A

arkenstone

(Scores edited out for privacy as the application cycle moves forward---all scores pretty consistent)

I was not expecting to do this well. I pushed the test back twice because I had no time to prepare with all the schoolwork I was trying to complete. I only started practicing PAT about 4 weeks ago, and the rest of the subjects 3 weeks ago on/off once summer school ended. But I did do all my prereqs since last summer, so technically you could say I've been preparing for a year.

Only this week did I try the first Bootcamp test in each section and usually scored around 20 (18 for bio and 19 for gen chem, 24 on reading.... can't remember the rest). So I set my expectations low.

PAT
materials: Crack the PAT (cheapest version), Bootcamp test 1 (the day before, to freshen up)
I started this last month and made sure I had a strategy for each section. Nothing much to offer here beyond what others have suggested. I hate the angles and had no special strategy. Cube counting was L's by layer, and memorizing the number of faces on sight. (There was actually a blatantly misdrawn/misaligned cube structure on my test, which affected 3 questions. I submitted a report for it.) Basically, all you need are those 4 or 5 basic Crack the PAT tests, and get the most out of each test. Figure out what you did wrong and get your system down.

QR
materials: DAT Destroyer, Bootcamp test 1
I was getting annoyed with the trig formulas and basically just ignored them. But I got lucky and the test barely had any trig whatsoever. Literally, like one sine formula setup. I went through Destroyer's math section once over a few days and made notecards. I had just finished calculus so things were pretty fresh. Destroyer was plenty, though.

RC
materials: Bootcamp test 1
I read tons of news everyday and have for years. When taking that practice test, I first experimented with search and destroy, but that failed me miserably. I shifted over to just reading the passages straight, which worked better for me. It can be hard, though. I'm one of those people who can get caught in a vicious cycle of my eyes reading something, my internal voice doing something else, and just getting lost reading a single sentence over and over. The way to counteract this is to force yourself to be voraciously curious for what the passage is trying to convey. Keep building a mental picture of the message/scene, wondering what's next.

Biology
materials: Feralis (!!!!), DAT Destroyer, Bootcamp test 1
I was worried here because I had only had Gen bio, micro, and anatomy. I tried the one Bootcamp test on Monday, scored low, absorbed Feralis notes on Tuesday, and did about 100 Destroyer questions yesterday. It started coming back to me.

GC
materials: DAT Destroyer, Bootcamp test 1
I went through DAT Destroyer's gen chem section early last week and made a butt load of notecards. Are you getting the picture here? DAT Destroyer, you guys.

OC
materials: Organic Chem as a second language, DAT Destroyer, Bootcamp test 1
I reread OChem as a Second Language (semester 1) last week, then did about the first 100 DAT Destroyer questions. I made three huge posters of concepts, and reviewed Dr. Romano's must-know reactions almost daily. I also reviewed tyjacobs notes, which helped me get a sense of the entire scope covered. The test didn't seem complicated, so I wonder what I missed.

********

Now I'm off to email this unofficial report to the schools that have yet to specifically ask me to do no such thing. Take aways: don't be afraid to push the test back. Keep your class notes. Buy DAT Destroyer. Give yourself a month if you want to complete it. I did less than half of the organic section and a quarter of the bio.

Practice tests are helpful for certain people, but for me it's not a good learning strategy. I'm already comfortable under test conditions---material was more important to me. With practice tests your rumination and understanding moments are detached. Engagement is stronger when you have time to wonder about the concept, research it, confirm your understanding, and make a note of it.

But I will say that Bootcamp had very very good explanations. I just wouldn't lean too heavily on the practice tests alone.
 
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phillyeagles1

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Nice job! Im a bit of a procrastinator too lol. Congrats :)
 
OP
A

arkenstone

How many hours per day?
Maybe an average of 4 hours per day for the past three weeks. Skipped some days days. Had a couple 8 hours days when I was getting worried last week. Basically I would cram each subject as if I were taking final exams, then give myself enough time to come back to each one---spaced repetition.

For what it's worth, I also exercised almost every day this month. Biking/strength. Cut carbs back to almost nothing, and ate more fats (the good stuff, like homemade guacamole, yogurt, nuts, etc.). Lost a lot of water weight and felt great. I met my dad for a 2.5 hour bike ride through the rain on Sunday, which was refreshing. All of that exercise/diet helped me return to the books with fresh focus. 1 hour of focused studying is better than 10 hours of just walking through the motions.
 
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Maybe an average of 4 hours per day for the past three weeks. Skipped some days days. Had a couple 8 hours days when I was getting worried last week. Basically I would cram each subject as if I were taking final exams, then give myself enough time to come back to each one---spaced repetition.

For what it's worth, I also exercised almost every day this month. Biking/strength. Cut carbs back to almost nothing, and ate more fats (the good stuff, like homemade guacamole, yogurt, nuts, etc.). Lost a lot of water weight and felt great. I met my dad for a 2.5 hour bike ride through the rain on Sunday, which was refreshing. All of that exercise/diet helped me return to the books with fresh focus. 1 hour of focused studying is better than 10 hours of just walking through the motions.
Homemade Guac or just guac in general is good stuff. Congrats man!
 
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okiedokeartichoke

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Jul 11, 2015
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I was thinking of incorporating exercise as a daily routine during my studies on this long ol' DAT journey. As an active person, do you find it better to exercise in the mornings to start off the day on a good note? During the afternoon slump to reinvigorate yourself? Or at night since for some people, exercise can tire people out and prepare them for a good night's sleep? And then how did you schedule your workouts around studying (among other things like work, shadowing, or classes, etc.)? Before or after you hit the books? I can't even figure out if exercise makes me more awake or tired lol. And then having to work around a showering schedule immediately following a workout :laugh: (might be more of a concern for girls). In undergrad, I just worked out whenever it was convenient, but with the DAT under my belt, I'm trying to make myself more disciplined. Discipline is challenging for us procrastinators.
 

RuffDay

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Apr 9, 2015
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Wow. You barely studied and did well! Congrats to you!

You must have a really great GPA in order to do that well without studying that much.
 
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A

arkenstone

I was thinking of incorporating exercise as a daily routine during my studies on this long ol' DAT journey. As an active person, do you find it better to exercise in the mornings to start off the day on a good note? During the afternoon slump to reinvigorate yourself? Or at night since for some people, exercise can tire people out and prepare them for a good night's sleep? And then how did you schedule your workouts around studying (among other things like work, shadowing, or classes, etc.)? Before or after you hit the books? I can't even figure out if exercise makes me more awake or tired lol. And then having to work around a showering schedule immediately following a workout :laugh: (might be more of a concern for girls). In undergrad, I just worked out whenever it was convenient, but with the DAT under my belt, I'm trying to make myself more disciplined. Discipline is challenging for us procrastinators.
After a couple potential test dates where I didn't feel ready I eventually rescheduled to the end of this month, 3 weeks after graduation, no job, no shadowing. (Although I need a job desperately so I've lined up interviews for next week.) I just went home with my books and took over the kitchen table and front porch.

I don't really schedule my exercise. It's like you said, I do it when it's convenient, but you can take steps to make it MORE convenient---so you can do it when you feel like it and do it quickly. When I was back at school, I lived such that I could bike to and from class (not enough to sweat on the way to class, though!), and I kept some basic equipment in my room (pull up bar, ab wheel, resistance bands). If I was studying and I felt myself drifting, I would just go... for a ride or do some calisthenics. I don't usually exercise in the morning; I just can't do it. I'd rather just shower and relax. Mostly I just ride or workout in the couple hours prior to sunset. I would look at it this way: exercise is something good for the rest of your life... discipline won't take you through the next 60 years. It has to be convenient and enjoyable in some small measure. I love riding around town (small, mostly flat southern town), listing to music, taking pictures, chasing cars from the sidewalk, I do it when I want, and strength training just makes me feel good.

I've tried doing the whole gym thing a couple times---never lasted long. TVs, treadmills, fluorescent lights, heart monitors, chlorine...

And showering is crucial! At least twice a day...
 
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OP
A

arkenstone

Wow. You barely studied and did well! Congrats to you!

You must have a really great GPA in order to do that well without studying that much.
Yes well that's the reality---I did a ton of studying over the past year. The past 3 weeks were more about remembering and organizing it all. But I was really impressed with the prep materials and strategies available to people here. You really can improve a lot with a month and a plan.
 

okiedokeartichoke

2+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2015
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After a couple potential test dates where I didn't feel ready I eventually rescheduled to the end of this month, 3 weeks after graduation, no job, no shadowing. (Although I need a job desperately so I've lined up interviews for next week.) I just went home with my books and took over the kitchen table and front porch.

I don't really schedule my exercise. It's like you said, I do it when it's convenient, but you can take steps to make it MORE convenient---so you can do it when you feel like it and do it quickly. When I was back at school, I lived such that I could bike to and from class (not enough to sweat on the way to class, though!), and I kept some basic equipment in my room (pull up bar, ab wheel, resistance bands). If I was studying and I felt myself drifting, I would just go... for a ride or do some calisthenics. I don't usually exercise in the morning; I just can't do it. I'd rather just shower and relax. Mostly I just ride or workout in the couple hours prior to sunset. I would look at it this way: exercise is something good for the rest of your life... discipline won't take you through the next 60 years. It has to be convenient and enjoyable in some small measure. I love riding around town (small, mostly flat southern town), listing to music, taking pictures, chasing cars from the sidewalk, I do it when I want, and strength training just makes me feel good.

I've tried doing the whole gym thing a couple times---never lasted long. TVs, treadmills, fluorescent lights, heart monitors, chlorine...

And showering is crucial! At least twice a day...
Wow, that's pretty impressive how you were able to pull off a 23 by only studying for three weeks! Congrats! See, showering can be an issue for me. I have somewhat thick, straight long hair and I let it air dry so as not to damage it with any heat from blow drying, so as it eventually dries, the thickness makes my hair have too much volume and some frizzy fly-aways. That's why I like to shower at night, so it looks good in the morning when the volume is more on the down-low lol. But I like the idea of working out in the morning so start the day off on a high note, though it's the waking up early part that's rough. As you can see, I'm very conflicted lol. I have 2 night classes this fall, and I'll be shadowing/assisting during the day, so I'm struggling to find a good balance of when to incorporate studying for the DAT, plus exercising. Can't believe I still can't figure this out after undergrad -__ - However, maybe I should just look into doing it when it's convenient, like you said instead of worrying about how to fit in what where. Good tips :thumbup:
 
OP
A

arkenstone

Wow, that's pretty impressive how you were able to pull off a 23 by only studying for three weeks! Congrats! See, showering can be an issue for me. I have somewhat thick, straight long hair and I let it air dry so as not to damage it with any heat from blow drying, so as it eventually dries, the thickness makes my hair have too much volume and some frizzy fly-aways. That's why I like to shower at night, so it looks good in the morning when the volume is more on the down-low lol. But I like the idea of working out in the morning so start the day off on a high note, though it's the waking up early part that's rough. As you can see, I'm very conflicted lol. I have 2 night classes this fall, and I'll be shadowing/assisting during the day, so I'm struggling to find a good balance of when to incorporate studying for the DAT, plus exercising. Can't believe I still can't figure this out after undergrad -__ - However, maybe I should just look into doing it when it's convenient, like you said instead of worrying about how to fit in what where. Good tips :thumbup:
Surprisingly, I sympathize with the hair thing. I used to have hair down to my shoulders, and keeping it from being an afro took careful planning or just a constant bandanna. Fortunately I had the option of cutting it all off, lol

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