DAT Breakdown (23AA/21TS/21PAT)

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Sep 11, 2023
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Hi! So I took my DAT for the 1st time about a month ago, and I just wanted to share how I studied and some advice I can provide for you all who have not taken it yet.

For context, I started studying around the middle of May and took my exam towards the beginning of August, giving me about 3 months of studying. I did not take classes because I wanted to solely focus on this exam, so I would only have to take it once.

I used DAT Bootcamp because all my peers used it, and this was an amazing resource. I tried to study for 8 hours a day for 6 days a week, but in reality, I only ended up doing about 4-5 hours a day 6 days a week. As long as you follow the schedule that DAT Bootcamp provides you, you should have plenty of time left for practice exams and improving your weak points.


Bio (20):

To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed in my bio score because it was my lowest section and I would consistently score around the 22-23 range. The system that worked for me was that I would I would carefully watch the videos and actively take notes. The day after, I would read the read the condensed notes (these were a lifesaver, highly recommend) and do the bio bites. The questions on DAT Bootcamp are much harder compared to the actual exam, so you will be prepared as long as you do all the bio bites and learn from your mistakes. If I had to go back, I would've used the Anki decks because I think the Anki decks would have easily boosted my score by about 2 points had I known about them before.

PAT (21):

I was extremely surprised when I got this score (in a good way). In every single one of my practice exams, except maybe 1, I scored a 17 every time. This was easily the most difficult section on the DAT in my opinion because for a majority of people, it is the 1st time we have ever been exposed to this kind of topic. Do not get discouraged if you are scoring super low on the practice because, in my experience, DAT Bootcamp gives you questions that are harder than the real exam (I finished with 10 minutes left in the section). Watching the videos is important because they give you helpful strategies, but it's all about PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. I struggled the most on TFE and Pattern Folding, so I would I started doing about 10-15 questions every few days to keep it fresh. On the real exam, the questions are much easier, and I would suggest skipping around and starting on the section you are most comfortable with (I started with cube counting, then keyhole, angle ranking, hole punching, TFE, and ended with pattern folding).

QR (22):

Math has always been one of my strongest subjects, so I did not watch many of the videos because I already knew some of the topics. For me, the struggle was not the content, but it was the timing because I would struggle with completing 40 questions in 40 minutes. My biggest advice is to not stay on the same question for too long. If you do not know it, flag it and then MOVE ON. It is better to try to answer all the questions you do know, and then come back to the ones you have flagged. That way, you can stay on track with time because this section is all about timing. DAT Bootcamp had very similar questions to the real exam, so do not take it lightly. Also, get used to the online calculator because the program is ancient and super annoying to use.

GC (22):

At first, I had a hard time memorizing all the the content, exceptions, and formulas for this section. A technique that really helped me was that I would go through the handout packet page by page and create a quizlet that incorporated all the material. I would then review the flashcards every day, and this helped me memorize everything. Dr. Mike's videos are also extremely helpful because he breaks everything down into manageable chunks, so make sure to keep pace with the schedule and pay attention. For my actual exam, most of my questions were conceptual rather than calculations. I think this is a case-by-case basis, and I think I would have scored higher if there were more calculation questions.

OC (21):

Organic chemistry has always been the topic that I hated the most. I'm not surprised by this score because this was about where DAT Bootcamp projected me. My biggest advice is to start using the Anki decks early. They compile all the reactions in one place, and if you use Anki, you will definitely memorize all the reactions. I did the same thing that I did for general chemistry and made a quizlet for every page in the handout. This was especially helpful for memorizing all the lab tests and miscellaneous information. The questions on DAT Bootcamp are more difficult, and on exam day, you will see that the questions are more straightforward. Dr. Mike is amazing for this section, so it's necessary to pay attention to him when he lectures. Don't watch the videos just to say that you watched the videos because if you put the time into it, you will definitely see a difference in practice exams/real exams. Organic chemistry is probably the hardest subject for a lot of people, so doing all the question banks and learning from them is a must. A week before my real exam, I redid all the questions in the bank until I could not get one wrong.

RC (28):

This was by far my highest score, and even I am surprised at how well I did. On my practice exams, I scored in the 24-26 range. I have always been a "math person" and not a "reading person," but I think what helped me was that I started a habit of reading anything from books to news articles every day for about 30 minutes. It's important to build stamina and learn how to be quick because the reading section is a time crunch. I found that the strategy that worked for me was that I would briefly skim the passage before I started answering questions. That way, when I used the search and destroy method, I had a general idea about where the answer would be and would not spend my time searching across the entire article for all the questions.


DAT Bootcamp is a resource that I highly recommend! The schedule that Dr. Ari provides you with is extremely helpful because, without it, I know that I definitely would have been off track. Make sure that you take the practice exams without any help because I know how tempting it is to open another browser or look through your notes when you encounter a question that you do not know. I would say learning from your mistakes is the best thing you can do to do well on this exam. It is easy to just keep doing the subjects that you are good at, but repetition and hammering out your weaknesses will elevate your score to the next level.

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Hi, thank you so much for posting this it’s very helpful. I took the DAT today and did not do as well as I hoped, but plan on retaking after the 60 days. I think i will definitely apply some of what you said!