2023 DAT Retake Breakdown (17AA To 21AA, 15TS to 22TS)

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May 2, 2023
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Hi everyone I'm so excited to finally be able to write a DAT breakdown after reading them for months. I know my scores aren’t as high as the people with 25s and 30s on the DAT, but I improved 7 points on my TS and 4 points on my AA during my retake, so hopefully these help someone out.


PAT- 18

QR - 17
RC - 21
Bio - 23
GC - 23
OC - 20
TS - 22
AA - 21

Liberal arts major Ugpa overall- 3.4, science ~3.1

Materials Used (most helpful to least):

  1. DAT Booster BIOLOGY CRASH COURSES- I know it's expensive to spend the extra money on the crash courses, but for BIO they were amazing. Legit had 10-12 questions on the DAT test on the high-yield concepts that were presented in the crash courses. I did make sure to know every concept covered very well, and that def helped on the DAT because no matter what questions they gave me I knew I could answer any aspect they were inquiring about.
  2. DAT Booster subscription - The practice exams and questions were extremely representative of concepts you will see on the exam. Since this was my second time retaking it I asked all my friends and fellow DAT retakers that retook what they changed and everyone told me they used DATbooster for practice. I really appreciated that for the gen chem section booster highlighted high-yield concepts, it forced me to know those questions in and out. I made sure to know all the equations as well as concepts, for gen chem and orgo. For bio, a lot of the concepts covered in the practice exams showed up on the real DAT, so make sure you don’t just cover what the correct answer was, but cover the background as well and try to figure out different ways they could assess you on the material.
  3. DAT Bootcamp - I did not pay for a DAT Bootcamp subscription this time since I used them last time and did not do well. My friend let me use her account after she finished the DAT for a few days, and I found that the practice exams weren’t as representative. I also found it weird because it gave me a higher predicted score compared to DATbooster when I would get the same amount of question wrongs. Also, idk if it was just me but I found their questions to be more difficult than DATbooster, and def more difficult than the actual DAT. The only part I liked about DAT Bootcamp was the bio bites, but since I only had it a for a few days, I did bio bites for plants and ecology only.
  4. DAT Booster Ochem crash course- So I only registered for 1 Orgo crash course, and I’m glad that I only paid for 1 because I did not find it as helpful. I don’t think it was the lecturer's fault, but for Orgo you truly don’t need a crash course since the material isn’t as dense, it’s more about practice questions. The only thing helpful from this was the 2 extra practice exams I got because they were def on par with how the DAT orgo section was.
Day of the exam:
Bio (15 → 23): Last time I studied for bio by reading the DATbootcamp biology notes, and the CliffNotes Biology book as everyone was saying that going through those resources would cover everything. I studied passively during my first time and focused mainly on trying to just read everything and only did a few practice tests for bio. When I started studying for the bio section this time around I tried reading the Feralis notes, but I struggled to retain the information and found it pretty in-depth. Also, everyone was saying to do Anki for bio, and I really tried to but I still felt like I wasn’t retaining as much. A friend recommended taking the bio crash courses that DATbooster offers and that helped me focus on the high-yield content that was most likely to show up. I wanted to be efficient in how I studied for bio so for me the DATbooster crash courses + the bio cheatsheets + booster bio videos+ the booster practice exams are what helped me master the content. I also had many questions on the exam that were similar to questions on DATbooster, they weren’t the exact same but they asked about the concept in a similar way so make sure you really understand each answer choice.

GC (14→23): It’s been a while since I’ve taken gen chem. I think I took it like back in 2018 so I knew this was an area I needed a lot of practice in. Last time I didn’t focus as much on practice questions and only watched Dr. Mike’s videos from DATbootcamp. This time I just used DATbooster, but I didn’t like Dr.Dave’s video so I used the organic chem tutor on youtube for GC&OC content review, but the key was the practice questions Booster gave. They were very representative of concepts that showed up on my actual DAT, and I highly recommend you go over every practice exam. I also went to a gen chem crash course by Booster, there were a few things covered here that I didn’t find in the notes. Hameed is amazing at bridging gaps in gen chem so I’d def recommend taking it. For this section, I think the booster notes+ and the practice exams are more than sufficient.

OC (15→20): So this time around I made sure to do anki to memorize the reactions (the only section I did ANKI consistently for). However, I didn’t have many reaction questions on my DAT. It was more conceptual, but I prepared for this by reading the notes Booster has, those were great. Also, I did all the extra questions Booster had for each orgo chapter and those are what helped me with content retention. The practice exams on booster had more reaction questions than the actual exam so my scores were def higher on booster, but I’m still happy with my score. For this section I would use the booster notes and extra questions to do the content review and then the practice exams to assess my weaknesses.

PAT (15→18): So for this section, I practiced only TFE, keyholes, and pattern folding since I knew those were my weaknesses. I also didn’t review pat every day and wish I did( like the extra questions) because that would’ve helped but leading up to the exam I was most worried about the science sections and ignored pat, but I’m happy with my growth.

RC (23→21): I was definitely overconfident in this section. I’ve always been a strong reader so I didn’t practice for this section, since last time I got a 23, but I think I was so anxious the 2nd time around that I lagged a bit and was very slow at reading and finished the section like 30 seconds before it ended.

QR (16→17): Not much I can say here, as math is my least favorite subject. This time I only took 3 practice tests and was scoring in the 17-19 range on my practice tests so I figured I’d do a lot better, but I found the questions to be the same difficulty-wise as DATbooster. I studied for this section mainly by reviewing 3 practice exams, and the extra questions in the booster question bank.

I did not use a study schedule mostly because I find it hard to stick to, and I focused on areas I knew I needed to improve on. I do think it would’ve been helpful but you have to do what is best for you. I personally knew I couldn’t stick with it so I didn’t and created my own weird study plan where I would assess at the beginning of each study day what I felt most scared about. Also, don’t let the practice exam scores get to you, use them to gauge where you are and review everything. If it shows you’re lacking in certain areas, review those, and don't waste time going over areas you are solid in. When I first started my retake journey I didn’t think I would be able to improve but I kept forcing myself to confront my fears and learn from areas I was weak in, and that mentality is what helped me grow. I’m very grateful to everyone that provided their feedback on how to study for the DAT and to my support group, couldn’t have done it without y'all! I’m probably most excited about never having to do gen chem or orgo again tho tbh, LITERALLY hate orgo and gen chem with a burning passion!!!!!!

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Did you take all three Bio crash courses? If you had to choose only one, which of the Bio crash courses would you recommend?