DAT Breakdown (24AA/24TS/21PAT)

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New Member
Jun 1, 2024
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Hi all! I took my DAT at the end of May and would like to share my experience to help you study and prepare for the test as well.


QR - 23

RC - 24

Bio - 24

GC - 26

OC - 22

TS - 24

AA - 24

Test Scores


I used exclusively DAT Booster as my source of test prep material. When deciding between Bootcamp and Booster, I ultimately choose Booster due to the concise videos and "cheat sheet" study notes. I don't study well reading long notes, so I really appreciated the videos Booster has to offer while cross-referencing the condensed notes in many of the sections such as biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry. The PAT section of Booster was phenomenal with great explanations and in-depth problem-solving techniques.

I also utilized anki, though not as much as I was expecting when I first started studying. I used Anki religiously during my last two undergraduate years, but for the DAT, I felt like using active recall through the practice questions and tests on Booster was the best approach to studying for the DAT. I used anki to memorize formulas, reactions, and such but not every little detail. I just wanted to drill some concepts and formulas into my head so I could use them during the practice tests.

Study Timeline:

I started studying about 11 weeks out from my DAT test date. I followed the Booster 10-week study plan the first couple of weeks, but found it hard to keep up somedays due to work and motivation. I got the bulk of my studying done in the last two weeks. My advice to you early is to get through the content quickly while utilizing active recall in one form or another, whether it's practice questions, flashcards (Anki), or asking yourself questions after each section. The best studying comes from completing practice questions and tests, so you really want to get through the content review quickly so you can get to the practice problems. I studied only about 2 hours a day during the first 6 weeks, but really increased my time to around 5-6 hours in the last two weeks.

How I Studied for Each Section:

  • Bio - This is the section where getting through the content quickly is the most important. Because biology is such a broad topic, you don't need to get in-depth with every single concept, unless you're shooting for a 30. The biology section tests you mainly on surface-level concepts and not really in-depth. I had a good biology undergraduate background which made this section a bit easier for me. I recommend watching the booster videos, and utilizing any form of active recall, though not in depth.
  • Gen Chem - I had a poor chemistry background and forgot mostly everything from my early undergraduate years. I found the Booster videos very helpful in bringing back up to speed. I promise you that you will forget many formulas and rules when studying for this subject, so get as many reps as you can with practice problems early. If you scroll down, booster's practice tests have video explanations of most of the test problems, which helped tremendously. Focus on understanding concepts like acidity as they are very high-yield. You can't just brute memorize your way through this section.
  • Organic Chemistry - I also had a poor organic chemistry background and didn't do well in my undergraduate classes. I found the videos on Booster to be fair, but not great. They were good enough to help me understand the mechanisms for all the reactions. Definitely use flashcards like Anki or other ways to memorize some reactions and lab test results. H NMR and the other procedures were very high yield. Understanding the mechanisms is very important, so don't rely on memorizing the product only.
  • Reading Comprehension - Watch the Booster strategy videos early and choose a strategy that works for you. I've always been a slow reader, so search and destroy was my best friend to keep on time. While the method was volatile with very low and very high scores at first, I practiced enough to consistently get above 20. Try to do at least one passage every day to keep your brain engaged with the strategy you choose.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - I've always been great at math so I didn't worry about this section too much. I also tutor middle school and high school students so many of the problems were familiar to me. Just like chemistry, this section is about repetition through practice problems. The only way you will get comfortable with this section is through practicing. If you have a weak math background, start very early and practice at least 5 days a week, even if it's just one problem from each section that you're studying for.
  • Perceptual Ability - I started studying for this section early as it is not like anything I've done before. The PAT videos on Booster are AMAZING. I got over-confident because I started scoring well on the practice problems early and neglected this section until later in my study timeline. I should have practiced a couple of problems for each section every day. If you're struggling with a specific section like pattern-folding, then use more time to practice your weaknesses and not your strengths. Time is your biggest enemy in this section. I had a hard time finishing on time during my practice tests, so I had to convince myself to make my best guess and move on if I ever got stuck.
Finals Thoughts:

I don't want to sound too cliche, but studying for the DAT really is a marathon. you have to pace yourself and practice over a period of time, rather than rushing to study last minute or even burning yourself out too early from over-studying. Think of studying for the DAT like working out. You have to keep at it weekly and get as many reps in as you can before the test. You won't always have a linear progression in your practice scores, but it's okay because eventually, you'll have a realization that pushes you over that hump. Also, Booster practice tests often had different types of questions for each progressive practice test, so what you reviewed from practice test 2 won't necessarily mean you would get a better score on practice test 3. My final advice is to get in as many practice tests/problems as you can because many of the same questions will show up on the real DAT. Good luck everyone!

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