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Break-DAT-down TS:24 AA:24

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by wilmosta, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. wilmosta

    wilmosta 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014

    Sacrificed celebrating on my 21st birthday to cram, haha. Thanks for everyone who shared their breakdowns, although to be honest I spent way too much time on SDN than actually studying. This is my first thread so don't criticize the writing excessively.

    12 weeks of studying (6 reviewing + 6 practicing on software and looking at ton of breakdowns). Here are my scores.

    PAT: 24
    QR: 24
    RC: 26
    Bio: 24
    GC: 23
    OC: 25
    TS: 24
    AA: 24

    Resources used:

    Kaplan course: (6/10) Overpriced for its quality in my humble opinion. A student may easily discover, via a quick search on the internet, most of the "techniques" that Kaplan preaches. However, I do need to give Kaplan gratitude for my RC score, having never practiced RC outside of Kaplan and solely used their "grid-method".

    Moving on, the provided full length exams are pretty valuable as the on-screen format is exactly what will appear on test day. Kaplan's PAT preparation is good for learning the utmost basics. Beyond that point, other resources are needed.

    *Rant: My course somehow expired a month before my scheduled DAT. I called them to ask for an extension. The operator extended it by a week and told me I could pay 100 dollars per two weeks to keep accessing their online prep. LOL.
    Cliffs AP Biology: (8/10) Bought this but was too lazy to read it from cover to cover. Instead, I used it as a reference guide to look up topics that confused me.

    DAT Destroyer: (8/10) Overkill in all sections and sometimes filled with trivia, but will prepare you at least 3/4 of the way. I was unable to finish the O-Chem section in the Destroyer. However, I thoroughly went through the Biology and Gen Chem sections at least twice, making flashcards about concepts or trivial facts that I didn't understand. Yes, I'm old school like that. By the way, flame cells actually showed up on my test.

    Math Destroyer: (8/10) I started studying QR about 6 days before the exam. Memorizing the equations from this book certainly helped. I went through the first 6 exams without timing myself. I also went through the last 7 exams never, lol. Truly a waste of a precious material in hindsight.

    Chad's Videos: (9/10) Who doesn't like visual instruction? My advice is to take copious amounts of notes yourself and don't use his provided templates. Treat his lessons like a class. Take the provided quizzes again and again until you know them down cold.

    *If unable to afford Chad, try:
    Crack DAT PAT: (7/10) Good for additional practice but inferior in essence due to a lack of explanation in comparison to the final resource that I will talk about. I did about 6 of CDP tests and realized that their keyholes were too easy. Also, don't buy the royal flush version unless you actually have the time to do all those problems.

    DAT BOOTCAMP: (15/10) God-tier studying material in my opinion. I was skeptical at first but not anymore. Tons of organized practice for each section without having to take entire full lengths all at once. As you may already know, DBC's tests are a good representation of the actual test and are purposely designed to be a bit more difficult. Best explanations in terms of clarity in the whole DAT prep business for the lowest cost. No downloads necessary. If you can only choose one studying software, it better be DBC. Make sure to hit up the PAT generators daily. Subscribe to DAT question of the day and answer them first thing in the morning.

    * By the way, I am in no way being sponsored to say such exceptionally nice remarks about DBC. I just honestly felt like it saved my lazy ass when it counted the most on test day.

    ---1st try: 20, 18, 20, 21, 22

    O Chem:
    ---1st try: 22, 20, 21, 19, 24

    ---1st try:
    test 1: 21
    test 2: 22
    test 3: 19
    test 4: 21
    test 5: 20
    test 6: 21
    test 7: 20
    test 8: 22
    test 9: 20
    test 10: 20

    ---1st try: 30, 20, 26, 25, 20

    The actual exam:
    Bio (24): The morning of my test I went over all the destroyer Bio questions that I took notes of via flashcards. Crazily stressful **** but it apparently worked. To study for this, make sure you have a broad sense of the topics before proceeding to understand the subjects in details. Use google/wikipedia/SDN to clarify misconceptions.

    General Chemistry (23): Dang, I honestly thought this was going to be my strongest score but it turned out to be the exact opposite of my expectations. Ain't complaining though. Going over the Destroyer for this section gave me confidence. I then tested my confidence on BootCamp regularly. Although most resources are calculation-focused, on the actual test it turned out to be a mix of conceptual and calculation problems. However, make sure you do know how to solve Chem problems (e.g. colligative properties, half-lives, Ksp, Hess, mc*deltaT etc...)

    Organic Chemistry (25): BS'ed this section. Most of the questions seemed to be about stereochemistry and basic SN1/E1/SN2/E2 reactions. Little to no questions about laboratory techniques. My recommendations would be to focus first on fully grasping resonance, stereochemistry (R,S,E,Z), nomenclature, acidity of protons, and basic reactions before moving on to the other reactions like (SNar, or Nucleophilic Acyl Subs, Tollens, Diels, Malonic ester synthesis) as the latter set comprised less of this section for me. Also, doing well and paying attention in your college Orgo course helps tremendously if you decide to wing this.

    * I had about 15 minutes after I finished the SNS section and took a break by setting up my PAT hole punch charts and tables for cube counting. After the "doodling", I went back to double-check questions I was ambivalent about.
    PAT (24):
    • Keyholes: I saved for last because I sucked at these. Just project your inner toddler and fit them toys with precision. No Biggie.
    • TFE: I did first because I found these to be the most enjoyable. All TFE's can be solved if you try to visualize in addition to line-counting.
    • Angles: As hard as you expected. Use DBC and CDP to practice.
    • Hole Punch: This is one of those sections where you can score flawlessly if you just use the Tic-Tac Toe Method. Lots of folds in between two holes so make sure you understand all the irregular folds. Folds were into AND out of the screen.
    • Cube Counting: A relatively straightforward section that requires barely any brain power. Practice using Bootcamp generator if this is your weak point.
    • Pattern Folding: A mix of shape identification and pattern matching. Again, the most helpful resource I used was bootcamp practice tests and generator.
    *Time management is key. Stop doubting yourself on angles and your stronger sections to prevent wasting time double checking answers that are already correct.
    RC (26): I may actually not deserve this score since I practiced no more than 7 times for the past 12 weeks. English is actually my second language and the last book I remember reading was a Clockwork Orange from freshman year. However, I have always gotten A's in English courses for some reason. What helps is forcing yourself to enjoy the article you are reading during the test. Lastly, I recommend actually reading the article while taking some notes instead of search and destroy.

    QR (24): Started studying for this section a couple days before the exam with Math Destroyer. On the actual test, I exploited the use of the calculator. There was no lag and my number pad worked! Question difficulty was significantly easier than the destroyer, as expected.​

    For the people who thought this was TLDR
    , my final advice is to stick to a study schedule and carry it out. Practice PAT daily if possible. For the week before the exam, take a PAT test everyday to get used to the timing. On test day, don't overeat. Pee as much as you need to before you step in the testing room. Take the damn 15 min. break! Let me know if you need further clarification on any of the sections. Good luck to you my friend! :)
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
    shonster460 likes this.
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  3. biomolecmed

    biomolecmed 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Good scores. Congratulations.
  4. mkhan27

    mkhan27 5+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Wow those are solid scores all around and well-rounded. You rocked this test! Congrats.
  5. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007
    Well done. Congrats.
  6. Stayinspired

    Stayinspired 2+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2013
    Congrats on your scores.

    Quick couple questions.

    Im still debating on the Kaplan course?As you stated its very pricey, especially if you still have to purchase other materials. But I have some of the resources kaplan offers those including the KBB, notecards, workbook and i believe that is all. My DAT is scheduled for December 29th. i believe my chads videos and cliffs bio sections will be sufficient for the science sections. However, I would like to know how to jump in to start getting the minimal background information on the PAT would i get that from purchasing DAT Bootcamp? Also for QR where can i look to get some information to start working with that daily?
  7. wilmosta

    wilmosta 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Reasons why I would choose Kaplan:
    • The in-class lessons will give you a very broad and general scope of the test. This is a good introduction before you dive into the more detailed studying later on.
    • Your satisfaction with the course has a lot to do with your instructor. I had a pretty good instructor who was very responsive to answering questions via email or after class.
    Reasons why I would not choose Kaplan if I could go back in time:
    • The $1100-1200 that you invest into the course can instead be used to buy the newest editions of Destroyer (which you can sell after your test), subscribe to Bootcamp, subscribe to Chad's QR. You would obviously still have money left over, and when test day comes closer you may opt to buy Topscore, ADA 2009 Sample test, DAT Achiever, and Crack DAT PAT.
    • I didn't know this prior to purchasing the Kaplan course, but the PAT and Orgo classes are taught over the internet through a video and will certainly be less interactive than being taught in class.
    For O-Chem, Gen Chem, and QR, use Chad's as a starting point. Take notes and do his quizzes.
    For Bio, read KBB and Cliffs as a start. Once you are familiar with all the different topics within each of the 4 subjects, move on to Bootcamp and the Destroyer.

    As for PAT, read KBB's chapters to get some understanding of what you are supposed to do for each question. Supplement this with a quick search on SDN to find out the best techniques for each section (Angles, TFE, Keyholes... etc)

    As you get better and better for PAT, start doing Bootcamp generators. Once you are confident, move on to doing Bootcamp practice tests for PAT. You may also find Crack DAT PAT to be a good compliment in addition to DBC.

    Does that answer your question?
  8. Stayinspired

    Stayinspired 2+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2013
    Thank you for The detailed explanation of the kaplan course. Also do you have any recommendations of study schedule templates? Also did you study every subject daily or 1 subject each day?
  9. wilmosta

    wilmosta 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    I studied whenever I wanted, but I don't think you should do the same. Any study schedule/template will work as long as you stay consistent and keep things fresh in your head. I probably studied 1-2 subjects per day in the beginning because there was a lot of learning to do for bio, chem, orgo. As the test got closer and closer I just reviewed the subjects/topics that I was having difficulties with.
  10. Ari Rezaei

    Ari Rezaei Senior Member Lifetime Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2012
    New York, NY
    Awesome scores man, you did excellent! Hope you got to celebrate your 21st after sacrificing it to the DAT, haha.
    wilmosta likes this.
  11. Stayinspired

    Stayinspired 2+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2013
    How early in my studying should i start using DAT bootcamp?????
  12. wilmosta

    wilmosta 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    I recommend to start using it about a month before your exam.
  13. belmont3


    Jul 27, 2014
    Congratulations! Awesome Scores :)
  14. Sharon914

    Sharon914 2+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2013
    You have really nice scores! Congrats!
  15. wilmosta

    wilmosta 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016

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