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Feb 7, 2021
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AFTER 3 SUMMERS, $3000 SPENT, AND I AM FINALLY DONE! Hello everyone I always found these breakdowns helpful and encouraging so I decided to post one too. This was my 3rd time taking the DAT. This will be a long post and I hope some of you will find it helpful especially for test retakers.

1st DAT - 20AA, 19TS, 23OC, 22GC, 16BIO, 21QR, 23PAT, 20RC
2nd DAT - 19AA, 18TS, 20OC, 19GC, 16BIO, 23QR, 21PAT, 19RC

For the first two attempts I only used bootcamp but for my third attempt I decided to try out booster. However, when I found out bootcamp added bio bites I decided to invest in it as well because I really needed to get over a 16 in bio. What I did differently this time is I let myself get exposed to as many practice questions as possible. I did not care about the practice test scores I was getting as I aimed to take an individual test from each section everyday and learn from there. I think it is important to start these tests EARLY and learn as you make mistakes. In the end, I overkilled it by doing every single science test 3x from booster and bootcamp.

BIO 26 - the main reason why I got booster is because people said booster is extremely representative for this section and they were absolutely RIGHT. There were many questions on my DAT that I definitely saw before but just worded differently. For my first 2 DAT attempts, I tried reading the 120pg notes over and over again and memorized as much as possible. This year I found out that I am a better learner when I do practice questions, and bio bites really played a huge role in it. I would read a chapter, do its bio bites, mark everything that I didn't know and come back to it at the end of the week. I only read the notes 1 time this time but I kept doing the bio bites over and over again. In terms of representation, booster > bootcamp. But the bio bites and explanations from bootcamp really helped me solidify the concepts.

GC 23 - almost everything I expected to be on there wasn't there and everything I didn't expect showed up on the test. I didn't get any gas laws, PV=nRT, balancing equation, BP, FP, etc. I got a few manual calculations(the answer choices are not set up in fractions for you), you have to know what a brass is, pH, buffers, ICE tables. I thought my test was harder than the practice tests. In terms of representation, I think booster and bootcamp are pretty similar.

OC 30 - shocked and surprised. OC has always been my favorite subject and my highest score. My test was really straightforward. Make sure you master the trends of acidity, basicity, nuc strength, BP, MP, all the lab tests and basic NMR. Overall, booster OC is more representative but the reaction bank from BC is a very nice resource to master the reactions.

PAT 25 - I don't really have much advice for this section besides practice practice practice. The PAT on booster definitely over prepares you. My advice would be to try to get 15 questions CORRECT from each section everyday. Practice your speed and whatever techniques work the best for you.

Angle - I always skip to #31 and start this section first. My tip is to quickly scan through all answer choices and see if you can tell the difference. Then look at the order the angles were ranked in the answer choices and begin eliminating answer choices (if i can tell that angle 3 is the biggest, I mark off answers that dont have 3 as the biggest). I was able to tilt my head (idk if this is allowed in other test centers) and compared the last 2 answer choices to determine the correct answer.

Hole punch - my test center provided laminated grid paper and I drew 20 grids as soon as I finished the science section. I used the line method (idk if thats what its called?) and practice practice practice.

Cube counting - my advice for this section is after you count all the faces of the cubes, count the total number of cubes in the figure and see if it matches up. If they match then you most likely didn't miscount the cubes. I got some crazy floating cube figures that counted about 4-5 questions and then some figures that only had 1 question.

Pattern folding - always look for the unique shapes first before looking at answer choices! There are always some answer choices you can eliminate right away because it doesn’t match.

Keyholes and TFE - I worked really hard on other sections to make sure I have at least 30mins left for these two bc they are my weakest. I would compare the answer choices and try to eliminate half and then spend my sweet time on deciding the right answer.

QR 25 - I think for this section you also want to do as many different types of questions as possible and recognize the different ways they could ask you. QR on booster is ridiculously hard compared to BC. Overkill isn't a bad thing if you have extra time but I wanted to focus more on the science so I only practiced on BC, which is more representative compared to booster. The QR on the real DAT was really straightforward, the comparison and sufficinity were really simple. This DOES NOT apply to all the test centers, but my test center allowed me to access my phone during my break. I knew about that beforehand so I created a QR cheat sheet with all the formulas and I reviewed it during my break.

RC 18 - English is my 3rd language and I don't really have advice on reading. My practice scores were not that bad and my passages on the DAT were not bad either (12 normal, 7 long, 15 short paragraphs). I don't know what happened here. I would say the computer at my test center definitely played a factor in killing my time. It took about 2s to load every question and my mouse scrolling did not work.

Overall, either of these resources alone definitely prepares you enough to do well on the DAT. Personally, I think bootcamp helped me learn and retain the material better, but booster provides questions (just science in my opinion) that are really similar to the DAT. I would strongly recommend using both resources together if you want to bring your score up to another notch. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help.

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