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amanda hamm

New Member
Jul 11, 2023
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Hi everyone, I wrote this breakdown as a means of giving hope to those who are either reattempting the DAT or who may be starting to study for it and need some advice/motivation.

Background: I am about to begin my senior year for undergrad as a chemistry major, biology minor and business administration minor. Last summer, before my junior year, I was accepted into the reserved admissions program for the UMKC school of dentistry. The requirements to stay in the program and reserve your seat are that you maintain at least a 3.6 math and science GPA, attend their interview day, and score a 19 or higher on the DAT. Although I was accepted, there was still a lot weighing on my official admittance which obviously stressed me out a bit. I finished the first semester of my junior year strong. I made a plan to begin studying for the DAT in December and take the exam in March. A few of my friends who had already taken the exam recommended I use DAT BOOTCAMP to study, so I purchased a membership and began studying.

cGPA: 3.81sGPA: 3.68shadowing hours : 150+Volunteer hours: 120+

1st Attempt

Resources used:

DAT BOOTCAMP : When I first started using Bootcamp I did think the site was pretty well organized. I decided to do Ari's 2.5 month schedule since it seemed pretty organized and I was a little intimidated and unsure of how to create my own schedule. During the time I was studying I was also enrolled in 18 credit hours. I was taking biochem, genetics, and stats all at once. Ari's study schedule in my opinion was OVERKILL. Most of the days require 7+ hours of studying and retaining information. It may have been different for some but this time included learning the information, extra questions and videos. By the time I was finished with week 2 I was exhausted mentally and emotionally. I felt like I was not retaining any of the information and was only checking the boxes for that day so I could be done and relax. In my opinion I felt that bootcamp sometimes went TOO DEEP into their explanations and it was hard to determine the true high yield information. Even the high yield notes were still too full of in depth information which left me even more anxious and hopeless. The extra questions were not very representative of actual test material in my opinion and neither were the practice tests. I felt as if the practice tests were outdated and too complicated to a point where I could not pick out any patterns or connections between tests. During this time I was in a very low place, I isolated myself from hanging out with friends and family. After the long days of studying and not even finishing some of the full days work I just wanted to lay in bed and be alone. This round of studying took a huge toll on my mental health because each day I felt worse and worse about the exam.

TEST DAY (MARCH 31st): I walked into the center shaking and freaking out because I convinced myself I had forgotten the information. I was upset wondering why my other friends felt prepared with bootcamp and yet I did not. I entered the room and sat at the computer and began the exam.

BIO (17) : The questions were way more surface level than I expected, but I felt even more confused and unsure because I had been focusing more on the depth side for bootcamp. I marked about 7 questions before moving on to gen chem.

GC (17): I am a chemistry major and absolutely love it. I focused too much on mike's videos and I thought some of them were great but others were WAY TOO MUCH. I personally did not like the way he explained simple concepts either. He overcomplicated them and then would give us practice questions afterwards over concepts we had not even learned yet or he did not cover which really was confusing and killed my confidence.

OC (18) : I was extremely nervous for this section as I neglected to study for it until about a week and a half until my exam. I thought bootcamp's reaction bites were pretty helpful but I only had about 3 reactions total and then the rest was comprehensive. I thought Dr. Mike was a little better in this area with his videos. I know some people think the opposite but he made more sense when explaining topics such as IR spectroscopy and where to find certain functional groups. I ended up using the organic chemistry tutor as a supplement for the rest of the organic chemistry topics which is a huge reason why I believe I did well on this section.

PAT (15) : For both bootcamp and booster I did not study very much for PAT because it was the least cared about score (I know for others it is different and for traditional admissions it is important as well so do not take this as advice to neglect PAT) I thought bootcamp's PAT resources were outdated and not representative of the actual exam.

RC (21) : I will give credit to bootcamp and say that their reading comprehension section is a bit more representative of the actual exam. I say this because their practice passages and tests were a bit more on the difficult side when it came to the questions and they helped me to find a technique that fit best for me when reading the passage and answering questions.

QR (14) : This section was a FLUKE. I did every single QR question bank on bootcamp, watched their explanation videos, and took their practice tests. I will say some of the questions were representative but a lot of my test was probability and word problems. The issue I had was that there is so much to know for this section and no guidance on what to really focus on/ what shows up more on the exam. I also had an issue with timing. I had about 10 questions left with 5 minutes to spare. The practice test I took before the exam I scored a 17 with all questions answered so I felt confident but in all honesty I just did not feel 100% prepared and wished bootcamp gave us more help in that department

AA : 17 When I finally submitted my exam I was UPSET when the score popped up. I know it is not a terrible score and I do not want anyone who scored the same to take offense thinking it's bad. I was upset because those 2.5 months of killing myself over DAT material did not pay off and I had to do it all again. I felt very defeated and knew something had to change.

BREAK I took 2-3 weeks off of studying for the DAT so I could complete my second semester and maintain my GPA. During that time I met with the admissions director of the UMKC School of Dentistry to discuss my recent attempt and my next move. He was extremely supportive and gave me the encouragement I needed to reattempt the exam. He asked what resource I had used to study for the first attempt and I told him about Bootcamp and how it was not the right fit for me. I honestly never wanted to login to that website ever again. He suggested I go online and start researching other study tools. I spent hours going through reddit posts, tiktoks, and you tube videos to find the perfect fit. DAT BOOSTER was my final decision after seeing multiple posts about the program and how up to date it was and that people reattempting had boosted their scores 2-3 points.

2nd Attempt

Resources Used:

DAT BOOSTER: I want to start by saying that DAT BOOSTER'S CUSTOMER SERVICE IS UNMATCHED. Before I signed up for a membership I reached out to one of their team members through the messaging app at the bottom right corner of the website. I had already spent close to $500 for bootcamp and was definitely in need of some financial assistance. Within a day I had a reply saying they were running a sale and to enter the code provided for 20% off. Believe it or not this made all the difference in the world as my total was around $250 give or take. I started using booster mid May with my second attempt scheduled for June 30th. I put my own spin on the 8 week schedule provided where I would choose randomly throughout the schedule which day I wanted to do. Some days I did not use the schedule at all and focused on areas I needed to strengthen. I took a diagnostic practice exam and it was incredible at showing me the areas I needed to do better in. The explanations were the perfect amount of detail yet to the point and the questions we EXTREMELY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE EXAM. I was able to take a huge breath after the diagnostic exam because it felt exactly like the exam I had just taken in March.


  1. BIOLOGY CRASH COURSES: About 2 weeks into studying I noticed in the column on the left side a section called crash courses. I clicked on it and was taken to another page where for each subject there was an upcoming "crash course" or to break it down, a 3 hours study session with one of the team members from booster over everything high yield. I was instantly drawn to the Biology I crash course which gave a list of every topic it would be focusing on. For this one it was all the body systems/anatomy. It was $125 and at first I was a bit skeptical about spending the extra money but after making a post on the Facebook groupchat and reading about member's experiences with the crash courses I decided to sign up. The crash course is structured like this: A zoom link is sent out along with notes needed to follow along with the session. It is led by Feralis himself (which was pretty dang cool). Not only were we given a packet of high yield notes to fill in but also 100+ extra practice questions and access to another full length practice exam. I ended up taking BIO II AND III crash courses afterwards. What I loved most about the biology crash courses was that we were given everything we needed to know. It helped calm my nerves a lot because I knew if I just reviewed my note packets each day I would be set for biology. The extra practice questions were amazing as well. We were given the chance to fail and get answers wrong when it didn't matter so we could fix our mistakes for test day. Feralis also gave us great tips when it came to answering questions and how to use key terms to narrow down your answer choices. I WILL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE ATTRIBUTE MY 5 POINT JUMP IN BIOLOGY TO THE CRASH COURSES. I know for some, spending the extra money is not an option. I highly suggest reaching out to a team member and sharing your situation with them. They are so helpful and understanding. There are also deals on occasion where you can purchase a bundle for way cheaper so I would recommend this option as well.
Remember: If you attend the crash courses, you need to review your notes consistently. Just attending does not automatically grant you a good score. You have to put in the work and utilize what you are given. After each crash course I would go back through the notes and then take a biology practice test the next day. After all three crash courses my practice tests scores had gone up 3-4 points consistently.

2**. Feralis' high yield biology notes:** These were amazing for when I needed a little extra reminder or explanation over a topic I was 50/50 on. He did a great job of incorporating only the most important information guaranteed to show up on an exam and left out the nitty gritty topics. If you choose not to do crash courses then these are more than enough to help you achieve a great BIO score.

3. QR CRASH COURSES : As everyone could see above, my QR score was not good. I decided to take advantage of the QR crash courses as well ($90) and it was the best decision I could have made. Mr. Kourmani does an amazing job at breaking down what seems like complicated equations. He provided us with cool tricks to solve problems in seconds. I remember when he was going over word problems with us and there was an example that has originally taken me about 45 seconds to set up and solve and after he gave us a helpful trick to cut time I was solving those problems in about 6 seconds. I also really liked these crash courses because he was very engaged with us and would even call out our names if we were not answering questions/participating. I highly recommend taking both of the QR crash courses if you're a bit on the weaker side in math like I am. Once again you must review your notes and PRACTICE to achieve the score you want. You are given all the tools you need, but it is up to you to do the work.

4. Chad's videos/General Chemistry Quizlet: First of all I highly recommend Chad's videos for both general chemistry and organic chemistry. Booster had links to his videos for certain topics and once I made it to his page I was in awe. I did not pay for any of his videos, just used his newly updated playlists and watched videos over topics I needed more explanation on. His videos over Acids and Bases were the key to my success on my second attempt as well as taking every single practice test afterwards on booster. In the gen chem section there is a link to their quizlets and I reviewed these about 2 days out from the exam and they did an AMAZING JOB at resolving concepts and trends. These quizlets were also a huge contributor to my success in this section.

**TEST DAY (JUNE 30TH)**The big day was here and boy was I excited to be done. Compared to my first attempt I felt calm and confident. I knew I had done the work and that BOOSTER had prepared me for anything that could potentially be tested on. On the way to the center I listened to classical music (they say it helps stimulate the brain before an exam/studying and helps with active recall). Once I was checked in and sat at my computer I was ready to defeat the DAT once and for all.

BIO (22) : 5 point boost All I can say is Crash courses and practice tests x10. The questions that once seemed daunting to me felt just like practice. I Finished the biology section in about 25 minutes and only marked 2 questions that I was blanking on a bit. Every single topic covered in the crash courses and high yield notes were a part of each question in my bio section. There was not one question asked that I had not either seen before on booster or had similar questions to. I would also recommend making flash cards over every practice test. By the time I was done with them I had about 1500 cards. I not only made them over the question and correct answer, but also the wrong answer choices as well, as I found those popped up in later practice exams as the correct answer. It is good to not only know the correct answer but why the other answers are wrong so you can do the process of elimination.

GC (23) : 6 point boost This section felt like a breeze, especially after utilizing chad's videos. I could hear his voice in my head, almost explaining the problem for me. That is how good he is. The quizlets I used off booster came in handy as well. I had a good amount of questions over phase changes and thermodynamics which was explained perfectly in the quizlets. I only had a few calculations which were easy because I not only knew how to set the equations up, but also the true chemistry behind them. It is in your best interest to be able to explain why a reaction happens and what can cause them to change/cease. Overall DAT Booster prepared me extremely well for this section and their practice tests were representative as well.

OC (19) : 1 point boost Although my score only jumped 1 point I will say once again I started studying for this section about a week out from my exam. THE PRACTICE TESTS ARE YOUR BEST RESOURCE. I saw about 3-4 questions on my exam that were similar if not the same from booster practice tests. Their tests did a great job at incorporating the perfect ratio of reactions to comprehensive questions. Chad's videos were also an amazing resource along with the reaction cheat sheet which I reviewed every day up until the test. The question banks are amazing as well and great for extra practice on topics I was still touchy on. I took organic chemistry I and II about 2 years ago so I was definitely lacking a bit in this area but Booster really stepped it up and helped get me a solid score.

PAT (15) : Same score Once again I slacked big time in this section and you can refer to my explanation above for more understanding but I will say that booster's PAT prep is amazing. I only got on it a few times but what I took from it was that if I had used it everyday consistently for about a month there is no doubt I would've scored at least an 18 or above. If you are trying to boost your PAT score then BOOSTER is the way to go.

RC (22) : 1 point boost I was given the exact same passages from my previous attempt. I had a really tough one on morals and ethics and honestly I think that is why I only jumped 1 point. The other passages were pretty easy. I used the search and destroy method which helped a lot with timing. I only had about 2 questions total where I had to infer something about the author/try and assume what they would think about something. Other than that, everything else I found in the passage. I used a few of booster's practice tests and extra practice passages. I really liked the extra practice ones because they were only 17 minutes long, about 15 questions and helped me to find which method worked best and work on timing. Some extra advice would be this: find a website with medical articles/ journals and read one every other day if you can. This will help your brain become familiar with more complicated terms and wording. After reading the articles try and ask yourself questions over them or figure out the main points behind each paragraph.

QR (18) : 4 point boost 2 words - Crash courses. I attribute this score to Mr. Kourmani's crash courses. When I got to this section I was exhausted and honestly a bit scared. Once the section began I instantly relaxed. The questions I did not know right away I marked and then moved on to the next one. I answered the easy questions first and then went back to the marked questions and found that some of them could be solved using the tricks I was given, I just had to wake up my math brain first. I ended up finishing this section with 2 minutes to spare, giving me time to review. I am very pleased with this score because like I said, Math is my weakest area and something that takes me a bit more time to understand. If you choose not to use crash courses then my advice would be to take every single practice test two times and do each set of extra practice questions as well. Focus more on your weak areas and get in a lot of repetition.

AA : 21 My score raised 4 points using boosterWhen I saw my results I broke down in tears of joy and relief. I had conquered the DAT and was so grateful. I was proud of myself for overcoming the anxiety and pressure. I could have easily quit after my first attempt or kept a negative mindset. I chose to view my second attempt as a blessing. The fact that I am even able to take the exam in the first place is something to celebrate. At that moment I knew that every late night, early morning, and missed party was worth it. I am forever grateful and thankful for not only my friends and family for giving me never ending support, but also DAT BOOSTER and its team. They never once made me feel like I was just a subscriber to their program. They made me feel human, they supported me, and they cheered me on every step of the way. To anyone who may be reading this, know that it does get better. Your time will come and until then it is about grit and perseverance. And finally my biggest piece of advice would be this: DO NOT LOSE YOURSELF WHEN STUDYING FOR THIS EXAM. Take breaks, spend time with loved ones, and tell yourself every day that you are enough. - Amanda

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Hey! Great scores, just curious about which schools you will be applying to as I have a similar PAT score (I got a 16) with a 22AA/22TS or if you know which schools don't really regard the PAT that high. Thanks in advance!
I don’t even know anything about the DAT, I just wanted to say that this is by far the longest post I’ve ever read on this site