DAT Breakdown (Bootcamp)

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Josh M

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Hey everyone! I just took the DAT about two weeks ago! I got a 25AA which was pretty much in line with the rest of my exam scores (more about this below). Just posting a little breakdown to pass on the knowledge that I picked up because these breakdowns were what gave me guidance and motivation during my studying.



Overall study schedule: I used DAT Bootcamp (it was amazing and would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat). I made up my own schedule and studied different topics as I found them to be recurring challenges in my practices. I studied over the course of the summer while working a job and found it to be manageable. I would do lots of practice problems each day using the Quick Study option. If I got the question wrong, I would tag it with red. If I got it right, I would tag it with yellow. As I tagged more and more questions (a little over 4000 by the end), I started to use the “tagged questions” section to review and would try to push my red tags to yellow tags and my yellow tags to green tags. This study strategy allowed me to identify content that is DAT-related that I did not have a strong mastery of. I would then use the lessons on DAT Bootcamp to learn the content I needed to know in each topic that was difficult for me. I would take notes on each one and try to build a well-organized content notes section. I took a full-length practice exam each week (typically Friday at 8 am to simulate my real testing setting). On Saturday and Sunday, I would review this exam in more detail and determine more topics to put on my study list for the upcoming week. I took all 10 full-length exams and felt that they prepared me well for the actual exam.



Scores (Bootcamp average | Real DAT):

AA: 25 | 25

PAT: 20 | 25

QR: 28 | 28

RC: 26 | 22

Bio: 22 | 22

GC: 25 | 25

Orgo: 22 | 27



PAT: I think the PAT is a perfectible section. I really put off learning how to master the PAT until the week before the exam, and I wish I had started a little bit earlier. I was able to figure it out on the actual DAT, but my practice exams were not great. I would recommend trying to study this a lot within the week before the exam. I felt like PAT was a mindset, and I’m not sure I would’ve been able to maintain that mindset for the entire summer of studying. Overall, I was thrilled with the amount of practice available to me and the difficulty with DAT Bootcamp.



QR: I really enjoy math and did not have a significant issue with the QR section. For testing tips, I would recommend working quickly through the easy questions and tagging the more difficult ones. Learn the combinations and permutations that you need to know (I don’t think there was a ton that I needed to memorize for QR). Other than that, I don’t have a ton of suggestions. Work fast, tag questions, and come back to check those that are difficult. Bootcamp seems to be pretty representative of the question types and difficulty.



RC: I did not do as well in this section as I had expected. I felt like my passages were shorter than the ones I did on DAT Bootcamp, and the questions seemed to be very similar. I felt prepared for the reading, and I think I had questions that were difficult for me but very doable.



Biology: The biology section was difficult (no surprise there!). Lots of questions I was prepared for, but there’s so much content it’s hard to prepare for everything. My biggest suggestion would be to practice as much as you can. I used the practice to fill in gaps, and I was quite proud of the amount of knowledge I had gained by studying for the DAT. I thought DAT Bootcamp had thousands of test-style questions, and many of their questions felt similar to the real exam.



GC: I had not taken gen chem since high school (three years ago), so I was concerned about this section. Once I practiced it a lot, I found that there were only so many topics that I could be tested on, so I started to pick up the major ones and made sure I was confident on them. They can’t ask super in-depth questions like balancing a redox reaction (too much time!), but if you know the basics of all the topics, you’ll be fine in gen chem. Bootcamp has super helpful gen chem videos, and their exams for gen chem feel similar to the DAT.



OC: I felt good going into the orgo section. There are a lot of reactions (some that I learned in class and some that I had to learn through DAT Bootcamp). Ironically, I did not have too many “predict the product” questions. Additionally, most of the reaction questions were based on substitution and elimination reactions (really make sure you’re comfortable with these). I didn’t do a ton of practice with orgo on DAT Bootcamp, but I found the practice exams to be a bit more difficult than the actual exam.



Final tips: Make sure that you learn from the questions you’re practicing. I used the practice exams to identify areas of weakness that I would want to focus on for the upcoming week. I didn’t feel like there was any value to getting a question wrong and moving on—learn from the mistake because you may get the same question on your real exam. Study hard using DAT Bootcamp, and you’ll crush the DAT! Best of luck!

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