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

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


New Member
Aug 28, 2023
Reaction score

Background: I studied for this exam in 3 weeks. I do not recommend this since it was very stressful. I graduated in May with a BS in Neuroscience with a 3.97 GPA (3.93 sGPA). I tend to cram for exams, so this one was no different. It is very possible to do well in a short period of time, but if you can’t study high amounts of information for hours and hours each day, give yourself a lot more time! I didn’t do anything but study in these three weeks, other than shadowing an endodontist for two days, which was a nice study break. I wanted to push back my exam, but was starting a full time job soon (had to commute 1.5 hours the first two weeks) and knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy. I do recommend taking as many science courses prior to taking the DAT, including advanced courses, since it will be easier to review material you have previously learned. I did very light studying last summer since I thought I was going to apply last cycle, but I don’t count it towards my total study time since it was so long ago and I had to go over that material again and it wasn’t much anyways.

Materials: I only used DAT Booster since it was one of the cheaper resources and I HIGHLY recommend it. Since I did not spend as much on prep materials, I invested in the DAT Booster Biology and QR courses as well.



This was one of the sections that I wished I would have started practicing earlier, since you can’t really cram for it. If you’re having a hard time getting motivated to start studying, start here. Even if you don’t get the ball rolling for the other sections, at least you started practicing PAT. I really struggled with PAT at first, but what helped the most was doing practice problems and taking my time before moving onto timed questions and working on getting faster. I would do around an hour or two a day of practice for this section. I was slightly disappointed with this score since I was scoring in the 22-24 range near the end of my studying and was hoping I’d be on the higher end. In particular, I found the angle ranking on the actual exam to be much more difficult than the ones on Booster. I also found the time lag to be a bit longer on the actual exam than the 2 second delay on Booster, and found that it lagged a lot more when going back a question. The other sections were fair (I did get a few rock keyholes unfortunately), and at the end of the day I should have started practicing this section earlier.

Bio: 30

I was not expecting to get a perfect score in bio. Most of the material was from my freshman year bio courses, and a lot of it I had not even learned before, so I was very overwhelmed with this section at first. I tried reading the Feralis notes, but they were way too dense. I focused on the cheatsheets and memorized the material on all of them. By this I mean going through each section of the cheat sheet, learning it, looking up new terms and concepts that I didn’t know, and looking away and trying to state what I just learned. Make sure to be able to explain all diagrams, and don’t just passively look at the pictures. I also watched all of the Booster videos and took notes on them. One of the most helpful materials I used was the Bio Crash Courses. I took all three and they were excellent. I memorized the notes and made sure to take extra note and time to learn the things from the Crash Courses that were also on the cheatsheets. I did all of the bio practice exams as well. The best score I got on a Booster practice test was a 26 (I missed one question), but I was scoring 20-24 more consistently. Biology is a beast of a section but it's all memorization and Booster is an amazing tool to get a great score, you just need to use it properly. Don’t skip topics/sections while studying. You never know which specific topics you will get, so learn every section!

GC: 20

I was disappointed in this section. While I love Booster, I think that the GC materials need to be revised. I watched and took notes on all of the videos, and did all of the question banks. I was scoring better in GC than in bio and orgo, so I was surprised that this was my lowest section on the exam. It was very conceptual and the problems and their wording were very different from the Booster practice tests and problems. I did end up focusing more on orgo and bio the last week since those were weaker sections, so that may have been why this was a lower score.

OC: 26

I absolutely despised organic chemistry as an undergrad, and orgo II is the lowest grade I have ever gotten, so I was shocked that this was my second highest section. I scored a 15 on an orgo practice test the week before my exam and panicked, and realized that I really had to go back and really learn the concepts. I made flashcards of each reaction and any additional information (regiochemistry, stereochemistry, intermediates, etc). LEARN THE NAMES of everything (reagents, functional groups, reaction names, etc). It is so much easier to identify the product and what is going on in a problem if you actually know what you’re looking at. I wouldn’t just quickly go through my flashcards and passively memorize, but I both memorized and learned each reaction by going back to the notes or videos on Booster. There are so many reactions that it is difficult to keep track of all of them without getting them mixed up, so take the time to learn the material in orgo. Also make sure you understand the basics of organic chemistry (acidity/ARIO, resonance, r/S configuration, etc). Practice problems are also an essential part of learning organic chemistry, so do a lot of them and review them.

RC: 25

I barely prepared for this section. I think I did two RC practice tests and called it a day since I had other sections that needed more attention. My passages were each a decent length. I would read the first question, read until I found the answer, and move onto the next question and keep doing that. They ask very specific details and I found during my practice tests that I would get too tired reading the passage all at once and wouldn’t absorb anything.

QR: 22

I was pleased with this since I did not prepare for it as much as I should have and I also ended up running out of time since I was so tired by the end of my exam. I was so focused on the sciences and improving PAT that I forgot about QR. I took the QR crash courses and they were definitely helpful in learning tricks on how to answer questions more quickly. I have seen in other students’ breakdowns that QR and RC are unpredictable in terms of what you are going to get, and that difficulty varies between exams. I was definitely surprised by some of the types of problems that I had, and by how many types of problems I was sure I would see but didn’t, so it is best to practice as much as possible to have the best chance of success with QR. I did end up running out of time and putting random answers on a few questions, so I was happy with a 22.


Members don't see this ad.