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DAT 1/24 Breakdown

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by ichoai, Jan 24, 2014.

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  1. ichoai

    ichoai 2+ Year Member

    51
    25
    Jun 4, 2013
    Got home from taking the DAT just a few hours ago, and figured I'd post a breakdown since I probably read through about 20 of them and they really helped.

    PAT: 23
    QR: 20
    RC: 23
    Bio: 21
    GC: 23
    OC: 23

    TS: 22
    AA: 22

    Materials:

    DAT Destroyer
    (9/10) While this book was definitely overkill, as some people may claim, it was a great resource. It is definitely overpriced. Try and buy it from someone who has one they are looking to get rid of. As far as I can tell, Dr. Romano doesn't change very much considering he still refers to Bacteria as Class Monera which has been out of use for quite some time. The road maps were a great tool, and his explanations were pretty much perfect and concise. It's good to keep you on your toes and definitely gives you a keen eye for how to spot tricks.

    Bootcamp (10/10) For the price this was the 2nd best value next to Chad's. The only complain I could possibly come up with is that they don't save your progress and scores. The PAT sections were awesome (especially those insane explanations), the RC was harder than the real thing but a great tool, The style of questioning, and interface was definitely most analogous to the real DAT. The articles on the website for strategies were helpful as well. QR was honestly even harder than Math Destroyer for me. Still a good resource all around.

    Qvault (10/10) Many people hate on this website for having errors, too many lab questions, etc. I didn't find ANY of this in my experience. Maybe they have corrected all their issues, but this was one of the biggest assets to my success. They give you breakdowns by topic of what you missed, detailed graphs of how you compare to others, keep track of all your progress even after you retake an exam. Their Bio section was one of the best things I used for bio. PAT and RC were very good but not as good as Bootcamp.

    Chad's Videos (10/10) This guy is an honest, charismatic, and efficient machine. His subscription is the cheapest thing you can buy out of all of these, and by far the most helpful. I don't need to add anything else to his already unanimous approval.

    Feralis Notes (8/10) Don't get me wrong, I loved these notes. I used them almost daily, however there were some things that were just written in a rush without great wording. I can't even complain though because this is a free resource that someone made using their free time, which is amazing. I used this mostly as a reference, and would end up going back to google or Cliff's.

    Craig Savage Youtube Channel (8/10) This guy is on point, but only at fast speed. Otherwise it felt too slow paced. Great for the immune system, menstrual cycle, plants, kidney. All around a great tool and free at that. Sometimes, reading gets too tedious and to sit back and watch something can help it stick better.

    Cliff's AP Bio (8/10) This book is great, but way too dense in order to be efficient. I found myself using this as reference mostly.

    Crack DAT PAT (6/10) Honestly, I expected so much more out of this program, I feel that it was kind of a waste of money, and you would be fine using just Qvault and Bootcamp. Some people find it very helpful, I just didn't like it. It is a primitive program that you have to download, minimal explanation, and very expensive. My personal opinion is to save your money and just use Qvault and Bootcamp.

    GOOGLE (Sometimes used this to supplement any ambiguous things that weren't explained in Feralis notes or Cliff's, you'd be surprised how much is out there. Basically if the link has an .edu at the end, chances are its going to give you everything you need and more)

    Prep time: 5 weeks. (~12 hours per day)

    So I scheduled my DAT for January 24th some time in September, and couldn't start studying until my semester ended (Dec. 18th). I do research for 2 labs, which are very demanding in the Summer and Winter breaks, and this break was the only time that I was able to request off and literally devote 100% to studying. This was pretty stressful because as I was keeping up with school work throughout the semester, I always had the DAT in the back of my head without the ability to study until my demanding course load was finished. I took Biochem, and Cancer Bio which actually helped a good amount with the understanding of many concepts covered in the Bio section. If your school offers these courses I highly recommend them, despite their difficulty. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I did actually study for at least 11 hours each day, sometimes more. I took 5 days off where I barely looked at anything, if at all. You NEED these breaks, trust me.

    Week 1: I read through Cliff's (very fast, without taking notes; dont recommend this), and managed to watch ALL of Chad's videos. ~20 hours of GC, ~17 OC, and ~10 of QR. These videos get a lot of credit, and it's a well earned reputation. This was a nice transition into studying because watching videos and reading is a bit more passive than taking practice exams. I hadn't been exposed to GC in about 2 years, and a year removed from OC. Chad brought me back up to speed. I took notes on his outlines that are provided, and honestly wish I took more notes. So if you plan on using chad, literally COVER his outlines with notes, maybe making some asterisks noting which topics are a little fuzzy to you even after you finish his videos. This is really important because as you can imagine, you will likely forget some of the things he says, and even forget which topics you need most work on by the time you finish those countless hours of video. Taking extra note to which topics I suffered in was a great part of my success. I also messed around on CDP before I went to bed, only doing one section (~10 minutes) at a time to keep me "with it".

    Week 2: I did Destroyer cover to cover. This book will destroy you, no pun intended. Accept the humbling nature of the book and learn from your mistakes. I preferred to do ~25 questions at a time, and rewrote every missed question in a notebook, along with an explanation. Even if you don't plan on going back and reading through these, rewriting them down will make it stick. Again, a recurring theme, I always had a list of weak topics. If one topic kept giving me trouble, I was able to break it down specifically and target what exactly I was doing wrong. A lot of people don't mention just how humbling destroyer is... I did well in all of these classes and considered myself knowledgable, and I was still only getting about 30-40% right. So even if you are getting less than half of the questions right, keep going. It will get better. Also, download the excel file so that you don't have to write on the book. At this point, I also found Feralis' Notes which were awesome. I highly recommend these. I would read through a section at a time when I wanted a break from the Destroyer. Mainly used Feralis' notes as a supplement to what questions I got wrong in the Bio section of Destroyer. If I got a question wrong about Annelids, I would go back and review all the classes and make sure I had it down. Think of the Bio destroyer as an exposing of your weaknesses, then refer to Cliff's or Feralis' (and even Craig Savage's channel on Youtube) notes to really nail it.

    Week 3: I moved onto Qvault and Bootcamp. I would do one test, and go through each solution making note of which topics gave me the most trouble. I made index cards of rules, trends, reactions, equations, etc. This reinforcement is enhanced by reviewing the index cards, however, for me just writing them down is a big enough help. I was feeling confident given how much of a difficulty gap there was between these two resources and the Destroyer. Also reviewed Feralis' notes in between. A side note, be sure to track your progress and scores in a notebook for Bootcamp. You're going to want to know how much you're improving.

    Week 4: I went back and did Destroyer cover to cover, using a new spreadsheet so that I didn't know which I got right or wrong, complete fresh start. I was doing much better, however I was still not doing better than 70%. Again, I rewrote every wrong question and topic that was giving me trouble. I kind of adjusted to the Qvault and Bootcamp style of questions and going back to Destroyer was a kick in the ass. I powered through, though my confidence was at an all time low this week given my test was less 2 weeks away. At this time I also discovered Craig Savage's Youtube Channel. This guy is amazing. I signed up for the HTML5 Youtube beta so I could watch the videos on 1.5x speed, and would watch a topic I needed work on while I ate breakfast and lunch (Yes, I even studied while I ate).

    Week 5: I initially thought these long days of studying would get easier, but they only got harder. This was the hardest week by far to study. I re-did every Qvault and Bootcamp exam. I even went back and watched a few Chad videos to refresh some things that slipped my mind. At this point, all of my scores have jumped up a significant amount compared to the first run through. I made an effort to do at least one Math Destroyer test under timed conditions, and would always run out of time haha. I made a mark when the time ran out and always finished the test anyway. I consistently made it to question 34-35 every time, this made me nervous. I did split up the RC and PAT tests so I was doing 1 each per day. This was a nice break from the draining Bio section which I was nervous for given the vast information covered. Everyone told me to take the day before the test off, but I honestly felt more stressed out by not studying on the last day. In my mind, I made it this far with this much hard work and social isolation, what is one day of "relaxation" really going to do? I'll relax when I do well. I reviewed all of my notecards, Chad's notes, HNMR and CNMR because those damn cutoffs would not stick in my head, Phylum, general areas of weakness. I made sure to have a nice dinner and took Fish Oil with dinner so my brain was at optimum function in the morning.

    Morning of the Test: My test was at 8am and about 45 minutes away. I had a little difficulty falling asleep, but a resonating peace of mind that I literally could not have done anything else in addition to what I had done. It was a nice leg to stand on that I gave 101% into these 5 weeks. I woke up around 5:45, reviewed some notes very lightly, mostly just trying to wake up. I got to the testing center at 7:45, despite them asking me to be there promptly by 7:30 due to traffic. Luckily they were pretty forgiving. They gave me the key to my locker, had to put all of my stuff in there. I got fingerprinted, ID'd (2 forms), and then it began. I made sure to do the tutorial (Who knew, it really helped ease into the test). I also made sure to take my 15 minute break and chatted with the receptionist just for some distraction. Make sure to go to the bathroom before you enter, and DON'T LEAVE THE BUILDING. Some guy almost got his test voided for this. Throughout the test, I felt pretty cool, calm and collected. The bio was a lot better than I expected it (much less detailed than I anticipated), the GC was very basic, no tricks. The orgo had a few weirdly worded problems which threw me off, but generally very manageable. My RC section was very S&D-able, and my QR was a helluva lot easier than Bootcamp or Math Destroyer. I was so ready to see my scores, but at the same time overwhelmed with emotion that this long journey had come to a close.

    Overall, it was absolutely worth not drinking for 5 weeks straight with the exception of New Years, I even stayed sober on my birthday which took a lot of willpower. I annoyed my friends by falling off the face of the earth, I'm lucky my girlfriend was so understanding and didn't dump me for being so distant and sucking at answering texts and phone calls. I ate like **** (I live in an apartment by school all year round, so I didn't have parents to cook for me) if you have the luxury of your parents cooking for you, laundry, etc then you will have a serious advantage over me. A lot of crap came with this rigorous study plan, and it was honestly all worth every second. I walked out of the test with the satisfaction that hard work pays off. These scores may not be perfect, or even very high compared to this forum, but for my standards...

    I won.
     
    Shadowwalker likes this.
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  3. ICUrunning

    ICUrunning On the Iron Path 2+ Year Member

    599
    449
    Oct 22, 2012
    'MURICA
    Don't sell yourself short. Great scores!
    Do you recommend using just DAT bootcamp for the PAT? Or do you think qvault is just as good? I have no desire to buy crack pat.
     
  4. ichoai

    ichoai 2+ Year Member

    51
    25
    Jun 4, 2013
    I think the combination of both is more than enough. Bootcamp has 5 tests and an amazing Angle Ranking Generator which was awesome because angles were actually my worst subject. The real DAT angles are actually comparable to Bootcamp as well. Qvault has 10 tests which are good as well, but the TFE is a bit harder than you would see on the real exam. The combination of both was really the way to go, they both bring unique things to the table and variation of exposure is important. Rely on Bootcamp for the explanations though. They are amazing.
     
  5. ICUrunning

    ICUrunning On the Iron Path 2+ Year Member

    599
    449
    Oct 22, 2012
    'MURICA
    alright thanks man, again awesome job
     
    ichoai likes this.
  6. ichoai

    ichoai 2+ Year Member

    51
    25
    Jun 4, 2013
    Thanks, also check out the line of symmetry method for hole punching, that really helped me visualize it. I never bothered drawing his grids.
     
    ICUrunning likes this.
  7. manifesto

    manifesto 2+ Year Member

    247
    48
    Jan 10, 2014
    So when you say you do not recommend reading Cliff's very fast without taking notes, what does that mean? Don't buy Cliff's at all or read it slow?
     
  8. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    1,559
    88
    May 27, 2007
    Solid scores and very nice breakdown. Great job.
     
  9. ichoai

    ichoai 2+ Year Member

    51
    25
    Jun 4, 2013
    @BIYANT, I would say to thoroughly read and take detailed notes on high yield topics like reproduction, development, muscular systems, photosynthesis, etc. I wasted a lot of time on sections that didn't end up sticking in my head. For these sections, I would either skip cliff's entirely and rely on Feralis' or google, or just skim it if you have the time. This is just my opinion though, the bio section is so variable that you really have to be prepared for everything. One thing I did notice though is that it's not as detail oriented as you might think. For example, you didn't have to know the detailed mechanism of the acrosome reaction and that they have hyaluronidase. Instead, you would have to know that the Acrosome reaction is the "fast block to polyspermy" and allows the sperm to penetrate the egg. I hope that makes sense... if not, basically know the details but not superficial details.
     
  10. biomolecmed

    biomolecmed 2+ Year Member

    1,014
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    Apr 7, 2012
    Good scores. Nicely done.
     
  11. Glimmer1991

    Glimmer1991 5+ Year Member

    3,495
    1,263
    May 5, 2012
    NC
    Fantastic scores, and thank you for the great breakdown! Welcome to the ultimate breakdown collection. :)
     
  12. ichoai

    ichoai 2+ Year Member

    51
    25
    Jun 4, 2013
    Thank you!
     
  13. Sharon914

    Sharon914 2+ Year Member

    163
    37
    Jan 16, 2013
    I like your step by step learning process! Thanks for wonderful tips about resources you used. Very good job, congrats.
     
  14. manifesto

    manifesto 2+ Year Member

    247
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    Jan 10, 2014
    For week 3 how many tests did you do each day?
     
  15. JHekmati

    JHekmati

    94
    23
    Jun 24, 2014
    very solid scores. congratulations!
     

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