Jun 28, 2017
Just finished my DAT today, and here's my breakdown.

I started studying right after the past school year ended, so around mid-June. There were however a couple of family trips, I worked a part-time job for the first two months of summer, several lazy days (aha), and other random things that came up so I wasn't studying straight the entire time.

Materials: DAT Bootcamp (full-length exams!), Cliffs AP bio textbook (bio), Chad's and Mike's videos (chem & o-chem), Khan academy (math), Kaplan DAT book (overview of all subjects, one of the free practice tests), Anki flashcards (bio), The Organic Chemistry Tutor (chem, o-chem, math, this dude does everything), other random Youtube videos.

DAT Bootcamp Full-length Exam scores: (I didn't really want to post these, but maybe it'll be encouragement for someone? :/)


Test 1: 20/15/16/21/23/17/18
Test 2: 18/20/17/22/23/17/19
Test 3: 19/20/19/23/24/18/20
Test 4: 16/19/22/21/27/17/20
Test 5: 19/16/21/21/23/17/19

Actual DAT: 20/24/26/24/26/19/23

So I wrote out a longer breakdown, but I didn't save a draft and it's all gone and I'm too lazy right now to write it all out again.

Basically, the DAT was hard, but it's not impossible and if you've had a couple years of undergraduate you've seen all of this material before. It's just a matter of making sure you get a good overview of everything, getting used to the timing, and focusing on the areas that you're weaker in, which for me was QR (specifically quantitative comparison, geometry, and trigonometry) and parts of bio.

In terms of material: DAT Bootcamp. Is. Amazing. The tests are so helpful in preparing you for the actual DAT, the PAT generators are great, and the explanations for each test question are invaluable. I used a mix of all the other materials listed and it sort of worked for me, but I would just recommend trying as many things as possible in order to find out what will help you the most. Congratulations if you've completed your DAT, and good luck to anyone still preparing!

"It always seems impossible, until it is done."


Jun 28, 2017
Haha okay here's the rest of the breakdown for those interested.

Bio: I mainly used Cliff's and Feralis notes to help review. On the DAT the bio section wasn't too bad, although there were a few more reproductive system questions that got a bit more specific than I was anticipating. Like many people have said, I feel like the best thing for bio is to try expose yourself to as many different areas of bio as you can. It's good to get specific sometimes, like with hormones and their target organs, but don't feel like you have to memorize everything, unless you really want to do that. And of course, focus on the areas that you struggle in, which for me was genetics and A&P. Thankfully didn't get a lot of genetics questions :) I also found out very late that there is a Feralis bio notes set on Anki flashcards, and I wish I had gotten that sooner.

Gen chem: I used Chad's videos and some of Mike's videos. Chad's videos are great, but I feel like I spent too much time trying to review with his videos, and instead should have started working more problems from the beginning. Also, the organic chemistry tutor channel on YouTube has some really long videos that have content specifically geared towards stuff you'll see on the DAT. I didn't use Destroyer, but after reading the glowing reviews that it receives I kind of wish I had. I didn't hear about it until I had already started studying, and I already had the Kaplan book so I figured I would just stick with that. The Kaplan book was good, but I feel like the practice questions and the tests they offer aren't exactly like the actual DAT... One thing that I did like was how the book referred to the DAT "test makers", which for some reason made me think of the Hunger Games and changed the way I viewed the test haha. On the actual DAT I fortunately didn't get a whole lot of long equations that I needed to solve, which was really nice.

O chem: I just finished taking a whole year of O chem, so I felt the most comfortable with this section. I did have to adjust a little bit though because I was more used to having to draw mechanisms or come up with a synthesis. I actually didn't do a whole lot of review for o chem, I just needed to brush up on reactions that I hadn't used a lot in school. On the DAT I thought this section was pretty straightforward, so I wish I could see what I got wrong.

PAT: I was pretty terrible at PAT when I first started, but the PAT academy videos on BC were so helpful, especially for keyholes. The generators were also really great for practice, and I got to the point where I felt pretty comfortable with all the sections except for angle ranking. Never quite figured out a solid strategy for all angle types. Surprisingly, I feel like I had the hardest time with the keyholes on the actual DAT. I didn't really get rock keyholes, but some of the edges were really weird and I couldn't figure them out. Angle ranking didn't seem that bad overall, hole punching was about the same as BC, and in cube counting the cubes seemed bigger than they are on BC so that made it even easier. TFE had a few weird problems that I probably got wrong, and pattern folding seemed pretty straightforward, and that was another area that I struggled with for a while. I think the key for PAT is just practice. Just use each generator for at least 15 minutes a day, like Ari recommends, and you'll see improvements after a little bit of time.

RC: Reading comp wasn't too bad... To prepare I used the daily reading articles from scientific american to get used to reading quickly and efficiently. I tried using search and destroy strategies in my practice and they never seemed to work well for me so I used a pretty basic strategy on the DAT. I would start by thoroughly reading the first and maybe the second paragraph in the passage so I could get a sense of what the passage was going to be about. Then I would skim read as fast as I could through the passage and make sure I could pick out at least one keyword or phrase from each paragraph, making sure to read the second to last and last paragraph thoroughly as well. Then it was just a matter of going through the questions and going back to the paragraphs that had the same keywords as the question.

QR: This was the section I was most worried about. I've never really had problems with math, but it definitely doesn't come easy to me. The Khan academy videos were very helpful in refreshing my memory of things that I hadn't used in a long time. The Organic Chemistry Tutor also has a 4 hour video on stuff that's on the QR section of the DAT, and that was extremely helpful. There were some things he talked about that I don't remember learning in any of the math classes I've taken, like special triangles in trigonometry (that blew my mind). Thankfully didn't get a lot of trig or geometry on the DAT, cause those were the sections I was weakest on. I had time to check my answers on all the other sections except for QR, and I feel like a good amount of my time was wasted trying to estimate values on bar graphs, which was a little frustrating.
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yes, I'm a girl
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Dec 25, 2016
Dental Student
Congrats on your scores!! You killed it in the first round. I studied just as you did lol, being very lazy at times, but glad to see you did well! Pair these scores with a great GPA and you'll get many interviews! :)
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