2024 DAT Breakdown (25AA/24TS/21PAT)

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gmms321

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Hi! Personally I read a ton of breakdowns throughout my study process whenever I wanted a break and I found them to be super insightful and informative so I thought I’d give it a go!

Scores:

PAT: 21

QR: 26

RC: 27

BIO: 26

GEN CHM: 24

OCHM: 23

TS: 24

AA: 25

Background:
Currently a senior science major with a 3.70 GPA.

Materials Used:

  1. DAT Booster - This was the only source I used, everyone I knew used Booster or Bootcamp and I didn’t really look into it and chose Booster simply because of the price. I honestly completely credit Booster with my score and felt they were a perfectly good review source. I heard a lot of people say that Bootcamp holds your hand more but I thought Booster was thorough and covered the basics just fine.
    1. Videos - I watched EVERY single video available. Even ones I probably could have skipped because I had a strong background in the subject, I made sure I was watching and getting the most out of this resource. I think the videos were extremely important as a refresher of concepts before diving into the questions. I took notes on the videos for every science subject but I only looked back at the ones for Gen Chem and Ochem. For Bio I used other resources so I wish I wouldn’t have wasted time taking notes in that subject.
    2. Questions - I tried to do as many of the questions as possible. I completed all of Gen Chem, Ochem (questions and rxn bank), reading, and QR question banks. For PAT I did probably a third of what was available. For biology I did all the bio bits except for diversity of life (ran out of time) and genetics (TA for the class for over a year). The more questions you expose yourself to the better, because there are quite a few either identical or very similar questions on the real DAT.
    3. Quizlet - I tried to use ANKI for like two days and I gave up on it. I don’t like change and I have used Quizlet my entire life (have a plus membership) so I stuck with that. I ended up using the learn section on Booster’s decks for every area I was struggling with in Biology (structures & systems, and development). I went through the set before completing the bio bits and by the end I felt very confident in these sections.
  2. Organic Chemistry Tutor DAT study guide review video on youtube - I used his mechanism videos when I was actually taking Ochem so I was comfortable with the way he explains things. I watched this video about a week before my test and skipped through the parts that were outdated/ irrelevant. It was a helpful overall review but I don’t think it really impacted my score in any way.
Study Timeline:
My study schedule was definitely unique. I started off following Booster’s ten week study schedule and immediately fell behind. I was studying during the semester and just did not have enough time in the day to accomplish phase 1 in the allotted time I gave myself. I started the last week in February and studied about 5-6 days a week. It ranged from 1 hour days when I was super busy to 7 hour days (Sundays). I gave up my spring break and studied in the library like 8 hours every day and this was definitely necessary to finish when I wanted to. I think I finished all the videos and questions around mid April (had not started any bio bits). At this point I was doing probably 10 PAT questions from each category every day also.

After this my studying took a downward spiral for about two weeks. This was a horrible idea and I would not recommend it. It was right around the end of the semester and it got super nice out on campus and I got FOMO so I hung out with my friends constantly. Like it was so bad that I considered it a good day of studying if I did the daily warmup.

When the semester ended at the beginning of May I moved out and knew I had to lock in on my studying. Over the span of 2 weeks I took 5 practice tests and spent about 6-10 hours a day studying just depending on if I had work or not and such. The days I took practice tests I’d take them, review them, then take a lunch break and study something else in the evening. This was probably not great stress wise but it felt necessary in the moment. After those 2 weeks, it was my last week of studying and I did a practice test Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, then took the exam Thursday. On the days I took practice tests I still studied afterwards. Within these last 3 weeks is when I did the quizlets for bio and the bio bits. I also did the Ochem rxn question banks during this time period and read the formula sheet every single night before bed. I also reread all of the general chemistry notes to make sure I had the fundamentals down. At this point I felt confident in reading and QR and didn’t study them beyond reviewing them on the practice tests. These 3 weeks were really chaotic and it was just a constant science blur really.

Day Before Exam

The day before my exam I was drained and just wanted everything to be done already. In the morning of this day I reviewed the science sections in all my old exams. I then took a break and in the evening I read every Biology cheat sheet and made sure I understood it. Lastly before bed, I read the Ochem formula sheet one last time.

Day of Exam

  • Bio (26): Bio felt like a breeze on the actual exam day. It sucks to have to learn so much material when you see so little of it, but once you know it all you can score well. I think the more exposure the better, do as many bio bits as possible. I definitely spent the most time studying for this section but it’s necessary in order to succeed here.
  • GC (24): There were a lot more fundamentals questions and fewer calculations than I expected. The calculations were easier than on Booster’s practice exams too. I wish I would have redone some of the question banks or spent more time looking at practice questions rather than just rereading the notes.
  • OC (23): Do not blow off memorizing IR like I did. I thought to myself that getting more than one question on it would be insane… I got quite a few. It is easy points and simple memorization, just spend the time doing it. Some of the predicting products questions were a bit more complicated than I expected, so really making sure you have those locked down will make your life much easier. The conceptual questions I did feel very prepared for and they were similar to practice exams.
  • PAT (21): I honestly put PAT on the back burner for most of the studying process. I consistently scored around a 21 and I felt that other sections were more important to improve upon. The questions did feel to be a similar difficulty to practice exams though.
  • RC (27): I’m a speedy reader so this section was never very challenging for me. The questions were also all pretty straightforward, stuff you can search in the text and answer. I will say on the actual exam the screen is bigger and brighter than a laptop so it did hurt my eyes by the end of it.
  • QR (26): This felt slightly easier than on practice exams and I got done quicker than normal. I’m not sure if I got lucky or not but I felt like this section was easier than I expected.
I had some time left at the end of every section and I reviewed only the marked questions. In hindsight I should have reviewed all of the questions because I had enough time but in the moment I just wanted to be done. For the scheduled break time I used like ~7 minutes of it to go to the bathroom but when I was back in the room I couldn’t stand staring at the timer and moved onto reading immediately. It worked out good enough for me but I think it’s a personal preference and depends on the individual's stamina. Also there is a survey at the end that feels like it’s never ending but it’s not that many questions so just relax and answer them.

Ending Advice:
On almost all of my practice tests I scored a 21 AA and was getting so discouraged. Literally from tests 2-8 I got a 21, then on #9 I moved up to a 22 and on #10 I got a 24. This was hard and I felt like my brain wasn’t big enough, because everytime one section improved another one dropped. Just trust in your studying and know that if you have enough time it will all come together eventually. I was hesitant to spend the money but your DAT is an investment in your future and I would not have gotten my scores if I didn’t use a resource like Booster. It’s a really sucky ten weeks both for your bank account and stress levels but the relief after seeing your score is absolutely worth it. Good luck!
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