9/17/09 Dat Done

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Sep 17, 2009
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I've been going through these forums for several months now and found the breakdowns to be helpful in preparing for the DAT and thought i'd do the same and hopefully help someone else out.

I started studying at the end of June and started off with the kaplan course while concurrently taking my 2nd semester of ochem, then cliffs, chad's (both gchem and ochem), CDP, MCAT hyperlearning for all sciences, ACS ochem, destroyer (3x), and topscore, and achiever.

PAT: 21
QR: 17
RC: 18
Bio: 20
GC: 21
OC: 20
TS: 20
AA: 19

PAT: Honestly thought CDP was the closest to the real exam and all that you really need to prepare for this section. I bought the 10 test version and was averaging about 22-23 so I scored about the same. I feel like the CDP scores can get a little inflated because their questions seem to repeat a lot. Things to keep in mind: Keyholes on CDP doesn't focus on the different sizes of the objects, which the real test has so I thought achiever was good to get a feel for this part. TFE in CDP I was able to use the counting events method on almost all their problems, but this isn't possible on the real DAT so practice actually visualizing the object. Luckily, I thought the objects were easier to visualize than CDP. Aside from those two things, CDP is much more difficult in hole punching/cube counting/pattern folding.

QR:I definitely made the mistake of not preparing for this section much earlier. The questions are around the difficulty of achiever's QR, and I know I could have done better, but I got a false sense of confidence getting 20/20/21 on topscore. Another reason to not overlook this section is because according to the ada conversions, you can miss up to 11 and still get a 20. Getting that on the sciences and you're down to a 16-17 so this is a great way to bring up your AA if you put the time into it.

RC: I got aspirin, cell communication, and piano. I relied on the search and destroy method on topscore and that seemed to work (21/21/21), but I couldnt pull it off on the real exam. I think I got more inference and tone questions on that exam than on topscore combined. Achiever was too difficult, and I guess kaplan was a little easier than the real thing.

Bio: I felt cliffs and MCAT book were great sources. cliffs is concise and to the point, and MCAT book goes over the top a bit, but it explains the topics really well. THen, I used destroyer/topscore/achiever/kaplan to practice as many questions as possible. As many people have stated in their breakdowns, this section does require a good understanding of the topics but especially the basics so do not go and try and memorize as many random facts as possible. The "random" questions for me were the pictures, ive just never seen some before. Other than that ive seen everything else in another shape or form. I actually had a few questions straight out of destroyer. I actually thought I failed this section because I marked about 15 so I was very surprised with my score and guess that I was just really nervous.

GC: This was the section I was worried the most about because I would consistently average about 18-19, and a week before my exam I got a 15 on GC and was freaking out. The real test was about the same as kaplan/topscore/achiever and there weren't any questions i've not seen before. I think with destroyer down you are good with the calculation problems and Chad's and MCAT hyperlearning are great for the concepts.

OC: This would be consistently my highest section and im very disappointed with my score. I thought this section was easier than kaplan and was about the same with topscore and achiever. I guess I must've made really stupid mistakes because the questions were really basic reaction questions and conceptual questions that you see over and over again. Definitely do destroyer/roadmaps/ACS and MCAT hyperlearning for concepts.

Practice test scores (in the order I did them):
Kaplan: 18/19/19/20/23
Achiever: 18/17/18
Topscore: 18/20/21

If I left anything out please let me know, and I hope someone finds this helpful.
Overall, I am disappointed with my scores because I knew I could have done much better, but I am still debating if I should retake the test or not. What do you guys think of my chances of getting into dental school? In California or actually any school for that matter, I think i'll be happy if I get in somewhere. I am going into my 4th year at UCLA and I have a 3.77 gpa with a 3.3 sci gpa (which im hoping to raise b/c I still havent taken a lot of the prerequisite classes for dentistry- physics, biochem, etc). As for extracurriculars im going to start shadowing this year, vp of scholar club, participate in leadership camps, research, pre-health clubs, 100+ hrs of volunteering. And another thing im not planning on applying until next year. Please let me know what you think, Thanks!

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I wouldn't retake! Raise that sGPA and I'd say you're good to go!
Good luck and thanks much for the breakdown!:luck::laugh: