DAT Breakdown (23AA 22TS 23PAT)

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New Member
Aug 6, 2023
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Hello everyone! I took the DAT last week and I just wanted to share my study schedule and tips. For background info, I’m an Asian Studies Major, so I don’t have a strong background in Biology. I decided to take the DAT immediately after my Sophomore year, while OChem was fresh on my mind. I plan on applying to dental school next summer. I started studying around mid-May for about 10 weeks. I only used DAT Bootcamp to study. At first, I started using Ari’s study guide, but I realized it was too fast paced for me. It takes longer for me to effectively review content like Bio. I ended up spreading it over the weekends to make sure I didn’t get behind, so I didn’t have a rest day. I studied approximately 6-8 hours every day. Below are screenshots of my official scores and practice scores. For my practice scores, I took the first 5 exams sections individually for 2 weeks. For the last 5 exams, I took them full length over the course of 2 weeks.

Here is how I studied for each section:

PA: For this section, I watched the videos of the strategies for each type of problem. I mainly studied by doing 10 questions for each kind of problem every single day and taking practice exams.

QR: I struggled with QR the most in terms of getting a good score. I haven’t taken a math course in about 2 years, so it took a while for me to get used to answering math problems quickly. I studied by working through of the question banks, and then taking the exams. For each exam I reviewed all the problems I got wrong or was unsure of.

RC: This section was also difficult for me in terms of finishing on time. I tried different methods that bootcamp suggested, but I just ended up doing the best with the vanilla method. For this method I read and highlighted the passage for 10 minutes, and then answered the questions for 10 minutes. I was still crunched for time with this method, but my scores improved with this method on the practice exams compared to the individual passages in the question banks.

Bio: I was very overwhelmed with Biology. I would watch the review videos one day, and the next day go through the quizlet flashcards. I would then answer all the biobites, and then answer the question banks. I did this for each section, and sometimes it would take me an extra day to get through it all. I actually didn’t finish the content for this until a week before my exam. For the practice exams I would go over every single problem after. Once I finished all the practice exams, I looked at the flagged topics on performance page. For those topics, I reviewed the high yield notes and redo the biobites/question banks.

GC: I didn’t spend too much time studying Gen Chem. I watched all of Mike’s videos and I answered the question banks. For the practice exams I went over all the answers.

OC: This past year I was blessed with a great OChem professor. He taught amazingly, and I put in a lot of effort for his class. I effectively learned the information this past year, hence why I wanted to take the DAT so soon afterwards. I did not really study for OChem, and used this time for Biology. All I did was take the practice exams and answer the question banks.

Leading up to the exam, I was nervous that the Bootcamp exams wouldn’t be representative of the actual DAT. I was wrong. The practice exams for me were extremely similar in terms of difficulty. I believe that the DAT practice exams over prepared me. Bio had several repeat questions. OC and GC were similar, but I believe slightly easier on the real DAT. PAT and QR were pretty much the same, and the RC passages were easier to read through on the real DAT.
If I were to emphasize anything about my study methods, I would say start taking practice sections about a month before the exam. And do as many as you can. When I sat down to take the DAT, it felt like any other practice exam that I took throughout the month.

Final words:
Good luck to everybody who is going to take the exam! Don't give up. Bootcamp is a fantastic resource. Make sure to give yourself mental health breaks. Spend time with friends and family when you can. Y'all got this!

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