Breakdown AA26 (atypical case)

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by Old_newbie, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Old_newbie

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    Just took the DAT this morning (1/27/14) and was very happy with my scores.
    I wanted to share with you guys on what was useful for me, and how I would have done it differently.

    Disclaimer: this breakdown is not meant to brag, but to show everyone that ANYTHING is possible.

    Breakdown:
    PAT 24
    QR 30
    RC 28
    Bio 25
    GC 24
    OC 24
    TS 25
    AA 26
    WP_20140127_001-001.jpg
    Background: I am a PhD student at one of the top universities in the US. Foreign born. English is my second language. Last time I learned organic chemistry was 7 years ago.
    I wanted to change my career path but am keeping it a secret for now: so no-one knows I'm preparing for the DAT. That means I am a full time (plus some weekends) researcher. Mostly, I come home from lab at 7:30pm, and study the DAT till 1am. That's all the time I have to study: ~5 hours a day. In order to take the test on Monday (today), I had to ask for a sick leave and pretend I'm sick. :(
    Plus, I only had 5 weeks to study for the DAT. Luckily, a week of it was through the Christmas break, so I could spend more time out of the lab without people noticing.
    I only wanted to apply to ONE school (the reason being I don't want to move), which means I knew I needed a really high score.
    Being a PhD student, I think I have very good studying habits (when I focus, I'm 100% focused). I take very good notes and constantly review them every night (strongly recommend Microsoft OneNote: it syncs on my work PC, laptop, and phone). I also modified my study plan several times, to focus on my weak links (more detailed below).

    My approach:
    PAT
    : Crack DAT PAT, Bootcamp, Achiever
    I've taken GRE, TOFEL, etc. PAT is by far the most different subject than anything I've ever seen. I highly recommend crack DAT PAT and Bootcamp. I started with the angle ranking, cube counting, and hole punching on crack DAT PAT (there were unlimited numbers of these). I was constantly scoring 100% on the latter two, but ALWAYS struggled with angle ranking (50% correct). I then spent too much time practicing angle ranking everyday (with random angle generators on Bootcamp and Crack DAT PAT).
    Regret: About two weeks before the test, I bought bootcamp and started practicing Keyhole, TFE, and paper folding, using prep-tests (unlike angle, hole punching, and cube counting, you only have limited tests on Keyhole, TFE, and paper folding, which is the reason why I started late: I didn't want to run out of materials.) I really wish I had started these parts earlier, because I sucked at all of the three sections. Ari's Bootcamp was REALLY useful in detailed explanations: I improved quickly on TFE (averaging 13/15 every test) and paper folding (averaging 13/15). However, even till the day before the test, I still SUCKED at keyholes (8-12 wrong out of 15 in Bootcamp, ~3 wrong/15 in Crack DAT PAT). I read that the difficulty of the real test is between Crack DAT PAT and Bootcamp (which was the case in my test), so the morning of my test, I decided to skip all the keyhole questions, and start from TFE. This strategy worked. I had extra time to go back on keyholes.
    In retrospect, I think I tried all six sections with Crack DAT PAT, but it's so easy you can't really see what you are bad at. It's not until I started Bootcamp that I realized, Geez, I am REALLY awful at keyholes. So, moral of the story: start Bootcamp EARLY.
    By the way, Achiever was a total waste of time for me. Way too difficult. In the real test, I did get 2 keyhole questions that are just out of the blue (one of them was literally a 20-faced rock). However, most of the others were MUCH easier than Achiever.

    QR: Math destroyer, Bootcamp
    I have a strong math background. Only did two prep tests and got 100% correct in both of them. Didn't spend too much time on this. Being foreign, the only thing I had to watch out for, was unit conversions. In the real test, I got 4 conversions (pound to oz, foot to inch, inch to centimeter, and F to C temperature).

    RC: Bootcamp, Achiever
    English is not my mother tougue. I am a slower reader and when I started with Achiever RC, I was scoring 18 on average. Dying inside, I decided to dedicate the final week before the test to RC and PAT. That's right, I completely dropped all sciences (as I was scoring 28-30 in Bio, GC, OC on Bootcamp, I wanted to focus more on my weak links). Then I got in the rhythm and found my own way: read the passage quickly in 10 minutes. Spend 10 mins to finish all the questions. With this method, my score went up to 22, 24, and 26. The real test was actually the highest score (28) I've EVER got.
    About strategy: I believe each person has a different strategy that works for them. What I did was to just try a few different reading strategies (all TIMED), and find the one that worked for me.
    For example, I tried quickly glancing through the passage and write down keywords, then going to the questions and S&D; or going through the questions first, then reading the passage; or reading through the passage thoroughly, then questions S&D (this worked the best for me. I also found that 5 min reading and 15 min questions didn't work quite as well for me as 10 min reading and 10 min questions).
    What's important is that, each person has a different strategy that works for them. And once you have found a strategy, stick to it and practice until you improve!
    One more thing, make sure you get good sleep: it's very important for RC (and PAT IMO).

    OC: Khan academy, Destroyer, Chad
    I started this the earliest. First watched all Khan academy videos. Then started doing destroyer questions. Took notes for anything that I missed. I started feeling secure with OC when all my prep tests scored between 28 and 30. In the last week before the test, I completely dropped OC, to focus more on PAT and reading. The day before the test, I redid all the destroyer questions. Went over Chad's notes, and the Roadmaps in Destroyer. Honestly, 24 is the lowest I've ever got in all prep-tests: might be because of the pause.
    I think if you are solid with Chad's video and quiz, and went over destroyer twice, you'd be set for OC.

    GC: Chad, Destroyer, Bootcamp
    Same with OC, except that I watched all videos from Chads (not Khan academy). The real test was quite easy: there was no Nernst equation, no calculation of PH in a buffer system, no calculation of Gibb's Free Energy. Honestly, I thought I was gonna get 30. But only ended up with 24.
    If you watch Chad's video and do all of his quiz, I'm sure you'll be golden in GC.

    Bio: Cliff, Destroyer, Bootcamp
    I started with reading Cliff's notes. Then finished all destroyer questions, took notes of the ones I missed, and stopped for a week (like all the other science sections). The day before the test, I redid all destroyer questions, reread the entire Cliff's note.
    In the real test, there was no question on plants. It was, however, heavily focused on animal physiology and behavior.

    Finally:
    1. If you are using Achiever, getting low scores, and want to die, I'm telling you: don't feel bad. I may have gotten a simpler version of the test, but in no way was it even close to the difficulty in Achiever. Period.
    2. Although I stopped with GC, OC, and Bio for a week, I had taken very good notes and was reviewing them every night in bed before I went to sleep.
    3. The morning of the test, I woke up at 4am. During the 4 hours of sleep I had, I was constantly dreaming about keyhole questions! Why? Because the day before the test, I took the final prep-test on Bootcamp and only got 3 correct out of 15 Keyhole/Aperture questions! That's just the odds if I chose A on every question. I was devastated, and decided to skip this section entirely on the real test. Turns out, if you get 75/90 correct (that's getting all other questions right while skipping aperture), the score is ~22 (not bad, huh?). So, don't feel bad: some times all it takes is just a change of strategy.
     
    #1 Old_newbie, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
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  3. ICUrunning

    ICUrunning On the Iron Path

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    holy cow, awesome job
    excellent RC score
     
  4. melmu001

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    When did you take the dat?
     
  5. Old_newbie

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    Thanks!
    This morning: 01/27/2014
     
  6. melmu001

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    Is the Quantitative Reasoning very similar to the MATH destroyer and is it much easier than the math destroyer?
     
  7. Old_newbie

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    The real test is MUCH easier than math destroyer.
    There were LOTS of word problems. But the calculation wasn't hard at all.
     
  8. melmu001

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    What is the difficulty level of the gen chem in the real dat vs the dat destroyer? How many math problems in the general chem part did you have?
     
  9. Dotoday

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    Great scores. You rocked this test. Also, awesome and interesting breakdown. Very good job.
     
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  10. Daneosaurus

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    GREAT SCORES!!!! Excellent work! Thanks for the detailed breakdown.
     
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  11. Sharon914

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    Wonderful scores!!! Take a deep breath and relax little bit, lol:pigeon:
     
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  12. Minion

    Minion Banned
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    Was the reading comprehension mainly search & destroy?
     
  13. Old_newbie

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    GC was way easier than destroyer. Same difficulty as Chad's quiz. Math problems were quite simple, mainly concentrations, etc.
    There were a few tone questions. Most of them though, more than 90% I'd say, are search and destroy.
     
  14. melmu001

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    In the qr part did you get any speed problems, age problems, and combined work problems?
     
  15. Old_newbie

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    I only got one combined work problem.
     
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  17. Glimmer1991

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    Fantastic scores! Welcome to the breakdown collection. :)
     
  18. biomolecmed

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    Great scores. Your hard work paid off.
     
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  19. melmu001

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    What about age and speed problems?
     
  20. Old_newbie

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    No age problem/speed problem for me.
     
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  21. melmu001

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    Did you get any true and false questions in the bio section of the dat? Was the bio much easier than the destroyer?
     
  22. Old_newbie

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    I did get quite a few true or false questions. It was in the format of "Statement I is true but statement II is correct."

    I wouldn't say much easier. There were definitely some random questions that are not on Cliff/Ferralis Note. It was a pure test of memory/specific biological terms.
     
  23. melmu001

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    So you got a lot of questions like this platelets are derived from a. Megakaryocytes b. Leukocytes c. Reticulocytes d. Eosonophils e. Monocytes and an organism belonging to a ____________ species will be distinctly male or female. A. Monoecious b. Dioecious c. Gynoecious d. Androecious e. Hermaproditic. Is the organic chemistry part of the dat much easier than the destroyer?
     
  24. Old_newbie

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    That's right. I got around 5 bio questions like that.

    OC is much easier than destroyer.
     
  25. melmu001

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    What were most of the questions like in the bio, like if you said you got 5 questions like the ones i mentioned, what were most of the questions?
     
  26. Glimmer1991

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    Melmu--I know you are honest in your intentions, but it is completely prohibited for testers to share information about questions on the test. You're trying to get the OP in some murky water here.
     
  27. sylviej

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    Woohoo! Great scores!!! Congratulations!!I'm foreign born too:)
    I always struggle with the time management on the RC part. I took the Kaplan course and they asked us to read the whole passage first. but some people are suggesting not to read the whole passage, just hit the questions and search for keywords. Which method would you say works better?
     
  28. Old_newbie

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    Thanks! I'd say each person has a different strategy that works for them.
    What I did was to just try a few different reading strategies (all TIMED), and find the one that worked for me.
    For example, I tried quickly glance through the passage and write down keywords, then go to the questions and S&D;
    or go through the questions first, then read the passage;
    or read through the passage quickly, then questions S&D (this worked the best for me, i also found 5 min reading and 15 min questions didn't work quite as well for me as 10min reading and 10 mins questions).

    What's important is that, each person has a different strategy that works for them. And once you have found a strategy, stick to it and practice until you improve!

    I improved RC from 18 to 28 in one weeks time and it's ALL about strategy. You can do it too.
    One more thing, make sure you get good sleep: it's very important for RC.
     
  29. youngy

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    Solid. You destroyed it.
     
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  30. ToBeDDSS

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    Very Interesting background !!
    amazing scores.
    good luck
     
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  31. dentalgirl101

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    Wow! Congrats, those are such amazing scores! I'll be taking my test in a few months and hope I can do as well as you, especially the QR and RC sections.
     
    #29 dentalgirl101, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  32. JHekmati

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    This was inspiring to read. great job!
     

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