ArmyPilot

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Aug 25, 2007
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Hello everyone! Just some observations that Im hoping people who have taken the DAT or have been in my situation can provide some insight on...ok, here we go:

Ive noticed that there are a lot of bio majors out there that advocate just using the AP Cliffs/Barrons books and they are scoring in the, perhaps, 20s. Nice score...but ...hmmm....

I find find this highly concerning because if guys/gals who MAJORED in Bio or some life science are only scoring low 20s...and they took every possible class related to the subject...how is a a guy like me who was not a bio major supposed to get a respectable bio score, especially if I have only taken the basic bio course?

My situation: Im a not-traditional applicant who only took the pre-req bio course. I majored in engineering. All of this happened years ago as I have been working overseas since I graduated from college. Will the AP bio books be enough to get me prepared for this exam? I am feeling very confident on the chemistries and all the other sections...but the bio seems to be the real beast.

Any advise, especially from those who have already taken the actual DAT, would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Cloud 9
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I used Barron's AP bio only, but I didn't have time to do much more.

If I had the time I would have went back and read some parts of Campbell Biology textbook, its time consuming though but very helpful. So if you can I think Campbell is a good reference for things you are really rusty on.
 
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ArmyPilot

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Thanks bud, I greatly appreciate the input. If you dont mind, how did you do on the bio sectio of the DAT? Were you a bio major in college?
 

JOoa0ky

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Jun 16, 2010
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I didn't too bad on bio! I majored in bio too.

Basically they can pull the bio questions from anywhere within Campbells...

I used a lot of resources to study for bio and if I were to study it all over again. I would just read through cliffs/barrons once and then dive right into campbells. Its actually not that bad. They also don't ask super specific questions... its pretty basic stuff.

I would read through campbells, maybe something like 1 chapter/day or 2 chapters/day. Just make sure you know at least 1-2 facts from each of those sections within a chapter. Then anki those facts to commit it to long term memory.
 

jeffity

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Oct 23, 2009
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I haven't taken the DAT yet, but I'm studying to take it in 6 weeks. I was worried about this too since I'm also a non-trad with a business degree. I just finished BIO1 & 2. That's it. From what I gathered here I'm using the following and feeling confident I'll do fine on BIO. Remember, even those with a bachelors, masters, or PhD in biology could still run into a couple zingers on there. I'm just going to do the best I can. I don't have time to take a bunch of classes before I take it.

Kaplan White (or Blue)
Cliff's AP Bio
DAT Destroyer
Campbell's (specifically for the chapters suggested on the forums)

Then some TopScore to see where I lack before the big day.
 

edcampbe

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Oct 13, 2008
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ArmyPilot,

I was in the exact same boat you were when I took the DAT. I am a non-traditional student who had not taken general biology since 2003. Anyhow, I ended up scoring a 20 in BIO on the real DAT.

Here's what I found effective:
1. I started reading Kaplan Blue Book, but felt the material was really basic. It might help you to skim the bio section as a refresher, but I wouldn't invest any more time than just a quick skim.
2. I thought the Cliffs AP book was really helpful. I read through all of the book once without taking notes. Next, I found Alan's notes (you can find them floating around here) as well as another person's Cliffs AP Biology outline and read through Cliffs again adding my own notes to the outline/notes. Finally, I spent the week before the DAT reviewing the notes each day.
3. I did review some of the DAT Destroyer biology, but felt the questions were really advanced and much harder than what was on the DAT. If you have time, it would help to read through the questions in DAT Destroyer and pay close attention to the detailed answers.
4. Remember the questions are truly random, but pretty basic. Just have a basic understanding of all of Cliffs and you should do fine.

You can search my profile if you want for my full DAT breakdown. Good luck!
 
Jul 18, 2010
161
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Columbus, Ohio
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I'm a bio major yet only 1 out of the 40 bio questions required knowledge specifically from an upper level bio course, those who had my version of the test would know which one I speak of.

Everything is pretty basic and general as mentioned many times previously.

If you know Kaplan or Cliffnotes inside and out, you have set yourself up for a pretty good score, one that would not warrant a retake just based on bio.

If you wanna go a little deeper into the 20s, I would suggest using Kaplan or Cliffs as a study guide, and supplementing all the topics with a textbook of your choosing, Barron's seems to be the gold standard. I used Brooker Biology and felt that was good preparation. All major bio textbooks cover the same stuff in about the same detail.
 

JOoa0ky

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Jun 16, 2010
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Can someone please tell me which chapters these are?

Thank you.
Please do not believe in the read Cliff's and ch 19-21...

The BIO question bank is probably massive... What if you don't get lucky and get something from 30-33? or maybe 25-28? or what about 1-3? or how about 14-17?

Questions can come from anywhere within campbells so why take the chance to only study 3 chapters out of a 53 chapter book? What are you going to do about the other 50 chapters? Wing it?

I think the only way to go about BIO is to just knuckle down and read through campbells :)
 

jeffity

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Oct 23, 2009
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Please do not believe in the read Cliff's and ch 19-21...

The BIO question bank is probably massive... What if you don't get lucky and get something from 30-33? or maybe 25-28? or what about 1-3? or how about 14-17?

Questions can come from anywhere within campbells so why take the chance to only study 3 chapters out of a 53 chapter book? What are you going to do about the other 50 chapters? Wing it?

I think the only way to go about BIO is to just knuckle down and read through campbells :)
Knuckle down and read through Campbell's? That's practical advice. With SO many people commenting about the topics discussed in those chapters specifically, why would I not at least get those 3 chapters in before the 52 others? If I had time I would read every book I could including this one. Of course I'm not going to just read 3 chapters and cross my fingers and hope every question is from those 3 chapters. I want a general survey of everything I can. I'll use the book to supplement and as a resource. But I'd be a fool to not take a couple hours and hit those 75 pages before tackling the other 1150.
 

JOoa0ky

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Jun 16, 2010
1,087
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Knuckle down and read through Campbell's? That's practical advice. With SO many people commenting about the topics discussed in those chapters specifically, why would I not at least get those 3 chapters in before the 52 others? If I had time I would read every book I could including this one. Of course I'm not going to just read 3 chapters and cross my fingers and hope every question is from those 3 chapters. I want a general survey of everything I can. I'll use the book to supplement and as a resource. But I'd be a fool to not take a couple hours and hit those 75 pages before tackling the other 1150.

Sure, some people who've used 19-21 may have yielded good results. There are also some people who did not get anything out of 19-21. There are also some who did not get anything from even Cliff's at all... Then again using SDN as a sample populace is highly skewed and far from accurate in the first place.


Luck of the draw my friend :luck:
 
Feb 17, 2010
204
0
Status
ArmyPilot,

I was in the exact same boat you were when I took the DAT. I am a non-traditional student who had not taken general biology since 2003. Anyhow, I ended up scoring a 20 in BIO on the real DAT.

Here's what I found effective:
1. I started reading Kaplan Blue Book, but felt the material was really basic. It might help you to skim the bio section as a refresher, but I wouldn't invest any more time than just a quick skim.
2. I thought the Cliffs AP book was really helpful. I read through all of the book once without taking notes. Next, I found Alan's notes (you can find them floating around here) as well as another person's Cliffs AP Biology outline and read through Cliffs again adding my own notes to the outline/notes. Finally, I spent the week before the DAT reviewing the notes each day.
3. I did review some of the DAT Destroyer biology, but felt the questions were really advanced and much harder than what was on the DAT. If you have time, it would help to read through the questions in DAT Destroyer and pay close attention to the detailed answers.
4. Remember the questions are truly random, but pretty basic. Just have a basic understanding of all of Cliffs and you should do fine.

You can search my profile if you want for my full DAT breakdown. Good luck!
:thumbup:

Non-traditional student here too. I've had bio but it was a long time ago. You don't need to be a bio major to do well on the DAT. I think I scored a 21 or 22 on bio and that's still pretty good.

You have to realize that once you're in the 20-something range, it's hard to get higher scores. I think if you miss one question, it drops you from a 30 to 28 (?). Miss another one, and you're in the mid 20 range. Miss a third, and you're already in the low 20s. Or something like that. After that, the point drop off is not as steep. I don't know the true scoring but I know it's something like that. You pretty much have to be perfect or near perfect to get mid-high 20s. The average DAT is around 18 anyway, so scoring in low 20s is still pretty good, even though it may sound like not that much higher than an 18. Plus bio is so freaking broad and random. Even a bio major may not remember every single detail to get a perfect score.

It's still good to aim high though. I aimed for 25+ (haha, I now know how difficult that really is) and I got like a 23 AA and 22 TS or something... I don't remember my exact score... I already got accepted to dental school and I don't give a crap anymore about my score because it doesn't matter now. :laugh: