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DAT Advice (May 2014)

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by gage1124, May 26, 2014.

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  1. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    This site really helped me get through my DAT experience, so I wanted to share some advice I found most useful and help you now. Sorry if my post is a bit lengthy, but then again, you're obviously here for advice. I'm going to try to cover all of the bases...

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    I took the DAT on May 20, 2014. My scores are as follows:

    Quantitative Reasoning - 18
    Perceptual Ability - 18
    Reading Comprehension - 20
    Biology - 20
    General Chemistry - 20
    Organic Chemistry - 25
    Total Science - 21
    Academic Average - 21


    I'm going to break down each section, tell how I prepared, and give comments on what worked/didn't work.

    So I guess we should begin at the very beginning...



    These are the materials I used and my rankings of each:

    Chad's Videos (10/10)

    DAT Destroyer (10/10)

    Crack the DAT
    -BIOLOGY (8/10)
    -GEN CHEM (5/10)
    -O CHEM (7/10)
    -MATH (5/10)
    -READING (5/10)
    -PAT (5/10)

    Cliff's Notes (10/10)



    I used Chad's Videos about 6-8 weeks before the DAT. Chad's videos are by far the MOST USEFUL materials to use. For the chemistries, there's nothing better. I struggled through Gen Chem (but made an A in both). Had I known about Chad, I would have breezed through the class.

    My advice is to go through all of chad's videos at least a month in advanced, but no more than 2 months in advance. If you do it too early, chances are you will lose it and have to restudy. You have no time to re-do anything, so don't watch them too early. Also, don't just watch, actively take notes. Use his outlines and diagrams. When I finished all of Chad's videos, I cannot express the way I felt. You dread the work for so long, and you remember how hard it was when you took the class. Trust me, just go and do it. Chad is the best resource I can recommend. After going through his material, I felt on top of the world and like nothing could stop me from destroying the exam.

    Speaking of destroying, DAT Destroyer is another excellent resource! Here is what I did:

    I went through all of Chad's Videos. I filled a 2.5 inch binder with notes. I essentially made a DAT Study Text Book (DAT Bible). I then sat down and grinded through the Destroyer. I began with about 4 or 5 weeks before my exam. I would work through 30 problems at a time. Destroyer problems are very difficult and MUCH more difficult than the real exam (Gen Chem and O Chem, that is). You will not, or at least I could not, work through the problems. My advice is to read the problem, attempt it, then check with the rationale in the back. It is crucial that you UNDERSTAND the answer and why he asked that question. EVERY question teaches an important lesson. You will not be able to memorize the answers or learn all of the tricks.

    This is the key to the Destroyer: If you learn WHY he asked the question and UNDERSTAND the rationale, you can work any problem the DAT throws at you! The Destroyer teaches you how to use the saw, drill, hammer, tape, etc. Once you've learned that, you can build anything.

    Crack the DAT: It's good practice, but not 100% accurate. I read everywhere that the science tests were too hard, and I agreed until I read Cliff's for BIO and did Chad's and Destroyer. I was averaging 16s before then 19's after. As you can see, I did much better on the real thing than all 19s. The math section is pitiful and that guy teaching GETS ON MY NERVES. Gahh. It shouldn't bother me that much but he was so annoying. I couldn't watch it any more.


    So, let's get to the exam...

    When you arrive at the Prometric Center, arrive early. Go the week before and be certain you can locate the building. The last thing you need on the most stressful day of your life is to not be able to find the test center. It's important to get there early. You need to calm down, get used to the environment. Not to mention, at my test center, they took you into the room by order of arrival. I was 4th, so I didn't have to wait that long to begin my exam.

    WEAR PANTS!!! I wore sweat pants. It was freezing (or maybe I was just so nervous). You don't want to be uncomfortable during the exam.

    You go through a security check (metal detectors and everything). Not a big deal, but be ready for it. They then take you to a computer and make sure you're seated and click begin.

    Boom, you have a 15 minute tutorial and then all hell breaks loose. My testing center did NOT allow me to touch my marker until the tutorial was over. I was very upset. I wanted to outline my PAT diagrams... I was highly upset. Anyways, I knew I would finish science early so I didn't fuss.

    Important note here: You are given 2 laminated sheets of pink graph paper and 2 markers (similar to sharpie fine point) and no eraser. Technically, I could easily smudge markings with my hands and erase. However, the markers don't write well. I prepared for this by practicing working problems with laminated paper and expo markers..



    Biology: I used Cliff's AP Biology and Cliff's AP Anatomy and Physiology. Very cheap (~$10/book). This was excellent. For anatomy and physiology, I knew every question. The Cliffs books are excellent. My exam was heavy in genetics, nothing too difficult, but a good 6 or 7 genetics questions. Hemophilia, Color Blindness, Linkage, etc. A few questions that caught me off guard were the lab assays/techniques... The AP Bio book helped, but I still got a few that I had never heard of. That's just the nature of the BIO section I guess.

    Gen Chem: This test was not bad. I used Chad's Videos and Destroyer primarily. There was NO question that was any harder than Destroyer. I felt prepared for this test and it was a smooth 30 questions. I obviously missed some, but overall the questions were not hard. Chad's and Destroyer are perfect for it. I will say this: Know your units. One question asked about osmotic pressure, which is OP=MRT.... the answers were not calculations, more like [ (5.0 M) (0.08 Latm/Kmol) (300 K) ] and each one had different units.. I blew it. Don't let them get you on an easy questions like they got me!

    Organic Chem: By far the easiest section of the exam. Chad's and Destroyer are perfect. Could not ask for better. I believe a 25 is about 28/30 questions according to Barron's, so I did pretty good on it. It's all thanks to Chad's and Destroyer. Very simple mechanisms. Destroyer tends to give problems with 5 or 6 steps, the real DAT gave 1 or 2 steps tops. Very straight forward. Easy. You have to know your mechanisms.

    PAT: The PAT was soooo much harder than the Crack the DAT. I was very upset. I thought Crack Dat was golden. For my exam, I was totally unprepared. I was in a war with a dang rubber knife. IDK what happened. Here's my breakdown vs the Crack DAT:
    -Key Hole - Real DAT was much harder. It was very dimension based, not so much shapes. It was killer.
    -TFE - Real DAT was much harder. No line counting here. They were playing hard ball. Much more difficult than Crack DAT
    -Angles - Real DAT was almost identical to Crack DAT. Keep practicing.
    -Hole Punching - Real DAT was slightly easier than Crack DAT. Folds were pretty simple. A few patterns were tough, but most weren't bad.
    -Cube Counting - Real DAT was identical to Crack DAT. All were about 20 cubes so don't expect any 6 cube patterns.
    -Pattern Folding - Real DAT was much harder than Crack DAT. It was just harder.... Even the shapes with no shading, which are usually so easy, were difficult. Not to mention, I ran low on time and had to guess on a lot of them.

    Let's put it this way, I averaged 21 on Crack DAT practice tests and got an 18 on the real thing.


    BREAK: Take your break. Get some water. Stretch. Breath. Allow yourself at least 5 minutes to return to your computer though bc you have to go back through security!

    Reading Comp: Much easier than CRACK DAT. The passages were very similar in length and ease of reading. The questions, however, were much more straight forward. Crack DAT is full of tone questions. The real DAT was more straight forward search and destroy questions.

    Quantitative Reasoning: It was not hard. It was not hard. It was not hard. BUT, I worked too slow. bummer. I knew I could do it, but I was too slow. My advice, don't work the problems you know are too difficult and you will probably get wrong anyways!! I tried to work every problem before moving on. I should have saved them for the end. You probably won't finish and will have to guess on 5 or 6.... might as well guess on hard ones. I ran out of time and had to guess on the last 6, but it killed me. They were so doable, but I couldn't work them. I was sick to my stomach because I wasted time working hard ones that I probably still missed and now I had to skip easy ones.
    Chad's and Destroyer were pretty much on key. I only remember maybe 3 or 4 that were more difficult than any Destroyer problem.


    So, that's the test.

    My scores are not tremendous, but I'm proud of them and I'm not taking it again. I'm not claiming to be an expert, I'm just sharing some advice on what I thought worked and what was hard. The best advice I can give is this..

    This test is a monster. However, it can be beaten. If you respect the level of difficulty of the exam and study accordingly, you can do it. I'm not a brilliant guy, I just worked really hard to get a good score. Oh, one last thing, don't study after 5pm the night before the test!!! Do like I did, go see Neighbors at the movies. Relax. If you don't know it by now, it doesn't pay to stress anymore.


    I hope this helps you! Please feel free to ask any questions that I didn't answer already.

    Study hard and good luck!!
    -Gage (Louisiana Pre-Dental Student)
     
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  3. ziggy1104

    ziggy1104 2+ Year Member

    245
    29
    Jan 5, 2012
    Florida
    Congrats Gage! Those are great scores that I would be very happy to attain :)
     
    gage1124 likes this.
  4. amneil13

    amneil13

    23
    3
    Dec 3, 2013
    Approximately how many weeks did you spend studying for the DAT and how many hours per day? I'm trying to put together a study schedule that works for me. Thanks
     
  5. Insha8

    Insha8 2+ Year Member

    Awesome scores! Congrats!! :) did you use search and destroy throughout the whole RC section?
     
  6. Daneosaurus

    Daneosaurus D2 5+ Year Member

    1,928
    1,428
    Mar 13, 2012
    Great job! Congratulations!
     
    gage1124 likes this.
  7. *Garam Masala*

    *Garam Masala* 2+ Year Member

    147
    92
    May 23, 2014
    LOL Neighbors was awesome! Congrats on your scores!!!
     
    gage1124 likes this.
  8. mardr2b

    mardr2b 2+ Year Member

    167
    15
    Jun 20, 2012
    NY
    Great scores congrats. Did you do the destroyer bio? Did you like it ?
     
  9. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Hey amneil,

    I have been studying a few hours a week since Christmas. Honestly, though, I've only been going hard since April 1st. So, I'd say around 6 weeks or so I have been studying a lot. When I was in school, I'd average probably 5 hours a day. My semester ended around May 10th and I took the test May 20th. So during that time I was putting in a good 10-12 hours a day. The 2 or 3 days before the exam, it's important to slow down a bit. I would recommend you try to pull back and get some rest on those days. Maybe only study 5 or 6 hours. Like I said, the night before you need to relax and not think about the material. It REALLY helped me to just forget about it all and enjoy a movie.

    I've read you should put in about 300 hours for the exam. I was probably right at 300 hours.

    Hope this helps!
     
  10. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Hey Insha,

    I numbered my sheet 1-15, skimmed the passages as quick as possible, and took notes on each paragraph. The DAT's paragraphs are numbered. For example, I had a reading on x-rays. When it asked a question about PET Scans, I just looked at my cheat sheet and knew it was in paragraph 5 or whatever. I will caution you though.... Don't write too much on your cheat sheet. I tried to limit my notes for each paragraph to a few words. If you write too much, you'll really be wasting time and it will be hard to find the answers in your cheat sheet.

    Most of the questions were like "Which x-ray technique is best to examine brain activity.. or fractured skulls.. or whatever. So when I say I used search and destroy, I checked my cheat sheet for those topics, then hurried to that paragraph and found the answer.

    I was a little bit slow, so for my last passage I really had to rush. I made a very very quick cheat sheet and ended up guessing on the last 5 or so.

    Don't stress though, it wasn't hard. I just read a little slow I guess.

    Hope that answers your question!!
     
  11. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Hi mardr2b,

    To be perfectly honest, I only used the Destroyer bio for like the first 100 questions. Even though I had been studying for over a month, you will quickly find out that there are some things that you just can't get to. I tried to study the Destroyer bio before I read Cliff's and it was a mess. It's hard to study Destroyer bio bc it's 450 random questions. You don't retain much that way. So I decided I needed some form of text to read and went with Cliff's... best decision ever.

    After that, I did use the Destroyer bio a little. Again, I was pressed for time. I mean we're talking the week before my DAT. So, I made a judgement call and decided to really master the Cliff's books. The hormones and stuff take time to learn. I'm definitely not against the Destroyer bio, and I would have really used it a lot if I had more time. If you have time, go for it. The questions in Destroyer are a little too hard some times. Don't stress over that, but realize that they can ask anything and try to learn as much as you can.

    Destroyer is awesome in every section, I just ran out of time and didn't get to use the BIO section much.

    Good luck studying!
     
    mardr2b likes this.
  12. *Garam Masala*

    *Garam Masala* 2+ Year Member

    147
    92
    May 23, 2014
    what about Organic Chemistry? You did awesome on that. Did you just practice a crap ton of problems?
     
  13. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Thanks a lot Garam!

    I honestly had the best organic professor in the United States. Period. Lol. But I can tell you that I learned just as much with Chad's videos and Destroyer.

    The best thing to do is to watch Chad's, take good notes, and work all of his practice problems. Don't skip the hard ones, or miss something and not understand why. It is crucial to learn from your mistakes. Once I completed all of Chad's material, I worked through all of the DAT Destroyer problems (about 300).

    Every single problem teaches an important lesson. I would hi light in the answers section the things I thought were important. He gives a ton of tips and advice.

    There was nothing on the DAT that I wasn't prepared for in the organic section thanks to Chad's and Destroyer. I'm a huge supporter of those two resources and I know that's why I did so well.

    Wanna know something crazy? One of my DAT questions was almost identical to one from Destroyer. That's how accurate it is.

    Don't stress if you find the questions and answers hard, the DAT is much easier. But you should make a strong effort to at least understand his rationales!!
     
    *Garam Masala* likes this.
  14. *Garam Masala*

    *Garam Masala* 2+ Year Member

    147
    92
    May 23, 2014
    sweet! thanks for the advice!
     
  15. flossin247

    flossin247

    1
    0
    May 27, 2014
    just watched first 3 videos from chad..... GREAT HELP!!! but for the rest of the videos it seems as if they are charging 4$ a video..... seems as if this can get quite expensive!! how many videos did you purchase?
     
  16. Daneosaurus

    Daneosaurus D2 5+ Year Member

    1,928
    1,428
    Mar 13, 2012
    It's cheaper to simply buy the whole set.
     
  17. Insha8

    Insha8 2+ Year Member

    I'm a slow reader too, probably slower than you lol Thank you that was extremely helpful!
     
  18. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Yep just like he said, it's best to buy the DAT package! I bought 3 months for $115 I believe
     
  19. gage1124

    gage1124 2+ Year Member

    47
    22
    May 26, 2014
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Nah you can do it! Just make sure you write clearly. My handwriting was bad because I was rushed and nervous so it was hard to read later lol. Go figure. Good luck!! You can do it. Questions weren't hard!
     

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