DAT Breakdown (27 AA/28 TS/25PAT)

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choco_pies

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Hi guys, there are a lot of breakdowns from high DAT scorers already but another one can't hurt!

Scores:

  • PAT: 25
  • QR: 30
  • RC: 22
  • Bio: 30
  • GC: 24
  • OC; 30
  • TS: 28
  • AA:27
Background:

  • I'm an incoming senior with a 3.98 GPA. I took bio and gen chem in freshman year, physics in sophomore year, and orgo in junior year.
Resources:

  • DATBooster: I bought this 3 months before my DAT and used it right up until it expired. I found it was very representative of my real DAT for the most part and it definitely is the bang for the buck option and I highly recommend it.
  • DATBootcamp: I was given access to bootcamp by my school around 1.5 months before my exam so my time with it was shorter but I still used it very often for extra practice problems. I found the practice exams to be a bit more challenging on Bootcamp than Booster, but I would say for the most part they were pretty comparable. There is also a quick study feature that gives you 10 questions shuffled from their GC, OC, Bio, and QR questions banks that I found very useful and would do that often.
Study Timeline:

  • I'm a very anxious person when it comes to most things in life so I gave myself 5 months to study. I started at the very end of 2023 and then took my DAT May 31 2024. This also included my workload for the spring semester so I tried to space things out accordingly. I would say studying for the DAT during a school semester is very doable. I would wake up a bit earlier before my classes started and study for 1-2 hours and then head off to class and do school work in the evenings. However if I could do things over, I would have preferred to do things over the summer to lessen stress and allow more time to focus on DAT studying.
  • To note, I didn't use any of the study timelines provided by booster or bootcamp, I just did my own thing and studied what I felt like from day to day. I know this won't work for some people but I quite enjoyed the freedom of this.
  • 1st month: I spent a month just taking bio notes from Bootcamp's high yield bio notes. I found booster's to be way too much information and it was very overwhelming. Bootcamp's notes are about 145 pages long and over winter break I tried to take notes on about 7-8 pages per day and reduced that to 3-5 pages a day when school started back up. This month of studying gave me a good baseline knowledge when it came to reviewing bio, but it was not very time effective.
  • 2nd month: I still hadn't bought any services yet (I was trying to hold out until 3 months). I spent this month watching gen chem videos from Chad's prep on youtube since I saw some recommendations for him on this subreddit before. I would just watch these videos when I had freetime and I never took notes (I was very much relying on my brain to sponge up the information). I don't suggest just watching videos without taking notes, I didn't retain a lot of the information I saw, but since I had extra time and was rusty on gen chem this helped me build up some knowledge for an initial start.
  • 3rd month: I bought booster and started doing a lot of the question banks. I would wake up and do bio bits first thing in the morning when I first got booster and then slowly started doing the other subjects. At this point I really didn't utilize videos or study notes with the exception of the gen chem study notes and the comprehensive orgo reaction sheet on booster. I would do question banks and just learn the material from the explanations provided from there. I used this method for every single subject and would just jump from subject to subject each day. Honestly if you are tight on time, I found this to be a really useful way of learning information and trying to actively remember it.
  • 4th month: Same routine as 3rd month but I started taking more individual subject tests for each subject to see where my weak points were so I could go back and review those points.
  • 5th month: I almost exclusively did individual subject tests at the beginning half of the month and the second I would do a full length test everyday.
Subject-Subject breakdown:

  • Bio (30): I started studying for bio right away since I knew it would be the most overwhelming and I do think that was the smart move. I'm honestly surprised by my score since I didn't know 2-3 of the questions on my DAT. I would say both booster and bootcamp's practice tests were pretty comparable to the real thing but I actually found the real things to be a bit harder because of the weird wording of 2-3 of the problems. They seemed more convoluted than what I was expecting and it stressed me out initially.
    • I finished the whole TS section with 30 min left. Bio and orgo were my big time savers but I studied TS so much I could do the section fairly quickly each time.
  • GC (24): There were a lot of calculation based questions on my test which was a bit annoying since some of them were a bit annoying to do. I didn't know how to do a problem here and I probably fumbled a few more questions since I had a problem of overlooking certain things even during the practice exams. Compared to the practice I would say my GC section was on the harder side of the practice tests. Read the questions carefully for this section and don't be tripped up by the math and you'll be fine.
  • OC (30): This section was on the easier side of OC tests. I had no spec questions which was quite nice. It was a lot of basic reactions and acidity. Nothing too tricky on the questions they asked here. Booster and Bootcamp both prepared me very well for this section. It also helped that I was taking orgo 2 during the spring semester so all the information was fresh in my mind.
  • QR (30): I would say Booster's QR tests were easier than Bootcamp's and my real DAT QR was easier than boosters. Very basic questions on my section here. I didn't study at all for this section outside the question banks and like 3 videos on probability. Practice questions are more than enough for this section in my opinion.
    • I finished with about 10 min left
  • RC (22): This section is totally my fault lol. I really hate reading sections and it's always been my weakness. But instead of practicing it more I just put it off until the end and hoped for the best on test day (whoops). How well I did on my practice reading sections always depends on the ease of the articles in the section. On my DAT there were 2 easy-mid articles and 1 article that was information overload ( I lowkey thought I should throw in the towel at that point). The strategy I used when just thoroughly reading the passage noting down 3-4 things per paragraph so I could reference them when answering questions. I also nodded my head and made faces when reading the articles to try and feign interest which slightly worked.
    • I finished with 1 min 30 sec left
  • PAT (25): The real PAT was easier than any of the practice I did. This is in large part due to how big the pictures were on my real DAT. I feel like I was practicing on hard mode since the pictures on my practice were like 1/4 the size of the actual DAT. The keyholes were pretty comparable to practice and so were TFE (Also watching any video explanations for TFE were super helpful in coming up with a method to do these quickly and accurately). Hole punching was comparable to Booster's with Bootcamp's being way harder. Cube counting was on the easier side with less cubes per structure and not many hidden cubes. Pattern folding was on the easier side of booster's and bootcamp's. I start with angle ranking and work my way until the end of pattern folding and then go back and do keyholes and TFE since those are harder. This method eased me into the PAT better and I would highly recommend it.
    • I finished with 5 min left.
Scratch Paper:

  • Some of you might not care but I was very scared of the paper situation since I use a lot of it. They gave me 2 thin expo markers and 2 sheets of laminated paper, with one side having a grid and the other side being blank. I couldn't erase, it was basically like having a paper and permanent marker. I switched paper during my break and another time right before my QR section since I use a lot of paper for RC and QR.
Closing Thought:

  • I would say that overall the practice tests were very indicative of what I saw on the real thing. If you are doing well on the practice exams you'll probably do the same or even better on the real thing. I was averaging about a 24-25 on the practice and the day before the exam my practice test score was a 25.
  • You'll do fine! Just take your time and study because I promise all the time pays off.
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