23AA/TS DAT Breakdown + 1500-card Anki gift for those still studying

Charles_Darwin

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Mar 28, 2016
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Alright, I prefaced this with a mini-break down over in the predent forums already, so I'll give a super quick intro and get to the breakdown:


I'm a junior in college who had a really rough first 2 years where I had to take up 4-6 jobs & internships for tuition at a time, so my GPA struggled. I since cleared up my schedule and have been slaying grades with a boost from ~3.2 to 3.7. A bunch of distracting tough stuff happened to me right before my DAT, but I managed to focus.

Here are my scores


Bio - 23

GC - 23

OC - 23

RC - 25

QR - 22

PAT - 20


I'm really satisfied with my scores overall and I think they're justified by the amount of work I put in. I know I studied a lot and it was rough, but honestly I’m not upset I didn't get a 25+, I know it was only a few questions that made the difference. I'm just glad all my scores are very balanced!


The first part of the breakdown will be about the materials I used & my study habits, the second part will be about the DAT itself, and the third part will be a holistic review.


If you're looking for the Anki deck I've been talking about, head to the bottom!

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Materials Used


Let me preface this by saying that there's no BEST material for the DAT. Each one has its strengths and the more you have, the better. For me, each of these is a MUST. Again I'd like to give a hearty thank you to @Ari Rezaei , @orgoman22 , and @joelm . Each of these people went above and beyond to help me study - Ari gave me a discount, Nancy gave me a free copy of Math destroyer, and Joel offered to open up my DAT Genius account again so I could review right before my DAT. I didn't even ask Nancy or Joel for that! Nancy gave me a huge confidence boost with a 1-hour phone call in the days leading up to my DAT as well.


In no specific order, my materials used were:


DAT Bootcamp

DAT Genius

DAT Destroyer (2015)

Math Destroyer (2016)

Chad's Videos

Kaplan Blue Book

Kaplan Workbook

Aint Nobody Got Time For DAT Anki Deck


1.) DAT Bootcamp (3x per test):


Bootcamp is fantastic. It's amazing value and the ONLY resource I'd recommend using for practice tests. It really helps you get timing down and lets you know how well you're doing in terms of studying. In addition, the explanation videos they have for some questions are very helpful! When I started my actual DAT, it felt like another bootcamp exam. Don't ever take the DAT without trying something that simulates it so well.


2.) DAT Genius (20x):



Genius is new to the game and is HIGHLY underrated. This is an amazing piece of work and you can tell that a lot of time went into developing this. Explanations for everything are literally pages long and you'll never need to google/teach yourself material that was on DAT Genius. I didn't use it as a practice test: I just submitted the test with a 0% and then read through all the explanations. That really helped me learn everything. The explanations aren't boring either: 3 weeks since I touched Genius and I can remember 99% of what's written word-for-word.


3.) DAT Destroyer (2015) (5x):


Where do I start? Destroyer is a goldmine. The sheer volume of questions it has is beautiful. When you open the book, it warns you saying that this is meant to be tough, and it is meant for students who want to score a 20+. They are not lying. This book covers so much material that it seems impossible for them to update it so often. I love this material. So. Much. Here's a tip: When you're studying, don't waste time reviewing questions you already got correct. Spend that time reviewing what you got incorrect. I studied all of destroyer once, then reviewed all of it (marking what I got wrong), and then reviewed my incorrects. I kept doing this until I understood and reviewed all my incorrects ~3 times. Then, I started over and tested myself on the material again. The day before my DAT, I just gave my self-confidence boosts because I'd just flip open to a random destroyer page and know the answer immediately.


4.) Math Destroyer (2016) (3x):


Earlier I said that no material is better than another. Except Math Destroyer. The sheer volume of questions in this thing is enough to score you a 25+ in the QR section. I only was able to get through 14 of the tests and review those 3 times. It was so efficient and training me to do well in math, and I do HORRIBLE in math. I hit a 22 QR and it is 100% thanks to this book.


5.) Chad's Videos (1x):


You've heard all the amazing reviews about Chad's so let me keep this simple. I was horrible at organic chemistry - I only slaved nights to memorize mechanisms that I had no clue about. With one single review of Chad's videos at 1.5x, EVERYTHING CLICKED! Unless you're a chem major, you need chad's. There's no way around it. You're not going to find a better value anywhere else. Ever. This man is my savior.


6.) Kaplan Blue Book (1x):



Kaplan has a pretty bad reputation around SDN. I disagree. It's not nearly detailed enough, mind you, but it's a great starter. I used this about 6 months before my DAT and just made flashcards about stuff I figure I’d want to remember when I started studying hardcore. Casually reading this 6 months before my DAT gave me a decent idea of the scope of the test. So if you're reading this and your DAT is 3+ months away, give Kaplan a shot until you're ready to start studying hardcore. Maybe use it during your school semester like I did. Just read through it once, make some flash cards, and don't look at it again.


7.) Kaplan Workbook (1x):


This, on the other hand, is truly horrible. It's a very small amount of extremely easy DAT questions. Don't bother with it. I got it because it was only $9 on Amazon and I had 6 months until my DAT. It's literally dangerous to use this as an expectation of the DAT.



8.) Ain't Nobody Got Time For DAT Anki Deck (20000x):


This is a bit of a plug but oh well. I made these flash cards with Anki with the use of all of the above materials and also my own notes. I combed through it to remove any questions directly from study materials, and Nancy reviewed it as well. This helped me keep so much material fresh in my head at all times. Thanks to these cards, I never had a "fuzzy" memory regarding DAT material. If I studied it once, thanks to this deck, I never forgot it. Obviously, I recommend making your own deck as well, but if you would like to test the breadth of your DAT knowledge, this is a perfect way to do so. Just mark whatever you don't know, and Google it afterward. For the next year (summer of 2017) I'll update this deck so it has sources for every note card and I’ll add whatever needs to be added in ADA DAT changes. I studied this deck during meals and about an hour a day. I'm posting it up because it'll help you know if there are any holes you need to plug in terms of your DAT knowledge.



___________________________________________________________


The DAT Itself:


Subject (Score/Average Practice Score)



1. Bio (23/22)


I know people say breadth instead of depth a lot but wow...Mine was a lot of depth! They asked a lot of specific details and didn't seem to really go outside the range of physiology/cell biology too much. I didn't get any plant questions which was a bummer because I'd spent a lot of time on that. Oh well. I'm a supplemental instructor for Bio at my university so this section probably received the least attention from me. In terms of difficulty, I'd say there was a fair number of super easy questions and 1-2 really random ones.


2. Gen. Chem (23/21)


This section was very straight forward. A mixed bag of calculations and theoretical questions for me. There was one question in particular that I knew I'd be able to do if I had a calculator, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to do by hand. That was a bit annoying, but other than that it was largely fine.


3. Organic (23-21)


I thought I actually got a 30 on this section when I did it. Everything was very straight forward and there were no surprises for me. Some questions were extremely easy. I obviously made a few mistakes, but overall I think that this section isn't nearly as tough as others make it out to be! At least it wasn't for me, and I used to be dreadful at orgo!


4. Reading (25/25)


I also thought I got a 30 on here. Super easy and relatively simple articles. I was starting to doze off at this point so I must have missed a minor detail or two. Mine had about 3 math questions, which was uncool.

My RC Method:
1.) Read the first question
2.) Read the article until you find the answer to that first question, answer it
3.) Read the next question
4.) Rinse & repeat
5.) If you get to any tone/summary questions, mark and skip them. Go back to them as soon as you finish reading the article and answering the rest of the article-specific questions.


5. PAT (20/23)


I won't beat around the bush - I accidentally drank too much pomegranate juice before the exam. That kicked in right at the PAT and it took all my willpower not to run to the bathroom haha. TFE and Keyholes were really rough this time around, and I was a bit distracted. Angles/hole punching/cubes were very straightforward however.


6. QR (22/19)


100% credit for this score goes to Nancy from @orgoman22 . You just can't beat Math Destroyer. Math was pretty much "you either know it or you're going to waste 10 minutes attempting to know it". I breezed through 70% of the problems really easily because I recognized how to solve them from math destroyer. Of the 30% remaining, I had to brute force/figure out 20%, and guess on 10%.



__________________________________


Holistic review:


Studying for the DAT took a lot of work. I still feel weird about waking up and not rushing to start my morning flash cards. For the past 2 months I have been sleeping on the floor - My bed was covered with note papers and books. I literally emptied it all into a crate finally. I lost so many relationships and quit a summer job so I could study more. I'm broke and tired, but man, do I feel amazing. Here are my tips



1.) EAT HEALTHY AND WORKOUT - You'll be a much more alert person. Plus, at the end of your studying, you'll be fit, so that's an added bonus


2.) Take microbreaks! - I took a ~10 minute break for every 50 minutes of studying. I watched a YouTube video or ate a snack or played with my tortoise. This kept me from being a drone and not actually remembering study material


3.) Be positive! Don't let your practice scores discourage you, and don't let them boost your ego either. Here are my practice score ranges for comparison:

Bootcamp

Bio: 18-26

GC: 18-26

OC: 17-26

QR: 17-19

RC: 19-25

PAT: 19- 25



2009 DAT

Bio: 22

GC: 20

OC: 20

PAT: 25




4.) Get enough sleep - I made a commitment to always get 7 hours of sleep no matter what. I knew if I tried to study after 1am, I just would be making mistakes and not truly memorizing material.
______________________________

Aint Nobody Got Time For DAT Anki Deck
 
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C10H15N

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Great scores! Hopefully I can do as well as you did.
 

orgoman22

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Congratulations! You are a great student who studied hard. You worked for these scores and you Destroyed it!!!

Wishing you the very best and I feel honored to be a part of your journey.

Nancy
 

LuckBloodandSweat

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So it's finally here! We've all been waiting for this :D. Grats again and you are very much a loved member of the club! :)
 

fit2

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Great job!!! And such an awesome breakdown! You earned those awesome scores!!!
Thanks for the Anki deck. I hadn't checked it out! Also, thanks for reminding me how important it is to pay attention to all the Math Destroyer problems.
 

Ari Rezaei

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Congratulations!! You knocked it out of the park, and thanks for your contribution with the Anki deck, I'm sure a lot of other pre-dents will find it super useful. You had to overcome a lot in the days before your exam, but still maintained focus and did excellent. Congrats again, and let me know if you come interview at Columbia!
 
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Charles_Darwin

Charles_Darwin

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LuckBloodandSweat

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