DAT Breakdown Successful 2nd Attempt 23 AA 24 TS 8/7/2023

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Feb 1, 2023
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Here is my DAT breakdown! I hope it is helpful for people studying, especially to those who are studying for a retake and want to score much higher the second time.

Background: Senior with a 3.61 GPA and 3.29 sGPA. I never got above a B in any chemistry/ochem class. I also got a B- in biology freshman year and took other biology classes during covid. I took my first attempt on June 5th scoring 19 AA 19 TS,.I studied for about 2 months/10 hrs a day for the first attempt. After the first attempt I took a month break and studied for 6 hrs a day for a month and retook my test 63 days later and scored 23 AA/24TS.

Materials used:

-Bootcamp for first attempt: Bootcamp is great, however I’m not sure it was the best option for me personally. The tests seemed too specific and not very representative. They were much harder than the real DAT. Instead of overpreparing me, I felt the test prepared me for random science topics instead of what the actual DAT focuses on. I’m sure if you are totally confident about everything on Bootcamp, you will do just fine. For example I think Bootcamp tries to teach you the entire subject of general chemistry, but booster taught me only what I needed to know for the DAT.

-Booster for second attempt: I preferred this program and obviously I did better when I studied with it. Maybe not as streamline as bootcamp, but the tests were gold and the information was condensed and DAT specific.

I never used Anki. Too boring.


Biology (18->24) The first attempt seemed very genetics heavy and that is a class I have never taken. I probably marked 20 questions because I wasn’t 100% sure, even if I had a general idea of what they were asking. I was averaging around an 18-19 in bootcamp practice tests, so I thought I would score at least a 20. I was wrong. Booster gave me confidence because the tests were easier and MUCH more representative. Still harder than the real test. I’d say Booster focuses on the hardest 50% of questions. My advice would be to focus on the recent bio changes (genomics, epigenetics, archaebacteria, etc) and then the high yield cheat cheats. Crash courses are GREAT if you feel completely lost in a subject, you can go from completely lost to very comfortable with the material in just a couple hours.

Gen Chem (17->24) The first attempt I was not expecting this subject to be my worst. I always got 19-20 on practice tests and I made sure to understand what I missed. Then the exam came around and similarly to bio, I could narrow it down to 2 answers, but I wasn’t 100% sure what the right answer was. Booster materials/exams were again much more representative, and I made sure there wasn’t a question they could ask that I haven’t seen 5 times. The chemistry notes are SO helpful on booster. READ THOSE AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. The test is mostly conceptual and those notes will cover everything. After finishing the chem section I thought I didn’t miss a single one for my second attempt.

Ochem (21->24): Honestly didn’t study too much for second attempt. Made sure to know reactions on reaction sheets and learn from practice tests. Both tests were simpler than anything booster or bootcamp showed me. I think my second test was just a little easier. Also, go with your gut!

QR (18->23) Didn’t study “material” at all but became very good at taking the test. I marked questions I didn’t know quickly and came back to them at the end. For the first attempt I didn’t have time for my last 4 questions. The second attempt I had 8 minutes at the end to go back and look over my 3 marked questions.

RC( 21->19) I just practiced RC on practice tests. My scores ranged from 19-30. Bummer that this wasn’t higher on my second attempt, but I’m just glad it was over 17 haha. I had a really long confusing first article that took almost half my time with 5 marked questions. Key here is staying calm and not zoning out. Booster seemed to be more representative but both programs did a good job.

PAT (24->22) This might be a hot take, but I think PAT was better on Bootcamp. It wasn’t as hard and more representative. Booster was more difficult and it kind of threw off my rhythm. Both were good and the key here is practice. I think I spent too much time on PAT for my first attempt, I think anything over a 20 is pretty much the same in the eyes of dental schools from what I have heard.

Ending advice: You can definitely be successful with either program, but Booster was the most helpful for me. Don’t neglect subjects you aren’t familiar with. Instead of stressing when you see a concept you aren’t familiar with, be glad you discovered your weaknesses before your test day. I’m not sure practice test scores are the best measurement of progress, but rather a great tool for figuring out what topics you struggle with. Rep problems you are bad at until you can do them without thinking. Work smarter not harder! You got this!

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