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DAT Breakdown: 03/15/14 + Destroyer/Reading Comprehension Strategy

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by iahmed, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. iahmed


    Feb 21, 2013
    Hello everyone! I had planned to do an in-depth DAT Breakdown but I feel as though it would be a repeat of other existing breakdowns. Instead, I'll try and make it a bit more concise and add information I think would be more helpful to others that I learned from my own experience. I also don't plan on putting my scores for all the exams I took since they varied quite a bit. Additionally, I have a strategy on how to approach both the DAT Destroyer and the reading comprehension exam.

    Materials Used:
    -Bio: Cliff's AP Biology, Kaplan Blue Book, DAT Destroyer, DAT Bootcamp, Feralis Notes, TopScore
    -GChem/OChem: Chad's Videos, DAT Destroyer, DAT Bootcamp, TopScore
    -PAT: Crack DAT PAT (I didn't have enough time to go through other materials, unfortunately)
    -Reading Comprehension: DAT Bootcamp, TopScore
    -QR: Chad's Videos, DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer

    A lot of these study materials are pretty standard for the any DAT prep plan so I won't go through most of it. If there are any sections that you'd like me to expand upon with respect to how I studied for it, please feel free to ask!

    DAT Bootcamp: Lots of practice tests for a reasonable price. Definitely can't go wrong. My only regret is buying their service a bit late. I bought it within the last two weeks of studying for extra practice tests. The style of the questions matches with the real DAT.

    TopScore: So I think their Natural Sciences and Reading Comprehension sections are pretty accurate to the real thing. The only thing I didnt't like so much was there were a bit too many taxonomy questions on the bio sections. On the other hand, I've read that a few people have had lots of taxonomy questions on their real DAT so I can't say it's completely a bad thing. Their PAT was too off for me so whenever I would do a full length practice exam, I'd substitute CDP for TopScore PAT. Similarly, their QR had a lot of geometry problems that seemed a bit beyond the scope of the DAT so I'd substitute a Math Destroyer exam instead.

    After using these materials and studying from December to March (3ish months), my scores were:

    Bio: 23
    -Bio was REALLY random from me and I remember at least one confusing calculation problem. I think I got lucky but Destroyer and Bootcamp really helped in preparation.
    GC: 24
    OC: 22

    -GC & OC weren't too bad. Chad+Destroyer was the best prep for it!
    TS: 23
    PA: 21

    -I mainly prepared with CDP. I know that a few of the sections are easier on CDP so I had wanted to use Achiever to prepare but I didn't have enough time so I chose not to buy it.
    RC: 21
    -The passages I got were pretty interesting and I found it was the most enjoyable section on the test. Time management was always my main struggle with this part of the DAT, unfortunately.
    QR: 22
    -The real QR felt like just another math destroyer exam. I didn't have any weird geometry questions. There were a few that I thought were too time consuming, which left me to do 10 questions in the last 5 minutes (it was a horrifying 5 minutes).
    AA: 22

    Overall, I'm pleased with my scores. During the entire test, I felt I was doing terrible and I had a bad feeling throughout the entire thing, from the start of the bio section to the end of the QR section. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I had studied so hard and paid nearly $400 for the test. If you ever are in the same situation and have the same feeling, don't give up! When I saw the scores I literally couldn't believe it. While my PAT score might seem a bit low to some, I started out getting a 15 and improved it six points so I definitely can't complain. Thanks to all those before me who offered their wonderful advice - I definitely couldn't have done it without you. As a side question, does anyone happen to know if/when we get the complete DAT score report? I got the printout after the exam but I heard that there's something else that comes in the mail? Or am I mistaken?


    How to Approach the DAT Destroyer

    So I think everyone tends to start doing the Destroyer problems after content review. One thing I think is super helpful is the routine you develop when going through Destroyer problems:

    1. Do the same number of problems for each section as there are on the exam (i.e. for bio, do 40 problems, 30 for gchem/ochem, 40 for qr).
    2. While you're going through the problems, make note of questions that you were unsure about how to answer (i would make numbered sheets and put an 'M' to "mark" the problem. even if you were just stuck between two answer choices, mark it.)
    3. After you check your answers, see how many you got incorrect.
    4. Before you see the explanations of the correct answers, go back and try to answer the question again by looking at any notes/materials you have. Do this for all problems you got incorrect and problems you marked (even if you got the marked problems correct). I found that getting a question wrong and having to find the correct answer myself would help me remember more material.
    5. For any questions you can't answer, take a look at the answer key/solutions and understand why you got them wrong.
    6. For each of these problems, keep track of them by taking a notes document (one for bio, gchem, ochem, and qr). Take notes on things you didn't know that weren't covered.
    7. Once you're done, make a list of topics that you struggled with and review these topics in depth for the day.
    8. Do all this until you've completed all the Destroyer problems.
    9. Later on in studying once you've completed every single Destroyer problem, go back and do the problems you either marked or got incorrect. See if you can get them correct this time. Rinse and repeat.

    I found this as being a more efficient way of going through the problems. I read through breakdowns where people would go through the problems 4-5 times and I just didn't have enough time to do that so maybe this will work better for you.


    Reading Comprehension Strategy

    Now, I'd like to explain my method for reading comprehension. I've tried all the existing methods that are pretty popular. From the Kaplan method to Search&Destroy, I kept getting 17's on all the RC exams I was doing. Both methods just provided too much anxiety for me so I ended up developing my own method. I didn't see it online before so I'll explain it and hopefully benefit future DAT test takers (though I'm sure that others have done things that are very similar). I call it the Modified Search&Destroy Technique.

    1. Read the article's title and the first paragraph of the passage to get a good feel for what the passage is talking about.
    2. Read the first sentence of all subsequent paragraphs. This is simply to get a main idea of what each paragraph is about. If you feel you don't get it from the first sentence, skim on in the paragraph but don't spend too much time on this though.
    3. Once you've gone through all the paragraphs (it should only take 2-3 minutes, depending on the length of the passage), it's time to go through the questions. Read the question and search for the answer. The idea is that by reading the first sentence of each paragraph, you'll narrow down where to search for the answer and know which sections to actually read.
    4. Continue through all the questions. I've found that, the first questions tend to go slower than the later ones because by the time I get to the 10th or so question, I understand the passage a lot better than at question 1 or 2.

    As a disclaimer, this worked for me but may not work well for you. All the other RC techniques did not work for me (and added to my anxiety when I tried to use them). With this technique, I went from getting 16-17 to getting 21/22.

    I hope this helps future test takers and let me just say that there is no feeling like being done with a test like this. Good luck!
    mmarzouk08 likes this.
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  3. customx

    customx 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2009
    Awesome scores!
  4. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007
    Solid scores. Good job.
  5. hongbinbaneben

    hongbinbaneben 2+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2013
    Fantastic scores. Congrats!
  6. NewBee12

    NewBee12 2+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Awesome scores. Great study strategy.
  7. Sharon914

    Sharon914 2+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2013
    Good scores! ☆☆☆thanks for the strategy!
  8. StumpMT

    StumpMT 2+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2013
    Awesome scores! I am totally trying that strategy this weekend
  9. biomolecmed

    biomolecmed 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Well done. Good scores. Congratulations
  10. iahmed


    Feb 21, 2013
    Thanks guys! Good luck with the DAT prep!
  11. JHekmati


    Jun 24, 2014
    good job!!!!
  12. dentalgirl101

    dentalgirl101 2+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2014
  13. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007
    This is an awesome breakdown with lots of good points. I hope many will see it.

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