DAT Breakdown 9/6/23

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


New Member
Sep 27, 2023
Reaction score
I just took the DAT and scored fairly well and took the time to write a breakdown!
For me, the DAT was always something I knew I would have to end up taking and I told myself I’d really try to get it over with one attempt and that was a goal I made myself at the beginning of summer. I think these breakdowns have helped me so much throughout my journey and decided to write one of these to maybe help someone else out too!

My scores:
Bio: 25
GC: 23
OC: 21
RC: 24
QR: 20
PAT: 20
AA: 23
TS: 23

Background: I am currently a junior in college and took this exam on September 6th, meaning I studied right after my sophomore year. I wanted to have some wiggle room with my DAT just in case I had to take it a second time. I took general biology twice (transferred schools after the first semester of freshman year and they made me take gen bio again lol), general chemistry and in my sophomore year, I took organic chemistry 1 and 2. So coming off these classes under my belt, I’d say I had a decent foundation for most of these subjects. I’m a biology major and I was really thinking about just pushing off the DAT for next summer and just enjoying this one. But I had made up my mind and went with DATBooster and this turned out to be the best decision of my life lol. I have heard people say DATBootcamp is better for people who lack a decent foundation as they help build your learning progress from the ground up. But DATbooster truly aided me in the right direction and I could not have been grateful enough for my score.

Resources and Timeline:
I mainly utilized DATbooster. I heard a lot of people liking anki and I tried it but it just was not my cup of tea. I realized the best way for me to learn was through learning through my mistakes and the only way to do that was to throw myself into practice exams. This came later though as the whole month of June was just content review and learning. I read through the Feralis notes once as I highlighted anything I didn’t know and used the bio bites after each lesson to strengthen what I learned in that specific topic. Keep in mind though, the bio bites and the Feralis notes are extremely dense and in depth. I would not recommend memorizing every single detail as the test is very surface level. A lot of these questions are spread upon numerous topics but are not crazy in depth. It is very rare you’re going to be tested on for example, the circulatory system of a platyhelminthes, rather, you will be tested on the circulatory system pathway of a human. Anyway, throughout the first month or so of studying I would study maybe like 5-6 hours a day retaining this information and doing practice problems to reinforce it. I believe marking questions is ESSENTIAL in the learning process as you mark any question you get wrong or are unsure of and you can and should go back to any marked question on a DAILY basis. I would do this later on with my practice exams as well and go through all my marked questions almost everyday. I would take a day off a week during this learning phase to prevent an early burnout. TAKE A DIAGNOSTIC PRACTICE TEST IN YOUR LEARNING PHASE. Don’t be afraid to take a practice test early on as it helps you realize what your initial strengths and weaknesses are. And do not worry if your score is not good! I got like a 16 on my first practice exam with QR being my lowest section grade which was a 13 LOL.

Practice exam phase: On July 1st, I started my practice exam phase where I would take a practice exam once a week and spend 2-3 days reviewing that practice exam, tearing it apart for information. I believe that it is important to take these practice exams full length as it literally built my endurance up for the real test so I didn’t feel like dying after 2 consecutive sections. Personally, I think I learned more in this phase than the learning phase because I developed this strategy that worked for me personally which was taking individual practice exams over and over again with bio, chem, orgo, and sometimes qr! I think this worked for me because I was able to retain the high yield information and this prevented me having to make flashcards with each individual reaction for orgo or chem since I would encounter the same reactions over and over again throughout each practice exam. Practice exams are going to be GOLD for your preparations for the real DAT. I was literally in shock by the number of similarities I saw on my real exam from some of the practice exams I had taken. It is important to not care too much about your scores. I would say the real DAT is a little easier than some of these practice exams and for me personally, I would say the last couple were very similar in difficulty wise.

My practice score breakdowns (The first practice exam says 20 only because I took the individual bio section beforehand and scored a 30 on it on the full length one cuz I already knew the answers but my first real attempt score was like a 16)
BIO- 16,18,19,20,21,22,20,26,21,24,22,24,24,21,24
GC- 16,15,16,20,20,22,21,22,20,20,21

Section advice:

Bio(25)- I'm not gonna lie, I’m very proud of this score and honestly there were 3 main things that I believe set me up for this score in this order: 1. CRASH COURSES: Holy crap, these things were a lifesaver. Yes, they are kind of expensive, but honestly SO WORTH IT. First of all, they come with extra practice exams and I truly believe these were one of the better practice exams (higher yield imo). The lectures were like 5 hours but they flew by as Feralis (The guy that MAKES the notes) himself does these and I really appreciate him doing this because he covers high yield material. He answers any question you have and does a kahoot during these lectures to make sure you reinforce the material. My advice is take notes on the questions he asks and make sure you are comfortable with all the material he presents. ALL OF IT. Secondly, THE CHEAT SHEETS. The cheat sheets are so helpful in understanding and memorizing the concepts that are likely going to be tested. These are high yield notes that are simplified so it is really easy to understand and retain. (Note that this cheat sheet should not be the only source where you get your information!) And lastly, as I said, practice exams are your bestfriend when it comes to biology! I was so shocked at the amount of questions that were word for word on my exam that were covered in the practice exams and the crash courses.

GC(23): Honestly, I was not expecting this score from chemistry. I was not the best at general chemistry in college so I was worried early on. My practice exams fluctuated a lot and I was really worried as I was getting 16s early. I was able to finally get a grip of this section by doing practice exams over and over again, reading the notes, and watching Chad’s Prep videos on youtube. Chads prep literally got me through organic chemistry and came in clutch again for me for general chemistry. A couple weeks before my exam I read somewhere that chemistry was more conceptual than math based compared to the practice exams which put me in a frenzy. I began panicking as although my scores had evened out around 20-21, I knew for the concepts I was weak since I had been focusing on the equations and the math. My advice for this is, the notes they provide on Booster helps a lot with this problem. The concepts are very basic such as periodic trends, properties of gas, and thermodynamic concepts. I did get some math however which were very basic equations. (Remember to touch up on dividing decimals!)

OC(21): I was surprised I did not do better on this section because throughout my practice this was one of my highest scores. I’m still pretty satisfied with a 21 though. I think this section tripped me up because to start this section off I had 4 reaction questions in a row which I thought was so odd (people told me this section was not reaction heavy). I think I could have done better in this section if I was not so preoccupied with Bio and GC but I relied on the foundation I built last year when I took organic chemistry which was still relatively fresh in my mind. If you want to do well in this section, I would recommend the Chads prep program or even just the youtube videos you can find online. I believe this section is more about concepts rather than strictly memorizing the reactions. These concepts include stuff like Spectroscopy, lab tests, carbocation stability, acid/base strength.

PAT(20): I hated PAT. I’m not gonna lie, I absolutely despised PAT. So a 20 was not all that bad for me LOL. I used the method everyone uses where you start on question 30 and finish all the way to 90 and then go back and do TFE and keyholes. Angles/Hole Punching were not that bad on the exam I’d say even a little easier than the practice exams and generators. Cube counting/pattern folding was also easier, it was just overall easier to see the differences. HOWEVER. TFE was a lot harder for some reason on my exam and I was surprised to see what kind of questions they were asking. Keyholes were the worst of all on my exam. Question 1 was a rock question. CRAZY. I think I had like 2-3 rock questions and these two sections killed me. Regardless, I am still pretty proud of my score. I was averaging like a 16 on PAT and was so lost. My advice is to do daily PAT practice for your weaknesses (mine were TFE and keyholes) every day and aim for 10 questions answered right. Now, I hear people say oh yeah do 10 questions a day and I did this and saw very minimal improvement. I started doing my daily practice until I got 10 questions correct and saw improvement in like a week and it finally clicked. DO THIS EARLIER UNLIKE ME AND YOU CAN EASILY SEE IMPROVEMENT!
RC(24): First of all, I would 100% recommend taking your break in between PAT and reading comp. I had a banana and used the bathroom and then just rested my eyes for like 15 minutes. I would never consider myself a reader. I was not really the best at reading for my SAT, and would hate English class in highschool. The reading comprehension portion on the practice exam helped but I would say that the real exams portions were longer and more dense. I used the search and destroy method which gave me the best results when I practiced. For the real exam, I would say it is harder to find the answers hidden in the paragraphs than the practice exam. I did no other practice for reading comp other than taking the full length practice exams. I am proud of this score to be honest since I got unlucky and got 3 tough passages that had me pulling my hair out.

QR(20): I did better on practice exams than I did on the real test and that's perfectly fine! To be honest, I was really burnt out by this time and just made my way through. I made the mistake of getting caught up on one question since it was the type of question I knew how to do but had slipped my mind. My advice for this section is practicing a lot. I neglected this section and paid the price for it. Timing is key here and you have to let go of your ego and just move on if you cannot answer the question within the first 10 seconds of looking at a problem. The crash courses are pretty good here as I took all of them and the professor gives you very solid tips and tricks to utilize.

Advice and takeaways:
If I were to go back and tell myself in July when I was getting 15s on GC that I would get a 23 AA, I would be in disbelief. This journey is going to be long and tough, but if you put in the work, it will pay off. I dedicated my summer to this and while my friends were going on vacations, hanging out, I had to lock in. MENTAL HEALTH IS HUGE during these times. I truly believe that this will be one of the most stressful times of your life. Take care of yourself. I lost sight of this for the last couple weeks I studied and regret it a lot. Take breaks. I know a lot of people say that but really, give yourself a break. Go outside, talk with a friend, play some video games, go out with your friends. But just know when to lock in. Personally, I went out with friends occasionally and played video games to take my head off studying and it would help me a lot later down the line. I know taking breaks is difficult though. If you’re like me, even while I was hanging out with my friends or on my break, the thought that I should be studying would always creep into the back of my head. This would stress me out so much!


It gets easier. Everyday it gets a little easier. That's the hard part

As my exam date approached, I was so scared I would fail. I saw this Jon Jones quote that really helped me which was “When you have butterflies when you’re feeling nervous that's when you’re the most powerful. Instead of homing this power and using it, a lot of people allow it to consume them.” You will never feel ready for this test. One day I would wake up and believe I was ready and the very next day I would wake up and realize I have no shot in getting over 21. When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump. Some last bits of advice I have for you is
The day before the exam you should take it easy and do some light review. If you’re like me, you will end up spiraling and panicking because you realize you don’t know as much as you thought you did. That is natural. It is not true.
Be nice to your test proctor! I looked up my testing site and realized it was rated 1 star and people left reviews saying that the testing site workers were extremely rude and messed up their test. I got there and had a really smooth and supportive experience as I tried my best to be nice and listened to whatever the workers told me to do.
Eat a light breakfast and pack some brain food for your break like a banana. I drank diet coke instead of coffee or an energy drink so I did not have to use the bathroom too much.
Go into your test confident. Being a nervous wreck will only hinder your performance
Do not allow this test to consume your mental health too much. Take care of yourself!
Use intercom to communicate any questions about anything for DATbooster and they always respond relatively quickly and with extremely good answers!
The survey at the end killed me. But when it revealed my score I was very happy with my score.
Good luck! Sorry for the long breakdown but hopefully I helped!

Members don't see this ad.


  • image_6483441 (2).JPG
    image_6483441 (2).JPG
    79.9 KB · Views: 43
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user