DAT Breakdown (23AA/23TS/22PAT)

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2+ Year Member
May 18, 2021
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I know I appreciated reading DAT breakdowns while I was studying for the test, so I hope my breakdown is helpful to those seeking some guidance/assurance.

PAT: 22
QR: 20
RC: 24
BIO: 20
GC: 25
OC: 25
TS: 23
AA: 23

Background: I’m going into my senior year as a biology major with a 4.0 GPA. I spent my first two years at community college for financial reasons and transferred to my university after graduating with my Chemistry associates. The only study material I really used was DATBooster (and their 8-week study guide), but I did watch Chad’s videos for chemistry sometimes when the guide advised it. I started studying around the very end of May and took my test July 25, so around two months of studying about 7 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Towards the end of the studying, I did get a little lazy. I followed the guide as closely as I could. The only section I wasn’t able to keep up with was Biology— this is more due to me personally and not particularly because of Booster. There is just so much information regarding biology. The structure & functions of systems topic (chapter 3) is just a study guide with no associated videos. In all honesty, I sort of developed some heavy anxiety because of how daunting it seemed and would shut down every time I tried to go back and read the material. I ended up being very lackadaisical in my studying for about 3 or 4 days straight, but eventually I collected myself. I never did read that study guide and learned the material through practice test questions and relied on my intuition. I knew I had a decent enough background in bio and knew my GC and OC scores would carry me (I’m significantly more versed in chemistry). All the other sections were more straightforward to understand in my opinion, thankfully. Based off my last 4 practice tests scores (described as the most representative), I was expecting a 22AA and would have been even delighted with a 20, let alone a 23.

PAT (actual: 22, practice average: 21):
• Angle ranking, hole punching, and cube counting were very similar between Booster and the actual DAT and fairly simple for the most part. Early on, I struggled heavily with cube counting, but after practicing for a couple days I got significantly better in terms of accuracy and speed. I will say the answering format for the cube counting generator could be more similar. I read around that keyhole was supposed to be easier on the actual test, but from my experience it was quite comparable aka not easy. Pattern folding on the test was similar in difficulty, but there were some cube patterns I don’t recall seeing on Booster’s practices.

QR (actual: 20, practice average: 24):
• Honestly, I’m really surprised about my actual score. Going into the DAT, I felt like everything I learned and the Booster test questions had a prepared me for the test. I’m pretty good at math so I was expecting to do well, as is evident from my practice test scores. For my actual test, some of the questions seemed significantly more challenging in the sense of “I should be able to do this problem, but I just can’t.” I feel like math is one of those subjects where if you already know you’re weak at, you will just have to study a lot harder than someone who gets it more naturally, but it’s not impossible to do well!

RC (actual: 24, practice average: 22):
• This score I’m surprised by, but in a good way, thankfully. Going into the test I was fully expecting a 20 because that’s what I got for most of the single passage practices. Booster gives you a couple different methods to complete this section. I mostly tried the standard, partial reading, and search and destroy approaches. S&D was way easier on my brain, personally. Tips for those that focus on using S&D: 1) Key terms in questions/answer choices are exactly somewhere in the passage – FIND THEM, 2) read the question and answer choices fully, their may be slight changes that make a wrong answer look right, and 3) “theme” questions are answerable after S&D’ing the whole passage and “author’s view point” questions are easily found somewhere in the last paragraph nearly every single time. I know I don’t have the best reading ability, but practice makes perfect (cliché, I know, but it’s true).

BIO (actual: 20, practice average: 20):
• I hate biology, I really do. It’s a personal thing. I would have been happy with anything above an 18. I took biochemistry this past spring and immunology during this summer, and it made studying for those related topics SO MUCH EASIER. You can find other recommended classes online, and I would recommend taking those too if you can comfortably take them before your test. Biology is the epitome of “breadth over depth” in my opinion because even though I did not know a good portion of the material I was able to get by fairly well. If you’re good at pure memorization, biology should be relatively simple.

GC (actual: 25, practice average: 22):
• I’m a chemistry major at heart, so I knew gen chem (as well as organic) wouldn’t trouble me too much. Booster’s videos give you everything you need to know, and the format used to teach makes learning easy and not daunting at all. It’s a lot of learning, but when you see questions over and over again you’ll get better at remembering what you need to know what to do (if that makes any sense).

OC (actual: 25, practice average: 23):
• Organic chemistry I feel is easier than general chemistry because it’s largely void of mathematical computations and more concept based. I was a learning assistant last spring for OChem II professor primarily to help me get extra practice for the DAT. Most of the OChem on the DAT comes from Orgo 1 in my opinion, though it’s a close split between the two. Reactions and mechanisms, stability (in the most general sense), EAS… same story as gen chem, you’ll get used to the questions the more you do them.

Overall, my message is if you want to do well, you will do well if you put in the effort. Of course, be realistic with yourself because everyone’s potential will only be so high. Don’t feel scared that you’re not doing well early on into studying. Once you start doing practice tests, you’ll realize how much you actually know. Everyone is human, so I highly advise taking at least one day out of the week as a no-study day and relax. Getting burnt-out and forcing yourself to study is significantly worse than studying without any real effort. A balance between studying hard and relaxing is the goal of course. I would definitely recommend DATBooster if you only want to purchase one piece of study material. I feel like they adequately prepared for my exam. I remember seeing three or so questions exactly the same from the practice on the real test.. scary. Do try and get a discount code to make it just a bit cheaper; it’s better than nothing.

Good luck to everyone studying, and I’d be happy to ask any specific questions anyone has for me! YOU GOT THIS!

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