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DAT Breakdown 06/17/2015 (27AA | 25TS | 24PA)

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by pikachurro, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. pikachurro

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    Thanks to SDN for answering all my questions during the study process. I have a lot of problems focusing on one thing at a time, so studying was very hard for me especially when I was taking classes and working two jobs at the same time. I would come home from ten hours of work, and could not muster the energy to for a legit study session. I feel both really proud and really lucky for my scores because I have an awful undergrad transcript and needed badly to make up for my failures.

    Qualifying my diagnostic score:

    I cheated on the diagnostic test. I used a handheld calculator for the math section, and I used ctrl+f for the reading section, so the scores are artificially high. Note that I didn't even get through half of the PAT section, earning me an abhorrent 14.

    DATProgress.jpg

    Actual DAT:
    Bio
    28
    Chem 30
    OChem 22
    TS 25
    RC 30
    QR 27
    AA 27

    ImageUploadedBySDN Mobile1438639498.794286.jpg

    How I studied:

    1. I kept track of my progress and made goals for each section. It is really encouraging to see yourself doing better over time.

    2. I kept track of the concepts I mastered (get correct 100% of the time) and the ones I still needed to work on like this (Excel is my best friend): ChemConcepts.jpg

    3. I did not review my notes everyday. I just made NEW notes. I am very tactile, so writing things out in my own words and synthesizing the information in my own way helps me understand concepts 100% better.

    4. I took many full length tests. These helped me get used to the length of the test. If you do not take a full length before your actual test, its true length will hit you like a ton of bricks in the face. I got owned on my first full length because I did not realize how long it would really be. I also love full length tests because they force you to study for seven hours at a time, for every single section. They do not allow you the option of procrastinating.

    5. I took ample breaks. I was originally scheduled to take my first test in the middle of May, but I felt too much pressure and anxiety, so I rescheduled for June. It was the best decision I ever made. The extra time took a lot of weight off my shoulders, and I was able to relax before my test. DO NOT STUDY EVERYDAY. Take a break! I did not study on days I went to work, and I did not study for more than two hours on days that I went to school.

    Materials By Section:

    Biology (28)

    I have been teaching ninth grade and SAT II biology at a tutoring center for well over two years, so I know the general concepts really well. I was also taking anatomy and physiology at the same time I studied for the test, which really filled in any gaps I had.

    I would say the most important thing about biology section is to know the basics really well. I attribute my success in this section most to teaching the material to others. I bought Cliff's, but stopped using it two chapters in. I got through two hundred destroyer questions, but the questions I got on the actual DAT were super basic. If you ever get the chance to tutor biology, step up because it forces you to understand lectures inside and out. If not, I would suggest explaining through an entire subject the way a teacher would, instead of memorizing bio piecewise.

    Writing study guides and quizzes for my SAT subject bio class. I used Barron's SAT Subject Test Biology E/M, 4th Edition as a guideline, and I wrote hundreds of multiple choice and matching questions based on the reading (which you can get through in one day). This book is not enough for complete knowledge of biology though, it is missing many key components, so if you want to do this, please use Cliff's to write yours.

    My study guides and quizzes are available if you want to PM me your email, I will share them with you from my google drive. They are great if you want to test yourself on specific subjects like mitosis and meiosis or photosynthesis.


    Bootcamp, Qvault, and Kaplan Online Materials were great for honing the specifics. Unfortunately, I did not record my scores, but they were in the low to mid twenties. I know a lot of people do not like Kaplan, but the online practice materials were my favorite.

    Topscore was way too specific. I would not recommend it. I recall a question asking about the mechanism of locomotion for a specific genus.

    Chemistry (30)

    Chad
    is my chemistry hero. I went through most of his lectures, listening twice or even three times to whatever subjects I had the most trouble with. I took the quizzes afterward. They were really helpful. Though most of SDN will disagree vehemently ;), Chad will save your chemistry life.

    Destroyer I got through thirty questions. I really procrastrinated using destroyer because I hate dealing with things I am not good at. I found it a little discouraging, but I also did not take full advantage of it. My fiance attributes his success in the sciences to destroyer (he got TS 24).

    Bootcamp, Qvault, and Kaplan Online Materials were again great for practicing and fine tuning the concepts.

    Organic Chemistry (22)

    Chad
    and Destroyer were instrumental in my learning organic chemistry. I had never struggled so much with a subject until I took organic chemistry. I am a little conflicted about my score. On the one hand, I am actually a little disappointed with my score in its relation to my other scores. On the other hand, I am proud of the work I did, and that I hit my goal of 22.

    I watched Chad's videos twice, took diligent notes, and went through Destoyer one and a half times, reviewing the wrong answers in my notebook like this

    ImageUploadedBySDN Mobile1438639058.251468.jpg

    Bootcamp and Qvault were awesome practice. Get both of these if you can. I was lucky enough to share with my fiance because we live together, so we bought almost all the materials together, including Achiever, which I did not get a chance to use. They were really representative of the actual test, and I believe BC had one of my actual OC questions nearly verbatim.

    Reading Comprehension (30)

    Kaplan
    was the most representative of the actual test but still more difficult. I only did these for practice.

    First and foremost, I am a voracious reader, and I teach English, grammar, SAT, and ACT in addition to biology. However, I am not a FAST reader. I truly and honestly believe that ANYONE can improve their reading skills, so for those of you who say that you cannot improve your RC score, this is a defeatist LIE. I have dozens of students whose SAT scores would beg to differ. Reading is not something you are born with. If you are not good at it, you can get better at it.

    My favorite practice was actually doing SAT reading comprehension questions - they are more in-depth and tonal than DAT questions. I do not do these for timing, but for conceptual understanding of reading comprehension, and to learn how to find evidence for my answers.

    My strategy:

    Quickly skim through entire passage. Mentally keep track of general idea of each "third" of the passage. If there's a list - I don't read through it. If there is dialogue, I don't read through it.

    I make a quick note of it like this:

    P2. list of diseases. P3. Snow + spot map. You don't have to do it for each paragraph.

    Cool. Now you have a general idea of what the passage is talking about. Don't worry about the details. Because you've skimmed, you now have time to cross-reference your answers with the actual text.

    Answer the questions. After each question, look for proof for the answer because the evidence is ALWAYS in the reading - either that or there will be something to disprove the other answer choices.

    Do not linger on a question. Eliminate, answer, and pray.

    This method will take up the entire hour, but you can be pretty much be absolutely positive about each answer. I only had about 1 minute to go back through "marked" answers at the end IIRC.

    Other RC advice:

    A. Know how to identify subjects and predicates. If you know the independent subject(s) and predicate(s) of a sentence - you know the noun(s) performing the main (action) in the sentence.
    B. You can identify tone through diction. Diction is word choice.
    e.g. does the author say, "Though many believe x, it is not positive that x is the actual cause of y"
    "not positive" implies a skeptical tone, critical even depending on the context
    C. Understand the function of transition words
    e.g. However - contrast of ideas
    Therefore - conclusion
    Moreover - further elucidation etc. etc.
    D. This is a test based on technicalities - language is meant to be as specific as possible. If the answer is "technically" wrong - it is 100% wrong!!

    Quantitative Reasoning (27)

    Almost all my QR scores before my test were ~18. I walked into the test thinking I was going to get 18-20, but boy was I lucky! The calculator at my prometric center was so incredibly clutch that I pretty much plugged and chugged answers to my little heart's desire.

    Destroyer, Khan's Academy, QVault, and Chad helped me most with my QR. I got through seven Math Destroyer tests, and I wish I had time to go over more, but I procrastinated and studied for QR last. I do not like math. I cannot speak for Bootcamp because I did not have time to do their QR tests, which I heard were very challenging. Again, I do not like to be discouraged so I avoided discouraging materials, but know how you study, and if discouraging materials help you, then by all means use them.

    PAT (24)

    PAT was a struggle for me, but I ended up doing pretty well on it. I went from 14 to 24!!
    I only used CDP, which despite its reputation for being too easy, was a tremendous help and a huge confidence booster.

    I took one test everyday, taking as much time as I needed. This is helpful because you learn to develop your own strategies. You can see on my first CDP that I took more than hour and a half to finish the entire PAT section. It was a struggle, but over time, I developed strategies for each section (except angle ranking), and my timing improved significantly as a result. The first time I made one of those time/Q questions in green, I was overwhelmed. I did not practice PAT from any other source unless it was a full length test.

    How I set up my paper (will post later):

    Test Day:

    Everything was so much easier than I expected EXCEPT keyholes. Keyholes were abnormal crystals unlike anything I had ever encountered before.

    Before I took the test, I sat there for ten minutes just breathing, trying to slow my heart rate. I finished my science section in an hour and spent the next half hour setting up for PAT and checking marked answers. I did not take a break because I thought it would make me lose focus. When the scores popped up, I was pleasantly surprised, like I cried in the hall afterwards pleasantly surprised.

    If anyone has any questions. please feel free to PM me and I will be happy to answer!

    Good luck to everyone on their DAT journey, and thank you SDN for your wealth of knowledge and austere advice.
     
    #1 pikachurro, Jul 29, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
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  3. BeaverLover

    BeaverLover SDN Gold Donor
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    My god...job well done.
     
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  4. okiedokeartichoke

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    That is such an awesome score! You're brilliant. Congrats :)
     
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  5. azxken

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    :wow: great score..
     
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  6. Futuredentista62

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    Awesome job!!!

    Did you take the Kaplan on Demand course or the live course? How would you compare the QR section to the actual?

    My exam is in 5 days and I am having a really hard time with RC. My highest score on the Kaplan Full lengths was a 19. At this point I just want to get an 18 on the real thing because I am so discouraged. Your RC advice was very helpful!!! Thank you!
     
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  7. pikachurro

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    It was a live course, but the lessons were worthless. I just used the online material for practice - the subject and full length tests. The RC on the actual test is much easier and more straightforward than any of the RC material you've been practicing with.
     
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  8. Futuredentista62

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    Thank you very much for the response!
     
  9. BYU4you

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  10. alexis2010

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    :highfive: awesome scores
     
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  11. DragoBlue

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    holy cow you more than exceeded your goals!!
     
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  12. Master Yoda

    Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

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    How long did you study for before taking the test?
     
  13. pikachurro

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    Diagnostic in January. I studied ~6 hrs/day 3days/week for six months. I took some weeks off as breaks - like the week after I postponed my test to June to not burn myself out. If I didn't have work, I think the studying could have been done in two to three months, but I don't like the idea of cramming either. Studying over time really facilitates long term retention of the info.

    For everyone who sent me PMs. I promise I will get to them as soon as I get home from work tonight!!
     
  14. dentalgirl101

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    You beast!!!!!
     
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  15. V714

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    Awesome job! Btw, how did you figure out the time per question? Did you have a timer running parallel to it running separately?
     
  16. pikachurro

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    Yes, I did untimed CDP tests and had a timer running on my phone. This is the way I did Math Destroyer too, and I never finished on time.
     
    #15 pikachurro, Jul 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  17. pikachurro

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    Hello everyone. I've decided to post my reading guides. There are a few errors because I wrote them quickly. I will work on one based on @FeralisExtremum 's notes (if he gives me permission). They are also not comprehensive, but great for understanding the absolute basics of biology.
     

    Attached Files:

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  18. pikachurro

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    And here's a picture of a weird crystalline keyhole I had. I think it may have even been more complex than this, but I took my test six weeks ago, so my memory is a little foggy.

    CrystalKeyhole.jpg
     
  19. FeralisExtremum

    FeralisExtremum SDN Gold Donor
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    Go for it, it sounds good!
     
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