smgame1

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Aug 3, 2016
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Hi everyone!! I've been lurking for a while and have found everyone else's breakdowns really helpful, so I thought I'd finally make an account and post my own from today. I was pretty excited about my scores, so I think that my study methods definitely paid off and hopefully could be useful for some of you guys who will be taking the DAT soon!

Scores:
PAT: 24
QR: 23
RC: 27
Bio: 24
GC: 24
OC: 27

Background:
I go to a pretty competitive university and would say that I have decent test taking skills, but I was starting from ground zero with a lot of these sections! I hadn't had gen chem since high school and have never taken anatomy. I was also pretty dang terrible at PAT to start off with. I took organic 1 and 2 as well as evolutionary and molecular biology within the last year. I had forgotten literally everything from orgo, but remembered most of the biology.

Overall Strategy:
I started studying around 10 weeks before the DAT, and probably averaged around 3 hours of prep each day. I studied a little bit on vacations, but definitely took some days off completely!! I started out methodically, spending a couple of weeks on each science, while also devoting a little time each day to the PAT (in the beginning at least). About a month out I took the free bootcamp exam, and then focused in on my weaker areas. I took 3 full length exams a week before my test (bootcamp and the ADA test), and studied intensively in the sections I was still doing worse on.

PAT: CDP, Bootcamp
I started out using CDP, and definitely found it helpful. The instructional videos were great and helped me to come up with an organized method for approaching each section- I think this is probably the most important thing on the PAT, at least for me! I felt like the practice tests were also fairly comparable to the actual DAT, although the keyholes were harder on the real thing. Also, thanks to the advice of everyone on this site, I knew that line counting wasn't a good method for TFE, and made sure not to utilize that despite what CDP said! That being said, I found TFE SO hard in the beginning...I just could not conceptualize the shapes. After a lot of practice with CDP however, allowing myself as much time as necessary at first, I finally started getting it! So don't get discouraged if any of the sections go poorly at first- practice helps so much.

I also used the free angle ranking generator on DAT bootcamp early on, doing 15 problems a day, until this section became really natural to me. I was terrible at first, and after just a couple of weeks I was getting almost every one, so I really think it's just about practice!!

After my first 3 or 4 weeks of studying, I was getting pretty solid PAT scores, so I stopped working on it (besides sections in full length practice tests) until about a week out... this was a HUGE mistake! My angle ranking had gotten much worse, and I had to really cram in PAT practice in my last few days, whereas if I had just steadily continued working on all the sections, I probably could have devoted my time elsewhere...oh well. The last week I bought DAT bootcamp and did several of their PAT tests. This brought me back up to speed, and prepped me really well! The pattern folding was way easier on the real DAT, as were the hole punches, so I actually ended up with extra time to check my answers on test day! Overall I think DAT bootcamp was probably just as good for me as CDP, and much more worth the price!!!

QR: DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer
I used DAT Destroyer and Math Destroyer (first 4 tests), and found the math problems very easy, so I stopped prepping for this one early on, only spending about a week on it. Once I did full length tests on DAT bootcamp, I got between 27 and 30 every time. I found the actual QR section much more difficult than any of these resources...I haven't seen this as a common complaint, so I'm not really sure what's wrong with me haha! It wasn't that the problems weren't doable, but they just required so many tedious calculations that I ended up having to do the last ten problems in around 5 minutes! I'd never had a time problem before...maybe I just should've gone further in Math Destroyer! Not totally sure, but I'm still very happy with my score! Time is definitely the trickiest part about this section.

RC: Bootcamp, DAT Genius
I only started prepping for this around a month out when I took my first full length test on DAT Bootcamp. I got a 19 the first time, and later did the free RC test on DAT genius. My score went up to a 23 on this one. I really think that becoming familiar with the time restraints, types of articles, and types of questions is key here. The week before my test, I took two full length tests, and did well.

My strategy all along was skimming the articles and writing down a couple key words for each paragraph, then going to the questions. So kind of a modified S&D? This made me feel the most comfortable, because I had a feel for the overall article but didn't waste too much time reading! I found the actual DAT considerably easier in this section- the answer to most questions could literally be found directly in the text, as opposed to bootcamp questions which often required a lot more inference. I was glad I'd prepped with harder material!

Bio: DAT Destroyer, Crash Course
As with most people, I definitely spent the most time on Bio- probably around 3 weeks. I just took evolutionary and molecular biology this year in school, so I felt really comfortable in these areas. I had never had anatomy though, so I had to spend a lot of time on that. I began by going through Destroyer and writing down all of the information that I didn't know (first time through it was literally half the questions because of all the anatomy/taxonomy/stuff I'd forgotten from high school bio lol). I then had a good feel for the sections I needed to work on, and I used Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Crash Course Bio to learn the material (free on youtube!!). I then went back through all the information I'd written down and rewrote the things that I still didn't know. This was a more manageable list, so I reviewed it frequently the last couple weeks before the test and even made my friends quiz me on it!

GC: DAT Destroyer, high school notes
Gen chem was the first section I started working on, and I started by reading through all of my high school AP chem notes (going way back haha!) and taking new notes on them. I found out about Chad's Videos later, and that definitely would have been easier and faster, but I think this basically had the same effect. I then did all the Destroyer problems, and took notes on the things I didn't know how to do. I felt like I was running behind schedule after all this and switched over to bio without reviewing anything. A month before the test when I did a full length test, I was really pleasantly surprised by the GC difficulty! It was very easy after doing destroyer. I didn't focus much energy on gen chem after that except for reading through my notes the night before the test to remember weird formulas/exceptions.

OC: DAT Destroyer, Chad's Videos
Was definitely not expecting this score!!!! Orgo was my worst score on my first full length test, but then I really cracked down on it. I watched and took notes on all of Chad's videos (SO amazing- wish I'd had then during my Ochem classes), then I went through the destroyer. I took notes on all the problems I didn't know how to do, and was planning to go back through them like I did in bio, but ended up running out of time. I did read through them quickly this morning right before the test while I was in Starbucks! Not sure how much I really absorbed from that though...

But the thing that I think contributed to my scores the most was going back through my notes on Chad's videos. I read through and just thought really hard about them once, and then went through them again two days before the test and spent basically the whole day making some really pretty sheets that outlined everything he covered, but organized in a way that made more sense to me. So kind of a weird method, but I think it helped me to understand all the connections/relationships between the different reactions and solidify them in my mind. It also wasn't super exciting to spend a whole day on orgo, but I'd highly recommend it considering how well it went!


Overall I would say Destroyer, Bootcamp, and Chad's Videos were the most useful to me! That's not too shocking I suppose... But yeah I'd say if you just dedicate solid chunks of time to each section and then leave yourself a few flexible weeks at the end to take practice tests and review the things you need most, you'll be set! Also I'd say don't take a huge break from the PAT in the middle like me..... although that's probably just common sense haha. Good luck guys- it's so exciting to be done!!!!! :)
 
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fit2

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Aug 7, 2015
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Awesome awesome scores!! Great job and nice that you're done ;)
Did you find the bio section most similar to Bootcamp in terms of material/wording? I'm struggling a little bit with bio b though I feel like I shouldn't (struggling on achiever tests) thanks
 
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smgame1

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Aug 3, 2016
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Awesome awesome scores!! Great job and nice that you're done ;)
Did you find the bio section most similar to Bootcamp in terms of material/wording? I'm struggling a little bit with bio b though I feel like I shouldn't (struggling on achiever tests) thanks
Thanks so much!!! It's definitely a wonderful feeling to finish it all :) I thought bio was definitely most similar to bootcamp in wording, although the material tested on the real thing was probably a bit easier! In contrast, I thought that destroyer did an amazing job covering the scope of all the material, and also really pounding in the concepts that are most likely to come up (I learned so much more than I ever needed to know about the notochord lol) but the question style is pretty different from the real DAT... so between the two I think I found a nice balance! I didn't use the achiever tests myself, so I'm not sure how they compare, but if it's any comfort my bio score went up 3 points from my best practice test with bootcamp!
 
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DC206R

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Is every year like this or is this cycle abnormal because SDN is filled with completely monster scores recently. Great job!
 
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smgame1

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Aug 3, 2016
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Congrats!
I'm basically using the same resources for Bio, Hank from Crash Course is the man! Did you do anything else to prepare for bio?
Yes, Hank is literally my favorite person!!! As for other resources, I did pull out my old high school bio textbook (I love my high school self for saving all these things haha) primarily for help with photosynthesis and cellular respiration, because I thought the crash course videos on these topics were super confusing...other than that though it was really just going over and over my destroyer notes, and then watching videos on concepts I was particularly shaky on! I'm sure you've noticed that destroyer covers a lot of the same things several times, and these were definitely things I worked extra hard on to memorize! For big concepts like taxonomy, plants, the excretory system, the immune system, etc I took notes on Hank's videos and then made up mnemonics and systems to remember them. I think making your own notes and trying to organize it all in your head in a way that makes sense to you is incredibly helpful! But overall I think you've got great resources in hand :D
 
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Yes, Hank is literally my favorite person!!! As for other resources, I did pull out my old high school bio textbook (I love my high school self for saving all these things haha) primarily for help with photosynthesis and cellular respiration, because I thought the crash course videos on these topics were super confusing...other than that though it was really just going over and over my destroyer notes, and then watching videos on concepts I was particularly shaky on! I'm sure you've noticed that destroyer covers a lot of the same things several times, and these were definitely things I worked extra hard on to memorize! For big concepts like taxonomy, plants, the excretory system, the immune system, etc I took notes on Hank's videos and then made up mnemonics and systems to remember them. I think making your own notes and trying to organize it all in your head in a way that makes sense to you is incredibly helpful! But overall I think you've got great resources in hand :D
Thanks a lot man, I really appreciate the advice and congratulations once again, you did fantastic!
 

gangazi

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good job! you rekt the DAT :)
 
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orgoman22

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Hi everyone!! I've been lurking for a while and have found everyone else's breakdowns really helpful, so I thought I'd finally make an account and post my own from today. I was pretty excited about my scores, so I think that my study methods definitely paid off and hopefully could be useful for some of you guys who will be taking the DAT soon!

Scores:
PAT: 24
QR: 23
RC: 27
Bio: 24
GC: 24
OC: 27

Background:
I go to a pretty competitive university and would say that I have decent test taking skills, but I was starting from ground zero with a lot of these sections! I hadn't had gen chem since high school and have never taken anatomy. I was also pretty dang terrible at PAT to start off with. I took organic 1 and 2 as well as evolutionary and molecular biology within the last year. I had forgotten literally everything from orgo, but remembered most of the biology.

Overall Strategy:
I started studying around 10 weeks before the DAT, and probably averaged around 3 hours of prep each day. I studied a little bit on vacations, but definitely took some days off completely!! I started out methodically, spending a couple of weeks on each science, while also devoting a little time each day to the PAT (in the beginning at least). About a month out I took the free bootcamp exam, and then focused in on my weaker areas. I took 3 full length exams a week before my test (bootcamp and the ADA test), and studied intensively in the sections I was still doing worse on.

PAT: CDP, Bootcamp
I started out using CDP, and definitely found it helpful. The instructional videos were great and helped me to come up with an organized method for approaching each section- I think this is probably the most important thing on the PAT, at least for me! I felt like the practice tests were also fairly comparable to the actual DAT, although the keyholes were harder on the real thing. Also, thanks to the advice of everyone on this site, I knew that line counting wasn't a good method for TFE, and made sure not to utilize that despite what CDP said! That being said, I found TFE SO hard in the beginning...I just could not conceptualize the shapes. After a lot of practice with CDP however, allowing myself as much time as necessary at first, I finally started getting it! So don't get discouraged if any of the sections go poorly at first- practice helps so much.

I also used the free angle ranking generator on DAT bootcamp early on, doing 15 problems a day, until this section became really natural to me. I was terrible at first, and after just a couple of weeks I was getting almost every one, so I really think it's just about practice!!

After my first 3 or 4 weeks of studying, I was getting pretty solid PAT scores, so I stopped working on it (besides sections in full length practice tests) until about a week out... this was a HUGE mistake! My angle ranking had gotten much worse, and I had to really cram in PAT practice in my last few days, whereas if I had just steadily continued working on all the sections, I probably could have devoted my time elsewhere...oh well. The last week I bought DAT bootcamp and did several of their PAT tests. This brought me back up to speed, and prepped me really well! The pattern folding was way easier on the real DAT, as were the hole punches, so I actually ended up with extra time to check my answers on test day! Overall I think DAT bootcamp was probably just as good for me as CDP, and much more worth the price!!!

QR: DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer
I used DAT Destroyer and Math Destroyer (first 4 tests), and found the math problems very easy, so I stopped prepping for this one early on, only spending about a week on it. Once I did full length tests on DAT bootcamp, I got between 27 and 30 every time. I found the actual QR section much more difficult than any of these resources...I haven't seen this as a common complaint, so I'm not really sure what's wrong with me haha! It wasn't that the problems weren't doable, but they just required so many tedious calculations that I ended up having to do the last ten problems in around 5 minutes! I'd never had a time problem before...maybe I just should've gone further in Math Destroyer! Not totally sure, but I'm still very happy with my score! Time is definitely the trickiest part about this section.

RC: Bootcamp, DAT Genius
I only started prepping for this around a month out when I took my first full length test on DAT Bootcamp. I got a 19 the first time, and later did the free RC test on DAT genius. My score went up to a 23 on this one. I really think that becoming familiar with the time restraints, types of articles, and types of questions is key here. The week before my test, I took two full length tests, and did well.

My strategy all along was skimming the articles and writing down a couple key words for each paragraph, then going to the questions. So kind of a modified S&D? This made me feel the most comfortable, because I had a feel for the overall article but didn't waste too much time reading! I found the actual DAT considerably easier in this section- the answer to most questions could literally be found directly in the text, as opposed to bootcamp questions which often required a lot more inference. I was glad I'd prepped with harder material!

Bio: DAT Destroyer, Crash Course
As with most people, I definitely spent the most time on Bio- probably around 3 weeks. I just took evolutionary and molecular biology this year in school, so I felt really comfortable in these areas. I had never had anatomy though, so I had to spend a lot of time on that. I began by going through Destroyer and writing down all of the information that I didn't know (first time through it was literally half the questions because of all the anatomy/taxonomy/stuff I'd forgotten from high school bio lol). I then had a good feel for the sections I needed to work on, and I used Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Crash Course Bio to learn the material (free on youtube!!). I then went back through all the information I'd written down and rewrote the things that I still didn't know. This was a more manageable list, so I reviewed it frequently the last couple weeks before the test and even made my friends quiz me on it!

GC: DAT Destroyer, high school notes
Gen chem was the first section I started working on, and I started by reading through all of my high school AP chem notes (going way back haha!) and taking new notes on them. I found out about Chad's Videos later, and that definitely would have been easier and faster, but I think this basically had the same effect. I then did all the Destroyer problems, and took notes on the things I didn't know how to do. I felt like I was running behind schedule after all this and switched over to bio without reviewing anything. A month before the test when I did a full length test, I was really pleasantly surprised by the GC difficulty! It was very easy after doing destroyer. I didn't focus much energy on gen chem after that except for reading through my notes the night before the test to remember weird formulas/exceptions.

OC: DAT Destroyer, Chad's Videos
Was definitely not expecting this score!!!! Orgo was my worst score on my first full length test, but then I really cracked down on it. I watched and took notes on all of Chad's videos (SO amazing- wish I'd had then during my Ochem classes), then I went through the destroyer. I took notes on all the problems I didn't know how to do, and was planning to go back through them like I did in bio, but ended up running out of time. I did read through them quickly this morning right before the test while I was in Starbucks! Not sure how much I really absorbed from that though...

But the thing that I think contributed to my scores the most was going back through my notes on Chad's videos. I read through and just thought really hard about them once, and then went through them again two days before the test and spent basically the whole day making some really pretty sheets that outlined everything he covered, but organized in a way that made more sense to me. So kind of a weird method, but I think it helped me to understand all the connections/relationships between the different reactions and solidify them in my mind. It also wasn't super exciting to spend a whole day on orgo, but I'd highly recommend it considering how well it went!


Overall I would say Destroyer, Bootcamp, and Chad's Videos were the most useful to me! That's not too shocking I suppose... But yeah I'd say if you just dedicate solid chunks of time to each section and then leave yourself a few flexible weeks at the end to take practice tests and review the things you need most, you'll be set! Also I'd say don't take a huge break from the PAT in the middle like me..... although that's probably just common sense haha. Good luck guys- it's so exciting to be done!!!!! :)

Wow!!! Congratulations, amazing scores! Love your study plan and detailed outline for other students. I am sure you are super excited it's done and you can enjoy the rest of summer.

Wishing you the best!

Nancy
 

Don Kim

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Every single score is at least 23+, that is huge! I was on the same boat with you on QR. For some reason the actual exam seemed a bit more pacy. Also, your RC is outstanding, from 19 to a 27!! Wow!!
Congratulations!!
 
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smgame1

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Aug 3, 2016
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Wow!!! Congratulations, amazing scores! Love your study plan and detailed outline for other students. I am sure you are super excited it's done and you can enjoy the rest of summer.

Wishing you the best!

Nancy
Thank you so much!!! My scores definitely wouldn't be where they are without Destroyer- it was such an amazing way to work through all the material and I think it really prepared me well for test day! :)
 
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smgame1

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were there any QR topics that you feel were covered on the exam but not in BC or Math Destroyer? If you could retake the same exam, what math topics would you brush upon?


Also, would you mind sharing your mnemonics? I love hearing new ones! :)

Congratulations!! You kiiiilllled it!
I felt like most of the concepts were at least touched on by destroyer/boot camp- I think math destroyer especially covers everything they could possibly ask haha! Other than that it really was just timing things- I felt like there were so many lengthy problems! So I'd probably say just work on getting fast on multi-step problems.

And oh gosh most of my mnemonics are a little weird haha! Like to remember taxonomy I made up a kind of story about how all the different taxa arose- giving it a narrative helped it feel less like random information! Also a simpler one was for remembering the spontaneity of chemical equations- I would make a four box chart with change in enthalpy on top and change on entropy on the left hand side, and inside the boxes I'd put H (spontaneous at high temps), A (all temps), N (no temps), L (low temps). Then I remembered the order they went in with the sentence "Have ANother Lemonade"...so also a little odd but it made things faster than thinking through spontaneity every time it came up!
 
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The only thing that came up that I didn't really expect was trig wave functions...luckily I remembered them from physics, but otherwise those really would've thrown me for a loop! Other than that it really was just timing things... I felt like there were so many 3 variable systems of equations and other lengthy problems! So I'd probably say just work on getting fast on multi-step problems.

And oh gosh most of my mnemonics are a little weird haha! Like to remember taxonomy I made up a kind of story about how all the different taxa arose- giving it a narrative helped it feel less like random information! Also a simpler one was for remembering the spontaneity of chemical equations- I would make a four box chart with change in enthalpy on top and change on entropy on the left hand side, and inside the boxes I'd put H (spontaneous at high temps), A (all temps), N (no temps), L (low temps). Then I remembered the order they went in with the sentence "Have ANother Lemonade"...so also a little odd but it made things faster than thinking through spontaneity every time it came up!

Awesome advice!! Thanks! :)
 

LuckBloodandSweat

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2016, the year the DAT got destroyed so many times it couldn't stop counting! xD
 
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