DAT 2021 January Break Down - 21 AA With Booster and Destroyer

Jan 5, 2021
Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time actually posting. I took my exam on Jan 4, 2021. I wanted to make a post about being in school and doing other stuff while studying, being broke, and show that a good score IS obtainable even without Bootcamp. I scored: 19 PAT/21 RC/18 QR/21 Bio/21 OC/24 GC/21 TS and 21 AA. For some background: I am a junior in college with a 4.0 GPA. I was taking a full course load including microbio and physics 1. I was also working 2 jobs as a CA/RA in the dorms and an office aid, doing research, starting my thesis, traveling to see family because I am an out of state student, and being a boyfriend. I studied through my 21st birthday, halloween, christmas, and new years. I did all of this while studying from early september-early january. I couldn’t afford BC, and really stressed out about how to study for the DAT. Here is my breakdown on how I studied and what I used:

***Disclaimer: I am sure that Bootcamp has worked wonderfully for a lot of people. If I could afford it, I would have used it. I am by no means saying that you shouldn't get it if you can. My situation just did not allow for it.

  • Dr. Romano’s Dynamite Review (FREE!!!!): Read through like 1.5 times, would definitely recommend more if you have time. But I also used it to go through the bio portion of Destroyer and would read over sections I was struggling in.
  • Destroyer 2020 (Got as a bday gift, its about 150$): went through once completely, and sporadically the last week of my exam for extra practice. I would do 40+ questions at a time.
  • Feralis notes(FREE)
  • Class notes (I was taking microbio at the time I was studying which helped SO much)
  • Other sources for daily questions (BC, a few IG and FB study pages, etc.)
  • YOUTUBE!!! If you are struggling with reading stuff, watch youtube videos to visualize things. I struggled a lot with embryology and crashcourse as well as khan academy did wonders.
  • DATBOOSTER(about 120$): I seriously saw some questions that were straight up from booster. Their videos and chapters were phenomenal.

Gen chem:
  • Chad’s videos(10$ a month)!! I used Mike’s for a few but I didn’t get BC so I couldn’t use all of his videos.
  • Destroyer 2020: went through completely 2x.
  • Google/various youtube videos
  • DATBooster. 100%. I struggled sooo much to the point where I postponed my exam because I wasn’t finishing sciences on time due to gen chem. I got my highest score in this section because Booster was so comprehensive with their videos and practice exams.
O chem:
  • Chad’s videos and a few of Mike’s.
  • Previous class notes bc I had an awesome ochem professor.
  • I used destroyer 2x for practice for this section.
  • Booster I would use to solidify concepts, didn’t really use the videos as much because I was comfortable with the material. If I had more time, I would have watched all of the videos.
  • BC free generators, wouldn’t recommend unless you’re just teaching yourself how to do the questions. Absolutely do NOT use for TFE, as they allow for line counting and it's way too easy compared to the real thing.
  • I had a kaplan book and would use that for practice as well, not very helpful besides for some extra exposure.
  • Youtube videos
  • DATBOOSTER!!!! I completely screwed up and used the line counting for TFE...I realized a MONTH before my exam that you can’t do that. Booster has great practice exams, videos, generators, analyzers, and more for help.
  • Destroyer 2020 (I did not buy the math destroyer): I went through math 3x.
  • Kaplan book for more practice, was not helpful. Focused a lot on geometry, which wasn’t really on my exam much.
  • I was taking physics 1 while studying which helped a bit with working on math.
  • Again, booster. They were more accurate with the types of questions that were on my exam.
  • I read a science article every day along with general coursework.
  • Took the booster practice exams.
    • Technique I used: I would really read the first like 3 paragraphs and the last one to get a good idea what the passage was about and the tone. Then, I would read the first sentence of each paragraph in between to see what the main idea of that paragraph was about. By doing this I was able to knock out around half of the questions, the rest was just search and destroy.
Overall: For month 1 I read all of the Bio dynamite review, learned how to do PAT, and did all of chad’s videos and quizzes. Then I used destroyer and the study guide that Dr. Romano provides on his FB page. I would do like 11 ochem problems, 12 gen chem problems, 21 bio problems, 10+ math problems, and I did one section of PAT every day until I got 15 questions right. In addition, I would spend 1 day dedicated to a review. So I would go back into Destroyer on like a Tuesday and review all the Bio from the previous week. Wednesday I’d do last week’s ochem, etc. On average I would be doing close to 100 practice problems every day. I would average at least 3+ hours every day studying for 6 days a week. I studied like this for about 15-16 weeks. Some days I was closer to 7-8 hours, but never less than 3. If I had some extra time I would go over some class notes of ochem, read a chapter of Feralis, etc. Once I had 1 month left, I started doing practice exams and going over weak points. I took the Orgoman practice exam and my confidence….was shot. I told myself it would be okay, and tried some more practice exams. I did terrible on the free BC one, terrible on the kaplan one, and I realized I was not ready to take the exam. I pushed my date back because I was scoring like a 16 AA, no joke. I was freaking out, and I got a 1 month sub for booster, then went through destroyer again completely. I would do like 30 ochem and gen chem questions, and 10 math, and read bio every single day until my I was ready to do practice exams. I watched all of the gen chem, math, pat, and bio videos on booster. With about 20 days left, I started taking practice booster exams. I saw my scores gradually increase. My scores were all over the place, and at one point I was scoring between 13 and 18 on math. I scored between a 16-22 on GC, usually an 18 on OC, 18-20 on RC, 15-20 on Bio, and like 17-19 on PAT. I would take a practice exam one day, then the next day I’d do destroyer and review what I got wrong on my exams.
Although my scores were everywhere, it was a good thing because some exams on Booster focused on different topics so I knew what my weak points were. I know the Destroyer team suggests not to take practice exams, but I disagree. I thought it was very helpful to practice for stamina and for time management. When I went in, it felt like I was taking another practice exam.
The day before my exam I reviewed my last booster exam, looked over some bio sections, and relaxed. I went out with my mom to get some fresh air, and went to bed at 9 pm.
Day of the exam I woke up at 5 am to get ready. I looked over hormones for bio while I ate some peanut butter toast and had a half cup of coffee. I showered to wake up, grabbed an apple and nuts, then headed out for the center. The exam went by FAST! I had so much time left over for the sciences. It was a lot easier than the booster exams. I almost ran out of time on PAT, it was about the same difficulty as booster. Reading was a little easier than booster, and math was way easier.
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