Hey guys! I've never posted on here before because I'm pretty new to SDN, but I took my DAT about a week ago and promised that if I was happy with my score that I'd post a breakdown for y'all haha. First of all, I wanted to thank anyone and everyone who has posted a breakdown. I seriously stalked and read as many as I could find (many more than once), because the breakdowns really helped me figure out what materials were best to study, and what I should be expecting on test day. So here's me returning the favor <3 Scores: PAT 21 QR 21 RC 24 BIO 20 GC 23 OC 22 TS 22 AA 22 I know my scores aren't ALL THAT like some of the ones I've seen on here, but I'm just happy to be one and done A little preface: I originally registered to take my exam in June right after my Kaplan DAT course. Biggest mistake ever. Instead, use that money to buy your own resources and study on your own--you'll be happy you did. Of course it varies, but my experience with Kaplan was very disappointing. Anyways, I did not feel prepared at all once the course ended so I pushed my DAT to August, then to September, and finally to January, which is when I actually took the exam. I have no good reason for the delays. I goofed off too much, and paid the price (literally) TIP: when you have a date in mind for your DAT, really think about it. Consider all of the factors that will affect your studying, make sure you have sufficient time to study the material, and map out a study schedule if you have to. Postponing/retaking your tests seriously racks up a lot of money. Study habits: I only had about 2.5 weeks of actual study time before my exam. I studied about 6-8 hours a day. I didn't have a plan or anything. I just studied whatever I needed to whenever I could. I didn't even take any practice exams. Make sure you take small breaks every now and then to clear your mind and keep yourself sane. Initially, I felt like I wouldn't have enough time to study and that I would take the DAT only to have to retake it a few months later. However, if you actually dedicate your time and effort into your studying, you can do well. Trust me. On to the breakdowns! Gen chem: Chad's videos, DAT Destroyer THESE TWO SOURCES ARE A GOD SEND! Haha sorry, but Chad's and the Destroyer were literally all I used to study for this section. I went through the GC section in the Destroyer twice. I gotta say, when I first went through a few problems I was scared to death because they were so hard and I had no idea where to start. DON'T let that scare you! They're meant to be difficult. Getting them wrong lets you learn from your mistakes and eventually you'll get the concepts down. The first time I went through it, I would read a question and immediately go to the back of the book for the solution, while taking notes. The second time, I would actually try to do every problem. Definitely go through the Destroyer at least twice. You won't get it just the first time. I went through Chad's videos once back in August (didn't remember anything) while taking notes, and one more time a week before my exam, this time on fastplay. It definitely helped reinforce the concepts I already kind of knew and remember things I kind of forgot. Highlyyyy recommended to do. Chad uses simple ways to help you learn and remember things and makes sitting and watching a video enjoyable. Actual test: The GC section of the actual DAT was a much needed sigh of relief after the bio section. The types of calculations you'll see are most definitely easier than the Destroyer, and the numbers are easier to work with. For studying, don't just memorize things. Try to understand the big picture and concept if you can; this saved me time on my exam that I used at the end to review all of the science sections Ochem: Chad's videos, DAT Destroyer Did the exact same thing I did for GC. Studied the Destroyer twice and went through Chad's videos on fastplay. I was kind of on a time crunch for ochem, so I didn't even end up fastplaying half of Chad's ochem videos. I just picked and chose which ones I thought I would need the most. Destroyer's road maps for ochem are AMAZING. They basically go through every reaction you'll ever want to know. Even if you don't plan on buying the Destroyer, at least ask someone to use their road maps. I'm terrible at ochem, but the ochem you see on the DAT is far less intimidating than the ochem you do in class. Actual test: easier than I thought it would be. All of the reactions that were asked were simple and usually one step. I only got asked one laboratory question. Go through Chad's and Destroyer and I think you'll be golden. Bio: DAT Destroyer, Cliff's AP Bio (kind of) I hardly studied for this section haha. I felt pretty confident in my knowledge of biology because of the courses I already took at my university. I only went through the bio section in the Destroyer once. The second time around, I stopped about 3/4 of the way because I felt like I could use that time to study something else, something a little less random. The Destroyer will provide you a plethora of questions, and some will make you think WTF? No lie, at first I hated the randomness; I couldn't get the hang of things because the topics were all over the place. After a while, though, you start to remember the concepts. All in all, I'd say the Destroyer is pretty mediocre at covering the bio section. I used Cliff's AP Bio for a bit to touch up on topics I was sketchy on, like evolution, taxonomy, and plants. I probably only read about 20-30 pages of the entire book. I recommend Cliff's for people who need a basic, easy-to-read run down on bio subjects (plus it's really cheap!) Courses that helped me the most: Anatomy and Physiology II, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biochem I Actual test: this section actually took me by surprise. The questions that were asked were soo random. By the time I finished, I had so many of them marked and felt like I bombed it. I had a couple taxonomy questions, so know those. I kind of wish I spent more time on studying for bio because it's a LOT of material. Study for it early if you can. Reading Comp: Did absolutely ZERO studying for this section, not even a practice passage. I didn't have any spare time to spend studying on RC because I had so much more to cover, but if you're an adequate reader you'll do just fine Actual test: MUCH easier than I thought it would be. I consider myself a slow reader, yet I finished and still had about 10 minutes to review everything. What I did was read over the questions really fast to know what to look for, skim over the passage while writing down key words and corresponding paragraphs, and answered the questions using search and destroy. I had a couple of tone/inference questions, but even those were very doable. QR: DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer (kind of) I only spent 2 days total studying for the QR section. I hadn't taken any type of math since high school (about 4 years), but the Destroyer definitely caught me back up. I recommend memorizing the equations, rules, and facts that are at the beginning of the QR section. I went through the QR section in the regular Destroyer twice. This really helps you with what kind of math you'll need to know. It may seem simple, but I personally thought it was spot on. I read posts on here that the Math Destroyer was overkill so I made sure not to spend too much time on it. I only went through the first two tests in Math Destroyer. I guess the good thing about Math Destroyer is that it will expose you to the more difficult questions you might see on the actual DAT. Actual test: very similar to the questions in the math section of the big Destroyer book. All of my questions were relatively simple and easy to solve. I honestly feel as though the math in Destroyer is sufficient to get you a 20+ on your DAT. Get Math Destroyer if you have enough time to dedicate to it, because it seems helpful and other SDN'ers swear by it. Also, my calculator worked perfectly and there's a sqrt function! PAT: Crack the DAT PAT, YouTube videos, Sama's wicked sick PAT tutorial I spent about 3 days studying for the PAT and only took 7 tests in CDP (averaged 22). I bought CDP and my first instinct was to take the first test to get a feel of what type of questions I would be seeing... It was miserable.. Haha I seriously felt like I didn't know how to do any of them. I actually guessed on a lot of them and ended up getting a 16 (ouch). After that, I tried to find ways to actually learn how to approach all of the types of problems. What I found most helpful were youtube videos (especially this one for hole punching: ), and the posts on here. I HIGHLY recommend going through Sama's PAT thread (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/my-wicked-sick-pat-tutorial.528643/). He goes through so many types of problems with thorough, easy-to-follow explanations that will help you grasp the material and actually visualize it. After that, I took on the second test and scored a 20! From then on it was just practice practice practice. Honestly, when I read posts that told me that practice was all I needed to do I thought to myself, "how the hell am I supposed to practice if I don't even know how to do them in the first place?" Believe me, you WILL get better with practice. You start to learn from your mistakes and start to develop your own way to doing problems. On that note, you HAVE to review/analyze your CDP exams to see what you did wrong. Actual test: I thought that CDP was very similar to the real deal. To me, keyholes and TFE were comparable, angle ranking was easier, hole punching was the same (although hole placement was easier to see in CDP), cube counting was easier (not as big and complicated as CDP), and pattern folding was the same. By the end, I only had a couple minutes to spare to review marked questions. Practice your timing! I didn't, but wish I did. Test day experience My exam was at 3:30 pm. A little later than I had hoped for, but I'm mostly glad that I didn't have to take it in the morning because I am NOT fully functional at 8 in the morning haha. I suggest eating a hearty meal before your exam. Something filling, yet not too dense if that makes any sense at all. Do NOT eat anything that may make your stomach upset during the exam. You only have one scheduled break during the exam, so any other breaks you take will cost you valuable test-taking time. Speaking of, you really should take the scheduled break they give you to give your mind a rest. I know you want to take and be done with the DAT as fast as possible, but you don't want to put your brain into overdrive--you're stressed enough as it is. After a while, my eyes kind of started to hurt from looking at the computer screen for so long, but nothing too big. Note that other people are in the room taking all kinds of different exams, some that require typing. People will talk, and enter/exit the room from time to time, which can be quite distracting. They provide you with noise-canceling headphones, but I found them to be quite uncomfortable so I went without them. If anything, you'll want to bring your own ear plugs. Try not to feel TOO stressed about the exam. I know I was because I was practically trembling before it even started lol. But really it's not bad you guys. Overall, I just wanted to say that it doesn't take months and months to study for the exam. Yes, the more studying you do, the more likely you'll score higher on the exam; however, there comes a point where studying comes to an end. You've covered all you can cover and the material starts to feel tired and you start to feel burnt out. At that point, I'd say take the exam. You're ready. As the exam approaches, you'll start to feel anxious and may blank out on certain topics you already covered multiple times. Don't give in! You know the info. The anxiety is just getting to you. As many have said, it's impossible to know EVERYTHING that could be on the DAT, so you'll never feel completely ready. Just be confident in yourself and what you know and you'll do great!