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04/30 DAT was nerve-racking, second time through, my impressions.

craigory

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    I took my DAT for the second time in my life today, first the scores:

    AA 20
    TS 20
    QR 15 !!!
    RC 23
    BIO 21
    GC 19
    OC 20
    PAT 21

    Decent improvement from my initial AA of 18, but far from the 22 / *fantasy* 23 I was gunning for.

    Two horrible things happened to me during my exam, both my fault. I want to say don't obsess with the timer, but good lord, please pay a little attention to it, because nothing will give you a heart attack faster than being 15 problems deep into QR because you are fixating on some problem and then the timer pops up with "15 minutes remaining". My brain completely went into a state of abstract terror, I was unable to even think clearly. I ran out of time, guessed the final 10-12 problems, even left the final one blank as the clock ran out. Terrible, terrible negligence and failure to prepare on my part.

    Secondly, during the fifteen minute break, I was sitting in the lobby of the Prometric center eating my snack when I decided to try to remember the math formulas I had memorized before I return to start the second phase of the test. I started writing on a blank sheet of paper. Suddenly the Prometric proctor grabs my sheet of paper and starts yammering on that he has to file a report and that my test scores will be invalidated because I'm looking at notes during an unscheduled break.

    I explained that I was on an official break, it wasn't like I just got up to go to the bathroom, etc. etc. Finally a supervisor comes in and says that I was in the right, but still takes my sheet of paper, makes a copy, and tells me to put it in my locker. I'm seeing red, totally thrown off of my game, and then... I walk back into the testing room to see... ~35 minutes remaining for my RC section. I left the room to complain and was told they couldn't restart the timer, even though it was Prometric staff detaining me over my "notes", causing me to miss the starting of the timer for the section. I would have to retake the entire test at a later date after filing some petition, blah blah blah.

    I decided to just go for it. I have never read so fast in my entire life. I felt like my skull was on fire. When I finished the section I had the worst stress headache of my life! So lesson learned, when you leave the room for your break, touch nothing, do nothing. Eat your snack, go to the bathroom, and that is it!

    Anyway, to study I read my old notes, listened to MCAT Audio Osmosis in the car, and worked through the Destroyer one time (wanted to do two run throughs but it took longer than I thought!) I also tried to read that huge Kaplan white book they give you when you take the DAT prep course, and maybe that is helpful in a classroom context, but I couldn't stand it.

    Almost NO EQUATIONS were needed for the math section. It was definitely much more difficult than the first time I took the DAT (QR 18, with no studying). The majority of my problems were word passages regarding probability scenarios. This section, at least relative to my first test, was much less straightforward. The first time, I had lots of trig and geometry problems. This time I had what seemed like less than five. I was very ill-prepared for this, as I spent almost all my time working through trig problems and memorizing equations regarding volume of cones and exterior angles of this and that etc. My word questions last time mostly regarded work being done in a period of time, etc. Not so this time! Be prepared to read about odds of picking cards out of a deck and marbles, and chances of rolling dice instead... Bleh!

    My G. CHEM section was also nearly 100% conceptual. I had perhaps a handful of problems involving calculations.

    As far as BIO, well, memorizing every hormone and where it is synthesized? Not one question! Deuterostomes, protostomes, auxins, ABA, photosystem I vs. II, drawing out entire process of ATP synthesis et al... it was all a waste for me. My questions were extremely basic, except for the occasional left fielder no amount of prep work can ready you for (I had questions not even glanced upon by the Destroyer (ver. March 11 2008), my notes, or what I read of the Kaplan book.) The ones I knew, I knew well. The ones I didn't know, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever.

    In any case, it's probably not high enough of a score to overcome my mediocre GPA (~3.1), but if I can just land an interview, I'll still feel like a millionaire.

    Good luck to everyone who is yet to take their test! Don't be scared of it, it was so much more conceptual and "basics" oriented than I expected, even going on my second run through! If you are coming down to the wire, you are far better equipped with a clear logical mind and a night of sleep than the extra hours of studying, I wish I had just gone to bed early last night!
     

    PSU SHC 414

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    Nov 26, 2007
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    1. Resident [Any Field]
      I took my DAT for the second time in my life today, first the scores:

      AA 20
      TS 20
      QR 15 !!!
      RC 23
      BIO 21
      GC 19
      OC 20
      PAT 21

      I'm seeing red, totally thrown off of my game, and then... I walk back into the testing room to see... ~35 minutes remaining for my RC section. I left the room to complain and was told they couldn't restart the timer, even though it was Prometric staff detaining me over my "notes", causing me to miss the starting of the timer for the section. I would have to retake the entire test at a later date after filing some petition, blah blah blah.


      Wow, you only had about 30 min to do your RC section and still pulled off a 23... now that's impressive.
       
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      craigory

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        The ~35 minutes is mostly my fault though, I actually came into the room with only like 9 minutes of my time gone, but it was my arguing about whether they could reset the timer that cost me the extra time. I was down to the last wire on those questions but RC is the only thing that comes naturally to me. The rest of the sections took a lot of hard work to bring up my score.

        The strategy I use is to read the entire passage, I don't write anything down or map anything out. It's pretty much exactly what they describe in Audio Osmosis. I usually then have a very good idea of where something is in the passage and can answer most tonal / intent questions with little though. But for reference, my scores on my first DAT were:


        PAT 17
        QR 18
        RC 23
        BIO 17
        GC 16
        OC 16
        TS 16
        AA 18

        Go figure the RC would be the same either way! I also really lucked out this time, my passages were straightforward and about secondary cellular messengers, how wonderful aspirin is, and piano construction. I can definitely say it was much lengthier and harder the first time through.
         

        hashemiaan

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        Sep 5, 2007
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          The ~35 minutes is mostly my fault though, I actually came into the room with only like 9 minutes of my time gone, but it was my arguing about whether they could reset the timer that cost me the extra time. I was down to the last wire on those questions but RC is the only thing that comes naturally to me. The rest of the sections took a lot of hard work to bring up my score.

          The strategy I use is to read the entire passage, I don't write anything down or map anything out. It's pretty much exactly what they describe in Audio Osmosis. I usually then have a very good idea of where something is in the passage and can answer most tonal / intent questions with little though. But for reference, my scores on my first DAT were:


          PAT 17
          QR 18
          RC 23
          BIO 17
          GC 16
          OC 16
          TS 16
          AA 18

          Go figure the RC would be the same either way! I also really lucked out this time, my passages were straightforward and about secondary cellular messengers, how wonderful aspirin is, and piano construction. I can definitely say it was much lengthier and harder the first time through.


          what did you do for your PAT??? and good job on your score..
           

          craigory

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            For the PAT, I used the Kaplan methods. Cube counting I made a tally of total cubes and then marked how many of each kind, etc. Angles are angles, just identifying big / small (this was way harder on the DAT this time than I remembered!) Where I made my big improvements were hole punching, because before I didn't know to look for initial line of symmetry (this really sped things up), and for paper folding, where I visualized "wrapping" the shape around the answer choices.
             

            userah

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              congratulations on the score!. I'm in the same boat as you are (gpa wise) and took dat's once already and did similar to your first time as well. Let's hope my 2nd time will be similar to yours too haha. Anyway my question is regarding bio. The first time I took it,the Bio section compleeeeeetely caught me off guard. Kaplan did a horrible job preparing me for it. On their practice exams, I was doing 23+ on bio sections but the actual dat I got a 16 lol. How was Bio this time around and how did you prepare for that specific section?

              Also, what is this "wrapping" technique for the folding section of the PAT. that's my worst section and I just can't get my head around how to approach those problems.

              Kudos again on the score. Good luck with the application process =)
               
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