DFT SJT: How to Manage Your Time Effectively

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Understand the Time Allocation: A Minute Per Question

One of the first steps in effective time management for the Dental Foundation Training Situational Judgement Test (DFT SJT) is understanding the time allocation. With 56 questions to be answered in 105 minutes, you have less than two minutes per question. Knowing this can help you set a mental timer for each question, ensuring that you don’t spend too much time on any single item.

Prioritise Question Types: Tackle MCQs First

The DFT SJT comprises multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and ranking questions. Multiple-choice questions usually require less time to answer compared to ranking questions. Consider tackling the MCQs first to secure those points quickly, and then move on to the more time-consuming ranking questions. This approach allows you to allocate more time to questions that require deeper thought.

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Read the Scenarios Carefully: Avoid Skimming

While it may be tempting to skim through the scenarios to save time, this can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect answers. Allocate a specific portion of your time, say 30 seconds, to read and understand the scenario presented. This initial investment of time can pay off by reducing the likelihood of mistakes that could cost you valuable points.

Narrow Down Choices

For multiple-choice questions, use the elimination method to narrow down your choices. Quickly cross out options that are clearly incorrect or irrelevant. This not only saves time but also makes it easier to focus on the remaining options, increasing your chances of selecting the correct answer.

Practice with Timed Tests

One of the most effective ways to improve your time management skills is to practise with timed tests. Simulate the conditions of the actual DFT SJT, including the time limit, to gauge your pacing and identify areas where you may need to speed up. Make this a regular part of your preparation regimen.

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Keep an Eye on the Clock: Regular Time Checks

During the test, it’s essential to keep an eye on the clock. Consider setting milestones; for example, aim to complete 14 questions every 25 minutes. Regular time checks can help you adjust your pace as needed and ensure that you have enough time to complete all questions.

Effective time management is crucial for success in the DFT SJT. From understanding the time allocation and prioritising question types to reading scenarios carefully and practising with timed tests, these actionable tips can significantly improve your ability to manage time during this critical assessment.

Allocate Time for Review: Save the Last Minutes

It’s advisable to allocate the last few minutes of the test for review. If you’ve followed the time management tips mentioned earlier, you should have a few minutes left to revisit questions you were unsure about. Use this time to double-check your answers and make any last-minute changes. However, be cautious not to second-guess yourself excessively, as your first instinct is often correct.

Flag Questions for Review

Most computer-based tests, including the DFT SJT, offer a feature to flag questions for review. Use this feature wisely. If you come across a question that you find particularly challenging, flag it and move on to the next question. This ensures that you don’t waste too much time on a single question and can return to it later if time permits.

Avoid Rushing or Dawdling

Maintaining a steady pace throughout the test is crucial. Avoid rushing through questions just to save time, as this can lead to careless mistakes. On the other hand, spending too much time pondering over a single question can put you behind schedule. Striking a balance between speed and accuracy is key to effective time management.

Be Mindful of Pilot Questions

The DFT SJT includes six pilot questions that do not contribute to your score. While it may be tempting to skim through these, remember that these questions are indistinguishable from the scored questions. Treat them with the same level of seriousness to maintain a consistent pace throughout the test.

Develop a Test-Day Routine: Minimise External Distractions

On the day of the test, arrive early to acclimate yourself to the test environment. A familiar routine can help minimise external distractions, allowing you to focus better and manage your time more effectively. Consider doing some light stretching or deep breathing exercises before the test to calm your nerves and improve focus.

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