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DAT 8/19/15 Breakdown 23/23/22 (AA/TS/PAT)

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by barca13, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. barca13

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    First off, I just want to say thank you to all the active members on here, who help provide real time info and support 24/7! I'm sorry if I wrote too much, I'm just excited to share my experience. I'll to make it easy to read and feel free to ask any questions!

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    Background: I am a junior business/biochem major at a public uni with a 3.8/3.75(Science). I got serious about prepping after taking chem 2 last summer. It was always on/off but I tried to get all the core DAT-relevant classes out of the way. Anyway, I finished up a human phys class as well in the spring, which also helped tremendously. I signed up on April 30 with the intention of only taking it once. I had a floor set at a 20 score. After the semester was over, I took a small two-week vacation with friends and held my self to start studying on June 1.

    Exam Breakdown:
    Overall, Topscore and Bootcamp are very realistic.

    BIO: Honestly, nothing you do can prepare you for this. I was confounded my more than 10 questions on here. There were things I had never heard of being asked, but with process of elimination, it seems I did well. Only thing I can say is that prepare for anything and everything.
    CHEM: Very straightforward. No shenanigans when it came to calculations or any other problems. I would say the spread of questions is very even from the first topic to the last. Though, I didn't expect a 26...
    OCHEM: Wow, I was thinking I would absolutely be destroyed by this section because of practice runs but overall very simple and very Ochem-1 based. The lab technique questions were also relevant to what Chad teaches us.
    SNS Overall: You'll probably finish with 5-10 min to spare. So please do your best on the marked answers.
    PAT: When I came in, I thought this would the hardest section because all my friends said keyhole and TFE were 10000x harder. But when the first question popped up, I was understandably prepared and worked though everything with ease. I would recommend making your hole punch squares and writing out ABCDE multiple times on your paper so you can eliminate answer choices. The only problem was that I stated freaking out on time near question 89 (40 seconds left) and made informed guesses on the last two. Just expect to answer all the questions on the first go.
    READING: Topscore exceedingly prepped me for this section. Three science-based passages and the questions were 90% S&D. I finished with 20 min to spare but still went back to quadruple check.
    QR: Honestly, Bootcamp and Qvault had over-prepared me for this. I'm not bad at math, but some of the questions made me wonder, "who in their right mind would ever pose such a question". I want to say this was easier than practice but can still eat up your time. Use the Mark and move method. Attack in two waves. I also want to say that my testing center let me use the number pad on the keyboard, so that expedited this section substantially.

    Study Materials:

    Cliff's 3rd Edition Bio(7/10): I took notes on the first 7 chapters, and memorized them until a few days before the exam. Not too helpful on later sections in my opinion, but a cheap yet valuable resource.

    Ferali's Bio Notes(9/10): Probably the best compilation of bio notes I've seen. Not a 10/10 because there were a lot of things I learned in Human phys that were not present here. Nevertheless, this is the more priceless thing to have for Bio (esp. development section).

    Chad's Videos(10/10): Chad is the man no doubt. I took notes on Chemistry, Ochem, and QR on separate notebooks. Aside from refreshing virtually every lost detail from the above sections, Chad also gives insight on what specific kinds of problems may show up, citing a proper example. I recommend watching these before you do anything.

    DAT Destroyer(20/10): Orgoman gave us a real life line with this magnificent compilation. I worked 30 questions/section/day. It really helps you identify your problem areas and reinforce strong areas. Chem and Ochem are very hard compared to the actual exam, but eventually desensitize you as you move through the questions (making them easier). Bio was an essential lifesaver because it took a plethora of concepts and quantified them into a help 500+ questions. For the concepts I didn't comprehend, I created flashcards and reviewed until I started dreaming about SNS (No joke, in the days leading up to the exam, I was dreaming about Taxonomy and Genetics. This is your quintessential "holy book" for the DAT.

    DAT QVAULT(8/10): Very helpful to gauge your skills on SNS, QR, and Reading. 2 points off because I refused to use the PAT since the others were helpful. Constantly take these exams until you understand what you're doing wrong. I found myself not timing these, and going along sometimes with notes. This way I could absorb any info that I didn't know. (Trust me, I still found baffling questions on the real exam).

    DAT Bootcamp(10/10: These were best utilized later on in the study phase. Extremely well phrased questions and answers. I found myself conflicted when I was making low scores, but used them to my advantage to learn more info. The best section is the PAT. Hands down, this is 10x harder than the real deal (DO THIS AFTER CRACK PAT). If you can get 20+ on these, you're set. Reading and QR are harder than usual but provide good practice.

    TopScore Tests(9/10): These tests, in retrospect, seem to be the most similar to a real exam. I didn't believe it until I took the exam. Please utilize these sparingly. They are to be used in the week or days leading up to the exam. 1 point off because QR was useless for me. Reading is very similar. Topscore doesn't lie when it says this is close to the real exam.

    Crack PAT(8/10): Only bought PAT. Started my PAT practice here. Slowly started getting better scores once I started recognizing trends. I'd say a 20+ is solid here. Best practice sections are pattern folding and angles. Once you're comfortable here, start Bootcamp PAT.

    Various Old Notes(N/A): I can't really give a rating since this is all subjective matter. I used old chem2 notes, reaction sheets from ochem, and the crucial human phys notes. I cannot stress how much a class like human phys or A&P may help you on Bio. Please consider taking those before registering for the exam. These notes were purely supplemental to most of the above and were usually for light review or as a last resort.

    Timeline: I divided my time from June 1-August 18 (78 days/~11 weeks). Now, unlike others on SDN, I am not so organized that I have specific days I did specific things, so please feel free to tailor your schedule as you see fit. I am just letting ya'll know the specific of what I did.

    Phase I (June 1-June15): Study 6 days a week, 5-6 hours a day. I did not stress at all. The DAT was months away so I was still semi-relaxed. Don't break any routine you might have. I still went to gym 6 days out of the week just so I wouldn't bog myself down. Exercise is key here because it'll de-stress you and acclimate your brain to process new info. When I say 6 hours a day, it was mostly spent at night (7pm-1am since I'm a nocturnal learner). That one rest day, just relax and enjoy your social life, movies, reading, whatever it is that helps you relax.

    -Week 1: This was basically spent on Chad's Vids, Cliffs, and Ferali's. I split up everything to where I would watch Chem/Ochem one day and then Bio/QR the next (1.8x speed is perfect on his vids). PLEASE pay attention and note every example. This is the phase when you need to really develop your recall and practical ability. PAT and Reading were sidelined mainly because I've always done well on standardized reading exams and because PAT wasn't the focus yet. Although I do recommend toying with the PAT generator on Bootcamp. They'll slowly get you used to PAT.

    -Week 2: Do everything mentioned above until you're finished with Chad's vids ( I spaced them out to about 3/section/day). You'll feel reinvigorated in a lot of the Chem and Ochem stuff you might have forgotten. By the end of the week, take a small diagnostic PAT (Crack PAT#1) to get a feel for the format. Don't panic on time or strategies, and don't worry about your score (I made an 18).

    Phase II (June 16-July17): (7 hours a day, 6 days a week). Before I start this, I want to say that I don't want to include religion into this as a pertinent topic, But this was during Ramadan (Muslim Holy Month), so I was completely trashed. My schedule so messed up. Sleep 6am-1pm, study 9pm-4am. I tried to maximize the energy I would have, but I felt utterly destroyed by bad practice scores.

    By now you should be shifting gears to starting DAT Destroyer and maybe a few Qvault exams. Keep reviewing your notes and please try to memorize Bio to the best of your ability. For Destroyer, I did as aforementioned, 30 questions/section/day. This will keep you on your toes for all the sections and make you not too overwhelmed with certain subjects. START MAKING FLASHCARDS. I can't stress enough how helpful those were when it came to things like immune system, development, taxonomy, chemical equilibria, and Ochem lab techniques. I would basically have my lifting partner ask me these questions on our way to and from the gym (That pre-workout mental stress was crazy). Also, in this period, take Crack PAT #2-4 with developed strategies that help you (look for similarities and common nuances).
    • DAT Qvault (#1-5) is essential to applying what you've learned. I would sometimes alternate these exams (open note for the first few) with Destroyer and try to find questions that were heavily asked. Other than that, try to understand the format of the questions and what is specifically being asked.
    • DAT Destroyer: Please try to finish this in the most efficient manner possible. I seems like a lot questions at first, but don't rush through them. I would usually do all 30 questions of a section and them look at the answers (Don't be dismayed, I was at 40% correct mostly). The next time you do Destroyer, go back to these 30 questions and review what went wrong or if you can squeeze any information out of the question or answer.
    Phase III (July 18-August 18): (6-8 hours/day, 6days/week). This is final stage of preparation, and I'll admit, I was still not intimidated. By now, you should know at least 70-80% of ALL the material, including SNS and QR. From here on out, it's nothing but practice exams, review, a lot of prayer, and a crazy amount of mental fortitude.

    -Week 1: My basic layout was to start the day with a balanced breakfast and start Qvault over from #1 (but without notes and timed). I would then take a small break, eat, and then review what I was doing wrong. I would still be going to the gym but the daunting task of the actual exam was slowly creeping up on me.

    -Week 2: Do the same as the week before, but now, start taking Crack DAT (#5-10). After breakfast, I would now take one Crack DAT, look at the score and then save (review the next day, first thing in the morning). Then I would resume Qvault but now I threw Bootcamp and Math destroyer into the mix. Now, I can't really say it was an organized effort, but I wrote in a small planner my plans for the day (which I wouldn't even follow sometimes). At the end of the week, Take Topscore #1 and review.

    -Week 3: By now, I stopped lifting and the stress was real. I started growing my exam beard and settled myself in for the final haul. My heart would literally beat out of my chest some nights because I was so worried. In this week, I started to review Ferali's from the beginning with a friend until we were indoctrinated to preach biology to the masses (obvious sarcasm). I would still follow what I was doing the last week but now I started taking full length timed Bootcamp exams. I also completed Crack PAT and shifted my attention to Bootcamp PAT (10x harder keyholes, TFE). Take Topscore #2 at the end of the week.

    -Week 4: At this point, you should be a lean mean DAT-spewing machine. My hours were consumed with nothing but memorized facts, more practice problems, and re-doing all the previous exams (minus any PAT). I took Topscore #3 4 days before the exam and also did SNS for 2007 (which was a joke). By now, my blood was probably 50% cortisol, 50% adrenaline.

    Leading up to test day: The day before the exam, I told myself to take a break (as per the advice of my peers) but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I started "light reviewing" like a mad man. It was also this day that a good friend of mine took his exam and received a 25. We were on par with everything so it didn't surprise me (although I still tease him about his 30 QR score giving him a 25). The night before was sleepless. I tried to sleep but my body refused. I still mustered up the will to pull off 6 hours somehow.

    Test Day: I woke up early and prepared a nice breakfast and tried to block out any negative thoughts. My exam was scheduled for 2:45 but I arrived at 1:20. The check in process was straightforward, the employees were nice, and there were probably 3 other people taking an exam there. I sat down and wrote out any formulas, mnemonics, trig, hole punch grids, you name it. And then I went to work. Once the ridiculously climactic post-exam survey was over, I was shocked. I was expecting a 20 max (I had honestly though that Bio was ridiculously hard and that would doom me) but was happy nonetheless.. Afterwards, I headed home jumping for joy.

    Practice Scores:
    Qvault:
    • Bio: 19/20/26/25/23/21/23/21/22/20
    • Chem: 18/18/19/21/23/21/22/23/21/22
    • Ochem: 21/24/21/25/28/30/24/21/20/21
    • PAT: N/A
    • Reading: 25/26/30/30/29/21/24/22/23/26
    • QR: 19/17/18/23/21/23/22/22/23/21
    Bootcamp:
    • Bio: 18/18/21/23/22
    • Chem: 20/21/22/23/21
    • Ochem: 21/20/20/20/21
    • PAT: 21/22/21/20/21/23/21/20/20/20
    • Reading: 24/23/22/21/23
    • QR: 19/18/19/20/20
    Crack PAT: 18/18/20/21/21/23/21/22/22/21

    TopScore:
    • Bio: 21/20/19
    • Chem: 22/24/25
    • Ochem: 22/21/20
    • PAT: 21/22/22
    • Reading: 25/27/26
    • QR: 23/22/21
    Overall, I was pleased. But at the cost of a summer and all my free time. I just want to stress that you should not let the exam control your life and you shouldn't make any major adjustments because at the end of the day, if you aren't comfortable, you'll only hurt yourself. Good luck to everyone!
     
    #1 barca13, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
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  3. changtw

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    :clap:

    You got dis!
     
  4. okiedokeartichoke

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    Congrats on your scores! All your hard work paid off :) Just wondering, but what is this keyhole squares and ABCDE method you speak of?
     
  5. barca13

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    I'm sorry, that's an error! I meant to say hole punch squares. The ABCDE method for me is to just simply write ABCDE for the answer choices and then systematically cross off wrong answers. It helps keep track of what you crossed off and calms me down when I can eliminate at least 3 choices. And thanks! It was all worth it!
     
  6. barca13

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    Thanks! I'll be applying in May!
     
  7. okiedokeartichoke

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    Ahh, okay. I was thinking you meant hole punch rather than keyhole :p
     
  8. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER
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    Congratulations barca13 !:clap::clap::highfive::D

    Very impressive scores! 25 in reading is excellent and the rest of your scores are off the charts too~ You Destroyed the DAT Beast and you will receive many interview invites. Dental schools will take notice of these exceptional scores.

    Thank you very much for your detailed breakdown and thank you for giving the DAT Destroyer a very good score..20/10..We are more than thrilled your found our materials helpful. YOU put in the hard work and did not let the DAT consume your life. You have scores to be proud of . Get some well deserved rest and you will sleep peacefully knowing this part of the process is behind you.

    Enjoy what's left of summer..

    Wishing you the best..

    Dr. Jim Romano and Nancy
     
  9. Alice Tang

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    Super scores!
     
  10. dentopix

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    Nice scores! Did you have rocks on your keyholes? Also, did you think the proportions were accurate, like in bootcamp?
     
  11. barca13

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    If I can remember correctly, there were 2 rock-type questions. One was a triangular and the other was a heptagon. The only thing I can say is that you shouldn't be too worried about rocks. The answer choices for me at least were quite obvious. As for the proportions, the way my questions presented answer choices, there was no tricky proportion. You can confidently cross out 3 wrong answers based on outlandish proportions. I don't remember being stuck on anything because I couldn't discern a proportion. Good luck!
     
  12. barca13

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    Thank you once again Dr. Romano! I honestly can't put to words how well you prepared me. At first I was skeptical due to the difficulty, but adapted it to fit my study style. You are priceless for us pre-dents! Thanks once again for the positive words!
     
    orgoman22 likes this.
  13. 510586

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    DId you find reading to be more similar to qv or bc?
     
  14. barca13

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    Irrefutably and uncannily similar to topscore. Qv does a solid job; bootcamp is way too difficult compared to the real one. If you can score 19-21 on either, you're set.
     
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  15. 510586

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    Alright good to hear! thanks
     
  16. alexis2010

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    Awesome scores!!!! Are you Barçalona fan by any chance???
     
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