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DAT breakdown 4/14/2014

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by neoba, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. neoba

    neoba 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Hi all!

    I finally took my DAT last week and was fortunate enough to get a score which I am super happy about (TS 28, AA 27). While preparing for the test, I benefited so much from this forum, especially from the wonderful collection of breakdowns by Glimmer1991, and always wanted to give back to the community. Now it is the time.

    First off, some background. I am a nontrad, graduated from college 10+ years ago, married, and a father. English is not my first language, as you can see from my writing. I have an advanced degree and extensive research experience in Biology, and work full time while preparing for the test.

    Here comes the breakdown.

    Biology (30):soexcited:
    Materials used: CliffsAP Biology; Campbell Biology [9th edition]; Chad's Video and Quizzes; Online resources such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, Crash Course Biology on Youtube; DAT Destroyer.
    During the first stage of the study, I read through CliffsAP once and finish the quizzes at the end of each chapter. My goal at this stage was to thoroughly understand every concept before I memorize them. Chad also talked about this in one of his OC videos, one thing becomes easy to memorize when you understand it. If it is completely foreign to you, memorizing it would be almost impossible. I also used Campbell Biology, Chad's videos, and many online resources (some were very amusing and cheered me up while I was very depressed) at the same time, especially for those concepts CliffsAP only briefly mentioned.
    Due to my past experiences and what I learned from the breakdowns from other people, I didn't spend too much time on several chapters, mainly memorized the first five chapters plus Animal Form and Function during my limited time devoted to Biology. I broke down the chapters into pieces, and memorized them all by using flashcards. All my commute time for the past months was spent on going over the flashcards.
    The last two chapters I wanted to memorize but failed to do so were Animal Reproduction and Development, and Biological Diversity. The amount of vocabularies were simply insane. Thanks to the great post by BIYANT, I realized I might be able to tackle them by just working on the practice materials. So I started DAT Destroyer Biology, two days before my DAT. I worked through it 40 questions at a time within 30 min, followed by a review. I only reviewed the questions I completely had no idea about and the ones I missed, since I was running out of time. If the answers/explanations were not clear enough, I would still go online and try to get the best understanding of the topics. My thought was that since the test can be so random, the only way to prepare for it is to get a solid understanding on each concept I spend time on.
    The real test turned out to be very straightforward and luckily only one or two weird questions showed up, but I was able to make my educated guesses.

    General Chemistry (30)
    Materials used: Chad's videos and quizzes; DAT Destroyer
    I went through Chad's videos twice, made notes on flashcards, and did all the quizzes. This is definitely the No. 1 material I would recommend for Gen Chem review. The only parts Chad does not cover for Gen Chem are lab and nomenclature. Since I didn't learn Gen Chem in English back in college, I had to spend some time on this. Fortunately DAT Destroyer covered this part a little, and I also googled up some materials on this.
    Similar to the Bio section, I went through DAT Destroyer Gen Chem 30 questions at a time, in no more than 30 min, and reviewed the questions I missed and the ones I didn't know.
    The real test was easy, even comparable to ADA 2007. The only question I wasn't sure about was on lab technique.

    Organic Chemistry (25)o_O
    Materials used: Orgo I and II courses; Chad's videos and quizzes; DAT Destroyer
    My feeling about Chad’s videos on OC is that they are most helpful if you learned Orgo recently. Unfortunately, I had a horrible experience on Orgo back in college, and nothing is left in my head after such a long time. As soon as I knew Orgo is required for DAT, I registered for the course in a nearby college, and bought "organic chemistry as a second language". The book was most helpful for Orgo I in explaining the basic principles, in my opinion. My professor also did a really fantastic job on helping me to master the subject. I also had tons of homework in the class, which helped a lot.
    After taking the class, Chad's became more meaningful/helpful to me, mainly serving as a great review by threading scattered pieces together.
    Since I was running out of time for Bio, I only did 60 questions on Destroyer, and only reviewed half of them.
    The actual test was again straightforward. There might be two questions I wasn't sure about. I really thought I could’ve got a better score on this. But I guess I was already lucky enough and shouldn't ask for too much. :)

    Perceptual Ability (20) :shrug:
    Materials used: Achiever with 7 tests; Crack DAT PAT Ace Edition with 10 tests.
    Interesting enough, this is the part I practiced most and possibly spent most time and money on. My biggest problem was always time, and have barely finished a full test in time. My scores ranged from 16 to 19 for Achiever and Crack DAT PAT. My score on ADA 2007 PAT was 25+, if I remembered it correctly, but as many people have mentioned, it is easier than the real PAT. I thought the real PAT was pretty close to both materials I used, even slightly easier, but the angle ranking was pretty hard. The cube counting in Achiever is quite miss leading. Try ADA 2007 first, and you will see what the regular questions should look like.
    I felt pretty well overall during the test, most of the questions were straightforward. To overcome the time issue, my strategy was to finish each session in 10 min, and never spend more than 1 min on any single question. The strategy worked pretty well, and I only skipped three TFE questions (believe me, this was already better than what I used to do) and one pattern folding. The major surprise came from angle ranking. The angles in several questions were very close, and in one question the smallest angle was ranked the biggest or the second to the biggest in all choices:wtf:. According to my friend who got 30 in PAT (yes, THIRTY:nod:!), Bootcamp is very helpful in building up your skills on angle ranking. I just never had time to give it a try.

    Reading Comprehension (22):highfive:
    Materials used: Achiever with 7 tests; Crack DAT Reading Comprehension Ace Edition with 10 tests.
    I am a slow reader, partly because English is not my first language, and because I have a bad reading habit, I actually READ, word by word. I gathered the materials recommended on the forum and worked through all of them. Again, time was the pressing issue. I tried S&D first, which did not work for me. The final strategy I took was reading through each passage within 10 min, then finish the questions within 10 min, so no more than 20 min per passage. When the time is up, move on to the next passage.
    I didn't like either of the materials I used. Some passages were way too long or hard to read, and some questions did not make any sense to me. After my real test, I realized what is good about using the practice materials: they force you to read fast, so you will be used to the beat, and they force you to read something you would never read in your regular life, but something as boring may show up in the test, even the same topic!
    As for the real test, I was really lucky to get two passages which were somewhat related to my past research experiences, and the third one happened to be a topic covered by one passage in Achiever. I was able to finish all passages in time, following my 10-10 strategy.

    Quantitative Reasoning (28):laugh:
    Materials used: Chad's Videos and Quizzes; Math Destroyer.
    Mathematics has always been my strength. Before I worked on Math Destroyer, I started my review with Chad's videos and quizzes, which I thought was pretty helpful. To simulate the possible low energy level during the real test, as many people mentioned in their breakdowns, I did all my Math Destroyer tests around midnight, before I went to bed. I was able to finish most of the tests in 45 min with one or two errors, except one or two tests (Test 10+), and made notes on tricky questions and terms I was not familiar with, using flashcards.
    The real test, to my surprise, again, was a little hard, I used the calculator for a couple of questions, and I barely finished it on time and only had time to check one of the questions I marked.

    The test day
    The laminated boards the test center provided can reflect the light. Unless you always sit straight up and look at the board from the top, the reflection may prevent you from seeing what you wrote down sometimes.
    The markers were something like this. It is somewhat smearproof, after the ink is dry. However, if you are like me, who don't always cap the pen, especially while doing cube counting or hole punching, here is a warning for you: the pens get dry quickly if uncapped and may become annoying to you.
    The test interface is closer to Crack DAT than Achiever. However, during Reading Comprehension, the passage automatically rewinds to the top every time you switch the question. This seems to be more like Achiever than Crack DAT, if I remember correctly.
    The periodic table and calculator existed as exhibits, and you don’t need to close it as long as it does not bother you. When you click on Next, they will be automatically closed.
    One more thing, there is a somewhat annoying feature in the DAT software. It pops up a reminder when there is half time left, and again at 5min left. It scared me when I was focusing on a question and took me two clicks to close the pop-up window, and the computer froze for a second or two after that. I was very annoyed by this especially since every second counts.

    Last but not the least, acknowledgements.
    My boss was super supportive to me, and let me took 7 weeks off in total for studying. Without his help, DAT would be much more difficult. Thanks to my wife, for taking care of the kid during the weekends, sacrificing her own time, and for the big hug on the test day before I left home. It helped a lot. Thanks to my mother in law, who took care of all the housekeeping and cooking, etc. I have barely stepped into the kitchen since she came a month ago. Thanks to my friend (the guy who got 30 in his PAT) for his encouragement and sharing his experiences. And again, thanks to everyone on sdn for your breakdowns. Thank you!

    Finally, thanks to everyone for reading the post. It would be my greatest pleasure if you can benefit even a little bit from my post. I will be moving on soon and mostly visiting the pre-dental board, but will be watching this thread. If you have any questions, post a reply, or send me a pm. I would be very glad to help. Good luck, to me, and to everyone, with the chase of dream. You can make it!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
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  3. miny1229

    miny1229 2+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Awesome! Great review. Thank you for sharing.
  4. SmileDesignersDDS


    Mar 22, 2014
    Wow sick scores!!! Now go pick your dream school!
  5. bpoore19

    bpoore19 2+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2013
    Wow! Congratulations!
  6. dentalstudentprospect2

    dentalstudentprospect2 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2014
    Geez.... That's amazing! Good job on being able to balance work/family/study.. You will make a great dentist
  7. DogeDDS

    DogeDDS Wow 2+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2014
    CONGRATS, absolutely filthy scores! You killed it.
  8. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007
    Great job. Nice scores. Also, awesome breakdown. Thanks.
  9. Daneosaurus

    Daneosaurus D3 5+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2012
  10. Glimmer1991

    Glimmer1991 5+ Year Member

    May 5, 2012
    WOW! Welcome to the breakdown collection!
  11. neoba

    neoba 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Wow, what an honor! Thanks Glimmer1991. Your collection helped a lot.
  12. biomolecmed

    biomolecmed 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Solid scores. Well done.
  13. Kelvindoan23

    Kelvindoan23 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2013
  14. Kelvindoan23

    Kelvindoan23 2+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2013
    How long did you spend for each day studying and how many weeks?
  15. neoba

    neoba 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    My case is a little bit complicated due to my multiple responsibilities, as an employer, a part time student, a husband, and a parent.

    I formally started in mid November last year, and took my exam in mid April this year, so 5 months.

    In total I took 7 weeks off. During the days off, I spent ~6 hrs per day on average. During work days, I studied ~3 hrs per day plus commute time. During regular weekends/holidays, if I was able to study, I may spent 6-8 hrs. During the last weekend before the exam, I studied for over 10 hrs per day.

    One thing I need to mention, which I am sure you already know, is that the amount of work you finished and the quality is much more important than how much time you spend on it.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!
    miny1229 likes this.
  16. ToBeDDSS

    ToBeDDSS 2+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    you killed it. congratulations
  17. JHekmati


    Jun 24, 2014
    some of the best scores I've seen. This is legendary!
  18. flossit

    flossit 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Congratulations! These are just awesome scores!!! Can you tell me which videos you used from Chad's: College Organic & Gen Chem or Dat Organic & Gen Chem?
  19. neoba

    neoba 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Dat Organic & Gen Chem
  20. acemason

    acemason SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2011
    Wow amazing scores! Have you already been accepted or do you plan on applying next cycle?
  21. SyracuseOrange92

    SyracuseOrange92 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Sep 4, 2014
    I agree with acemason.....those are some amazing scores. Are you in Harvard yet lol.
  22. neoba

    neoba 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Thanks. And yes, I have been accepted.
    superluminal and acemason like this.
  23. phillyeagles1

    phillyeagles1 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Sep 8, 2014
    Wow amazing scores. Congrats!
  24. matardug

    matardug Banned Banned Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    Are these the highest scores ever? LOL

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