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DAT Breakdown (8/8) - TS21/AA21/PAT20 **Info for beginners who HAVEN'T taken the DAT

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by daniho, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. daniho

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    WOW. I still can't believe this is real life. I'm FINALLY done!! :biglove:

    First and foremost, all glory goes to the One who kept me steadfast, gave me focus, determination, and drive, and carried me through to the end. I am SO incredibly grateful for everyone who's been helping me along the way, and ESPECIALLY to all you SDNers as well for all the encouragement, advice, and feedback!! This supportive community of (pre)-dentists (not just within SDN) is what made me want to pursue dentistry in the first place! I've never experienced a more loving community than this one, and I am so blessed and thankful for you all. :happy:

    I took my DAT today (well I guess it would be yesterday since I'm posting this at 12:41am) and my scores are listed below:
    Bio: 20
    Gen Chem: 24
    O Chem: 22
    PAT: 20
    RC: 20
    QR: 20
    TS: 23
    AA: 22


    (Can I get some feedback on my scores?? I'm not sure whether to be happy/satisfied with them, or be a little bummed. I'm honestly just disappointed in my bio score :(. The set of questions that I got were absolutely ridiculous and asked a lot of random questions regarding topics that I have never seen/learned before - i.e. an immunology question asking about interleukin 1 and 2... So yeah, if people could comment on my chances, and if you think I should retake it again, that would be GREATLY appreciated!!)

    Now for the actual breakdown:

    Materials used:
    DAT Destroyer - (11/10) Bless your soul, Dr. Romano. THANK. YOU. I did 3 passes of gen chem and o chem, and I just did one pass of bio (even if I did more passes of bio, I don't think I would've done any better tbh. I was just unlucky with a set problems that were super hard.) :(
    DAT Destroyer is hard. But don't get discouraged!! I'm pretty sure I missed 75% of the problems in each problem set that I did.. but I promise you, it gets better!
    DAT Math Destroyer - (8/10) If you want to know how to do absolutely any problem that they could possibly throw at you on the DAT, work through this book at least twice.. I personally feel like the Math Destroyer was a little overkill, but I really think it's because I got lucky with a super easy math section. The hardest word problem that I had was a coin problem.. :D Everything else was just simplifying, common sense, and triangles.. oh my word, so many triangles :hungover:
    DAT Bootcamp - (11/10) It really is as good as everyone says it is. Get it. The only downside to Bootcamp is that it doesn't save your scores, and it doesn't keep your previous tests to look back and see what you got wrong. But other than that, it's fantastic, especially for gen chem, and o chem. RC was hard, but it's really good practice. My RC was so insanely hard and I had absolutely ZERO search and destroy. (Praise the Lord that I actually got a 19 because I'm pretty sure I was iffy on 50% of the questions). Bio is also very good. QR is good for timing.
    Qvault Bio - (10/10) I initially bought qvault bio because my mentor used it and got a 30 on her bio section.. :)eek: Ikr) I'm pretty sure if I had gotten more fundamental and reasonable questions, I would have gotten a much higher score. Qvault is really good because it has a break down of topics that you are less secure in, and allows you to practice questions from only those topics. The lay out is great. And if anything, you get more practice. Bio is all about exposing yourself to as many questions as possible.
    Kaplan Blue Book - (2/10) No that's not a typo. It really is THAT bad. I literally wasted a good 2-3 weeks going through that book. It does not do a good job of explaining the concepts at all and I don't think it focuses on the right information either.. It's like a lengthy outline of everything in biology - that's the best way that I can describe it.
    AP Cliff Notes Bio - (7/10) This is a good starting point for bio. If you don't know where to start, get this book and start reading it.
    Ferallis Notes - (10/10) Everyone raves about this, but I just didn't have the time to thoroughly go through all of it. If I did have time though, I would most definitely start working through this after I read over AP Cliff Notes and make detailed notes / watch videos of all the topics you are insecure about / don't understand.
    Chad's Videos - (11/10) Wowow Chad is the man. Buy his o chem / gen chem videos. Even if you didn't have a good professor for gen chem or o chem, HAVE NO FEAR, because Chad will literally save your life. His videos are insanely good - I've never actually known someone to explain anything so well. While you're watching the videos, TAKE GOOD NOTES right from the get go. I made the mistake of watching the videos passively because I was just going to watch them as a refresher, but I ended up wasting time rewatching some of the videos because I wasn't completely secure on some of the concepts.

    Studying:
    Let me just preface all of this and say that I am by no means a naturally "smart" person.. Over the course of these 10 weeks, I saw so many breakdowns that had people studying for 3 weeks and getting 23's+ on every single one of their sections and it made me want to cry haha. I am NOT that type of person. I have to work REALLY hard in order to get results (and sometimes the time and effort I put into my studies don't even pay off).
    I started studying hard ~2 weeks after my semester ended until now, so about 10 weeks, putting in 10-12+ hrs every single week day (I took weekends off). People don't talking about the beginning part of their studying, but I honestly feel like that's the most important part. There were so many days that I just felt so overwhelmed because there was so much material to go over in so little time - not to mention all the resources that I wanted to go over and use! So because of that, I spent a lot of time revising my study schedule as I went along (which wasted a lot of time). I started off using the 7 week guide that someone posted on SDN, but I didn't like it, so I researched what other people did, and what materials they used and worked through it from there, and modified it as I went along.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For all of you that haven't started studying this is what I would have done if I had known better:
    - Pick no more than 4 study materials that you want to focus on and use. The ones that you absolutely really need are:
    1. DAT Destroyer/Math Destroyer
    2. Chad's Videos (Ochem/Gen chem)
    3. Bootcamp
    **Obviously supplement that material with other resources if you are confused on any topic, but for the most part, I would focus on going through those 3.

    - Be realistic with your goals. When you're studying for such a long period of time, it's really hard to figure out how much you can tackle/handle in a day. I would honestly just work through as much as possible. If you get tired of a subject, switch to another. If you are completely brain dead, maybe call it quits for the day. It's really about being in tune with your body and learning what works best for YOU. I am really good at staying focused for long periods of time, and I have no problem studying for over 10 hrs sitting in the exact same chair for the full duration, but just because it works for me, doesn't mean that you should do the same. You'll learn very quickly how much you can do in a day, and it'll be pretty easy to get into a rhythm.
    - Just because you fall behind on a day, doesn't mean your whole studying is ruined. I used to get so stressed out and have so much anxiety because I would fall behind, but IT'S OKAY. And in the grand scheme of things, it's really nothing to give yourself a heart attack over.

    This is how I would study each subject:

    Bio: Start off going through AP Cliff Notes and after you finish that, start going through Ferallis' notes. While you're going through Ferallis' notes, I would also start Destroyer. I did about 30-40 questions a day and reviewed my mistakes. I would probably go through Destroyer twice.
    Honestly, I studied the most for this subject yet this was still my lowest science score. This is the one subject that I really feel is not a good representation of how well you know the material. It's really all up to chance whether you get a good set of questions or not. I would study bio, but don't sink all your time and energy into this.

    Chem/Ochem: Watch Chad's videos and take GOOD notes. After you have finished all the videos and quizzes, start Destroyer. Again, I did 30 questions a day and reviewed them. For o chem, go to the road maps and start making flash cards ASAP. It is absolutely crucial that you know the common reactions like the back of your hand. It will make the o chem section seem SUPER easy. Also make note cards for the lab techniques as well. Don't over look those because they will come up. For chem, focus heavily on concepts and less on calculations.
    *If you're having trouble working through Destroyer, I would use the divide and conquer method. It really helped me to hone in on the topics that I was least secure in. For divide and conquer, all the questions in Destroyer are sorted into different topics so you can focus specifically on a certain concept of your choice. Someone came up with the divide and conquer method on this forum so you can just search it up and there should be a doc posted somewhere. I've attached the gen chem divide and conquer doc to this post that I made (I have Destroyer 2012).

    PAT: Practice whatever you can. Bootcamp is great for this. I would probably try to do at least some practice of a topic at least once a day, whether it's angle ranking, or TFE... just practice!! You will quickly find out what you're weaknesses and strengths are. After you get a hang of things, I would try your hand at a timed Bootcamp (BC) practice test to see how your speed is.

    RC: Read the articles posted on the Bootcamp RC section from Scientific America daily. Maybe take a practice test a couple weeks in to see how your speed is.

    QR: Start going through Destroyer. I tried to do a test a day. One thing to note about Math Destroyer, it is not to be used for testing speed!! Those problems in Destroyer are MUCH harder than the actual DAT. They're really just to expose you to all the types of problems that you may encounter. As long as you know how to do all the problems in Destroyer, you'll be golden.

    During my last week leading up the exam, I was so nervous that all my studying wouldn't pay off.. I was even more worried because my BC scores were not where I wanted them to be, but you really can't let it get to you and you need to take it as a learning opportunity. One encouragement that I received, was to remember that your BC scores are just practice! Sure, they may be a pretty good indicator of where you stand, but it does not determine your ACTUAL score (which is what really matters). I think I'm a prime example of this.

    My BC scores are listed below:
    Bio/Gen Chem/O Chem/PAT/RC/QR
    Test 1: 18 / 18 / 15 :bigtears: / 18 / 18
    Test 2: 18 / 17 / 19 / 18 / x
    Test 3: 16 / 20 / 18 / 19 / 20
    Test 4: 18 / 18 / 26:heckyeah: / 18 / x
    Test 5: 18 / 18 / 21 / 19 / x

    As you can tell, my scores are pretty sub par.. it would be a miracle if I saw the number 2 on a practice test :unsure: But my point is, don't let your practice test scores discourage you - just keep chipping away! You've honestly got to trust and have confidence!! Also know that whatever happens, happens, and will eventually work out for the best. AND, always keep in mind that if you don't do well the first time, it isn't the end of the world! You can retake it again :) If dentistry is something that you really want to do, you'll definitely set your heart and mind to it, and achieve your goals!

    Test day:
    Honestly I was so relieved when it was the day of the test. I think I had just gotten to the point where I had studied my butt off and there was nothing more that I could do but to have faith and trust, and that's exactly what I did. Since my test was at 9am, and it takes an hour to drive to the center, and I wanted to get there an hour early, I went to bed at 8pm (lol) and woke up at 5:45am. Reviewed my notes on the way to the testing center, and for the remainder of the time leading up to check in. (I may or may not have brought every form of ID I could find... :hilarious:)

    A couple things:
    1. Go to the bathroom before you take your test
    2. Get into a routine a week or two before your test day. And by routine I mean, you should know how many times you need to relieve yourself and the increments you need to use the bathroom if you plan on drinking coffee before your exam. If you don't plan accordingly, I guarantee when the PAT section rolls around, you won't be able to focus on paper folding and hole punching because you'll be too worried about wetting your pants.
    3. Wear layers. I was expecting my testing center to be an ice box. In fact it was actually the opposite. So plan for both. Wear a t-shirt but bring a hoodie/sweater just in case.
    There's a mandatory tutorial before the official exam begins which lasts for 15 minutes. You can go through the tutorial at whatever pace you like. You don't actually have to answer any of the questions. (Bootcamp is a great representation of the software that you will be using on the day of your test.) I took that time to draw out my grids for the PAT section and to mentally prepare myself for the exam. After you click "end tutorial", your exam will begin immediately after.

    The annoying thing about the exam is that there are instructions before every single section... :yeahright: even for the PAT. So before TFE, there was a tutorial teaching you how to do TFE (which I don't understand because if you don't already know how to do TFE, you're doing something wrong), there was one before hole punching, paper folding... cube counting. everything. But your time keeps running!! So quickly skip through those screens and start on problems as quickly as possible.

    After you finish a section there will be an icon that pops up and says "your time has run out" and you will click "ok" and it will immediately take you to the next section. After PAT there is a screen that says "STOP... something something about a break." WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT CLICK "END" (unless you don't want your 15 minute break). Your 15 minute break starts right when you see that screen. Quickly check out, use the bathroom, shove down an energy bar, and check back in. It's really not that much time.

    For RC, the first screen that you will see for each section is a full length layout of the whole entire passage for you to read. If you chose to read the passage before answering any of the questions, you probably want to use the first screen to read because it's a lot larger and easier to read. If you are using another method, or want to look at the questions first, you can click "next" and it will take you to the questions which also have the passage right underneath them for you to read there as well.
    **One important thing to note about the RC section (and any section for that matter), unlike Bootcamp, you cannot review all the questions until the very end of the exam.. (which is pretty annoying in my opinion). So plan accordingly. If you use the method where you click through all the questions reading through the questions before reading the passage, you'll have to click back through all the questions to get to the first question again.

    QR. VERY straight forward. I was very doubtful when people said this but I'm telling you, it really is super basic. You definitely shouldn't take this as a free pass to slack off though. You never know what the DAT can throw at you, which is why I recommend going through Math Destroyer even though you may never see 75% of the problems in the book.

    After you finish the QR section, you will take a 15 question survey, and your scores will pop up immediately after you submit the survey. All the anxiety that I DIDN'T feel before / during the exam, hit me all at once while I was taking the survey because I knew my scores were coming. I had a really bad feeling about them so I waited a solid 30 seconds before submitting my survey.

    All in all, I think I'm happy with my scores. I know I'm DEFINITELY happy to be done studying for a (short) while!!

    Please don't hesitate to ask me any additional questions. I know that was super detailed and probably useless information for many of you, but I really do hope that this is helpful for some of you out there who are absolutely clueless as to how this whole process works! I'm sorry for such a lengthy post!! I really just wanted to get this information out there because I know this is some of the information that would've helped me a lot before starting this whole process of studying and taking the DAT.

    Best of luck to the rest of you studying for your DATs :)
     

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    #1 daniho, Aug 8, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  2. stag123

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    wow congrats on the great scores!!! Really happy to hear your experience because my BC scores have been ALL over the place and I was getting discourage.

    If you can go back would you purchase Qvault Bio again? I'm going through Ferallis and Bio destroyer for the second time (test on the 27th) and I've been debating on Qvault. Do you feel Ferallis + destroyer + BC is enough for biology?
     
  3. Dwight Beet Farm

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    I would def not take it again. Your AA is well above a 20 (the usual cut off for most schools). Go enjoy your achievement. Congrats man!
     
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  4. byahnoob

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    Honestly when i think of GC, its calculations... I don't think theres too much concept? Only thing i can think of is like entropy, enthalpy, ionization and some others.
     
  5. 510586

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    Nice scores. Thanks for the breakdown. God how the heck are you supposed to prepare for bio when they have stuff like int 1 and 2.. That's not even covered in all of Feralis notes (when I ctrled f anyway). Frustrating
     
  6. daniho

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    @stag123 Thanks so much!! :happy:
    Don't get discouraged! Keep on taking each test as an opportunity to learn as much as you can!

    I honestly think exposing yourself to many questions for biology is the best thing you can do. Not only will it show you what topics you're weakest on, but it will maybe expose you to random topics that you have never even learned/seen before that may appear on the exam! I would purchase Qvault again if I were to retake the DAT - it's a great resource, I think I just got super unlucky with the set of questions I was presented with. From what I've heard, and from what I've been reading on SDN, a lot of people feel that Qvault is most representative of the DAT biology section.
    I think if you know everything in Ferallis like the back of your hand, then you'll be all set to go. I've heard that most people never encounter anything on the DAT that isn't mentioned in the packet already. BC does a great job of testing your fundamental concepts, which is also VERY important. But for those random tid-bits of info, maximum exposure to all types of questions is the way to go.
     
  7. daniho

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    @Dwight Beet Farm Awesome!! Thank you so much :)

    @byahnoob GC actually has a lot of conceptual questions haha
    There's: BP, VP, IE, pressure, temperature, and how all of those are related to one another. Le Chatlier's principle, Boyle's Law, Pauli Exclusion Principle...

    @510586 Thanks!! Honestly I have no idea... like I said, it's really up to chance/luck what kind of questions you get.
     
  8. byahnoob

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    daniho - oh yeah lol i forgot PV=nRT .... i keep thinking thats only part of the physics curriculum
     
  9. 510586

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    The example question you listed wasn't in there. I know almost all of Feralis, but if I get your test, a tear will roll down my cheek during the exam
     
  10. pikachurro

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  11. daniho

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    @510586 Ferallis' notes cover a lot of material but biology is such a huge topic, it's impossible for the packet to touch on every single detail and molecule in bio. The DAT can literally ask you about anything if they wanted to.. Just because you don't see it in Destroyer or Ferallis doesn't mean it isn't going to show up..

    @pikachurro Thank you!! :happy:
     
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  12. cacajuate

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    20AA the usual cutoff? You have no idea what you are talking about.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. dentalgirl101

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    Congrats!!!
     
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  14. ns718

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    Congrats. Nice scores. I don't think you need to retake. I'm using the 2015 destroyer, what version did you use?
     
  15. daniho

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