2023 DAT Breakdown (23AA/23TS/23PAT)

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New Member
Aug 11, 2023
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Hi everyone! Reading other people's DAT breakdowns was very helpful throughout my studying process, and I never considered myself to be a great standardized test taker or naturally smart by any means, so this post is to offer some motivation/assurance and tips to anyone taking the DAT!

QR - 23
RC - 21
BIO - 23
GC - 23
OC - 26
TS - 23
AA - 23

  • DAT Booster: I truly think that Booster is the most representative DAT resource out there. I initially chose it because of the affordable cost, and I really believe that using only Booster is sufficient to score well.
  • ANKI: I attribute 90% of my success on the QR, and science sections to Anki. I made my own decks and would review Anki cards for 3-4 hours each day before getting into the scheduled material, making sure to complete all of the due cards. It did take quite a toll by the end but it is the most effective way for me to retain info personally. After each practice test, I would also make cards on the question and topics that I struggled with. This really helped because I got 8-10 questions on my DAT that were similar if not the same as the Booster tests and many of them were answers I previously got wrong/made an anki card for it. I’ll discuss how I used Anki more specifically in the bio section.

Schedule: I used the 12-week booster study schedule, and studied around 6-8 hours a day, 7 days a week - please do not do this. In hindsight, I wish I used the 10-week schedule because I felt that my studying was dragged on the last 10 days and I felt pretty burnt out by that time. I really recommend taking a rest day once a week to give yourself some time to recharge, see friends/family, etc. I strictly followed phases 1 and 2, and decided to ignore phase 3 and do my own thing (practice tests and reviewing wrong answers).

Biology: I used primarily Anki to study for this section. I practically made Anki cards for all of the Feralis Booster Notes and studied them every day. I would then do the bio bits after if I didn’t feel like the material was sticking. During phase 2, I did all of the bio bits questions and made sure I understood every single one, if not, I would make an anki card for it. The biology section is much more than just memorizing content, so I really recommend the importance of understanding everything before committing it to memory. I also supplemented this section with Youtube, for processes like photosynthesis/respiration if I felt like I needed a further explanation but the Booster videos are really great for explaining these concepts too, I just wouldn’t rely on only the videos and would refer to the Feralis notes after.

General Chemistry: This section was a struggle, and I consistently scored 17-20 on the practice tests so I was surprised with my actual score. I think that the main thing to focus on are memorizing the equations and understanding their purpose, because after I memorized the equations I started scoring only 19-20 compared to straight 17s for the first few practice tests. I honestly studied the least for this section as bio and orgo occupied most of my time, but I think that making anki cards or summary notes for each chapter is very helpful. Chad’s prep was really helpful for this section and mostly learned from him for a lot of the calculation-based questions. Overall the questions on the actual DAT are easier than Booster, so if you are scoring well on Booster you are all set for the actual test.

Organic chemistry: I was most worried about this section because I did not do well in the actual classes, but I felt that DAT OC is much more straightforward than undergrad orgo. I used the Bootcamp anki orgo reaction deck that I stumbled upon in someone's DAT breakdown and found that it was helpful to supplement my paper flashcards. I think it's important to really understand more basic concepts like carbocation/radical stability, what makes a good base/acid/nucleophile/ electrophile + their strengths, because I got a lot of those questions on the actual DAT.

PAT: For this section it’s really important to practice daily, at least for a good chunk of your studying time. I used the PAT Booster generator questions A LOT and did 15 questions of each section, each day. I left TFE until the last month, and used the question bank to drill those questions until I discovered a technique that was working for me.

RC: I was a bit disappointed in my score for this section because I was scoring 23-25 on the Booster practice tests. The practice questions are representative, but I had really long passages on my test so I would try to be prepared for that if it comes up. The technique I used is to read half of the passage, go through the questions, read the other half, and answer the rest, then use search and destroy to find any remaining answers. I think that this is useful for shorter passages but wish that I found a faster technique because I definitely ran out of time and had to guess the last few.

QR: This section came naturally to me, I didn’t focus too much on it until the second half of studying. I would recommend making an Anki deck or flashcards to memorize the Booster equation sheet. As long as you know how to use the equations, you should be all set! This section emphasizes time management, so if I wasn’t sure how to answer something in the first 5 seconds, I would mark it and move on.


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