DAT Breakdown: 06/06/2022 (23AA/22TS/19PAT)

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Jun 14, 2022
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Hello all, new member here! While I just made an account, I have been reading on this forum for the past few months and have recently taken the DAT. Due to being happy with the score that I had received, I have decided to post about what I felt like worked for me and what I felt like I should have changed/done differently.

First and foremost, I would highly advise not to study for the DAT in one month like I did. Not only did this have a great impact on my mental health, I also had to spend at least 6-8 hours a day studying for it. It is definitely possible to do so if you have a strong STEM background, but not advisable.

For my resources, I primarily used the Gold Standard for my review of content. Personally, I felt like that it was a great resource and had all of the necessary content that could be on the DAT. Also, I found that it was a lot cheaper than other resources, as I believe I had only paid around $125 for the entire digital set. By buying the set, you get access to all of the SNS sections, PAT, RC, and QR. Additionally, it comes with two full-length practice exams and a smaller mini-one to get a feel for what is asked on the exam. Outside of the Gold Standard, I also used The Organic Chemistry Tutor's free YouTube videos covering many GC, OC, and QR concepts. Lastly, I used to free DAT Bootcamp Biology high-yield notes. This was a great review of everything that could be covered in relation to the Biology portion.

Going from there, here is my DAT Score Breakdown:
Perceptual Ability: 19
Quantitative Reasoning: 20
Reading Comprehension: 30
Biology: 22
General Chemistry: 23
Organic Chemistry: 22
Total Science: 22
Academic Average: 23

Perceptual Ability (19)
For the PA section, I genuinely think the reason for this score was due to the lack of time that I put into it. I did not start studying for this section intensely until about two weeks before my exam date, and I genuinely think I should have started earlier. This section is not difficult per say, but it definitely makes it a lot harder if you do not have a solid strategy going into it. For me, the most difficult aspect of this section was the time of it. During the test, I did not get the opportunity to completely finish this section. If you can take practice exams with this section, I would highly recommend doing them consistently to get your time down. For me, I made sure to do the easier sections first (for me, those were the angle ranking, cube counting, and holepunch portions) and then go back to the more time-consuming sections of it.

Quantitative Reasoning (20)
For this section, I did not find myself studying much for it. Instead, I was primarily doing practice problems consistently for it. In my experience, this section was especially important to read the question clearly. Misreading or skimming over one word can be the difference between getting a question right or wrong. Knowing the basic formulas in algebra and probability especially will carry you very far on this section. Do not forget that the calculator for this section is simple and also can be annoying to use, so learning how to do quick mental-math can be an asset.

Reading Comprehension (30)
For me, I found this section to be the easiest by far to do. I did not do much practice with this section at all, but I have been a person to read scientific articles and journals very frequently. While there is a highlight option on the exam, I did not end up using it at all due to feeling like it would only slow me down. My main strategy for this portion was to skim through the passage at first without looking at the questions and then looking at the question. After looking at the question, I would then search for key words that would likely be present. This worked well for me, and I ended up finishing with about 15 minutes extra. Again, I do think that consistently reading articles to get into the habit of what you should be looking for can be a very viable way of training for this section.

Biology (22)
For this section, this is the one that I felt most confident about going into the exam. This is primarily due to being a Biology and Neuroscience double major, as well as tutoring/being a teaching assistant for going on a year now. I had a strong background in this section, and I definitely think that it had paid off. Overall, I would say the most important topics to cover for this section would be genetics, evolution, physiology (especially cardiovascular, respiratory, excretory, digestive, nervous, and musculoskeletal), and sexual reproduction/embryo development. These concepts alone made up the vast majority of my test. I was worried about plant biology going into this exam, as it is the area of biology I have worked or used the least of, but I only ended up getting one question in relation to this.

General Chemistry (23)
Going into the exam, this was the section I felt the worst about by far. This is due to not having a strong background in it and it being 2 years since the last time I had a course in it. For this section, The Organic Chemistry Tutor helped me greatly with this (I am a visual learner in most regards). I was personally scoring relatively low in this section at the beginning of taking practice exams (16-17 range), and it was originally discouraging. However, watching the videos helped connect some puzzle pieces that were not together and made this section a lot smoother than I had anticipated.

Organic Chemistry (22)
Similarly to the Biology section, I also felt very confident about this section due to my background in it as being a teaching assistant in a lab course for this. For this section, I would definitely recommend understanding the principles of how reactions work rather than memorizing "this reactant plus this will cause this". If you are able to understand why or how something reacts, you can make this section a lot less stressful if you think about the sheer amount of reactions that can be asked or take place. Other notable aspects to know are NMR, IR, boiling point/melting point comparison, and acidity/basicity. Personally, for me, understanding the concept of relative acidity and basicity made it much easier to apply in the GC portion as well.

As mentioned before, do not give up hope if you only have one month to study for this exam. It is entirely possible relative to the amount of dedication or time you have available to do this. However, if you can theoretically be able to study in two-three months before the exam, do that instead with smaller amounts of time per day studying. You will definitely feel better mentally and physically in the long run if you do it that way!

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