anxious_achiever

2+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2017
13
9
Status
Pre-Dental
I just took the DAT for the first time. Here's a little bit of a background:

3.82 cGPA 3.78 sGPA
research assistant
handful of shadowing and volunteer work
college athlete for 2 years
academic and athletic awards

Now for the DAT....

Bootcamp averages:
BIO/GC/OC/PAT/QR/RC
20/ 19/ 19/ 19/ 17/ 20

2007 ADA DAT (taken 1 month out)
BIO/GC/OC/PAT/QR/RC/TS/AA
21/ 19/ 21/ 19/ 14/ X/ 21/ X

2009 ADA DAT (taken 10 days out)
BIO/GC/OC/PAT/QR/RC/TS/AA
21/ 19/ 20/ 22/ 17/ 20/ 20/ 19

Real DAT
BIO/GC/OC/PAT/QR/RC/TS/AA
20/ 18/ 22/ 21/ 19/ 20/ 20/ 20

I studied for a little under 3 months. The time varied from day to day, but it was typical to spend ~5 hours per day studying. I used:
Kaplan blue book (3/10)- Don't waste your time with this. It makes a better door stop than a review book. Waste. Of. Money.
DAT Bootcamp (10/10)- Such a great source, truly worth your money. It's the only source you need for the PAT. It also gives you a good background for the QR and the new quantitative comparisons.
DAT Destroyer (10/10)- Another great source that covers a wide variety of topics. Don't let it destroy your confidence levels. It's meant to be hard so that you can be successful on the real test. Take it with a grain of salt. Memorize the organic roadmaps!
Chad's videos (8/10)- I used the free versions because I'm a broke college student. It served its purpose of reviewing the organic and gen chem topics. Chad explains things in a simple yet funny manner.
Feralis Bio notes (8/10)- I just skimmed over my weak areas. Very detailed notes.
Crash Course youtube videos (7/10)- I have not taken anatomy, physiology, or microbiology yet so I needed a quick "crash course" on these subjects. Hank is easy to follow and the animations make it entertaining. My only complaint is some of the videos were too basic and I needed more detailed information/concepts for the DAT.

Destroyer and Bootcamp are a must if you can afford them!

Standardized tests are usually my achilles heal, so I knew I would have to work extra hard to get the score I wanted. That's why I have tried to make other aspects of my application competitive. I first read the Kaplan book front to cover. When it came time to take one of the practice tests, I bombed it and started freaking out. I took the 2007 DAT a few days later and scored much higher. I know the 2007 test is a little on the easy side but it pointed me in the right direction and I changed my study methods. I started using Bootcamp and Destroyer. I got the Destroyer with 3 weeks left and only got through it once with review of select problems. These two sources are what saved me! My scores dramatically improved. I took the 2009 test and scored about the same as the 2007, but I wouldn't have been able to get those scores a month ago. And if I took the 2007 test now, I'm sure the scores would be much higher.

Biology (20)
I cannot emphasize the breadth over depth when it comes to biology. Most of the questions involved broad concepts rather than knit-picky details. Some questions were "you knew or you didn't" type of application problems. Overall, I think bootcamp is your best option for this section.

General Chemistry (18)
This one kind of surprised me :scared:. There were a handful of questions that I had never seen before, and it had a lot of tedious calculations.I didn't have as many conceptual questions. It didn't help that I started to panic. Overall, the destroyer is great for being exposed to the calculations and Bootcamp is better for conceptual questions in my opinion.

Organic Chemistry (22)
I gave myself a pep talk and did much better on this section. I had a few spectroscopy problems, substitution vs elimination, a couple intermediate compounds, ortho/para/meta directors, and surprisingly very few synthesis/reaction problems. I have a strong background in organic and this was one of my stronger areas. Destroyer should be your go-to.

PAT (21)
I draw in my free time so this kind of came naturally to me. I did practice some, but not a ton. Bootcamp is the BEST source for this. The real test is very similar to the practice tests. On the real test, angles were easier, hole punching was equivalent, cube counting was easier (less cubes), pattern folding was easier, TFE was equivalent, and keyholes were harder. I got a handful of rocks which were ridiculously hard. I know I could have scored a point or two higher if it wasn't for the rocks.

Do yourself the favor and take the scheduled break to relax.

Reading (20)
I struggled with this on the ACT in high school so I had to work extra for this score. I read 3-4 Scientific American articles a day. I used a method similar to BYU4you where I would read half the passage and used search and destroy to answer as much as I could, and then repeat for the second half of the passage. The questions were not in order of where they appeared in the passage. I had a few tone questions but nothing too overwhelming.

Math (19)
I've always struggled with math (calculus 1 and 2 tainted my gpa :bang:). I freaked out on the 2007 test, hence the low score. Destroyer helped me get on track and I started scoring higher on Bootcamp. The 2009 test is notoriously hard so I was ok with the 17 (knowing that the real test would not be as hard). Bootcamp was great for quantitative comparison (I had about 5-6 on my DAT). I didn't have any trig problems, a few geometry, lots of statistics/probability, and maybe 2 graphs that I had to interpret. With all my struggles, I was happy to get a 19.

Overall, I think its impossible to be completely ready for a test like this. You'll know your ready when you become less nervous (and ready to get it over with). If you put in the time and your happy with your 2009 scores, then your ready to conquer the DAT.

Also, I want others reading this to understand VERY FEW people score AA 24+. Don't get discouraged. They make up a very small portion of the test takers. I was quite intimidated myself. You know your strengths and weakness. Focus on yourself and how you can improve to get your target scores. Sorry if this is long. I just wanted to be thorough and help others as much as I can! Let me know if I missed anything or if you have further questions.

Thank you @orgoman22, @Ari Rezaei, @FeralisExtremum for helping me reach my target scores!
 

DDSDCMUU

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2017
240
140
Congrats! Solid scores and great GPA! Did you find the real DAT QR to be easier? I am averaging around an 18 on BC and hoping to score 20 in this section on the real DAT.
 
OP
anxious_achiever

anxious_achiever

2+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2017
13
9
Status
Pre-Dental
Congrats! Solid scores and great GPA! Did you find the real DAT QR to be easier? I am averaging around an 18 on BC and hoping to score 20 in this section on the real DAT.
I would say yes for my particular test version. I was consistently scoring 17s with an occasional 18 and one 19 (2 days before my test) on bootcamp. I thought the quantitative comparisons were easier on the real test.
 

Prima Donna

2+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2016
139
81
Status
Pre-Dental
nice and consistent scores ! Congrats and enjoy the last little bit of your summer.