Mar 25, 2020
5
4
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
AA 17->19->22
TS 18->19->24

Background:
Non-traditional student currently doing a post bacc. I studied while taking 18 units and working part time as a dental assistant. I took off the last 2 weeks off before my test. Started studying during winter break in mid December. On days that I had class, I’d wake up at 6am and study until my 8am classes and then in between or after classes. I always made sure to take half a day off or a whole day off to do something active and give my brain a rest. Taking breaks is essential and helps consolidate info. I never took a day off while I was studying for my 2nd take and it burned me out. This time around I was much more kind to myself and took breaks when I needed and it was a much more sustainable way to study.


Resources used (listed in order of priority):
  1. DAT Booster HIGHLY recommended, especially for anyone who is retaking and hasn’t used Booster before. Booster is slightly harder than BC, so don’t feel discouraged when you see your practice test scores drop. Just focus on understanding the questions/concepts you get wrong and watch Youtube videos if you need clarification. The new bio videos that Booster recently put out were super helpful too, especially the cellular respiration series. I was pretty hesitant about purchasing Booster because it was such a new resource, but I’m glad I did because it’s definitely the most up to date resource. Using Booster this time around deff made the all the difference between my 2nd and 3rd take.
  2. Bootcamp – I used this for my 2nd take, so I mostly reviewed everything. I read bio academy, the condensed bio notes, redid all the practice tests and used the BC iphone app. I used the phone app to practice with PAT generators or review marked questions.
  3. DAT Destroyer – Helpful to get exposure to a broad range of questions and concepts.
  4. Chads Practice Exams – Helpful for extra practice, but not essential.

PAT 18>19>22 – Started each morning practicing PAT using either Booster or BC’s generators. TBH some days I forgot, but the last 2-3 weeks I was consistent and I think that was the key. Booster has a keyhole generator, but no TFE generator while BC has a TFE generator but no keyhole generator. I downloaded BC’s app on my phone and did generators whenever I was on the go. I HIGHLY recommend DAT Booster for PAT and it was a real game changer for me. Keyhole, TFE , cube counting and pattern folding were easier on the real DAT while hole punching and angle ranking were similar difficulty to Booster’s practice tests.

QR 14>17>17– In the weeks leading up to my test, I neglected QR. I also never took a full-length practice test and I think that’s where I went wrong. Also try to switch out your scratch paper before the QR section starts because I probably wasted a minute or two trying to flag down the proctor to change my paper.

RC 19>21>21 – The reading passages were surprisingly short and the questions seemed pretty straightforward. I didn’t really spend as much time prepping for this section except doing Booster’s practice tests.

Bio 17>19>25 – My Booster PT scores were all over the place—the lowest I got was 15 & 16 and the highest I ever got was 21 with an average of 18.7. I started out reading BC’s bio academy notes and doing the bio bites, but the real game changer for me was Booster. There were a couple of questions on my test that were very similar to questions from Booster’s practice tests. For bio, Booster is definitely the most representative of the bio section in terms of how the questions are worded. A lot of the questions on the real exam are more concept comprehension type questions that require critical thinking. I did all of the extra practice bio questions and I made sure to review my mistakes. After I finished all of BC and Booster’s practice tests, I did ~200 DAT Destroyer problems. It was helpful to reinforce some concepts, but some questions are way beyond the scope of the DAT. For more practice, I did all 5 of Chad’s bio practice tests just to get exposure to as many questions as possible, but I found the questions to be easier than the real exam. Finally, I reread BC’s 120 pg condensed notes the week leading up to the test and it helped tie everything together.

Gen Chem 17>18>22 – A good mix of conceptual and calculation questions. I redid did all the questions from BC’s PTs, question banks, Booster’s PTs, the extra practice section and it helped solidify the concepts for me. I watched Khan Academy videos or Organic Chemistry Tutor videos on YouTube for concepts that I needed help on. The real test was much more straightforward than BC or Booster’s tests.

Ochem 18>21>26 – I highly recommend reading and doing the practice problems in Organic Chemistry as a Second Language by Klein. Also, Organic Chemistry Tutor and Leah4sci on youtube are really helpful also. The test was a little more conceptual and straightforward than BC and Booster. The topics tested and the distribution of questions were pretty similar to BC and Booster’s test. I probably did ~100 DAT destroyer questions, but gave up because most of them were just way too complicated. I also did Chad’s practice exams for these after I finished all of Booster and BC’s practices tests. For reactions, I tried to come up with silly associations to help me remember. For example: LiAlH → reduces All carbonyls. KMnO4 → has lots of Os, so it oxidizes everything. NaBH4 → weaker reducing agent, so it’s like Na I don’t want to reduce everything lol.

Good luck to everyone studying and especially those studying for a retake! It's a grind for sure, but the hours you put in and the sacrifices you make will payoff in the end! Even when you feel like giving up—keep going. You’re a lot more capable than you think. For those studying for a retake, make sure you work on your weaknesses and switch up your resources or your approach. Retaking the DAT can be overwhelming at times, but if you put in the hours you'll gradually start to see an improvement.
 

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Sep 8, 2020
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Insane improvements! Congrats!
 
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