2+ Year Member
- Jul 22, 2014
- Reaction score
My sGPA is well below average so reading everyones breakdown with a 3.7 GPA gave me a false impression of what someone in my situation would feel on test day. So here is something I'm sure most people can relate to with a below average GPA. I had an unrealistic view of college exams and courses so I suffered in my first few years and then I buckled down and managed to get my **** on track. I applied for dental school in 2014, had an interview, and was waitlisted. Clearly, I didn't get in so I tried again. I went back to retake classes I underperformed in, and retook the DAT. My GPA upon graduation was an even 3.0 and my science less than that. The new science classes I took I did much better in and definitely speaks towards my upward trend in grades. My extracurriculars are what I believe got me that interview with my ok DAT scores so hopefully now I'm a competitive candidate. If you want to ready my breakdown from the 2014 cycle its in my signature at the end of this post.
2016 DAT SCORES :
STUDY MATERIALSI studied 6-8 hours a day since the end of May. I used Kaplan's Blue Book, Chad's videos/quizzes, Feralis Bootcamp, and Destroyer. For the Kaplan course material: in my 1st breakdown. Quick overall breakdown with what materials I used:
- Kaplan Blue Book (KBB): This gets a lot of hate but the book actually comes in handy for biology ONLY. So Beware of that. Use it for chem and orgo and you won't learn much. Don't rely on it on its own. It's a great study material for starting but nothing to get you past an 18.
- Score: 6/10
- Chad's Videos: Praise unto the patron saint of the sciences and the 99th percentile, Amen. I used my notes from the first time I had his videos but you can't get better than him to teach you Gen Chem and Orgo.
- Score: Any number over 10/10
- Cliffs: Very detailed and I only read 25% but everything that I read was covered sufficiently to answer any questions that came up.
- Score: 8/10
- Feralis Notes: The super condensed version of Cliffs but it works for me so I read about 50% of it. This is great for filling in the gaps in your bio notes.
- Score: 10/10
- Bootcamp: Excellent for taking practice tests and getting used to the timing of the sections. Questions are much harder than the DAT so you will feel that the real thing is actually too easy. Their explanations to EVERY SINGLE QUESTION is precise and helps me find my weaknesses. Great investment. WORD OF WARNING: For their full length tests they take the questions directly from the unit tests so be careful cuz otherwise if you already reviewed that section it won't do much for you. It'd be nice if Bootcamp had separate questions fro the Full Lengths exams.
- Score: 9/10
- I found this pretty nifty app that has 1000+ questions and its $10 to unlock every subject. They have every DAT section, mnemonics, images, tricks, etc. Few of the questions are a bit quirky but overall pretty good. Their explanations are pretty detailed also with visuals if needed.
- Link for Android: DAT Mastery 2016
- DAT Destroyer: AMAZING. Make sure you do as many of the problems you can. The explanations are also great. I wish I spent more time with it. Make sure you skip all the questions that have "all/none of the above" as an answer choice, you won't see that on the DAT. Instead when reviewing your answers read the description for the right answer. Almost 90% of those Qs in Destroyer are all/none.
- Score: 10/10
BIOLOGY: 22BOOTCAMP FULL LENGTH (FL) SCORES: 25/25/26/23/24
So this was incredibly straight forward. Questions were worded incredibly clear and nothing was tricky (review terrestrial biomes). The only thing that got me was 2 or 3 questions asking for things I have never seen or heard about in my life. Otherwise everything was on point. Definitely learn to speed through this section so you have 10 extra minutes to work out the gen chem section. I took all 5 Bio tests before I realized they were part of the FLs. But I took the first three a month before taking the FL so I didn't remember any of the questions; so I actually learned I guess.
GENERAL CHEMISTRY: 23BOOTCAMP FL: 23/21/22/23/20
Very simple section, most of the problems that required a lot of math already had the equation set up in the answer so you wouldn't actually have to spend time calculating everything out. There isn't any questions about finding coulombs or using Faraday;s constant; aka electroplating. Lots of gas related problems so be sure to know the equations, gas laws, and difference between STP and Standard Conditions.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: 21
BOOTCAMP FL: 21/22/24/29/21
I hate orgo and I whooped its butt. I don't know how I scored a 29 on exam 4 but I was hoping I'd get that today! Know substitution and elimination, EAS, and nomenclature. I didn't have much else other than those types of questions. There was an aldol too but thats it.
BOOTCAMP FL: 20/20/18/18/19/19
SO this score didn't change from my first time taking the exam. Everything is simple except angles. In bootcamp I'd get half the angles wrong and 1 wrong at most in other PAT sections. If you can differentiate between angles, God bless you. Hole punching has a bunch of folds into the paper and sometimes a fourth fold. The most amount of holes you'll see is two hole punches, not 3 like bootcamp.
BOOTCAMP FL: 20/19/18/17/18
I hate math too. Unfortunately I didn't do better than before, dragging my AA down. So words of advice, learn your trigonometric functions by heart (CLICK ME), if a question requires a lot of set up you should randomly pick, mark, and move on ASAP. The more time you waste on a lengthy question the less time you spend answering easy questions. Be sure to know the interest equation for money questions. Calculator is bigger and more responsive than Bootcamp's, contrary to what everyone says. It has a square root function and I abused it.
READING COMPREHENSION: 23
You CAN highlight and it is incredibly helpful. I had no "this statement is T/F and that statement is T/F" which was a relief. Way easier than Bootcamp so sit tight and practice to get better. My questions were all in chronological order which was fantastic. I used a combo of roadmapping and search and destroy. I'd note what the first three Qs were asking for and then Id start reading and roadmapping. I was cutting it close on the last passage so I just read the first and last sentences, made notes and went back after the last paragraph to answer questions.
I wish I did better in math. Persistence is key to this, handwork is only part of the formula. Spend the money on material because it's an investment. If you have a sub-par GPA, this is me telling you to flip off the world and go ace this test.