DAT Breakdown 23AA, 22TS, 21PAT

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New Member
Aug 26, 2023
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DAT Breakdown (23AA/22TS/21PAT)

Hello everyone, I just took the DAT a few weeks ago and scored a 23AA. I wanted to share my experience because reading others’ study strategies helped me throughout my studying process. The only resource I used was DAT Bootcamp. I think it provides everything you need to succeed in a digestible and organized fashion.

My scores:

PAT: 21
QR: 21
RC: 25
BIO: 22
GC: 21
OC: 26

General Info:

I am a biology major in college and took the DAT after having taken a lot of courses that provided me with the baseline knowledge necessary to do well – basic sciences, orgo, anatomy, biochem, molecular biology. With this being said, I am kind of a learn and brain dump for exams then forget the material type of student. So I went into studying prepared to spend ample time relearning/refreshing my memory on a lot of topics. Especially since my gen chem and bio classes were 4 years ago, and these make up a good chunk of the exam. I studied pretty consistently over the course of three months this past summer. My other main responsibilities were volunteering and applying to dental schools so I had the privilege of dividing most of my attention to the DAT grind.

I studied around 6 hours a day Mon-Sat, with saturdays being pretty light brush-up days where I caught up on things I was behind on and reviewed topics I didn’t feel solid on. I really really like structure and the satisfaction/ peace-of-mind of checking things off a list so I followed Dr. Ari’s study schedule closely. It was beneficial for me to learn different subjects at the same time because I didn’t get bored as easily and it also got my brain used to switching gears.


Yes I’m another one of those people with the common sentiment of feeling like I didn’t divide enough attention to this section. I worked through all the video lessons according to the schedule and did practice questions here and there to get used to the format and build up strategies. I can’t lie though, I wasn’t consistent with practicing all 6 types of question every day. I’d neglect PAT for days and then have random spurts of inspiration where I worked through 30 problems each in whatever sections I chose. I got a really subpar score for my first few practice exams in this section and was really struggling to finish all the questions on time. I referenced Reddit, as one does, and found others had the same problem. Solution: figure out which section you’re the worst/ slowest at (TFE for me), and fully skip through it, marking B or C or whatever your heart desires for all 15 questions. This allowed me to have more time to focus on the sections that I knew I could do better on. I know christmas tree-ing on a Dental Entrance exam may go against some peoples morals but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Most of my consistent practice was during the last month or so when I was taking full length practice exams. This forced me to do all of the sections in a timely manner and to review what I got wrong, fine tuning my strategies and pacing.


I didn’t watch any videos for this section. Just a bunch of practice questions to refresh my memory and get comfortable with the question types. Most of my learning occurred when I did and redid the 10 practice exams. You start to get used to certain types of question stems that show up over and over again and this helps immensely with pacing because you don’t really have to figure things out from scratch, you follow the same process each time and it becomes second nature. For me, the boot camp and real exam felt pretty similar in terms of difficulty. I highly recommend going through and doing in depth reviews of each question you got wrong after each exam. This is where most of your learning occurs. You don’t want to keep making the same mistakes every time. Learn from them instead. I started out getting 17/18 in this section and running out of time for the last 5-8 questions. I ended with finishing with a few minutes to spare and getting 21/22s. Doing and redoing and redoing the problems made a big difference.


This was the easiest section for me throughout studying and I didn’t divide much attention to it aside from doing the practice exams. The passages on the real exam were more straightforward than Bootcamp’s in my opinion, with the questions being in order of the text. My method was to read the first question then start reading the passage intently but quickly. I highlighted dates, terms, and stand out phrases as I went. If I found an answer to Q1 I’d move on to Q2 and keep reading. By the end, at least half of my questions would be answered and I had a good understanding of the passage as well as which paragraph certain info was in. I tried to mantain 10-12 min for reading and 8-10 min for answering any remaining questions.


This was one of the more intimidating sections for me going into studying. The sheer breadth of information can be really overwhelming but with time you will become increasingly comfortable with the material. Following Dr. Ari’s schedule, I spend two days on each chapter. The first day I would actively watch the videos, writing additional info on the slides. The second day I would read the accompanying biology notes and then do all of the biobites and practice questions. For chapters that had a lot of new info or things I didn’t remember well, I would review quizlet flashcards on the third day. When it came time to start taking practice exams, I found that I had already begun to forget the early chapters and minute details. I figured out which chapters were my hot spots and went back and reread them, 1 chapter per day. I highly recommend getting supper well-versed your hormones and enzymes from the physio chapters. I found that very specific questions regarding those were asked in nearly every practice exam. Also be sure to know how to quickly write out punnet squares and utilize the few bio equations (ex; hardy-weinberg equilibrium) to save yourself unnecessary time wasted. Again, as with any other section, I saw a lot of progress with thoroughly reviewing wrong answers on practice exams and figuring out where my weak areas were.


What made this section difficult for me initially was that we are not provided any equations. Memorizing the entire cheat sheet that Bootcamp provides can be a little overkill. Through working through practice exams, I created my own condensed formula sheet and it did not take much effort to memorize since you’re constantly untilizing these equations through active recall during practice exams. Don’t worry about not having a calculator for this section. On the real exam the mental math you have to solve is either very straight forward with easy numbers, or the answer choices are given as unsolved equations rather than the final computation. I think Dr. Mike’s videos were very thorough for this section. He teaches just enough to give you a solid foundation without going into the gory details that won’t be tested. After working through all of the lessons and practice questions, I skimmed back through the handout and made a condensed few pages of notes with the key equations and bits of knowledge from each chapter to refresh my memory. For this section, my review of wrong answers post practice exams was the most thorough. I would rewrite and resolve each question and write down equations I had forgotten during the exam. I would include notes with context necessary to understand the answer and keep a tally of which topics were stumping me vs how many “stupid” wrong answers I had. My scores got a lot better after this constant in depth review.


I did decently well in my college orgo classes so my approach for this section was just to refresh my memory. Dr. Mike’s orgo videos are very brief and to the point. There’s no need to know mechanisms for the DAT. Basic knowledge of how nucleophiles and electrophiles interact and which groups are good and bad leaving groups is sufficient in figuring out problems when you forgot exactly what a certain set of reagents does. I never got around to doing the orgo bites for this section. I watched all of the videos and did most of the practice questions. What helped my score the most was creating flash cards with every single reaction covered in the hand out (i included reactant + reagents on the front and the products, name of rxn, and key facts about it on the back). I also had a few “miscellaneous” note cards where I wrote spectroscopy numbers, the equation to find degrees of unsaturation, experiment facts, etc). Together they amounted to ~90 flashcards that I reviewed multiple times in the weeks leading up to my exam. It was a tedious process to make but it was so beneficial, so I highly recommend.

Final Message:

This is going to be a strenuous time but your progress will be rewarding and it will all pay off. I believe in you. Good luck :)


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