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HowToTeeth101

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Sep 29, 2020
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Hello everyone! I have taken the DAT twice. I first wrote the DAT back in January and earned an 18AA/19TS/23PAT. My most recent attempt was July 12th and I earned a 22AA/22TS/22PAT.

Throughout this breakdown, I will detail how I improved my score and the changes I made that I believe led to this great achievement.
I will do this by:
- Comparing my most recent score to my past score
- Listing the resources I used and what I recommend doing (I've tried almost every "popular" resource besides iPrep and DAT Qvault).
- Advice that you can implement if your schedule/study style that is similar to mine

1st Attempt:
For the first attempt, I studied for five months. At the time, I was working full-time in a research assistant role and part-time in a server role. I started off by adhering to Ari's schedule, however, seeing as I gave myself five months to study, I leisurely studied material for the first 2 months without doing any real practice problems. THIS was my first mistake. I recommend starting doing practice problems as soon as possible. Active learning trumps passive learning and is crucial for remembering the vast amount of information being reviewed, ESPECIALLY, if the studying is being stretched over a period of time longer than a month. By the time January rolled around, I realized I was forgetting information on molecular biology and genetics that I had studied back in September. The second mistake was biting off more than I can chew with the addition of the second job accompanied by DAT studying and I will speak on how that plays a role in burnout later in the breakdown. IF you don't need the second job, don't get the second job. Prior to the 1st attempt, I took 3 weeks off of work and studied 10 hours a day, every day. My third mistake throughout the process was not understanding HOW I study and the importance of breaks to escape burnout. By December, I was burnt out from both studying and balancing a full-time job. My performance in both areas of my life began to suffer and although I was working harder at work and studying for longer hours as well, I did not make the necessary progress in both areas in my personal opinion (my supervisor was still pleased with my work, however, I didn't meet my personal goals day-to-day). I do recommend taking breaks, taking time off, and learning how you study early on to avoid this if you are fortunate enough to be in that position.

Resources for both the first and second attempts used:

(1st attempt) Kaplan Blue Book: (do not recommend) - I used it a couple of times for biology and reading comprehension but I ditched it after two weeks of use in August. Also, I saw no point in studying PAT examples on paper since the test will be completed on a computer. Personally, I believed it was worthwhile to study PAT on a computer that would mimic test conditions.

(1st attempt main resource; subject practice tests for the 2nd attempt) DAT Bootcamp (8/10) - This resource was great! I enjoyed this resource for reviewing General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. I also enjoyed using the condensed notes that are offered. The PAT tests are challenging and the generators are great, however, I thought they could improve on the explanations for why certain answers on questions were right or wrong, similar to PATbooster. The QR section was extremely difficult and harder than what will be encountered on the DAT. I will also admit I wasn't that great in this section and the only score that remained unchanged is my QR section (18), so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. The reading comprehension section was also sufficient.
CON: It's just expensive.

(1st attempt - Subject practice tests ONLY; main resource for 2nd attempt) DAT Booster (10/10) - I believe DATBooster is the resource that was worth spending the $200+ dollars for. This resource offers the best bang for your buck and I think each section goes into the CORRECT amount of detail without adding anything that isn't necessary However, as an aside, I do believe the QR section is difficult and I never scored above a 15 on the timed QR tests. I utilized this resource for studying PAT, Reading Comprehension, Biology, general chemistry (practice questions), organic chemistry (practice questions), and QR. I highly recommend this resource for its practice questions and the PATbooster specifically. I will also say the resource can improve on adding my video explanation for certain questions in a few subjects, however, the lack of videos is not a deal-breaker.

(2nd Attempt - Reading Comprehension ONLY; CrackDAT (9/10) - Going into my second attempt, I knew Reading comprehension was my weakness. I scored a 17 for my 1st attempt and a 23 for my second attempt. CrackDAT RC tests prioritize testing the individual on indirect questions, which aren't as common on the real DAT, but I knew it was something I needed to be tested on. I sought this resource out and used these tests along with the tests offered by DATBooster to get a mix of tests that were both direct question heavy and indirect question heavy which I think benefited me in the long run. With that said, buying access to solely the RC portion will set you back $100 so I urge you to decide on if the additional questions are worth it. I thought this resource was great despite scoring in the 14-18 "estimated score" range for the RC section. My advice: ignore the score and study what you got wrong. You will improve along the way.

(2nd Attempt - Organic chemistry and General Chemistry) Chad's Videos (10/10) - I enjoyed Mike's videos from DATBootcamp, however, I did not want to shell out another ~$130 for access to Mike's videos on Bootcamp. Instead, I bought a subscription ($12.99/mo - master bundle) to Chad's Videos and I was pleasantly surprised. I could not find any cons. The main highlights for me were the number of practice questions offered on each section within a chapter and I also enjoyed the layout of his videos in each chapter. I enjoyed the resource so much that I ended using the videos he had for physics while I was taking Physics 2.

(2nd Attempt) - AP Cliffs Biology (5th edition) (9/10) - This resource was great for explaining information in a concise manner and then proceeding to offer practice questions at the end of the chapter. I bought the physical copy from Amazon (I believe it was less than $30), but I was also able to find a PDF copy online for free and would recommend that as this is an expensive process.

(1st and 2nd attempt - supplemental questions) - DAT Destroyer (8/10) - This book contains many difficult questions. For my first attempt, I rushed the questions and did not have time to review what I got wrong. I was more focused on how many I was getting wrong rather than what I was getting wrong. In turn, I don't think this book helped me the first attempt. For the second attempt, I utilized the book solely for QR and GC and I think it paid off. I don't think the GC questions are overly difficult and provide accurate testing in certain topics, however, I do think the Organic Chemistry questions are a bit overkill. I didn't use this resource for biology.

(2nd attempt) - Anki Deck (11/10) - I believe this resource was the reason I was able to recall information for biology, mechanisms/reactions for organic chemistry, equations for general chemistry via flashcards. This is a free resource to aid in active learning greatly. I utilized the Anki decks from DATBooster.



Scores (1st attempt -> 2nd attempt):

PAT: 23 -> 22
I actually believed the PAT section on my 2nd attempt was easier than the 1st attempt and expected a higher score. I studied by spending 10-15 minutes on the sections that needed the most attention for me. This included Keyhole, TFE, angle ranking, and pattern folding. I had Cube Counting and Hole Punching down and only reviewed these two sections when I took practice tests. Either way, I'm content with a 22.

QR: 18 -> 18
As I mentioned previously, QR is not a strong section for me. I continued doing 25-30 practice problems and reviewing necessary equations as my study method. I would also take practice tests and review the questions I answered incorrectly. I don't really have any tips on how to improve in this area.

RC: 17 -> 23
I was really pleased with this improvement! This score was my lowest on the 1st attempt and I'm glad I was able to improve RC to a 23. For my 2nd attempt, I utilized DATBooster and CrackDAT practice tests and would review the types of questions I got wrong. The method I used on both attempts was search and destroy. When looking for ways on how to improve my performance in this section, people often suggest reading scientific articles, however, I personally believe that taking practice tests and reviewing the answers the next day helped me the most. The passages presented don't mimic scientific articles so I believe that taking the practice tests made the most sense for my second time around. I believe I earned a 17 on my 1st attempt because I remember the second passage being a bit longer and more difficult which in turn led me to stray away from using search and destroy and wasting time reading the entire article. This resulted in a waste of time and 10 minutes left to read the final article. I recommend picking a strategy and STICKING to whichever one works for you.

Bio: 18 -> 23
I believe the addition of Anki notecards and making my own personal notecards helped me the most when it came time to take the DAT. I spent the least amount of time studying for this section as a lot of the information was still fresh in my head from the first attempt and it was just a matter of focusing on what I didn't know/remember that well (developmental biology, ecology, genetics). The use and review of DATBooster biology questions were also helpful and I also saw a few similar questions on the real DAT. The biggest tip is that you should find a way to read the information while having a way to have the information stick in your head as well. That will make all the difference in whether you can apply the information on test day.

General Chemistry: 18 -> 26 :)
This was my highest score and I think I have to give a S/O to DATDestroyer. For my second attempt, I would start studying GC by doing 30-40 practice problems in Destroyer, then taking a timed practice exam on DATBooster. I would review the questions I got wrong directly after completing the problems and the test. If needed, I would then watch one of Chad's videos on the topic I was having the most trouble on that day, answer the practice problems he had available and move on. All in all, this process took about 2 hours.

Organic Chemistry: 19 -> 20
I thought I performed better on the real DAT than I did. I can only think of mechanisms and reactions being the reason I earned a 20, but I'm still pleased with this score as well! The orgo reaction deck from DATBooster was super helpful and made studying these reactions a breeze. I do highly recommend knowing SN1/SN2 and E1/E2 reactions. Although I believe DATDestroyer was overkill, given my GC score, maybe doing OC practice problems would've helped me.

Additional notes and lifestyle tips:
Outside of studying for my second attempt, I balanced working on my application (hoping to submit the completed version July 20th), taking prerequisite classes (Physics II in the Spring and Statistics this summer (now)), and continued working full-time as a research assistant. As I am no longer working remote 5 days/week, I had to make adjustments to my schedule. After my first attempt, I scheduled my second attempt for May 29th, then moved it back to June 28th, and FINALLY moved it back to July 12th, my official test date. All in all, I took about a month to study hard every day and it was easier because I had made a list of the topics that were my weaknesses from the first attempt. I took the week before the test off to hone in and I studied 7-9 hours a day. I would sometimes have 8-10 hour workdays, but I always made time to study 3-5 hours after I came home. I made it a point to not study longer than 5 hours during the week and no longer than 8 hours on the weekends. This made ensured I got at least 5-6 hours of sleep during the week so that my job tasks would not be compromised due to sleep deprivation. I'd also argue incorporating a diet that won't leave you sluggish throughout the day will allow you to be more alert later in the evening. I also utilized coffee (and a lot of it) as my crutch when it came to reviving my alertness. If you have any additional questions on practice test scoring, specifics, or anything I did not mention, please PM or comment below.\

Mistakes:
- I started off by adhering to Ari's schedule, however, seeing as I gave myself five months to study, I leisurely studied material for the first 2 months without doing any real practice problems. THIS was my first mistake.

-The second mistake
was biting off more than I can chew with the addition of the second job accompanied by DAT studying. IF you don't need the second job, don't get the second job.

-My third mistake throughout the process was not understanding HOW I study and the importance of breaks to escape burnout. By December, I was burnt out from both studying and balancing a full-time job. My performance in both areas of my life began to suffer and although I was working harder at work and studying for longer hours as well, I did not make the necessary progress in both areas in my personal opinion (my supervisor was still pleased with my work, however, I didn't meet my personal goals day-to-day).

-Fourth Mistake: Pick the best resources for the lowest amount of money. The more resources you choose, the tougher it is to pick which ones you want to study from. But on that same note, don't be afraid to ax a resource from your study regimen if it is not working for you.

- FIFTH MISTAKE: don't schedule your test for motivation. After my first attempt, I scheduled my second attempt for May 29th, then moved it back to June 28th, and FINALLY moved it back to July 12th, my official test date. However, on this same token, only schedule your test when you know you're ready to take it as well so you don't spend additional money on rescheduling fees.



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HowToTeeth101

New Member
Sep 29, 2020
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  1. Pre-Dental
Congrats! How do you think the Booster practice tests compared to the real DAT?
The Booster practice tests were very similar to the real DAT, especially for General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. The biology tests were hard, but I feel as if the questions encouraged you to think about multiple topics at once. While DAT bio questions usually won't do this, I enjoyed DATBooster's biology because it allowed me to look for my weaknesses. My RC section was a lot more straightforward and I had maybe 3-5 inference questions for my second attempt. Despite getting an 18 on both attempts, QR is a lot easier than the tests given by Destroyer, Booster, and Bootcamp. Lastly, I think the PAT section on Booster is either about the same or a little harder than the real DAT. I was scoring anywhere between 20-24 on the practice tests and ended up with a 23 on the first attempt and 22 on the second attempt. Overall, I'd say it prepares you well!
 
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Legendgaming

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Jul 3, 2018
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The Booster practice tests were very similar to the real DAT, especially for General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. The biology tests were hard, but I feel as if the questions encouraged you to think about multiple topics at once. While DAT bio questions usually won't do this, I enjoyed DATBooster's biology because it allowed me to look for my weaknesses. My RC section was a lot more straightforward and I had maybe 3-5 inference questions for my second attempt. Despite getting an 18 on both attempts, QR is a lot easier than the tests given by Destroyer, Booster, and Bootcamp. Lastly, I think the PAT section on Booster is either about the same or a little harder than the real DAT. I was scoring anywhere between 20-24 on the practice tests and ended up with a 23 on the first attempt and 22 on the second attempt. Overall, I'd say it prepares you well!
How did you prepare for TFE i cant really visualize the shapes and i usually dont know where the dotted lines will be. Any tips would be very usefull thanks.
 

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