DAT Breakdown (Bootcamp) 23AA

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Sep 3, 2023
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Hey everyone! I took my DAT about a month ago now, and I wanted to share my experience for any of those looking to take it soon. I’ll break down each section and what I specifically did to study for those sections. I used DAT Bootcamp to study for my exam, and I would highly recommend that you use it. My scores were as follows:

Biology - 21
General Chemistry - 23
Organic Chemistry - 26
Perceptual Ability - 23
Reading Comprehension - 21
Quantitative Reasoning - 23
Total Science - 22
Academic Average - 23


I took this exam the summer going into my junior year of highschool. I am a Biology major at Virginia Tech and I had taken 2 semesters of Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry prior to studying for the DAT. I would recommend that you take the DAT whenever you have the most free time available to you. I studied for 10 weeks using a 9 week DAT Bootcamp study schedule that I modified. DAT Bootcamp also offers a 12 week schedule if that appeals more to you. Regardless, I found those schedules to be extremely helpful because it gives you a way to gauge your time and see your progress. I studied for 8 hours a day at my school library from Monday-Saturday and then used Sunday as my review/off day studying for 4 hours.


For Biology, I followed the schedule and was doing 3 modules a week. I did this by alternating between learning a new module and reviewing it. So for example, On Mondays, I would watch all the videos for any given module and take notes on the videos. After taking notes on all the videos, I would then go through and answer all the bio bite questions to see what I could remember. DAT bootcamp has this really great tagging feature that I used heavily when doing the bio bites. If I got it right and felt comfortable about the question I would mark it as green, if I got it right but wasn’t very comfortable, I would mark it as yellow, and If I got it wrong, I would mark it as red. Then on Tuesday, I would go back and take notes on that same module from the high yield notes. After that, I would go back to the bio bites and test myself again. I started with the red marked questions and worked my way up. If I still didn’t know a marked question, I would read the explanation carefully and also go and re-review that section in my notes. I know it might seem like a lot to go through all those questions multiple times, but I promise you that it will help you recall the information a lot better later on.

General Chemistry

For general chemistry, I studied 1 module everyday (except Sundays). For reference there are 13 modules in total on DAT Bootcamp. I would watch the lecture videos for that module while also taking notes. I would then complete the question banks for that module (at most there were 30 questions). Once again, I would use the tagging feature to mark which problems I felt more comfortable with vs. the ones that I didn’t. My strongest recommendation for this section would be to make notecards for each section. Really focus on concepts you don’t understand or ones that you think you will forget (you can always go back and add notecards later). You don’t necessarily need to study them right away, but that really helped me to recall the information when I started to take the full length practice tests. No formulas are provided on the DAT, so I made sure to include them. DAT bootcamp provides a formula sheet and it shows which modules those formulas are from, making this much easier to do this.

Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry was definitely one that I actually felt the weakest, despite that being my highest score. The DAT bootcamp schedule has you start the Organic Chemistry modules after you finish the General Chemistry modules, so I would do 1 Organic Chemistry module a day. Same type of studying as before, I would watch a module and take notes while watching it, then answer the questions. I still used the tagging feature and any questions I got wrong or guessed correctly I would watch the explanation videos for. Once again, I would highly recommend making notecards since there are only 14 modules total. You don’t have to make notecards on every single module, but really focus on concepts that you don’t understand or easily forget. I think the most important part about this section is to study the reactions. I waited until after I finished all the organic chemistry modules to focus on the reactions and it made life a lot harder. Fortunately, DAT Bootcamp has a lot of material to help you learn the reactions. The first thing I did was print out the entire Bootcamp reactions packet. It may look like a lot at first, but it is deceptively long. The actual reactions end on page 14 and the rest is supplemental material that goes into more detail about each reaction. If I was confused about a reaction, I would review and read over the more detailed breakdown, but primarily I was only looking at the first 14 pages. Secondly, I studied the Reaction Bites multiple times over and that was extremely helpful. There is a video explanation for every single reaction, so if I missed a question or guessed I would watch that video. Don’t forget to tag questions!

Perceptual Ability

Perceptual Ability was a fun one to learn (sarcasm). I think this is just one where you have to do a little bit everyday or every other day to really master. There’s just no way around it. I had taken an engineering class in highschool, so TFE was actually my favorite one to do, but for the other question types I had no prior experience before I started studying. To study, I started out by watching the PAT academy videos on Bootcamp. I found these videos to be very helpful and gave a lot of tips and tricks to learning how to visualize each problem. On the schedule, it has you start off by learning one problem type at a time, so that really helped. I tried to do 10-15 practice problems a day of each problem type. If I felt very comfortable with a question type (like TFE), then I would focus on the other question types. Once again, there are explanation videos for each problem, so if I missed something I would watch it. It can be frustrating at first if you aren’t immediately getting it and some things like angle ranking just depended on the day how well I did. Don’t let that frustrate you! Just keep doing a little bit of it everyday and I promise you will see results.

Reading Comprehension

I want to preface by saying I did not read very much prior to starting to study for this exam. I never really read any books in my freetime either. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy reading all that much, that’s ok! You can still do well on this section. For starters I watched all the videos for each module on Bootcamp (There are only 3). These videos break down the different strategies for the section. Whether you like to search and destroy or just outright read the entire passage or a combination of both, it is important that you experiment to find what works best for you. In addition, I read a science article everyday. I would pick an article that interested me from sciencedaily and read that, which would only take about 5-7 minutes. This will allow you to get used to reading the science lingo that you will encounter on the DAT. Outside of that, I started reading outside of the science articles. For me, that was reading a Star Wars book, but you can really read whatever you enjoy. I felt like it helped me get more comfortable with reading in general.

Quantitative Reasoning

This was by far my least favorite section, I never liked math in school. Luckily, the content on the DAT is not super difficult and DAT Bootcamp has plenty of problems to run through. This section I somewhat put off, and I wish I had started studying a bit earlier than I actually did. However, I think what helped me was studying it consistently when I finally did start. I tried to shoot 15-20 problems a day, tagging the ones I didn’t fully understand. When studying, you will start to notice trends in specific problem types. If you can learn those problem types, it will really help you in this section. If you are really good at math, then this section should not give you much challenge, but I would still review just to keep the information fresh in your mind.

General Advice

If you have read thus far, I think you'll see a trend - Tag questions! The first most important thing no matter where you feel you are in any section is to keep track of what you know and what you still need to learn. For me, that meant making notecards for Ochem and Gen Chem to continually review formulas and concepts. I also went back and rewrote notes for Biology if I was confused on a concept. Once you start getting into a rhythm with the modules, you can adjust the playback speed. I usually would watch between 1.25-1.5 speed.

As stressful as it can be to study for the DAT, it is extremely important to take care of yourself. Make sure that you stay active, whether that’s going to the gym or going for walks. Don’t forget to stay in touch with your friends and family too! Especially if you have a friend that is also studying for the DAT. The truth is you will never feel like you know everything, so when you are ready to take the test, remember to be confident and go in with no fear.

Finally, the DAT bootcamp tests are designed to be more difficult than the actual DAT for a reason. By studying harder questions, it will make the DAT that much easier. To demonstrate this, I wanted to share my practice scores with you. Tests 1-5 I took individually as practice and Tests 6-10 I took as full on timed tests. As you can see, I scored much higher on the real thing than the practice tests. It is easy to get discouraged by projected scores, so make sure that you don’t focus on the scores themselves, but rather what you can improve on. Every practice test I took I would go back and review all the questions and their explanations. If I guessed a question right or was unsure with the answer then I would still review it fully.


I hope this was helpful and feel free to ask any questions! Best of luck studying!

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