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

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by ThirdMolarz, Sep 13, 2017.

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  1. ThirdMolarz

    ThirdMolarz

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    Apr 22, 2017
    I will preface this by saying that my exam was not what I expected. After finishing the 90 minutes of sciences, I expected a nice break before the latter half of the test but the PAT timer on the upper right of the screen was already counting down: 59:57, 56, 55, 54... :wideyed: F***. Did I really just click past my break? Can Prometrics pause my test? Most definitely not. No point asking for help. How do I explain my botched scores to admissions? Will I even get an interview now? Hell, I can still do this. My almonds and iced coffee would have been nice, but no break. Let's go. Maybe I can spin this to that one time I overcame adversity. As much as I stressed out about my next 2 hours, little did I know that everyone experiences the very same thing. The break came AFTER the PAT section.

    Study Timeline:
    I scheduled my exam 6 weeks out. I took this before and figured some of my previous knowledge would carry over. I worked a bit on the side, went to a wedding, got my wisdom teeth pulled (how fitting), and just limited my time spent doing things for fun. A week before my exam, I felt like I could either get lucky and score well or botch it. I did submit my apps (on the later side already), but I chose to postpone my test two weeks. I think the beauty of postponing is that you cram twice. Once leading up to the exam. Second leading up to the rescheduled exam. Not ideal, but let's be real we all cram to a certain extent. Think of how much material you could cover if you moved at that pace from the beginning of your studies. IDK the secret to that, but whoever finds it will ace the DAT.

    The Exam (and preparation):
    BIO (21)
    : This section was harder than I expected. After my first pass, I marked 10 or so questions and ultimately made my best guess on those questions. I prepared for bio by first highlighting Feralis' notes as review (@FeralisExtremum thanks dawg; you and other high scorers set my standard), then going through questions (Bootcamp and Destroyer) and referring back to Feralis' notes with the "ctrl-F" function" for a refresher on a missed question or something like that. I'd go on google, too, from time to time. The solutions in Bootcamp were very helpful as were those in DAT Destroyer. Nancy from DAT Destroyer frequents these forums, but what you don't see is the genuine effort she puts into her work behind the scenes even reaching out to me through private message. Thank you for your concern @orgoman22! You're awesome.

    CHEM (23): I think I marked only a few questions here. In reality, you have to mark anything you want a second look at because if you don't you will not see that question again. You won't remember where it was and you won't have time to find it after your first pass. Most of the questions were very straightforward, and I used what I learned from Destroyer and Bootcamp to tackle them with ease. I have nothing new to add other than repeating that you should build a foundation (with Chad, Mike, or both), then tackle Destroyer and Bootcamp. For destroyer, I never timed myself but tried to be efficient with my time. For example, I'd answer 100 questions; go through with a red pen like in grade school to mark wrong answers; and make flashcards to review later. I took bootcamp exams to check myself, practice time management (this can't be emphasized enough), and make more flashcards. I did separate my flashcards by problem type. I've heard it helps in dental school to stay organized, and I think it makes sense to target your most difficult topics successively as opposed to in random order. What better way to do this than with your missed questions all in one place by question type! Keep in mind that even on the DAT, you can see things you've never seen. So study with that mindset because you NEED to understand concepts and HOW to solve problems rather than memorize certain steps that worked in a practice problem. I think I could have scored higher if I put more effort into this. One note on study materials. Chad is a great teacher and he offers in depth perspectives, but I couldn't get the videos to go any faster than 1x speed [I opted out of his videos this time around, but took some quizzes on harder topics]. On the other hand, I don't even know the sound of Mike's normal voice. 2x speed all day. Whatever floats your boat, though! I kept tabs on my bootcamp scores for fun, knowing they mean nothing to dental schools and can actually hurt me if I lowered my guard after a high score. Don't fall for this trap! Use bootcamp the way @Ari Rezaei recommends after each practice exam.

    OCHEM (26): I was most ready for this section contrary to what my OCHEM GPA would have you believe. I approached my preparation with the same approach as in chemistry. On the exam, questions I missed (made flashcards and reviewed) in destroyer and bootcamp came to me like second nature. You should have 30 minutes for 30 questions, and answering a question in 10 seconds allows you to spend more time on harder questions. Just mark and move on if you're not getting it. This is the approach I used for every section of the DAT. It's basically getting the most bang for your buck (how much you studied).

    PAT (23): So if you read my intro, this score could have been 18 and I wouldn't have been surprised. I marked a good 15 questions, and stopped marking at one point because I knew that I wouldn't have time to see it again anyway. I even marked angles.... I never marked angles in practice... I did not use my marker/board on this section. If you do, don't forget to cap after each use because your pen will dry out and no longer work. Both my pens dried out. On the Keyholes, many answer choices were tricky but by eliminating wrong answers I must have done okay. You know those Top Front End problems you see on bootcamp and go WTF, skip. Yeah, there were a few of those too. Don't underestimate. The angles were like deja vu of bootcamp's angles. I'd use a different approach based on what they gave me. If angles were obviously different in size, I'd go with it. If they were acute like a closing lap top, I'd visualize that. If they were barely over 90 degrees, I'd imagine how comfortable I could be leaning back in a chair. If oriented more like a helicopter or a hill, I'd go with that. The key for me when analyzing an angle was to start at one end of a line segment, follow it to the intersection, and really focus on the direction of the second line segment. After angles, I was VERY pressed for time. I no longer had time to second guess myself. For Hole Punching, I just visualized where the line of symmetry was for each fold and worked backwards. Before this, I made sure that no holes "disappeared" anywhere along the folds. This happens be careful. With cube counting, I visualized each cube one by one. With practice, you can develop shortcuts like knowing that 5-sided cubes are only on the top. The folding section is last and often tricky. I simultaneously looked for key pieces or colors and oriented them around in the answer choices until I could get one that matched. My study approach was:​
    • PAT Trainer Game | DAT Bootcamp (sent this to my friends for fun) most days​
    • A few bootcamp exams​
    • Targeted practice of keyholes, TFE, and pattern folding [aka anything not in the above PAT game] for a few hours two days before my exam. Bootcamp has a VERY helpful feature that gives you the 3D solution to each of these problems where you can move it around and practice visualizing the correct answer. I had never seen this before a few days ago, and I would have jumped on it earlier had I known.​
    RC (20): If you made it this far in my breakdown, thank you for taking the time to read it. Hopefully, you're not procrastinating for your DAT. I found the "wastenotime" app very useful in keeping me on task. I read somewhere that pain is temporary, but GPA is forever. DAT is also forever. I kept youtube though. Shoutout to Brittany Watu and @jbarnett2020. You guys are great. Okay, back to the breakdown. I'm pretty sure I nailed my first two passages. I would first skim the reading for like a minute, skim the questions for keywords, then search and destroy with these keywords fresh in my mind (not wasting time writing); answering on the spot as I read the passage OR highlighting a key term that came up before its place in the questions. It actually takes a lot of time to filter between questions, especially when you're spending time looking for the question as opposed to actually answering it. This method worked well until the last passage. With 17 minutes left, I thought this might be my highest score. Turns out, it was my lowest. I confidently answered less than half of the third passage. The keywords in my mind after skimming the questions were all somewhat familiar terms from biology but also so close to one another that I could not find ANYTHING looking up and down the 18ish paragraphs. I think if I got lucky, I'd have gotten an easier to distinguish set of keywords in the questions. If I could do this again, I'd recognize that my method (inspired by @Vicviper's) requires adjusting for these very similar keywords to maybe jot them down or map out the passage real quick first because whatever I did could definitely be improved.

    QR (24): I did take the DAT once before all this comparing statements and whatnot, so I'm thankful that Bootcamp covered it for my second go. I was able to fit in four MATH Destroyer exams and five bootcamp QR exams in my studies with notes on how to solve the ones I missed. I was more go-with-the-flow in my studies and focused most on the sciences. On the exam, I recall using an approach straight from destroyer on one problem, and saved so much time because I knew how to approach the new stuff in QR (specifically, knowing what my answer choices were for each problem type before even reading them). Within my latter two weeks of studying, I watched Chad's QR videos and took all his QR quizzes. My mental math got significantly better just from this. Stuff like multiplying fractions, using sig figs, logs, exponents, etc., should be second nature come DAT time because speed is everything. I did use the calculator as an extension of my brain for quick one step calculations whenever I was unsure of my mental math, but using the calculator any more than that will for sure drop your score as will thinking too hard on any one problem unless it's your last one. Spoiler alert: QR can include questions you'd expect in another section of the DAT. I looked at it for 5 seconds, laughed, and moved on.

    Bootcamp Averages: BIO (21.3), CHEM (20.8), OCHEM (20.8), PAT (21), RC (20), QR (18.5)​
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Brutess, risaac3, jkeast and 7 others like this.
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  3. Vicviper

    Vicviper Steve McAwesome 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 19, 2008
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    Thanks for the shout out bud, nice work!
     
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  4. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    Congratulations! DAT Beast Destroyed! You have been active on SDN for quite some time and I was delighted to see your scores posted first thing this morning. Nothing is more rewarding than watching a student move 1 step closer to their dream. Thanks for the shout out and detailed breakdown.

    Nancy and Dr. Jim Romano
     
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  5. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    Hey Dr. Vicviper, I can not find the link where you gave advice for the reading. If you have time could you post it here or send it in a pm. I would like to share with my students, every little bit helps.

    Best,

    Dr. Jim Romano
     
  6. Vicviper

    Vicviper Steve McAwesome 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 19, 2008
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    Vicviper's RC Strategy

    It's a simple, but possibly risky strategy, but it worked out very well for me - I tried it for the first time the night before the DAT on a practice test, got a 29 on the practice test, and ended up getting a 30 on the real thing.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    Thanks, I will save it in my DAT Tool Box for students.
     
  8. raysoflight

    raysoflight

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    Jul 9, 2017
    Congrats On the scores! During your last week leading up to the exam was there anything extra that you did, that helped you?
     
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  9. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    Hey, raysoflight, when is your DAT day? You're next to defeat the DAT Beast, always happy to answer your questions.

    Dr. Romano
     
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  10. ThirdMolarz

    ThirdMolarz

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Your test in a week?! My last week was primarily going through most of destroyer a second time with bootcamp practice exams in the sciences here and there. OH. yes. Bootcamp's subject-specific practice was extra and definitely helped on certain PAT sections. I did like 5 or 10 problems each for the harder sections (keyholes, TFE, and pattern folding) and played with each 3D solution. This helped me get better at visualizing for a general idea of what a certain portion of the answer should look like, which often stood out in the answer choices.
     
    raysoflight likes this.
  11. raysoflight

    raysoflight

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    Jul 9, 2017
    Thank you Dr. Romano! My test is in 9 days from today.

    Ah ok thanks!! I have a little over a week left, and Im trying to go through destroyer one more time, and do as many bootcamp practice tests as I can
     
  12. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    We are only a post or message a way if you need some help...Keep up the great work...
     
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  13. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER Lifetime Donor Exhibitor 10+ Year Member

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    Sorry TM, didn't mean to hijack your thread. Hope you are celebrating the day and Ray is next in line...
     
    ThirdMolarz likes this.
  14. FeralisExtremum

    FeralisExtremum SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Great breakdown! I like all the specific tips you gave across each section. Congratulations on the scores and let me know if you need any help when applying!
     
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  15. ThirdMolarz

    ThirdMolarz

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Thanks man. I may need that!
     
  16. Ayyyds

    Ayyyds

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    Feb 17, 2017
    Houston, TX
    Been looking forward to reading your breakdown... Awesome scores and advice, congratulations!!!!
     
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  17. Faefly

    Faefly

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    The last part was funny lol. I can't imagine what they threw at you in Qr, but you made it!

    The ordeal is finally over with such fantastic scores.

    Congratulations. I hope you get into your dream school.

    Thank you for this helpful breakdown, but how did you forget that experience with Pat is pretty scary haha.

    I have some questions: In term of difficulty, DAT RC harder or easier than Bootcamp?
    Same question for pattern folding and TFE?
     
  18. Pearl E. White

    Pearl E. White 2+ Year Member

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    Yay! Congratulations! So happy for you. Excellent work.
     
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  19. ThirdMolarz

    ThirdMolarz

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Did not forget haha. Sink or swim, timer was running. RC difficulty depends on the passages you get. Mine were similar, maybe 90% difficulty. Pattern folding and TFE had varying levels of difficulty within each set of questions just like in bootcamp.
     
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  20. risaac3

    risaac3 2+ Year Member

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    Aug 29, 2015
    Congrats molars, great scores :)
     
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