Jun 25, 2015
3
18
Status
Pre-Dental
Hi everyone! I'm generally quiet on the forums, but SDN has been so helpful to me that I thought I owe you all one and share my advice on studying for the DAT.

Just took the DAT a few days ago and received the following scores:
Bio 23
GC 26
OC 21
RC 27
QR 25
PAT 24
TS 23
AA 24

Practice exam stats:

DAT Bootcamp
Bio 24/20/26/23/23
GC 23/24/30/25/22
OC 20/24/25/22/24
QR 27/22/23/24/22
RC 19/18/20/25/23
PAT 20/21/20

QVault
OC 21/24/24/22/24/20/24/24/21/24
GC 30/29/20/26/22/21/30/26/26/26

Crack DAT PAT
22/20/20/22/23

Materials:
DAT Bootcamp- Probably the most helpful resource I used while studying for the DAT. Excellent practice tests! Some tests are harder than the actual exam, but generally a good representation of the DAT. Lots of detailed explanations for each question, and infinite PAT generators!
DAT Destroyer- Meant to be harder than the actual exam, but it is very good practice to solidify your knowledge. Don't be worried if you miss a lot of questions on the first run.
QVault- Good practice overall. Has categories so you can tell which areas are your weaknesses.
Cliffs AP Biology 3rd edition- Good review of Biology topics covered on the DAT. Get the third edition!
Feralis Notes- Excellent summary of Biology. Organizes information like how you might take notes, and highlights important concepts and reminders of some misconceptions.
Crack DAT PAT- Good PAT practice. I got the one with 10 practice exams for $149. In retrospect, I think DAT Bootcamp's PAT practice would have sufficed.
Kaplan DAT 7th edition- I happened to get this from a friend, so I decided to use it. Overall it's okay, but if I could go back in time I would probably use Cliffs, Feralis, and Chad's for studying.
*I did not use Chad's Videos, but so many other breakdowns say it is one of the best sources for review in chemistry, so definitely check it out!

Overview:
How long to study in total and each day varies from person to person. I know some people who can study for over 10 hours a day and already have a strong science background, so it might only take them a month. On the other hand, some people who haven't taken these science prerequisite classes in a long time might need a few months or more. Only take the DAT when you truly feel ready and want to get it over with.

I know that I'm the type of person who is easily distracted and can't focus for too long, so I decided to do smaller amount of studying each day (at first 4 hours a day, and later 6-8 hours a day), and spreading that out over two months, rather than studying all day everyday for a month. I believe that by taking the learning process slowly, you can retain more information than if you cram. Start studying biology early because there is a lot of material to digest! Start PAT relatively early because practicing over a longer period of time will help. Also, sitting down all day is bad for you! I made time to exercise at least once every two days, and took breaks to do things I enjoyed like travelling and playing some computer games (but of course, don't get carried away, and remember your goal!)

Start by first reviewing the subjects and taking notes, then do practice questions on DAT Destroyer, and then simulate the real test by doing QVault/DAT Bootcamp which is timed and is on the computer. A week before your test take the ADA 2007 and 2009 exams. If you are not satisfied, you might want to postpone your appointment.

Subjects:

In general, after doing practice questions, write down all the questions you got wrong or guessed and any concepts or vocabulary you didn't know. Write down the solution and remember why you got it wrong and define any key terms you didn't know. The point of the practice tests is not just about the score, but about identifying weaknesses and learning from your mistakes!

Bio: Study with Cliffs AP Biology 3rd edition and Feralis Notes. Take notes in moderation, enough to summarize the information but don't just copy everything down because that's a waste of time. Muscle memory definitely helps you to remember something rather than reading it once or twice. Do NOT just passively read. Try to think of a topic and actively try to recall everything you know about it, and then check your answer. For example, I'll think of the menstrual cycle, and I'll say to myself this organ produces this hormone which targets something and causes something to happen, etc. Then I'll compare and notice that I forgot a step, or mixed up the order. Then I'll write down the steps of the menstrual cycle to reinforce this knowledge. Some diagrams are worth writing a few times such as the characteristics of each phyla, photosynthesis steps, flower parts, etc. Some parts may be a bit too detailed, so study wisely and don't focus too much on unnecessary details.
Next, I did the bio questions on DAT Destroyer. These are hard, but good practice. Next, I used QVault to do practice tests. It's nice because you can see what categories you're weak in based on your practice test results, and you can click those categories to do those questions. Note: the questions from each category and the practice exams are exactly the same, so do the practice exams first if you want to simulate testing. I made the mistake of doing the categories first and so I wasn't able to get the most benefit out of the practice exams. Next, I did the practice exams on DAT Bootcamp. The wording and difficulty of these questions are very similar to the real DAT, so take these tests seriously!

GC: Many people recommend using Chad's Videos to study (I happened to use Kaplan and had a good foundation of GC anyway so I was fine).
Next, I did DAT Destroyer. These questions have very hard calculations so don't worry if you can't easily solve the numerical problems because it's more common to see the answer set up as an expression rather than a single numerical value. Next, I did QVault. It was pretty straightforward and had the same types of calculation questions with a few random weird theoretical questions. Good practice, but a bit easy in my opinion. Next I did DAT Bootcamp. Their chemistry questions have a lot of calculation but it's good to practice getting fast at solving equations.

OC: Many people recommend using Chad's Videos to study. If you have some questions, Mastering Organic Chemistry is a great website.
Next, I did DAT Destroyer. Difficult questions but great practice. QVault and DAT Bootcamp had good questions and were representative of the test.

PAT: I was intimidated by this a lot at first. Practice is key! Since you might be unfamiliar at first, do the first few tests untimed and develop strategies. Then start timing, and spend around 10 minutes per section.
DAT Bootcamp gives 10 tests PLUS unlimited generators for even extra practice! I thought that their keyholes were really hard, but everything else is good. I also used Crack DAT PAT (10 tests for $149). I didn't know DAT Bootcamp had so much PAT practice at first, now I think I could've survived not using CDP.

Keyhole:
Be careful about proportions. Sometimes there may be some illusions because you're looking at an angle. Visualize the parallel lines extending to determine where each shape is located.
Top/Front/End: Takes some practice. I like to create an image in my head of what it looks like. Compare the lines, whether they should be solid or dotted, whether a portion should stick out or in, etc.
Angles: Just practice. Some strategies include focusing on the small part of the angle where the lines join together, looking quickly between the angles, looking from farther away, or imagining that the angle is a laptop and see which one is easier to close. Look at the answer choices first. If the smallest angle has to be #1 or #3 then just compare those two first.
Hole Punch: Draw a 4x4 grid and mark an "X" over the holes as the paper unfolds. I liked to draw lines where paper was folded so that it's easier to reflect the X over the line. Don't worry if the paper is folded weirdly, just look at the line where the fold occurred and reflect holes over that line! Be careful of 1/3 folds. Be careful of where the top paper layer folds further than the bottom paper layer: you will need to erase the previous X! For half holes, I just marked it as a regular hole and forgot about it because the answer will not have half holes!
Cube Counting: Pretty straightforward. Write numbers 0-5 and make tally marks as you count all the cubes. Count all the faces, don't forget about hidden cubes. Count by rows or columns so you don't miss anything or double count. Try to get them all correct.
Pattern Folding: It might be hard to fold the entire pattern, so fold small portions and compare. For example, you might notice that to the right of the white square there will be a black rectangle, and above is a black triangle leaning on the right side. Other problems will have you compare the shapes and numbers of pieces. Find a unique piece on each answer choice and see if it matches.

RC: I never really considered reading to be one of my strong points, so I was nervous about this at first. It's hard to significantly boost your reading level in a short amount of time, so I hope you've been reading throughout your life. The most important thing to do here is to come up with a strategy that works best for you, and to practice timing and the format of the exam.
The strategy that worked best for me was to read the entire passage quickly and for each paragraph write a few key words such as a new concept introduced, or the name of some person or procedure that is important. Since you have an outline, you have an idea of where to find the answer. Reading the entire article gives a better sense of the overall theme and tone of the passage too. There are 3 passages in 60 min, so 20 min per passage. I made sure to limit myself to 5 minutes for reading, and spend 15 minutes to answer the questions. Another strategy is search and destroy, which means you look at questions and then try to find it in the article. It didn't work for me because I'd get lost trying to find it and end up reading the whole passage anyway.
My first two DAT Bootcamp scores were 19 and 18, which really scared me, but I think you just have to get used to the format and pace of this particular reading test. Sometimes if you're familiar with the topic, that will greatly help you answer the questions. Keep reading science articles on sites like Scientific American.

QR: I didn't really "study" because I already knew most of the stuff. If you're rusty, study formula sheets. Then just keep practicing.
I did DAT Destroyer and the questions were relatively simple. Next I did DAT Bootcamp. Some of these problems are really hard!! For a lot of the tests I didn't even finish, and I couldn't solve many problems. Don't worry if you struggle here. Just do your best, because it helps with the timing.
On the real DAT my on-screen calculator worked fine with no lag, and the keypad was able to enter numbers. Every testing center is different though.


I hope this helped! Feel free to ask questions.

 

orgoman22

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Hi everyone! I'm generally quiet on the forums, but SDN has been so helpful to me that I thought I owe you all one and share my advice on studying for the DAT.

Just took the DAT a few days ago and received the following scores:
Bio 23
GC 26
OC 21
RC 27
QR 25
PAT 24
TS 23
AA 24

Practice exam stats:

DAT Bootcamp
Bio 24/20/26/23/23
GC 23/24/30/25/22
OC 20/24/25/22/24
QR 27/22/23/24/22
RC 19/18/20/25/23
PAT 20/21/20

QVault
OC 21/24/24/22/24/20/24/24/21/24
GC 30/29/20/26/22/21/30/26/26/26

Crack DAT PAT
22/20/20/22/23

Materials:
DAT Bootcamp- Probably the most helpful resource I used while studying for the DAT. Excellent practice tests! Some tests are harder than the actual exam, but generally a good representation of the DAT. Lots of detailed explanations for each question, and infinite PAT generators!
DAT Destroyer- Meant to be harder than the actual exam, but it is very good practice to solidify your knowledge. Don't be worried if you miss a lot of questions on the first run.
QVault- Good practice overall. Has categories so you can tell which areas are your weaknesses.
Cliffs AP Biology 3rd edition- Good review of Biology topics covered on the DAT. Get the third edition!
Feralis Notes- Excellent summary of Biology. Organizes information like how you might take notes, and highlights important concepts and reminders of some misconceptions.
Crack DAT PAT- Good PAT practice. I got the one with 10 practice exams for $149. In retrospect, I think DAT Bootcamp's PAT practice would have sufficed.
Kaplan DAT 7th edition- I happened to get this from a friend, so I decided to use it. Overall it's okay, but if I could go back in time I would probably use Cliffs, Feralis, and Chad's for studying.
*I did not use Chad's Videos, but so many other breakdowns say it is one of the best sources for review in chemistry, so definitely check it out!

Overview:
How long to study in total and each day varies from person to person. I know some people who can study for over 10 hours a day and already have a strong science background, so it might only take them a month. On the other hand, some people who haven't taken these science prerequisite classes in a long time might need a few months or more. Only take the DAT when you truly feel ready and want to get it over with.

I know that I'm the type of person who is easily distracted and can't focus for too long, so I decided to do smaller amount of studying each day (at first 4 hours a day, and later 6-8 hours a day), and spreading that out over two months, rather than studying all day everyday for a month. I believe that by taking the learning process slowly, you can retain more information than if you cram. Start studying biology early because there is a lot of material to digest! Start PAT relatively early because practicing over a longer period of time will help. Also, sitting down all day is bad for you! I made time to exercise at least once every two days, and took breaks to do things I enjoyed like travelling and playing some computer games (but of course, don't get carried away, and remember your goal!)

Start by first reviewing the subjects and taking notes, then do practice questions on DAT Destroyer, and then simulate the real test by doing QVault/DAT Bootcamp which is timed and is on the computer. A week before your test take the ADA 2007 and 2009 exams. If you are not satisfied, you might want to postpone your appointment.

Subjects:

In general, after doing practice questions, write down all the questions you got wrong or guessed and any concepts or vocabulary you didn't know. Write down the solution and remember why you got it wrong and define any key terms you didn't know. The point of the practice tests is not just about the score, but about identifying weaknesses and learning from your mistakes!

Bio: Study with Cliffs AP Biology 3rd edition and Feralis Notes. Take notes in moderation, enough to summarize the information but don't just copy everything down because that's a waste of time. Muscle memory definitely helps you to remember something rather than reading it once or twice. Do NOT just passively read. Try to think of a topic and actively try to recall everything you know about it, and then check your answer. For example, I'll think of the menstrual cycle, and I'll say to myself this organ produces this hormone which targets something and causes something to happen, etc. Then I'll compare and notice that I forgot a step, or mixed up the order. Then I'll write down the steps of the menstrual cycle to reinforce this knowledge. Some diagrams are worth writing a few times such as the characteristics of each phyla, photosynthesis steps, flower parts, etc. Some parts may be a bit too detailed, so study wisely and don't focus too much on unnecessary details.
Next, I did the bio questions on DAT Destroyer. These are hard, but good practice. Next, I used QVault to do practice tests. It's nice because you can see what categories you're weak in based on your practice test results, and you can click those categories to do those questions. Note: the questions from each category and the practice exams are exactly the same, so do the practice exams first if you want to simulate testing. I made the mistake of doing the categories first and so I wasn't able to get the most benefit out of the practice exams. Next, I did the practice exams on DAT Bootcamp. The wording and difficulty of these questions are very similar to the real DAT, so take these tests seriously!

GC: Many people recommend using Chad's Videos to study (I happened to use Kaplan and had a good foundation of GC anyway so I was fine).
Next, I did DAT Destroyer. These questions have very hard calculations so don't worry if you can't easily solve the numerical problems because it's more common to see the answer set up as an expression rather than a single numerical value. Next, I did QVault. It was pretty straightforward and had the same types of calculation questions with a few random weird theoretical questions. Good practice, but a bit easy in my opinion. Next I did DAT Bootcamp. Their chemistry questions have a lot of calculation but it's good to practice getting fast at solving equations.

OC: Many people recommend using Chad's Videos to study. If you have some questions, Mastering Organic Chemistry is a great website.
Next, I did DAT Destroyer. Difficult questions but great practice. QVault and DAT Bootcamp had good questions and were representative of the test.

PAT: I was intimidated by this a lot at first. Practice is key! Since you might be unfamiliar at first, do the first few tests untimed and develop strategies. Then start timing, and spend around 10 minutes per section.
DAT Bootcamp gives 10 tests PLUS unlimited generators for even extra practice! I thought that their keyholes were really hard, but everything else is good. I also used Crack DAT PAT (10 tests for $149). I didn't know DAT Bootcamp had so much PAT practice at first, now I think I could've survived not using CDP.

Keyhole:
Be careful about proportions. Sometimes there may be some illusions because you're looking at an angle. Visualize the parallel lines extending to determine where each shape is located.
Top/Front/End: Takes some practice. I like to create an image in my head of what it looks like. Compare the lines, whether they should be solid or dotted, whether a portion should stick out or in, etc.
Angles: Just practice. Some strategies include focusing on the small part of the angle where the lines join together, looking quickly between the angles, looking from farther away, or imagining that the angle is a laptop and see which one is easier to close. Look at the answer choices first. If the smallest angle has to be #1 or #3 then just compare those two first.
Hole Punch: Draw a 4x4 grid and mark an "X" over the holes as the paper unfolds. I liked to draw lines where paper was folded so that it's easier to reflect the X over the line. Don't worry if the paper is folded weirdly, just look at the line where the fold occurred and reflect holes over that line! Be careful of 1/3 folds. Be careful of where the top paper layer folds further than the bottom paper layer: you will need to erase the previous X! For half holes, I just marked it as a regular hole and forgot about it because the answer will not have half holes!
Cube Counting: Pretty straightforward. Write numbers 0-5 and make tally marks as you count all the cubes. Count all the faces, don't forget about hidden cubes. Count by rows or columns so you don't miss anything or double count. Try to get them all correct.
Pattern Folding: It might be hard to fold the entire pattern, so fold small portions and compare. For example, you might notice that to the right of the white square there will be a black rectangle, and above is a black triangle leaning on the right side. Other problems will have you compare the shapes and numbers of pieces. Find a unique piece on each answer choice and see if it matches.

RC: I never really considered reading to be one of my strong points, so I was nervous about this at first. It's hard to significantly boost your reading level in a short amount of time, so I hope you've been reading throughout your life. The most important thing to do here is to come up with a strategy that works best for you, and to practice timing and the format of the exam.
The strategy that worked best for me was to read the entire passage quickly and for each paragraph write a few key words such as a new concept introduced, or the name of some person or procedure that is important. Since you have an outline, you have an idea of where to find the answer. Reading the entire article gives a better sense of the overall theme and tone of the passage too. There are 3 passages in 60 min, so 20 min per passage. I made sure to limit myself to 5 minutes for reading, and spend 15 minutes to answer the questions. Another strategy is search and destroy, which means you look at questions and then try to find it in the article. It didn't work for me because I'd get lost trying to find it and end up reading the whole passage anyway.
My first two DAT Bootcamp scores were 19 and 18, which really scared me, but I think you just have to get used to the format and pace of this particular reading test. Sometimes if you're familiar with the topic, that will greatly help you answer the questions. Keep reading science articles on sites like Scientific American.

QR: I didn't really "study" because I already knew most of the stuff. If you're rusty, study formula sheets. Then just keep practicing.
I did DAT Destroyer and the questions were relatively simple. Next I did DAT Bootcamp. Some of these problems are really hard!! For a lot of the tests I didn't even finish, and I couldn't solve many problems. Don't worry if you struggle here. Just do your best, because it helps with the timing.
On the real DAT my on-screen calculator worked fine with no lag, and the keypad was able to enter numbers. Every testing center is different though.


I hope this helped! Feel free to ask questions.
Dr. Poro, Congratulations, You DESTROYED THE DAT!!!:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

Wow! You were prepared with the right ammunition to annihilate the DAT Beast! Love your scores and that 27 in reading is amazing..With these scores I feel certain you have a high GPA and would be a candidate for Harvard if that is something you are considering.

Thank you for giving back to the SDN community with your breakdown and excellent advice, reminding students to study at their own pace and only take the DAT when fully prepared.

I predict many interviews in your future..

Wishing you the very best!

Dr. Jim Romano and Nancy
 
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