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DAT Breakdown

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by choosegoose, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. choosegoose

    choosegoose 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Just wanted to post a shoutout to the unsung heroes of the DAT: you guys. I unfortunately only discovered SDN about a month into studying for the DAT, but for the past 4 weeks I have been diligently lurking every possible post. Your honest feedback, advice, support, and recommendations have probably been the main reason I was (somewhat) successful on today's exam.

    Here are my scores:

    TS: 20
    AA: 21
    Bio: 21
    Chem: 20
    Org: 20
    RC: 23
    Math: 21
    PAT: 20

    To be honest, I was a complete dunce in college. I graduated with a GPA that dental schools wouldn't wipe their butts with. I don't know what happened, but as soon as I left college, I grew up. One thing led to another and I now work as a dental assistant and am absolutely obsessed with dentistry. So, I put it all on the line and decided to go for broke. It has been about 5 years since I took my intro science courses, so I feel like I started waaaaay behind everyone else here on SDN.

    I don't want to be repetitive as everyone's breakdowns look somewhat similar, so I'll tell you what I did differently:

    Bio: I made a list of every single topic I thought would be on the exam. That ranged from the nitrogen cycle to the detailed functions of a nephron tubule. I then essentially used Google to gather as much information on each topic. This was time-consuming, I do not recommend it unless you are starting to study very early. Then, I attempted Destroyer. If I saw a topic or detail on Destroyer that wasn't in my notes, I looked it up through Google again and integrated it into my notes. I'm going to disagree with every single one of you (sorry) and say that Destroyer wasn't my best tool for studying bio. I think the real exam is such a regurgitation of facts in this section and involves so little integration of concepts, that reviewing my notes was where I was successful. Destroyer was only significant to point out minute details I may have missed. If you don't have very much time to study bio, I recommend you just memorize as many topics in as much detail as possible.

    Chem: I bought the Barron's DAT book on Amazon for like $20. It was a terrible resource in terms of education, but it did give me a good idea of which topics were going to be on the exam. I used it as a guideline to follow a similar process as what I did for biology, but more focused on equations. After that, I just did as many practice problems as I could get my hands on: Destroyer, the free Bootcamp test #1, my brother's MCAT Exam Krackers book, etc. I found on the real exam that the concepts in chemistry were very simple, but the wording could be tricky. So I exposed myself to as many different ways of asking basically the same questions.

    Org: Wow, org. The first thing I did was watch every single video on Khan Academy. I then discovered Chad's videos through SDN. If you can't tell, I did not want to invest a lot of money into this test because I had no faith in myself even doing well, but I am SO GLAD I bought Chad's videos. I wish I had used them for chemistry, I probably would have done better. But for every reaction Chad did, I made a notecard with the mechanism and details. The single most important trick I learned was the nucleophile always attacks the electrophile. No matter what problem was thrown at me, I'd look for the "negative charge" that would want to attack the "positive charge". From here, I did every Destroyer problem. I went through the roadmaps once a week and instead of just memorizing the answer, I made sure I could do most of the electron movement. The DAT sometimes asked what was an intermediate, so I found this to be a helpful process.

    PAT: I don't know why everyone insists that CDT is too easy. From someone who would consistently score below a 12 before purchasing CDT, I think I did alright on the actual exam. I found a free Achiever test online (I don't know if it was legit), but it was so hard that I couldn't even learn from it, I was so discouraged. I took a CDT test last night before today's exam and got an 18, my highest score so far. I was sure I was going to bomb this section, but when I got to the actual test it was outrageously easy. I had done 5 CDT tests about twice each and they were very very representative of my real test. I had 2 questions on hole punches that were identical and they were next to each other. I thought it was a fluke so I kept pressing Previous and Next but I guess the random sampling that makes the test might have faulted.

    RC: Not much to say here except that I did search and destroy for 2 of the 3 articles. One was about hurricanes, one about Boson particles, and one about H. pylori. The hurricanes article was so freaking long, but every single question was an easy search and destroy. Pretty much same for H. pylori, but there were a few questions that required integration of ideas throughout the article I might have messed up on. The Boson particles article went so far over my head, I didn't even understand what I was reading. I read it slowly once, looked at the questions and skimmed it again. The questions were relatively easy details to pick out, so search and destroy worked but only because I had comprehended where to look.

    QR: I barely studied for math, which I really regret. The questions were soooo simple and straightforward, that if I had been quicker at my algebra I could have had more time to spend on the slightly harder questions. Basically, MEMORIZE THE TRIG FUNCTIONS and get super fast at all of those calculations. I had like maybe 2 probability questions that were incredibly easy, the rest was all trig or word problems. 90% of my questions involved a right triangle. Also, the calculator I had was the generic non-scientific calculator that comes with every PC computer. One of my questions was something along the lines of "What integer is closest to the square root of 30." I literally went to the calculator and pressed "30 sqrt" and got the answer. If I were to give one piece of advice, it is to memorize those first 4 pages of Math Destroyer.

    tl;dr Chad's videos.

    Anyway, the point of this whole rant was to convince even one of you that it is possible to do better than you expect. If you knew me in college, you would probably have expected a 15 out of me. I pretty much did so too going into the test this morning, but I busted my butt for so long that I now kind of believe that hard work really is the key to success.

    Good luck, pre-dents, hope some of you will be in my future!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
    hl808, skyguy1 and harleen317 like this.
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  3. Daneosaurus

    Daneosaurus D3 5+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2012
    Congrats! I really like your take on this because it was different. All of our breakdowns are essentially identical because we feel that we found a formula for success on SDN.
  4. harleen317


    Nov 1, 2013
    Good job!! I have been getting 18-21 on the CDP tests so I guess this gives me a hope. June 19th is gonna be my day!
  5. matty675

    matty675 2+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2013
    Those scores are brilliant! No section below a 20, well done!

    @Daneosaurus when is D-Day for you?
  6. biomolecmed

    biomolecmed 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Congrats on your scores. What were the random Bio facts you saw on the test?
  7. Daneosaurus

    Daneosaurus D3 5+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2012
    Tuesday :boom:
    swolly, RR1515 and skyguy1 like this.
  8. matty675

    matty675 2+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2013
    You've got this! I'll be the first to congratulate you :clap:
    Daneosaurus likes this.
  9. BrazilianRider

    BrazilianRider 2+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Hah, no, it'll be me!

    Congrats OP! Now relax!
    Daneosaurus and matty675 like this.
  10. hl808

    hl808 2+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2012
    Congrats on finishing and your awesome scores! I'm jelly of your QR score :p haha


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