7/13 DAT DONE!!! Breakdown.

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New Member
Jul 9, 2009
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This is my first post, so I just want to thank everyone here for providing a lot of different info/insight on taking the DAT.

I did really well so I figure I'd give back and maybe be of service for other people.

PAT 25
QR 22
RC 21
Bio 26
Chem 24
Orgo 21
TS 23
AA 23

How Long I Studied-
I "studied" for about 2 months (starting like a week into summer break after I finished bio and orgo). But I actually STUDIED (talkin 8hrs/day) for about a week.

Study Materials-

MCAT ExamKrackers:
I went through about a chapter a day for two months and covered all three sciences. They were very good with really helping me UNDERSTAND concepts (not just memorize) but lacking in problem practice. They were also very easy to read through. I read (thoroughly) a chapter or so a day (30 minutes max?). Even though I learned each chapter thoroughly, since it was spread over two months, it was incredibly painless, yet very effective at refreshing my general knowledge.
The orgo Examkracker's book was the best, since I feel like every question on the DAT orgo tests for whether or not you understand and can apply a concept, rather than whether or not you know this or that obscure reaction.

Overall, the Examkracker books I'd say were useful, but maybe not irreplaceable. I had them out of convienence, for others there are other books that can do the job, I'm sure.

Crack DAT PAT:
You MUST get it. I got the 10-test one and took one a week. My score improved from a 21 to a 23-24 range. It helped me develop my strategy for the PAT section:

1. From the start, blitz through it, but try not to be careless. This ensures you don't run out of time.
2. For angles, my strategy was finding the smallest angle and mentally "stuffing" each one into the next larger one (since smaller angles always fit into larger angles). This worked well for acute angles. Obtuse ones were harder (small differences have less of an impact on how they look), but I usually compared how close to a straight angle they were. But the most important thing I think is that angles are all about intuition...so go with your gut and godspeed.
3. For cube counting, I did a modified version of the tallying-up method. Basically (and this is a tad hard to explain), I basically redrew the diagrams, but instead of drawing out all the boxes, I wrote down their number in place of the box. If they were very unwieldy ones, I would divide up the diagram, and do it that way. (Again, hard to explain). Anyway, this is great in that I never had a problem with forgetting to count a box (as could happen with the tallying method).
4. Because of strategy 1, I always finished with PAT about 15 minutes early, so I would go back to sections like keyholes that easily lend themselves to careless mistakes. Or I would recount the cubecounting section just to make sure I didn't miscount going from the number diagram to the choices.

Cliff's AP Biology:
Another must. Examkrackers bio misses some topics covered by the DAT. It's an easy read and very informative. More problems for practice. It's also good for some of the more memorization-based bio questions. I basically committed as much of this to memory as I could this past week.

Barron's AP Chemistry:
This stuff is gold. Much more detailed than Examkrackers, so it really reinforced the concepts I relearned from Examkrackers with qualitative details. Tons of problems and great for both conceptual and quantitative type questions on the chem section of the DAT. These problems were pretty on par with the actual DAT questions, maybe mildly harder (even better for preparation). I worked through the whole book this past week.

Crack DAT Math:
Another MUST. To prepare for math, I basically went on sparknotes and read through their SAT II Math guide, to refresh my memory of high school math. Then I just did all 10 CDM tests in the span of a week to get a feel for the classes of questions asked and for timing. My strategy, like many others', is plow through the math section and don't have a second thought about skipping if you figure out an approach within a few seconds. This is important because, it lets you hit all the easy problems, and it gives you about 5 min left over to take another look at the skipped problems, often look a lot easier and approachable with the stress gone. CDM problems are mildly harder than real DAT problems, but pretty close in terms of the style of problems. So, all the better to prepare you.

Topscore and ADA Practice Test:
Both of them great. The latter, free, so all the better, right? Topscore is pretty close to the real thing, with some differences:

Bio: Real thing had fewer really obscure fact questions
Chem: pretty similar. The math is left in algebraic form on the real thing though, which makes life a tad easier.
Orgo: Similar
PAT: Easier than the real thing. But pretty ******ed graphics, compared to real DAT.
RC: Real thing had less dense passages, but some more reasoning type questions.
QR: Way too simple. And thus CDM.

As for the ADA practice test. Very close in style of questions for everything, but like several notches lower in difficulty.

*Note about RC
Since Topscore and ADA practice test were the only RC practice I did, I'll put my strategy here.

1. Go through all the Search and Destroy questions first.
2. For each search and destroy question, read the entirety of the paragraph that contains the answer. Get a good feel for it, rather than memorize specific keywords, and it's location relative to the other paragraphs.
3. Go do the tone/reasoning questions after, since at this point, you will have a pretty solid understanding of the passage.
4. For these tone/reasoning questions, go with your intuition.

And, since I know we all love having other people's practice scores to gauge if we'll do better or worse on the real thing :p


So yea, that's my two cents. I'm glad I'm finally done and can go back to general summer laziness. And again, thanks to everyone here for helping me along the way.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2009
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Haha sweet scores!! Congrats :).
And thank you for the breakdown. I'm surprised you didnt use Kaplan or any of the destroyers which everyone recommends :O

Enjoy your summer and GL with the cycle!


5+ Year Member
May 25, 2009
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Nice job! Too bad your post is right next to the guy who almost aced the dang thing, hahaha! Your scores are still atop the top....!!!!! AWESOME work.


Full Member
Jun 14, 2009
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Congrats! No weak scores in any section and nice breakdown :) Good luck with the whole application process!