2+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2017
Houston, TX
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Hey everyone, I have read a lot breakdowns over the last couple of months that I thought were very beneficial to me and now I feel like it is my time to give back a little bit. First I'd like to thank @FeralisExtremum @orgoman22 and @Ari Rezaei for all of the resources that I used. I'll also include some extra information about the position I am in following the breakdown, and I would like to get some advice on how competitive my application will be.

I am very happy overall with these scores, I needed to make some big plays here and I ended up doing well.


Biology: 23

AA: 24
TS: 25

View attachment 222574

I'll be a junior Biomedical Science major at a well-known university in Texas this fall, so I won't be applying until next June. At the end of my freshman year I had a horrible GPA, partly due to not knowing how to study, partly because I was unsure of what I wanted to do for a career which made it a little more difficult to motivate myself. There was a big bounce-back my sophomore year which I will discuss after, but the point I am trying to make is that anyone can do well on this test as long as you put in the work.

Over the course of this summer, I worked a part-time job and took two semesters of physics, so time was a little bit tight. I was planning on keeping up with my workouts but I realized pretty early that there just wasn't enough time.

Overall, over the course of 90 days I put in about 620 hours of studying which comes out to around 7 hours a day. People have gotten way higher scores than me studying in far less time so the amount of time you spend is up to you.

Materials Used:

DAT Bootcamp- All subjects (15/10)
This program is absolutely amazing, the questions have amazing explanations including videos for Gchem and Ochem, and they also have a chat system where you can ask the team questions and usually they will get back to you within hours with an explanation. The PAT and reading practice were very helpful as well.

DATQVault- All subjects (6/10)
I liked this material because it gave me more SNS questions to practice, however the reason I give it a 6/10 is that the explanations for a lot of questions were very clearly lacking. I would still recommend this material, especially for bio, purely for exposure to different types of questions. There were many times when I didn't fully understand a question here and just asked one of the people working for DAT bootcamp about it, which I think worked out perfectly. The PAT tests here are severely lacking and I would not recommend using this as a main resource.

Feralis Notes- (9/10)
Very detailed biology notes that can be found for free. If you can manage to memorize everything from this source you should be set up to do well on the bio section, however that is a very difficult task. Only reason that I did not give a 10/10 is just the fact that it may be a little too in depth.

Dat Destroyer- (10/10)
This book is absolutely amazing. I bought the DAT destroyer along with the math destroyer books and I found them to be extremely helpful. The exposure you get from going through all of the problems and their explanations was invaluable to me (although I did not finish two of the sections) so I very highly recommend this as well.

Study Strategy:

It's important to not that I took one of many different versions of this test, some are easier and some are harder, but it is best to be prepared for anything they might throw at you.

Biology (23)- This was by far the hardest subject for me to study for, I got C's in my freshman level biology classes so I didn't have a strong foundation whatsoever to start this.
My best advice for this section would be to find a way to study and stick to it. For example, I started right off the bat trying to read through Feralis' notes and take my own condensed notes with it. This didn't work, I couldn't keep myself focused through the dense material so I tried several different methods before finding something that worked for me. That process did waste a lot of time, but in the end I found something that I liked.

My advice would be to buy destroyer and go through all of the bio questions, including the explanations and looking up terms you don't understand to get a good foundation for the material, then use bootcamp and DATQvault as tools to strengthen whatever you might've missed and follow it up with Feralis' notes to strengthen any weak areas you have (the only reason I didn't give Feralis notes a 10/10 is because the depth of that document is beyond the scope of the DAT. That said, if you are the type of person who can sit down and memorize everything on it, go for it.)

There are many different ways to approach this section, so find a way that works for you and stick to it.

General Chemistry (24)- I got a C and a B in my gen chem classes freshman year, so I didn't have the best foundation for this subject either. For Gchem, Organic chem and QR I made a ton of notecards with problems on the front and detailed explanations on the back into small stacks so that I could keep track of where I was. I would put a little dot in the top corner each time I went through the stack, and I would do all of the problems in spiral notebooks that I had for each subject. I found this method to be very easy to keep up with. Destroyer, and bootcamp are very key here. I probably went through all of the destroyer and bootcamp problems that I had trouble with two or three times and that set me up fairly well for the real thing. I didn't use chad's or mike's videos just because I didn't think it it matched up with the way I wanted to study.

Organic Chemistry (30)- I just took both semesters if this class last year and got an A in both so my background was pretty hefty. I did all of the bootcamp tests and DATQVault tests and made notecards, however I barely touched the Organic part of DAT destroyer simply because I thought my time would be better used in other areas. It all worked out for me, but I would still strongly recommend going through all of the DAT destroyer for every subject, even if you feel comfortable with it. I also went back through some of my notes from class if I needed a review for something.

PAT (24)- Pretty much only used DAT Bootcamp here. They have video tutorials for every section I believe, which show you the basics and additionally have supplemental problems and question generators outside of the 10 practice tests. One of the other things that I loved most about practicing the PAT through bootcamp was the detailed explanations and walkthrough of the problems, very valuable. DATQVault's PAT tests are not very good in my opinion (very little explanation, some of the Keyhole and TFE problems had answers that didn't make any sense) so honestly I would avoid practicing the PAT with that resource.

Reading Comprehension (23)- I went through the first 5 reading tests of Bootcamp and the first 3 tests of DATQvault and that was about it. I didn't do any extra reading like is recommended and I specifically only used the search and destroy method. The reason I didn't do any extra reading is because I thought I would be able to do well without it, and I ended up doing okay but if you have time I think it would be better to follow the recommendations people give of reading a few articles every now and then. This really just comes a long with practice.

Quantitative Reasoning (22)- DAT Bootcamp was by far the most valuable resource here, especially considering the addition of the new "Quantitative Comparison" questions, which I received between 10-12 on my test. For the other questions, the math destroyer tests were very helpful, and so was DATQvault. I did not touch very much of the QR inside of the full DAT destroyer book, but looking back I definitely wish I had gone through it a little more.

Practice Test Scores:
I took all of the tests for each program in order (1-10)

(Test #: Bio/Gchem/Ochem/RC/QR/PAT)
1: <15/16/20/17/16/16 (Taken at the beginning before any studying to see where I stood)
2: <14/<14/22/18/17/<15
3: <15/30/27/22/26/19
4: 17/20/22/25/19/21
5: 20/19/23/22/20/20

I started off with terrible scores, and it was very discouraging. So after doing almost even worse a week later on the second full length test, I took a step back and started going over questions in destroyer which helped so much. I then took all of the DATQvault tests before coming back to finish tests 6-10 for bootcamp. I scored consistently between 20-26 in all of the sections for these tests (excluding the reading tests which I didn't take). If you have any further questions about these let me know.

2007 DAT (2 weeks before the real DAT):

Personally, I think the 2007 is on the easier side of tests. I still recommend people to take it a few weeks before the real test, just for more practice. At the very least it can be a confidence booster (hopefully). I was not very happy at all with my biology score here and it motivated me to really hammer the biology section before I took the 2009 DAT.

2009 DAT (3 days before the real DAT):

I think the 2009 is pretty close, difficulty-wise, to what you'll encounter on the test. There are many errors in these sections, but I would recommend just taking the test and then looking up all of the errors after and correcting your score. I only took the SNS because I had heard some not-so-good things about the rest of the test, and I didn't think 3 days before my DAT would be a good time to start worrying myself over lower than normal scores.

Day of the Exam:
Two weeks before the test, I did the Prometric "Test run", which I found to be very helpful in the sense that I wasn't as nervous about what was going to happen when I got there. The test center was very quick when I went for the test run, however once I got called back for my real DAT they kept telling me that something was wrong with my appointment in their computer so I had to wait a little while. I signed in at 7:30 for my 8:00 appointment and didn't get into the testing room until 8:45. Overall this was not a big deal to me and the workers were very nice.

SNS- Everything went smoothly here. I really can't tell you enough how important it is that you remain calm during the test, it is very possible to psyche yourself out and forget material. I finished the SNS with about 30 minutes left and had marked around 12 questions. I went quickly back over the test to make sure I had put in the right answers and spent some extra time trying to hammer out my marked questions. I got the marked questions down to 7 at the end, 5 in bio and 2 in gchem. The resources I listed above prepared me very well for this section.
PAT- To be completely honest, I am really surprised I got a 24 here. There were 4-5 keyhole questions that I didn't even know where to begin, I tried not to spend too much time on them so I didn't ruin my whole test though. The rest of the keyholes were about on par or slightly more difficult than the ones on Bootcamp. I expected TFE to be a little easier so it was a shock to me when I saw these crazy shapes pop up. I had never seen any shapes like the ones they showed me here and I probably had to guess on 3-4. The rest of the questions in the TFE section were harder than the average Bootcamp question. Angle ranking, Hole punching, Cube counting and Pattern folding were all fairly easy compared to the the Bootcamp practice tests and I must've knocked them out of the park to get my score up...Don't let this worry you, there are many different versions of the test
RC- About what I was expecting here, there were a couple of easier passages and one harder one. I am pretty sure on of them was in chronological order but the others were not. Don't bank on any passage being in chronological order, but if you see am obvious pattern you should run with it. Used purely search and destroy here and it worked just fine.
QR- Honestly I was hoping for a slightly higher score here, but I was getting really stretched for time at the end. The quantitative comparison questions were very similar to the ones found in the Bootcamp practice tests. I had no trig which was a nice surprise, but there were a few tricky algebra problems that were time-suckers. Just be aware of your timing on this section because it can really creep up on you.

I did read one or two breakdowns when I was studying, where it was mentioned that this test is "easy". If you are just starting to study for your DAT, you can't go in thinking it's going to be easy. It isn't easy, if it was easy then everyone would be getting a 27AA, but it is doable if you put in the work. There were definitely ups and downs in the time I spent prepping for this test, there were some days when I didn't think it was going to be possible and there were some days where I felt like I could get any score I wanted on this test. Stick through it, all the studying and work is worth it in the end. If y'all have any questions about my DAT experience, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

My Position:
I'll be 19 when I finish my application next summer, but I'll turn 20 before any interview invites are sent out (I'm not sure how this affects my application but I'm hoping someone can give me some insight). As I mentioned earlier, my freshman year was pretty terrible (1st Sem: oGPA 2.5, sGPA 2.0) (2nd Sem: oGPA 3.0, sGPA 2.2). My studying methods were ineffective and lazy and I was confused about what I wanted to do for my career path. I had been Pre-Vet and had several hundred hours of shadowing under my belt from high-school and into college, however I really lost my passion for it along the way and was not very motivated to get the grades. That summer I fell in love with the dental field, and did way better the following year (3rd Sem: oGPA 3.8, sGPA 3.6) (4th Sem: oGPA and sGPA 4.0). After this summer with the two physics classes (which I received A's in), my oGPA is a 3.34 and sGPA is a 3.1. These should rise since I have my junior left to finish before I apply, and I believe that I will finish with oGPA 3.5-3.6 and sGPA 3.3-3.4.
I am a Texas resident and plan to apply to around 10 schools including the three in Texas. I haven't done my research on OOS friendly schools so I am not sure where else to apply just yet. With this DAT score and GPA, am I in a good position? Let me know, and once again I am more than happy to answer anyone's questions.

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