Jul 26, 2020
3
0
Status
  1. Pre-Dental
As a first time DAT taker I really didn't know which study resources to use or what to expect on test day. After reading lots of reviews on different resources I decided to get DAT Bootcamp (and only DAT Bootcamp). I've always been a deeply curious student and as a medical biology major I already had a strong foundation in the sciences. I'm not the best by any means, and I do not feel like an expert on any specific subjects (other than thinking about theoretical ideas like simulation theory :p) Nonetheless, I utilized DAT Bootcamp to the fullest extent that my time allowed. Below is my breakdown/review.

DAT Bootcamp Practice Exams: (Test 1/Test 2/Test 3...)
Bio: 20/20/17/18/19/20/20/19/19/20 (Avg: 19)
Gen Chem: 22/22/18/20/20/19/18/19/19/20 (Avg: 20)
Orgo: 19/23/18/19/20/18/22/21/21/20 (Avg: 20)
PAT: 21/19/20/20/19/20/20/21/20/20 (Avg: 20)
RC: 25/21/22/21/24/21/21/22/20/20 (Avg: 21)
QR: 16/17/17/16/19/17/18/18/19/19 (Avg: 18)
Avg. Total Science: 20
Avg. AA: 20

Actual DAT:
Bio: 20
Gen Chem: 23
Orgo: 23
PA: 30
RC: 23
QR: 18
Total Science: 22
AA: 21

Strategies:
I studied for about 2 months (10 weeks), with a 2 week summer break to visit my sister on the west coast. I studied everyday, 7 days a week, but took a lot of breaks. So, I averaged around 8 hours of studying per day. I also worked Thursday through Saturday nights at a pizza shop, so on those days I had to rush through the information If I wanted to finish on time. Some days I fell behind but, I balanced it out by getting ahead on break days. I followed Ari's study schedule as written but, included my own tweaks to strengthen my understanding on more difficult topics that I was weak on. My day consisted of: wake up, eat, opened the computer, did the warm up questions and DAT question of the day, and completed what I needed to for that specific day.

Biology:
Oh bio my favorite topic. I love learning about how our bodies work, why we are who we are, the different lifeforms on our planet, and all the interactions going on in the world. I hoped for a higher score, but the goal was to get at least a 20 so with that I am happy. There is so much information to cover that I knew I wouldn't be able to perfectly master it all in the 2 months I had. I relied on the information I already knew from my science pre-req classes and just drilled the DAT Bootcamp bio notes (the short version) over and over (50 pages a day). If I wanted to know the specific details, or to make sure I understand exactly how the given topic works/applies, I would look up articles or watch YouTube videos to get a better understanding. All in all, you never know which question you're gonna get so, being prepared even minimally on rogue topics that you've never learned before will be helpful in the long run.

General Chemistry:
Dr. Mikes videos and practice questions is all you need for a 20+. It covers all the topics that are bound to show up on the DAT. If you understand the videos, memorize what he tells you to memorize, do all the questions, and read/watch every explanation (even the ones you got right but are unsure about), you're on your way to do really well. I made flash cards with all the details I needed to understand/memorize in order to do any question that came up, and drilled those every other day.

Organic Chemistry:
Pretty much the same thing as gen chem. Watch the videos, make sure you understand every topic, do all the practice questions, memorize what you need to know. I rewrote the reactions and some mechanisms on flashcards and used colored pens to mark specific steps of a reaction. This was so that when I saw a specific step/reaction on the test I would be able to recognize it and immediately remember the flashcard I made and studied. Just a little trick I do to better memorize info.

Perceptual Ability:
DAT Bootcamp generators, enough said. Everyday, 15 questions on each topic. When I took 2 weeks off for a vacation I still had the Bootcamp app on my phone and drilled practice problems. My biggest issue was finishing on time. On the DAT Bootcamp tests I would always run out of time, and I had to rush through the keyholes and top-front-end. I can pretty much answer any question correctly if you give me enough time so I can stare at it and think lol. I learned how to recognize new patterns and used little tricks to put the shapes together in my head. On the actual DAT I thought I would run out of time before completing everything like always, but I somehow finished with 2 minutes to spare. The difficulty was mixed so I am honestly surprised I walked away with a 30. The keyholes are difficult and DAT Bootcamp does a wonderful job exposing you to the difficult problems that are bound to show up. The general advice here is to practice practice practice and practice some more. I saw an improvement in my timing over the course of the 2 months, and I'm sure if I continued to train I would get even better. Don't get discouraged, take a few days off of it, if you have to. But comeback, continue to work, and trust your gut! If you need help on specific sections of the PAT, ask me for some tips, I'll be happy to share.

Reading Comprehension:
I'm an immigrant. English is my second language. I barely read books. If I can do this, so can you. Most of the reading I do is on my phone but, I do research a lot of stuff that I'm curious on especially science ideas. I think because of all the research I do in my personal time, I'm able to pick out the more important ideas in a passage quicker. My tip here is to get quick at reading. Some people have to put more time into this section and practice reading fast, others are naturally fast readers. Know your strengths, know your weakness. Be honest with yourself, and work on gaining the skills you need to have in order to destroy this section. I read a science article per day and focused on pulling out important info, as well as getting an overall feel of why the authors write what they write. Get a general feel of the tone, and what the author is trying to convey.

Quantitative Reasoning:
I hate math. Always have, always will. The math covered on the DAT is all basic in nature, the problems may just seem difficult on the surface. I can solve problems if you give me enough time. The DAT is an exam of endurance as well, so it doesn't help that this section is at the end. I had 2 minutes left and I've already skipped questions and still had 5 more to go so I just stared guessing. I didn't prepare much at all for this section other than doing the Bootcamp tests and reading/watching the explanations. Whatever I learned, I learned it from the practice tests. I knew this was going to be my worst score, so I relocated my time into other topics that I was more interested in doing well on like Science and PAT. I knew if I could do well in the other sections, the lower QR score would even out for the AA (probably a bad strategy but that was my thinking). If I had more time I would try to understand more information and do more practice, but you know what they call the worst mathematician in dental school? Doctor.

In conclusion, I am happy with my scores and I'm glad that DAT Bootcamp was enough to get me through the finish line. During the exam, wearing a mask is required at this time, but since I work with it on, it didn't seem to bother me during the test. In my opinion, DAT Bootcamp is all you need, unless of course you're shooting for a perfect score, that would require much more time, practice, and resources. If you're short on cash and can utilize other free resources efficiently, I'd recommend just Bootcamp. (YouTube and Google are a wonderful thing). I also did the ADA practice test, but it was a waste of $100. The questions were too simple and I didn't even get a score at the end, idk what happened.

I will be attending the University of New England College of Dental Medicine in 2021. I am so relieved that all the work I put in for the past 3 years has payed off. There's no other career I would rather undertake. I love science, I love dentistry, and I love giving back. Just studying and practicing may not be enough to get you the scores you want but, passion and a little bit of practice can. It's what I've been doing for years, letting my passions guide my learning. At the end of the day, you control your life, don't overcomplicate it.

Thanks for reading this far! I really really appreciate it. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out and I will help in the best way I can! Good luck on your journey, and good luck on the DAT! Cheers.
 

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Jan 20, 2020
23
4
Status
  1. Pre-Dental
Damn. Congrats on the PAT. If you don't mind me asking what were the rest of your stats? (oGPA, sGPA, hours, EC's etc)
 
Last edited:
Jul 26, 2020
3
0
Status
  1. Pre-Dental
Damn. Congrats on the PAT. If you don't mind me asking what were the rest of your stats? (oGPA, sGPA, hours, EC's etc)
Overall GPA: 3.82
Science GPA: 3.5
Did like 80 hours of shadowing, around 100 volunteering. For extra curricular’s nothing crazy, just dental club, and a diversity leadership certification. I had a lot of paid employment though.
 
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Jun 6, 2020
3
0
Status
  1. Pre-Dental
Hi, Congrats on your score!
If you don't mind my asking, what topics did this year's DAT cover more of in Biology? I'm taking it next week, and I want to be prepped for the topics they'll ask about.
 
Jul 26, 2020
3
0
Status
  1. Pre-Dental
Hi, Congrats on your score!
If you don't mind my asking, what topics did this year's DAT cover more of in Biology? I'm taking it next week, and I want to be prepped for the topics they'll ask about.
Unfortunately I can’t discuss the specifics of my exam, but you never know which version of the exam you will get so it’s best to be prepared for anything. My tip is breadth over depth. General understanding of all major topics , instead of going into super specific details.
 

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