5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2013
Dental Student
GPA: 3.5(ADEA,F calculated in)

Sci GPA: 3.45


My study time was about 4.5 months and I started in June. Now let me say this, the DAT can be done within 2-3 months. I had a few issues that kept me from taking the exam.

1. I wasn’t confident in myself.
2. I repeatedly went over material I clearly knew(wasted time)
3. Most importantly, I severely underestimated the math section and had a terrible foundation. I had difficulty grasping the material.

Everyone has something they must overcome in their life and for me in this particular time, it was math. I had a very poor foundation in math and took college algebra 5 years ago. I was getting PEMDAS related questions wrong repeatedly. Trigonometry was another language to me and don’t get me started on word problems and secant/cotangent identities(I still don’t understand what these are).

Math Destroyer was extremely difficult for me and I was constantly getting more than half of the questions wrong(while using chads notes and being untimed). Getting through a test took hours and that didn’t include the time to google every other question as I went over it. Imagine how disheartening it is to be averaging 20s or higher on all sections on the DAT but have one particular section severely lacking(the less significant one no less), stopping the train completely. This turned my three months into 4.5 months as I tried to build up my math skills while at the same time, juggling to keep the other science information fresh in my head.

QR19(More happy about this than anything).
RC19(Someone out there must like me)

(Topscore AA 18,19. TS 18,19

A lot of people suggest Achiever but I think its completely unnecessary. This section just made me appreciate qvualt and crackdat more.
Angles: Hybrid between Crack and qvault. Keep working the angles and you will get a hang of it eventually. The angles on the DAT are a lot more doable.
Hole Punch: Line of symmetry method. Crackdat for the majority of your studies but throw in an occasionally qvault for 3rd folds. A third fold did show up on my exam but it was extremely simple and could have been done mentally instead of using LOS(just two holes and I always do everything by hand).
Keyholes: I’m not the best one at this, I had my good days and I had my bad days. I didn’t really see proportions as an issue on the real DAT but then again I got a 19 and many people believe that its an aspect that you should consider. Practice using crack dat, but throw in an achiever every now and then just to cover your bases.
TFE: Use crackdat and understand why the answers are what they are. Achiver is complete overkill imo.

Summary: You will get the hang of this section, I promise. Repetition is key and space the exams out appropriately to coincide with your exam date. I believe I could have done better if I spread them out more.

Crack: 17, 15, 18, 17(redid first four),22,20,21,21,21,21 ( I did some again here and there to stay fresh but I didn’t include those scores since they are higher)

My achilles heal. Go through math destroyer(1-10). I’m sure thats not what you want to hear but its absolutely necessary. I was getting more than half wrong even towards the end(with chads notes) but I was still learning. I went through this book about 3.5 times. Make index cards for whatever you get wrong. By the second time through, I was getting in the 20’s(out of 40) right and by the third time I was getting no less than 30 right (except test 5 and 10).
Qvault is essential as well. You need the basics and it provides a healthy foundation. I did the first five exams after I did five destroyer exams. I finished the rest after I finished destroyer. After going through destroyer for a third time, I went to qvault a second time. Math is one of the few subjects where going over past exams can be beneficial.
The real exam was a mix between both subjects but more towards qvualt. I couldn’t have gotten a 19 without both sources and a lot faith.

Qvualt 1-5 19,17,19,18,18. AVG:18.2
Qvualt 6-10(after finishing destroyer first time) 19, 19, 20, 20, 19 AVG:19.4
Qvualt(after third time through destroyer) 24,22,23,21,19,25,19,22,26,22 AVG 22.3
topscore 17,18

I was always decent at organic chemistry and was very fortunate that it gave me little trouble. I knew this would be my highest section and I just needed to get through biology and general chemistry. Chad helped me reinforce my foundation and the destroyer helped fill in any gaps I had. Go through his videos, take notes. Use destroyer as a study tool, use qvault as a score analysis and use bootcamp to hammer out those few nails that are sticking out that you don’t know about. All of them were essential and should be done in that order.

Bootcamp: 24, 20,21,24,19 AVG: 21.6
Topscore: 21,23
Qvualt: 26,20,20,22,20,19,22,22,21,19 AVG: 21.1

I had my good days and bad days with GC. Even though my practice scores were well (not including top score), I always felt insecure about GC and lacked the confidence that I had with OC. Confidence is just as important as knowledge, especially on a timed test. With that said, chad and bootcamp help diminish those insecurities as much as possible. I couldn’t have gotten a 21 without bootcamp. Chad is necessary for a foundation but bootcamp allowed me to put it into practice and really connect the dots, especially with Ka/kb/poh/pka/h/ph. Things really did start to connect together by the end of test five.
Qvault is a great asset as well and shouldn't be ignored. Some say its easy but you need both sides of the spectrum. You can answer the most complicated questions but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t recall basic principles, which is what happened during topscore. Qvualt should be done before bootcamp.

qvualt : 19,18,19,22,20,18,20,20,19,18 AVG: 19.6
Topscore: 18,17
Bootcamp: 20, 24, 22, 19,20 AVG:21

I did this section a bit differently than most people. When you make a flash card, people usually look at the word first and try to recite the definition. I work a bit better given a context, so I practically made every biology index card a fill in the blank card. This allowed me to get through the cards quickly and efficiently. With enough repetition, I was able to define the term without the card. In regards to the DAT, was it random? Sure but I had around 1000 flashcards and did about 250 cards every day. In a sense, every day was a random biology day. Theres a flashcard program that people recommend on here since it saves a lot of time and its very effective, unfortunately, I’m not very computer savvy and couldn’t get it to work. I used www.quizlet.com
AP Barron’s is a great study source. I got a bit intimidated by Cliff’s and the tone of the writing wasn’t very fun or encouraging. I made index cards for each chapter for details I knew I couldn’t recall 100% by test day. After this, I went through Feralis notes(necessary) and I made an index card for whatever detail I didn’t know and never looked back at the notes.
I went through destroyer biology and made index cards as well. This book is very useful and shouldn’t be ignored. Most of the answers are “all of the above” but use this as a study tool. When you’re done, you will feel that your foundation in many topics reinforced, especially genetics(I hated genetics/punnett squares, heisenberg related questions).
I also did Cliff’s 5 AP exams book(good asset,500 questions), 5 Steps 500 ap questions(good review), all of qvualt and bootcamp. I made flash card for whatever detail I couldn’t recall. Biology is about exposure. Since I had to push back my exam several times for math, I was able to go through some extra resources for biology. If I had to choose a particular order, I would choose Barron’s ap biology >Feralis notes> 5 AP cliff > DAT destroyer > qvualt and then bootcamp.
Overall, straight forward section. One question I really didn't know but everything else was doable. I ended up changing one question last second(literally), but I was right the first time :(.

Bootcamp: 20, 22, 22,18,20 AVG:20.4
Datqvault:19,21,20,19,21,22,22,21,19,20 AVG:20.4

RC: First passage = fair. Second passage = doable. Third passage = borderline unfair
One heavy science(fair since it was short), one random passage you could read in a magazine and another light science passage.
I thought I totally bombed this section. I know you must read that a lot but my heart was racing towards the end and I had about 20 questions to answer with less than 20 mins to read a long complex passage. I usually don’t like search and destroy and I think it completely misses the point of the section (my opinion) but I had no other option when my clock was reaching zero. I did have to guess on a few questions, more than I would have wanted.
I felt comfortable with crack dat reading. Most of the questions I got wrong were detailed orientated but I was able to get everything else right for the most part (tone, main idea, opinions, inference). The problem for me on the real exam was nothing but details. Every question was a detail question. The third passage was so long and complex, I couldn’t keep track of all the details. My suggestion, try and do small roadmap on your paper instead of in your head. I should have done this instead of trying to keep it together mentally like I always do. Most importantly, don't spend a lot of time on one question. I foolishly did this and that cost me time, five questions right is always better than one question wrong. Crack dat is especially useful towards the last few exams since they are really long. You need to practice on these!

crackdat reading: test 1-4, 19,21,18,21. Test 7: 19, Test 8:18
topscore: 19,21

If you take anything away from my post, just know that this exam can be done. Do not get intimidated by the scores on this site and most importantly, don’t get intimidated by the individuals. SD has a wonderful community but theres always those selective individuals that would contribute more by staying quiet instead of hitting that “submit” button. Math pushed back my exam multiple times when everything else was ready and the last thing I wanted to read was someone that considered themselves “terrible” in math but was scoring 30/40 consistently in math destroyer.

It also wasn’t uncommon to see someone giving unnecessary advice for PAT such as telling an individual to keep all the cube tallies in their head instead of on the paper. Someone else would else would recommend to keep track of all the hole punches mentally when the person clearly had trouble with basic understanding of the section. I'm decent at organic chemistry but I can understand why the course is difficult for some people. I would never suggest to someone to see a molecule three dimensionally if they are already having trouble grasping the material. I would suggest alternative methods and encourage whatever tricks there are in order to get the material across (like chad). At the end of the day, suggestions like those don’t help anybody.

Stay focus during your study time and most importantly, stay focus during your exam. Never give up on the gas until those scores pop up. I almost let my doubts during RC get the better of me but don’t let that happen to you. I couldn’t help but feel that I had to take the exam again for RC and that made me feel incredibly low. Finish your exam, push forward and you might be surprised about your scores.
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2013
great job!
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please contact me.
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5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2013
Dental Student
thanks for the support!