DAT breakdown from an unusual perspective 20TS/21AA - 5/14/14

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by mardets, May 14, 2014.

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  1. mardets

    mardets 2+ Year Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Dental Student
    Hey everyone, long time lurker here. I just took the DAT for the first time today, and since this forum have helped me tremendously as a pre-dental student, I feel like I should do a brief breakdown of my scores as a way of saying thanks.

    What make this breakdown unusual is that compare to many others in this forum, I was probably wayyyy underprepared for this test. I did not use many materials to study for this test, so I cannot offer any recommendation on which to use. I can only offer my opinions of the exam as a first time taker. Now bear with me, as I've been awake since 5AM to prepare for the test and I'm a bit sleep derived right now.

    My scores:
    Bio: 19
    GC: 20
    OC: 21

    PAT: 19
    RC: 19
    QR: 26

    TS: 20
    AA: 21

    I've just finished my third undergrad year with 3.459 oGPA, majoring in Neuroscience. I wanted to take the DAT twice this year. My plan is that I would take one at the beginning of summer with minimal studying, to basically get a feel of the exam and to know what to expect, and then spend the rest of summer to study and then take another one just before classes start.
    The materials I (barely) used for this exam included: DAT Destroyer and Cliffs 4rd edition.

    The Test:
    Bio (19)

    I'll be honest; biology is my weakest suit, that's the only reason why I brought Cliff. I don't like biology because it's too broad with very little concept to grasp onto. I feel like most of the time spent on studying biology consists of "memorizing facts and big words," and I suck at memorizing stuffs. To "prepare" for the exam, I completely read though chapter 5 of Cliffs, and skim through ~70 random questions on the DAT destroyer. I guess what also helped is that I was also taking Intro to Biochem and Genetic & Cells at my university prior to the exam.

    On the exam: like many others here have said, the questions you get are random, and since biology is such a broad subject,luck has everything to do with it. As for me, I guess I was a bit lucky with my 40 bio questions. I only get one or two anatomy and plant questions (thank god), and a several of genetics, simple biology and concept question. Compare to the DAT destroyer though, the actual exam seem much easier.

    If you're studying for the DAT I'd say focus these topics: cells (general structures), cellular respiration (ATP production, energy consumption), cell communication (chemical cascade, neurons, central dogma), cell division (miosis + mitosis), cell movement (cillia + flagella), genetics and heredity. While the bio section of the exam is random, I still feel like these topics appeared more (like half of the exam) than say like a question about plants or ecology (only 1 or 2 out of 40), and these topics are related so its easier to study them as a whole. Lastly, if your situation permits, you should take anatomy and physiology to prepare for the DAT, as I feel that it is very difficult human anatomy by myself, but to each his own. Other topics you should touch on includes: evolution and photosynthesis > everything else.

    GC (20)
    Unlike biology, I'm somewhat confidence in my chemistry skill. I took basic chemistry my sophomore year of HS, AP chem junior year, general chem freshman year of college, and into to biochem prior to the exam. With a strong chem background, I didn't spent much time studying for the exam, except looking through ~50 questions in the DAT destroyer to get a feel of what I'm going to get. On the day of the exam, I looked up zeroth, first, and second rate equations, and Gibb's free energy equation, just in case those are needed on the exam.

    On the exam: to be honest, this part seems really easy for me, as I was blazing through it. I was half expecting a higher score for GC, like a 21 or something. But anyways, like I said, the whole 30 questions seem way easier than the DAT destroyer questions. There was no finding the K value of the rate reactions, no Delta G, nothing too complex. There were several questions about forward and reverse reaction, one oxidation-reduction, one balancing the equation, few acid-base, lots of converting units (dimensional analysis) and mental math.What I've noticed is that since there is no calculator in the science section, most of the numbers in the GC section come out nicely, with the intention that you could do them without the need of a calculator. So a strong mental math skill will help you heaps in the GC section (1/3 of the questions).

    OC (21)
    OC is my second weakest suit, right after biology. I was very nervous about this part, and I have reasons too. I had to retake OChem I (C+ first time) and still only managed a B the 2nd time around, and a B in OChem II. I spent the most time studying for OChem by doing DAT destroyer and review the answers to understand the reactions and molecular interactions. I also used an old study guide for OChem II final I had laying around as a guideline for common reactions such as Grignard's, Adol, Claisens, Michael, Carboxylic derivatives, reductions of C=O bonds, and additions to the benzene ring.

    On the exam: Again, way easier than the destroyer. In hindsight, doing the destroyer has gotten me more nervous about the OChem section than I should have been just because of the complexity of the problems in destroyer. The questions I got on the exams are mostly reactions, few benzene questions, few stereochemistry, few naming, few about polarity and "like dissolve like," one "which acid is strongest," one CNMR and no IR question. In the end, I feel like if you understand the basic interaction between molecules you should be fine.

    PAT (19)
    This is the part of the exam that has caught me completely off guard. I've spent zero, repeat, zero hour to study for this test, and I didn't even know what would be on it except the keyholes and angle ranking. This is mostly because I've always considered myself visual and I was all like "how can you study for a test like this." Boy was I in for a surprise. And since this is my first time taking the exam, I was constantly checking the time to keep the pace so that I wouldn't run out of time.

    Keyholes: not too bad, struggled on a few of them but cannot spend too much time on any one due to time. Marked and move on.

    TFE: same as above, but a bit trickier, spent a bit more time on it too.
    Angle ranking: this was my hell. Like seriously I think this part is the sole reason why my PAT score is so low. Even though I knew the angle ranking was on the test, I did not expect 2-3 IDENTICAL angles on the questions. Knowing there's no way for me to mentally figure this part out, I just bomb through it.

    Hole punching: this is one of the trickier ones. Some of the questions are easy; some folds are a bit more complex. Halfway through the section, I began to draw mini grids on my board - but I couldn't spend too much time on it because again, time.After I have taken the exam, I read that some ppl spent the 15 mins tutorial to draw the grid on their board. I wish I have done that.

    Cube counting: simpler, since I can basically go over each cube and count the one that's fit. This strategy seems to work for me but, I was constantly second doubting it since the strat seems to be too much time consuming.

    Pattern folding: a bit pain in the ass because of the similarity in the answers.I found that on some of them, it's easier to just compare the differences in the answers and check the question at the differences.

    15 mins break
    At this point, my eyes are wrecked after the PAT, so I took a mini bathroom break and just stare at myself for like 30s in the huge mirror in the bathroom. I highly recommend you take a little break, even if you think you don't need it, because you're going to rely on your eyes on the next part also.

    RC (19)
    I didn't study at all for this section, simply because I'm not sure how I can prepare for it. Sure I read a fair amount, but even without knowing anything about the exam, I knew that I shouldn't waste valuable time to actually read the passages. I just use search and destroy, and this section feel like a race for me. 50 questions, 3 passages, 60 mins, so like less than a min to find the answer in ~16 paragraphs. Anyways, my passages are:fungi, dental ethic, and endothelium and mesothelium with formation of teeth.I think I was a bit unlucky with this one, as I wasn't familiar with the first two topics. The last one I learned a bit in anatomy, so I atleast knew what it's talking about.

    QR (26):
    Math is my strongest suit, simply because I'm Asian soo.... and honestly, this part is the only reason why I got a 21 on my AA. I breeze though it easily and there's not much advice I can offer. I only struggled on 1 standard derivation because I slept in my stat class, and a geometry question, which I still could not solve.

    Overall thought:
    I know my scores aren't ideal, but given the time, effort and resource I put into the test, I'll take it. My 2 regrets are:
    (1) I used DAT destroyer as my primary study guide and got discourages easily because of the difficulty of it. In the end, the DAT destroyer made me more nervous about the exam than I should, so I guess it have done as much harm as it is good.
    (2) The PAT.

    Would I say I was lucky? Maybe. Would I recommend you do the same thing I did in regard to prep for the DAT? No. Although since I was so nervous about the exam, I did sleep a lot in the week prior to the exam, so I'd recommend getting a lot of sleep.

    Another thing, the stuffs you learn in your prereq classes are important, so pay attention to those.Most of the stuffs you're studying for the DAT should just be review from those courses.Now that I've reflected back on my DAT, the real reason why I did well on it my first time without any prep is because I understood the concepts from classes (and also luck). There are stuffs you can "study" for, there are just stuffs you can't.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
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  3. Triflate


    Nov 23, 2013
    Dental Student

    Good job though!
  4. KyoPhan

    KyoPhan 7+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Good job.

    I'm impressed with the 19 on the PAT with barely any knowledge of the section. I'm sure you'll do a great the second time.
  5. Futuredentguy2015


    Dec 27, 2013
    those are my dream scores! :boom:
  6. Dotoday

    Dotoday 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007
    Good job. Nice scores, even though you thought you were underprepared, you did very well.
  7. SmileDesignersDDS


    Mar 22, 2014
    Nice scores I guess cliffs and destroyer helped a lot!

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