First, I want to thank the following people: Glimmer1991 and ramborhino. On February 22, 2014, I started a thread called "High GPA Low DAT." You can find the link here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/high-gpa-low-dat.1056638 This was at the low point of my studying. I took one full length test-tried to at least. For the first time in my life, I couldn't complete a section on time and I thought that there was no way the DAT could be done. I was also only getting 16/17 on all the science sections. I have a high GPA from a top school and some decent extracurrics so I was trying to tell myself that I would just need to depend on that. I told myself I was a failure before anything had happened. Keep in mind that I thought I was for sure going to get a 19-21 on the DAT only. Couldn't have been more wrong. But both Glimmer1991 and ramborhino convinced me how stupid it was to do that. I really owe a big part of my DAT score to them. Ok so here's the break down. I know it's a lot to read but just be assured that I did score well and didn't just panicked the entire time. I got a 24 TS and 24 AA. So I started my studying with Kaplan's online class. I'm going to rate this literally a 1/10 because I truly believe that this actually hindered my studying. The teachers are great, but the material they cover is so brief that I got the illusion that the DAT was not a big deal. I actually meant to take it last summer because I was duped by Kaplan's "chill" attitude and weak material. I took a Kaplan practice test a month before my test exam and had a panic attack similar to above so I delayed my summer test. Come winter break, I had 5 completely free weeks to study since I got back from school earlier than usual for fall quarter. Again, I studied Kaplan, believing that it was comprehensive. Took another of their practice tests and again panicked. It was at this point that I discovered SDN and DAT breakdowns. This was the last straw for Kaplan. I was told by my friends to just take it during the summer, but I did not want to waste another summer and I wanted to apply early to dental schools so I made a promise to take the DAT by the end of winter quarter and still get all As in my classes. I'll now explain the material I bought and how I used them. Biology: Destroyer: 10/10 Qvault: 9/10 Bootcamp: 9/10 Chads videos: 7/10 but keep in mind that it will not be complete until May 2014 Chads quizzes: 8.5/10 Kaplan online class: 1/10 Kaplan Flash Cards: 2/10 They're the best part of Kaplan, but still not comprehensive by any means. These 300 cards are not worth the $1000+. Craig Savage Youtube videos: 6/10 2007 Biology DAT: 10/10 Destroyer is VERY important for biology. This is how to use destroyer: 1) You need to take it 25 questions at a time while recording your answers on an excel sheet. 2) Mark which ones you got incorrect as well as ones you got correct, but only by guessing/narrowing it down. You want to do 25 at a time so you can apply the knowledge you learned to future questions. 3) Read the explanations for those 25. I recommend reading every single explanation even if you did get the question right, because there is bound to be a term or concept in the question or the question answers that you did not know but you were still able to get the correct answer. 4) Write down everything you learned on a word document. Be liberal here. If you know something, but know you don't have it fully memorized. Include it. The more stuff you write down here, the better your score will be. 5) Repeat until you finished the test. Most people I've seen will get around 30-40% so don't worry about the results. 6) Once you finished everything, condense everything you learned into topics so you have basically made yourself a summary of biology Qvault and Bootcamp are also very important. Qvault does a few sections with questions that come out of nowhere (very weird facts). Regardless, do every single biology test from these companies and again, make a summary of biology for each one. Also, note that bootcamp does not save your tests so make that summary as soon as you finish the test. I would suggest you make the summary as soon as you finish any test qvault or bootcamp because you might have selected a wrong answer during a practice test, thought it was correct for sure, and now believe an incorrect fact. I felt at times that Bootcamp was slightly harder than Qvault, but for the most part, these two are equal. Chads videos for biology are his weakest. However, I think you still need to watch them. With all of Chad's videos, download the outline he provides and write vigorous notes. There are some things like immunology and menstrual cycle that can seem very difficult to memorize whatever you do. The way around this is to watch the immunity and menstrual cycle videos on Craig Savage's channel. With Destroyer, Qvault, and Bootcamp, if you create those summaries well enough, you should have a very strong grasp of biology. I bought AP Cliff Notes Biology and downloaded Feralis notes because I thought I would need something to reference to in case I was still missing something or the explanation provided was not clear enough. I ended up not touching the AP Cliff Notes at all and read Feralis notes for an hour for three days. Feralis has too many weird terms that will never come up. It's a waste of time unless you really don't understand an idea. One concept I did however find lacking from all three material was developmental biology. I'm not talking about gastrulation. I'm talking about animal/vegetal pole stuff. Hox genes stuff on fruit flies. I had good notes from my biology class to cover this. The lack of coverage may be because Hox genes could be too detailed for the DAT. However, I would definitely be comfortable with the frog development: animal/vegetal pole/gray crescent/organizer. Chads quizes were good even though they only covered a small section of biology. If anything, I think you should remember that Chads quizzes are very good at bombarding you with a bunch of tricky questions. Not insanely tricky like destroyer, but some reasonable ones that could show up on the DAT. Lastly, I also took the 2007 DAT Bio section. I heard 2009 was a better predictor, but I just didn't have time left to do both so I chose the free one. I would say it was the best predictor out of any practice test. In terms of relatedness to the actual DAT: My qvault bio scores were 19/21/20/22/19/21/20/21/18/18. My bootcamp bio scores were 19/20/21/20/20 2007 DAT bio: 22 My real DAT: 22 Chemistry: Destroyer: 7/10 Qvault: 10/10 Bootcamp: 10/10 Chads videos: 10/10 Chads quizzes: 10/10 Destroyer gets into too much detail, but you'll still need it because the DAT does have 1 or 2 tricky problems. To get a high score in Chemistry, it's all about 1 or 2 questions. Again, make summaries from Destroyer, Qvault, and Bootcamp. There were a few instances when I was not clear of certain topics and wish there was an easy to access reference. I just asked SDN and friends for those. If you're still in school, I would recommend paying your old Chem professor a visit during office hours. Chads videos are a must. Chads quizzes are again good at giving you reasonably tricky problems. I thought qvault and bootcamp were both on par for this section. My qvault tests: 20/21/22/26/21/22/21/22/25/22 My bootcamp tests: 20/19/21/22/I could not finish the last test. I might have been tired but I thought the last test was extremely difficult. I was hoping to get back to it but ended up not having enough time. 2007 DAT: The night before I scrolled through the questions and asked myself how I would solve them. It was relieving because I knew how to do every single one but I don't suggest doing this if you're nervous. My real DAT Chem score: 26 Organic chemistry: Destroyer: 8/10 Qvault: 10/10 Bootcamp: 10/10 Chads videos: 10/10 Chads quizzes: 10/10 Like Chemistry, Destroyer gets into too much detail, but you'll still need to do it. Ochem is also a section based on 1 or 2 questions for high scores. Chads videos are a must. Chads quizzes are extremely good for tricky problems in this section. Again, make summaries from Destroyer, Qvault, and Bootcamp. There were also a few instances when I was not clear of certain topics like pH indicators and pI and wish there was an easy to access reference. Again, I just asked SDN and friends for those. If you're still in school, I would recommend paying your old OChem professor a visit during office hours. This is unique to the science sections: 1) Go through destroyer's network of rxns. Memorize them. The ones that you don't have completely ingrained/memorized and I mean completely make a list on a blank sheet of paper. 2) add rxns from bootcamp, Chads, qvault 3) you should have a 2 page double sided list of rxns by then 4) make one copy without the answers to those rxns 5) make copies and do at least one worksheet each day You still have summaries from bootcamp, destroyer, and qvault, but these are mostly used for concepts rather than memorizing rxns. Qvault tests: 19/21/22/21/20/21/26/21/22/24 Bootcamp: 21/22/20/21/the last one was too hard. mightve been too tired. My real DAT score: 25 PAT: Crack DAT PAT: 3/10 Qvault: 10/10 Bootcamp: 5/10 Crack DAT PAT is good because they provide many questions. However, I was really put off by their cube counting that I ended up only taking one full length test of theirs. Their cube counting is simply not drawn properly and looks completely different than the real test. PAT as you recall was what gave me those panic attacks because I simply could not finish. My strategy for it was to: 1) Skip to question 46 of hole punching. Using LOS method (look it up on Youtube), get 100% on these (very easy to do). mark 1 or 2 if you have to, but usually with LOS, you'll get the right answer and be very confident about it 2) Do cube counting carefully (doesn't matter how long it takes. If you practice a few times, you'll get faster at it). you don't want to mark any of these but if you are not sure, try recounting once. If it still does not work (usually because you're nervous and not because the figure is tricky-unless you take bootcamp), mark it and move on. You also want to get 100% on this. 3) Pattern folding I was always pretty good at. Kaplan strategies on this are actually pretty useful. But again not worth the $1000. Basically don't imagine a whole figure. Focus on one unique shape. Then the things next to it. You usually can eliminate half of the answer choices by figuring out that something cannot be next to something. Pattern folding is usually all about: shape or something being next to something. 4) Go back to number 1 and do keyholes fast! You do need practice for this. Once you get enough practice you'll start to understand how the questions work. Mark any that you need. 5) Skip TFE. Note that counting events will no longer work. You just have to be gifted for this section. 6) Do angles. I'm actually really good at angles. The best prep for angles is Crack DAT PAT angle generator. I think bootcamp had one too. I did not use either really because I was innately good at this. Be sure you eliminate answers carefully. Start with the largest angles or the smallest. I did not have any other cool technique. A quick glance would usually be enough for me. 7) Go back and do TFE. You can still try to count events. It will work for a few problems. Don't waste a lot of time on this though. Going over the questions you marked in other sections is more important. Keep in mind you may be good at TFE. Who knows? I just believe that the majority of people are not because it really is mostly skill. Qvault's tests were the best predictor. I got 19/20/21/21/21 (I did not take many PAT tests) Bootcamp is way too hard even though I got similar socres. I got 19/18/20 My real DAT score: 21 Reading Comprehension I had pretty good RC scores from the SAT and the SAT's RC is much harder than the DAT. The best strategy is to create a roadmap where you write down one to five words. I suggest doing enough tests to be comfortable in a code you make so you can write as fast and short as possible. For example, I used "..." when a paragraph just listed out a bunch of terms. I would usually say something like invertebrates "..." I feel that doing straight S&D is silly. You want to have a general idea of where to look. That being said, read passages quickly. The DAT passages were interesting imo, but less than qvault. I did not use bootcamp for this. A good trick to read passages quickly is to read the first two sentences of each paragraph in detail as well as the last. Skim over the body. That info should give you enough for your roadmap. Key things for roadmaps include: -terms (again try to use a code) -opinions -concepts -names of people -dates Qvault RC: 21/24 Real DAT: 22 Quantitative My math skills have always been sharp. That being said, I think this is an important section because it affects your AA. In the end, interviewers usually reference the AA. No matter how talented you are in math though, there are a bunch of stupid conversions you need to know as well as trig identities. I did not want to buy Chads videos for this because I did not notice many of these conversion problems on practice DATs so I just made another summary using bootcamp, and qvault. Qvault: 27/24/24 Bootcamp: I skimmed through them looking for conversion problems and trig identities I need to know. I also asked myself if I could solve a problem. Real dat: 24 Ok now we got the material out of the way, I feel I need to be more clear about the timeline. I had 10 weeks to study but honestly a little bit shorter amount of time is better. You want to go beast mode in this. You don't want to feel relaxed at any point of your studying until the very last week. Important note: Not every test needs to be under testing conditions. Making summaries takes priority over testing conditions. I also saved 2 qvaults for week 9 to be under testing conditions. Week 1/2: watch all of chads, took vigorous notes Week 2/3: completed all of destroyer and made summaries Week 3/4: condensed destroyer summary for bio (look above) and took 4 qvault tests. dont forget summaries. Week 5/6: took 3 bootcamp tests. again summaries Week 7: finished 4 more qvault and 1 bootcamp along with summaries (this was when I realized I needed to hurry up. Summaries are great but only once they are actually complete. Sure creating summaries helps you learn a lot but it's more than that) Week 8: Go over summaries as much as possible. highlight items that you feel you dont have down 100%. this could turn 150 pages of reading into 50. Going over biology, chemistry, and ochem summaries should be a two day affair. One trick for bio is to record yourself reading the summaries. Play this in the shower with a waterproof bluetooth speaker. On your way to class. In your car. You'll still need to read it because visual processing + auditory processing > auditory processing. Week 9: Recondense summaries with another color early on in the week. take last 2 qvault and last bootcamp. Do at least 2 under testing conditions. Again make summaries. Retake all bio tests including destroyer. This can be done quickly. Because you've been going over those summaries over and over, you should get almost 100%. Remake summaries for the repeated tests. Week 10: Rehighlight with another color to recondense. This time be stingy. Recondense only things you dont know for sure not things you can figure out with logic. Take at least 3 tests under testing conditions. I just retook qvaults but this is a good time to take 2007 and 2009 real DATs. Make summaries if you do take 2007 and 2009. Day before: just go over recondensed and do the ochem rxn list like youve been doing every day. Also I watched the Craig Savage videos at least once a week. I also watched it two days before the test. Ok so thats pretty much it. Here are my main principles: 1) It's not about the score you get on practice tests. It's about learning the stuff you do not know. In every case, my practice test scores were lower than my actual score. I don't know how qvault and bootcamp grades their tests, but obviously it's not too important. Summaries. Summaries. Summaries. 2) Recondense This is very important. Short term memory only lasts 3 days. Strong long term memory usually last 3 weeks. This was according to a class I took. I really do believe it. Early on, I was not going over my summaries as often as I liked to and I felt myself forgetting many things. One trick to get from short term memory to long term memory is to repeat + be interested in what you are learning. Again info from the class I took, but I believe it. 3) Be in beast mode I took 10 mostly free weeks but I feel 8 completely free weeks would have been better. If you're relaxed, you won't be neurotic when it comes to making those summaries. You won't be neurotic about reviewing those summaries. But the last week, you should be relaxed because you should notice your retake scores significantly improve and by now you should have most of your summaries memorized. 4) Focus on your weaknesses for science (How? You guessed it. Summaries). For other sections, realize your strengths. Science is an important subject. You cannot run away from it. Reading and math on the other hand you can. Sure some people say Reading score is important, but AA and TS are most important. You can hide a bad score in either one but you cannot run away from your TS. In addition, for PAT, I conquered it (relatively) by focusing on my strengths (not TFE). So yeah that's it. Feel free to ask me anything but I thought this was comprehensive. Unorganized maybe. Edit: I'll add some detail about the day of my DAT and my DAT experience 15 min tutorial: prepare your grids, etc. Bio: pretty easy. Yes there were stuff I didn't see but only 1 or 2. Destroyer had 1 or 2 questions here that were identical. Checked a couple of my answers. Chem: Straight forward. Only 1 question that came from out of nowhere. Did not check any answers. Ochem: Straight forward. One question where answer choices were tricky. PAT: difficulty is like qvault. holes in hole punches were smaller than usual. Break: take your break and spend your time pumping yourself up. I feel to read quickly enough for RC you need to be in an active state of mind RC: interesting. roadmap helped for 2 of them. the other one was so S&Dable I barely used my roadmap. Finished 5 minutes early. Rechecked 3rd story questions after I finished. Then answers from 1st passage. Pacing is key and usually you complete 1st passage questions quickly so its likely you made mistakes here. Keep in mind to never use inference. Almost every question was straightforward. You need to find the text and confirm your answer. Math: Easy. No conversions you need to memorize! Important note: This was not clear in practice tests. You cannot check your science questions until you finish all 3. This scared me and made me waste time flipping back through bio questions individually after I finished bio and made waste time so I could not check the other two science sections. I really feel like I could have gotten a 25 or 26 TS had I had the time. Also I recommend taking the earplugs. CPA exams involve lots of typing and it got really annoying. The soundproof headphones they may give you are not enough. I also recommend booking a hotel room nearby so you can just wake up, eat breakfast, and walk across the street to take your DAT. This helped me a lot. You want to not be nervous the day of. Also if your test is at 11 AM like mine was. Prometric asks you to show up at 10:30 AM but your test will still be at 11 AM. The 30 minutes is to put stuff in your locker. Fingerprinting starts at ~10:55 AM. Edit 2: I got a question regarding what I meant by avoid using inference on RC. Of course for tone, what should the author have done, etc. questions, you won't find the answer in the text. But if a question asks you about a fact mentioned in the passage (especially term questions), you do not want to make any assumptions whatsoever. Unless you clearly remember the passage saying the answer, quickly look back and confirm that the answer matches word for word. As I was checking my answers, I caught at least 4 problems where the answer choice I initially selected really made sense to someone who skims the passage, but another answer choice could be found that fit better since I found it verbatim.