DAT Breakdown (24AA/25TS/22PAT)

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New Member
Feb 10, 2024
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Hi everyone! Since I found these breakdown posts super helpful during my studying, I figured I’d post one as well! For some background, I graduated in May 2023 with a B.S. in Biology and a 3.86 GPA, and I took the DAT in February 2024.

PAT: 22
QR: 19
RC: 25
Bio: 27
GC: 23
OC: 25
TS: 25
AA: 24

Materials Used:
  1. DAT Booster: I was debating between Booster and Bootcamp as I heard great things about both, but I chose to start with Booster and I’m so happy I did! I agree with everyone who says it’s the only resource you need to master the material and it’s the best bang for your buck. I found Booster to be extremely representative of the exam and a fantastic resource especially for PAT, RC, and Bio. Although biology is my favorite and strongest subject, I was still overwhelmed by the immense amount of information I needed to memorize in a variety of broad topics. The Feralis biology cheat sheets and taxonomy videos helped with what I found to be the most difficult details to memorize, and I strongly recommend Booster for anyone worried about Biology. Regarding their new update: I loved using their new mobile app whenever I was on the go but still wanted to be productive, and the small addition of a dark mode on the new website was a great touch to anyone concerned about eye strain! Like others mentioned, I found full length exams 6-10 very similar to the real exam.
  2. DAT Bootcamp: Although Booster was my primary resource for learning and reviewing content, I purchased Bootcamp during the last month of my studying primarily for the 10 full length exams. This calmed my nerves as it exposed me to more questions, but I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone who’s following the typical 12 week timeline. That being said, I was very surprised by how helpful Dr. Mike’s GC and OC videos were while reviewing practice exam questions. It has been over 4 years since I took general chemistry and I took organic chemistry during covid (online and open-book); it felt like I had to reteach myself those topics, but Dr. Mike made the material more digestible and significantly boosted my confidence in these subjects. So for anyone who feels like they have a weak foundation in general and/or organic chemistry, I recommend Bootcamp!
  3. Anki: I used Bootcamp’s free biology deck and organic chemistry reactions deck on and off, but it wasn’t my preferred method of studying. I only completed a bit over half of the biology deck because there were so many cards and I preferred to review the notes on my own and answer Booster’s biology bits. Occasionally, I’d do anki in bed until I fell asleep.
Study Timeline:
I began studying in August 2023 but kept pushing my exam back because I wanted to make sure I was completely ready so I wouldn't have to retake it. While I think it’s completely okay to retake, it’s also okay to push your exam back if you don’t feel ready! I ended up pushing it back from November 2023 to February 2024 and I have no regrets whatsoever. Just be honest with yourself and set realistic goals while studying and I’m sure everything will fall into place.

August-September 2023: I studied every day following the 12 week schedule and this was my only commitment. I completed every task for each day, but I gave myself time to hang out with friends occasionally. Take care of yourself while studying because otherwise you’ll get burnt out real quick (don’t learn that the hard way like I did lol). I used the “rest days” to casually review content. I also made separate mega notes for the content I struggled to memorize, such as IR/NMR values, lab tests, nucleophilicity/acidity trends, and soluble/insoluble salts, and I tried to review these mega notes every day. I continuously added information to these notes as I came across things I knew I might forget. I also realized after my first timed full length that PAT and QR are really a time crunch so pay attention to the clock.

October-December 2023: Life happened and I lost all motivation to study. I began working as a dental assistant twice a week and went from studying 10+ hours a day to only a few hours a day. At this point, I lost my confidence and felt like I didn’t remember most of the content I learned. Finally in December, I pushed myself to get back into a routine and started studying again, now taking one practice exam every few days and taking the time to review every question, even the ones I got right. I think this was the most important part of my studying. I added any new terms or concepts I needed to memorize to my mega notes that I continued to review every day leading up to the exam.

January-February 2024: At this point, I had only a few practice exams left in Booster. While my scores were increasing, I decided to purchase Bootcamp for extra practice. This allowed me to answer as many questions as possible during my last month of studying. I took a full length practice exam every few days and tried to replicate the environment and timing of the real DAT. Again, I reviewed every single question and added any iffy topics to my mega notes. Dr. Mike’s explanation videos were a godsend. While taking practice exams, I tried to master the timing. Know when to mark a question you’re unsure about and move on. This is especially important for SNS since spending too much time in biology might leave you scrambling in gen chem and ochem. By exam day, I had completed all 10 of Booster’s full lengths and most of Bootcamp’s full lengths. I also liked to complete their daily warm ups every morning before studying.

Exam Day:
PAT (22): This felt nearly identical to Booster - I found their tips and question banks very useful. I STRONGLY recommend doing these practice questions timed because it really is a time crunch. Also, don’t be like me and be sure to set aside time to do some questions every day because it’s all about practice. I probably would’ve scored higher if I didn’t neglect PAT in the second half of my studying, but my score was pretty much the average of my booster/bootcamp scores. Also if you struggle with keyholes and TFE like me, I recommend starting with angle ranking first.

QR (19): Not gonna lie, math isn’t my forte and my score reflects that. Booster seemed a bit easier than the real thing, and I was averaging around a 22 on Booster so I was a bit disappointed with my score. Be sure to have all unit conversions memorized because they weren’t provided. I recommend using your break to review formulas and unit conversions. This is the last section of the exam so try your best to push through!

RC (25): My Booster average was around a 24 so I was very happy with this score. I mainly used search and destroy, but I tried to skim and highlight the passages first. I did have some passages with around 18 paragraphs which caught me off guard, but the reading felt slightly easier than Booster and much easier than Bootcamp.

Bio (27): Super straightforward and the questions were so much easier than Booster and Bootcamp. If you’re scoring high on Booster you should have no problem on test day. There were maybe 3 or 4 questions I wasn’t so sure about, specifically evolution and ecology that I didn’t review enough. Trust your gut with these questions and try not to spend too much time here. I also saw a few questions that were identical to Booster’s.

GC (23): I’m pretty happy with this score as this was around my average on Booster. Be sure to have everything memorized and understood, including equations and periodic table trends. I found Bootcamp’s videos most helpful here, but I think Booster’s new videos are a huge improvement compared to their old videos.

OC (25): I was so relieved seeing this score given that I basically had to relearn everything. Definitely use the reaction bites in Booster and/or Bootcamp if you’re struggling to memorize reactions. I completed these questions on Booster at least three times to make sure I knew the characteristics of every reaction. I also went through the reaction sheet every few days as a review. Like gen chem, Dr. Mike’s videos were very helpful to me here.

Final Thoughts:
This was definitely the hardest exam I’ve ever taken, and I didn’t think I’d do this well even after all of my studying these past few months. I realized that no matter how much or how long you study, it’s almost impossible to feel 100% prepared for this exam. As long as you’ve been putting in the time and effort to master these concepts, whether you’re using Booster or Bootcamp, trust that you’ll succeed! Remember to take care of yourself, get a good night’s rest before the exam, and eat a healthy breakfast. I wish you all the best of luck!


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