton Review DAT prep package, it’s the problem explanations. Overall, I just found them to be a little thin. But all in all, after thoroughly reviewing this DAT prep course from Princeton Review, I can without a doubt say that it is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtfully designed packages of DAT study material that your money can buy. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Princeton Review for your DAT prep.
Is Princeton Review DAT prep worth it?
Yes. Without a doubt, Princeton Review’s DAT prep is worth the money. It is a little pricey, but Princeton Review offers one of the most robust and well-rounded prep packages on the market.
How many DAT practice tests does Princeton Review provide?
In total, Princeton Review offers 4 full-length practice exams. This is less than some competitors, but the quality is top-notch.
Is Princeton Review’s DAT book Cracking the DAT good?
Cracking the DAT from Princeton Review is a legendary textbook and one of the best in the space. We rate it out right near the top of all available DAT prep books, and it comes standard with their Princeton Review DAT prep course.