DAT Breakdown 26AA/27TS/23PAT

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Aug 31, 2022
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truly can’t believe i’m making one of these posts because dat studying felt like a never ending pit, but here we are hi everyone!! I took my dat 2 weeks ago and wanted to make a breakdown after I lulled myself to sleep every night for the past 3 months reading other people’s. So let’s begin with how I studied and how long: I studied mainly with Booster, took 3 months exactly, and studied 6-7 days a week for 7-8 hours a day. I feel like logically I could’ve studied a bit less so please don’t read this thinking “oh no I have to study that much too”, I am just a chronic over-studier because it relieves anxiety knowing I’ve redone everything 3 times before going in. If you can study efficiently it’ll probably take you less. I also went into this process with the mindset of “one and done” and especially during the midst of my studying I realized there’s no way I’m putting myself through another summer of misery. I spend approximately 1.5 months doing content review, and I pretty much learned from scratch because I usually flush my brain out after finals and forget most of what I learned. I’m a bio major so relearning the bio wasn’t too bad, but I’ve never been a genchem girl so that was one of the sections I was most worried about going into this. Ok enough babbling let’s get into this!

Resources used: Booster full time, I pretty much completely exhausted this resource. I remember at the start of my studying Id see all these people using booster and bootcamp to study and started doubting myself thinking I needed to do that too, but I didn’t and I’m happy with that choice now. I decided it would be better to fully exhaust one resource by rereading all the notes, retaking the science tests, and redoing question banks to really enforce the material into my brain than overwhelm myself with all the material between two programs. I probably would’ve ended up trying to get through all the material for the sake of being done rather than understanding, and not had time to review at the end.

Bootcamp: Like I said I didn’t buy anything but I did take the free practice test, it was alright but kind of easier than the actual test imo and also it was practice test 1 so I didn’t take it thinking it’d be super representative- just wanted some extra practice with the material and simulating the test experience.

DESTROYER: I had a fam member take the DAT in like 2008 and I had their old destroyer book laying around so I thought why not use it for some extra practice. I did science questions only bc I know QR has changed since then, and found the bio to be really close to booster which surprised me because this book is over 10 years old. So it’s really not a terrible resource, I’m sure it’s even more accurate now and it could be good to further your understanding on the sciences but don’t overwhelm yourself and worry that you should know how to do all those hard questions.

Bio: (30) I would say bio on the exam was similar to Booster, not necessarily easier though. I had a healthy mix of anatomy, hormones, ecology, molecular biology/DNA, and taxonomy. My test was quite broad and I was asked surface level questions mostly, but some questions did require interpretation of diagrams and some critical thinking to understand what the question was really asking and to find little things in the answer choices that made them wrong. I put a lot of emphasis on bio when I was studying. Overall I read Feralis notes 3 times through, did all the extra questions and redid them, and I used booster’s ANKI decks since day 1. I used anki daily, and when I was rereading sections of feralis notes I would redo the corresponding anki too. I think anki helped me a lot in the beginning to memorize everything, especially anatomy bc ur girl did NOT absorb anything from anatomy&physiology when I took it during zoom times. I remember being worried about the lab techniques and microscopes for bio while studying bc i could not force my brain to memorize those but didn’t get a single one on my test. Boosters cheat sheets started popping up on the site a little bit before my test and I reviewed them too, to be honest no anatomy question on my test went more in depth than what was on those cheat sheets. I went overkill on studying anatomy bc I felt like I needed to learn it all, but looking back the cheat sheets wouldve been fine in a crunch. I know people have mixed feelings about anki but I really feel like it’s worth going through the decks once through. When I began studying back in May I downloaded the OG booster deck with all the chapters organized into separate sections, but then they posted a new one without organization which I thought was a bit worse. If anyone would like the original, message me and I’ll send. Lastly, I used bootcamp’s condensed notes too, but just towards the end after I’d already read feralis. I found some stuff in there that booster didn’t have, like Rho-dependent rna binding, one-hit vs two-hit gene mutations, and lab techniques, but none of it ended up on my test so i guess it didn’t really matter. I think bootcamp notes are good to review after you’ve already done decent content review somewhere else, bc imo they’re not specific enough to get you to really learn and understand concepts. I’d just use for light review at the end of studying.

Gen Chem(27): yea idk how this one happened. Ive hated gen chem since day one of freshman year. I watched all dave’s videos on booster and did all the modules, but to be honest didn’t like dave’s vids that much. Towards the end his voice would be burning in my ears and sounded a bit too robotic (but he’s so natural on his youtube channel??), and the material in the videos was kind of broad so I preferred to read the notes instead. Now I’m gonna hype up these notes bc I read them through approximately 3 times and made so many highlights and annotations, and that’s what really helped me learn the material. I did all the question banks 2-3 times and made sure I throughly understood those explanations. Shout out to dude in the gc explanation videos, he was concise and not annoying at all and looked like an indian drake so I was happy to listen to him. As someone who hated gc in college, my best advice is to redo those question banks as many times as it takes to drill concepts into your brain and use the notes for learning. Also, I watched chads vids when they were linked on the study guide. I put them on 2x and thought he did a very nice job of explaining concepts so they’d stick. My test had 5-6 calculations and I did not think they were easy numbers. They had me dividing weird decimals and only one of my questions had answers in parenthesis. Also my test had hella rate laws and kinetics which I felt like booster went a bit lighter on during tests.

Ochem (25): This section was pretty similar to booster. I had 2-3 questions where I had to interpret NMR/IR, had ~6-7 reaction questions, and the rest were like kinetics, mechanisms, and stereochemistry. Rxns were simple like e1/sn1/sn2/e2. I had a claisen condensation and some 2-step synthesis but when they were simple with basic redox/ox reagents. Got some fisher projections asking about stereochem so don’t neglect those. To study I used mainly the booster notes, did extra questions and the new banks they posted too, and made a reaction map. I designed this map through the lens of synthesis, for instance Id title a page “how to get an OH” and draw a simple starting molecule like an alkene. Then I’d draw out arrows with all the reagents that could put an alcohol on that molecule, like H2SO4/H2O, etc, and draw the product. This helped me not only memorize all the reagents but also be able to think critically on the test if I was supposed to look at a multi step reaction and figure out the starting molecule.

tip for the sciences: my strategy on all ptests was to get thought the questions as soon as I could so I could have lots of time at the end to review and rethink them with a clear mind. On the real thing, I got thru bio in about 13 min, gen chem in 25, and ochem was approximately another 10-15. I had 40 min left after my first run through, and then my heart could finally stop beating because I’d seen everything and could go back and think clearly. During the test I marked everything and anything I thought was hard or was iffy on, and I went back to them during this time.

PAT (23): I read a lot of breakdowns saying that angles were way harder on the real test than booster but to be honest I thought they were fine. Because of that fear though I did a ton of angle generator problems and I would set them for 3 degrees apart because I figured if I just

practiced those I would be better off on the test. I didn’t get any floating cubes, to study I did the generators. Pattern folding was similar to booster practice tests, as was hole punching. Keyhole I thought was similar in difficulty while TFE was a bit simpler. Got zero rocks. At the beginning of my studying I would try to do one hour of PAT practice every morning but then I got sick of it and wanted to focus on sciences so towards the end I would redo the PAT practice test sections to work on timing. My final week I honestly just grinded sciences so I put PAT on the back burner and just did generators the day before.

Reading Comp (26): My passages were all science based, the first one was long and had lots of tone and inference questions so I freaked out a bit but then the second and third were mostly fact recall questions. I would read about 3/4 of the way through as fast as possible and highlight any names, dates, techniques, and main ideas for each paragraph. I did not absorb much of the content while reading, just focused on getting a general idea and highlighting. This took about 4-5 min, after which Id go to answer questions for about 10-11 min. The first passage was long and took me about 20 minutes so I started to stress, but don’t do this okay because your next passages might be just fine like they were for me. I put my first thought for each question and marked anything I thought might need deeper thinking. At the end I had 15 min and went back to all those questions that I needed to reread sections for or think about carefully.

QR (20): To be completely honest I thought I failed this section when I submitted, so when I saw 20 I was pleasantly shocked. My test featured a few arithmetic series questions and complex probabilities which I wasn’t really prepared for, so it ate some time and damaged my flow because then I’d look at simple questions and blank. That being said, I wouldn’t neglect these areas while studying. To study for QR I took a crash course for probabilities and rates, and other than that I just focused on doing all the extra questions on booster and redoing the qr practice tests the week before my test. I think what helped me most was doing the qr practice problems and noting all the quick tricks, and looking back I wish I would’ve focused on the harder questions more too. The crash course might be helpful if you are just beginning to study or if you are really struggling with qr, but personally I did not get much out of it as I felt it had easier questions than the test itself.

I realize I’ve made this super long but please hmu with any more questions about prepping, or even calming anxiety if you’re struggling with that. At the start of all this I was worried that even if I prepped well, I’d get anxious on the test and blank out and sabotage myself. I would even get anxious on practice test mornings. If that’s you, message me because it’s so common and if I could get through this so can you .

Below are my practice test scores and actual scores !

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