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DAT Breakdown

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by ax5bv, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. ax5bv

    2+ Year Member

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    Hello!

    I took the DAT this morning and here's the breakdown of my scores.
    PA: 18
    RC: 22
    QR: 21
    Bio: 26
    GChem: 24
    Orgo: 29
    TS: 26
    AA: 24

    Study Resources:
    • Kaplan DAT Prep (live online) - excellent
    • DAT Destroyer - excellent
    • Math Destroyer - excellent
    • Kaplan Blue Book - good
    • CRACK DAT PAT (CDP) - good
    • AP Cliffs - excellent
    Study Schedule: 3.5 months around 6-7 hours/day

    Total Science Overview: 26
    I was very surprised that the science section wasn't too hard. In comparison to Destroyer, these questions weren't bad. In my Kaplan practice exams, I never scored above a 20 for any of the science sections and I definitely felt discouraged about my progress. My biology score never seemed to improve above a 19-20, and my chemistry knowledge was EXTREMELY poor when I started studying (scored a 15 on gchem on my first practice exam). I had AP Credit for chemistry in high school and never re-took general chem in college. Chemistry was my biggest struggle by far and it took a lot of patience and hard work.

    Biology: 26
    My #1 strategy while studying was to google EVERYTHING I didn't understand and write it down. Learning is an active process, and it's important to try to absorb as much knowledge as possible with biology since it is such a broad topic. DAT Destroyer was extremely helpful for all science sections. Even if I got a question correct, if I didn't know what one of the answer choices was, I would google it and write it down. Writing down every question and answer choice that I didn't know/wasn't 100% sure was important because writing things down, NOT just typing them, really drills the information into your head. I ended up doing DAT Destroyer 2-3 times and would still forget information that I had written down previously. Repetition was my best friend and eventually with practice I began to remember all of the details. If I got a question wrong, I also wrote down that wrong answer, explaining why it was NOT the correct answer. Reviewing what you got wrong and why it's wrong is more important than only just looking at right answers.
    Topics that I saw again and again while studying: hormone functions, menstruation, photosynthesis, cellular respiration etc.

    Chemistry: 24
    Chemistry was by far my biggest struggle. Since I didn't take chemistry in college, it had been 3-4 years since I learned general chemistry. My biggest mistake was trying to jump into doing Destroyer questions too soon. After going through Kaplan Blue Book, I took a practice exam and scored a 15 on chemistry. I panicked and realized that I needed to take the time and really re-learn all of the concepts. I made sure to focus on chemistry because it was my weakness and really buckled down with it. It was painful to study something I was so bad at, but I sucked it up and plowed through. Make sure to know log1, log2...log10 because you DON'T have a calculator on science section and you have to be able to calculate pH. Be able to round and approximate answers! Luckily, my AP chemistry teacher posted all of her lectures on youtube. I spent a good 3 weeks watching all of her lectures and really trying to re-learn chemistry. If it has been a long time since you've taken a subject, it is crucial to really put in the time and patience to re-learn it. I took thorough notes and also wrote down every question that I got wrong and googled what I didn't understand.

    Organic Chem: 29
    My biggest advantage in organic chemistry was that I had just completed the course this year. I wanted to take my DAT ASAP so my organic chemistry would still be fresh, and it definitely helped. I didn't have to re-learn the topic like I did for chemistry, and it saved me a lot of time and energy. Most people take their DAT after third year, but I took mine after second year. Again, I wrote concepts down and googled what I didn't know over and over again. While learning organic chemistry in school, my strategy was to understand why and how a mechanism occurred, not just memorize the reactants and products. Memorizing can only limit the depth of understanding.

    Perceptual Ability: 18
    The PA section was WAY harder than I anticipated. I spent way too much time on keyholes and top-front-end, and I literally had to guess on the entire pattern folding section because I was running out of time. I'm also usually pretty good at hole punches, but the hole punches on the DAT were difficult. The paper foldings weren't always exactly in half or a quarter but it sometimes folded in thirds which threw me off. I ended up having to guess on a few of these too. While studying, I was also pretty bad at angle rankings. Most people say to just use your intuition but that just didn't always work for me. The trick that worked best was to imagine if one angle could slide into the angle of another. The one that can fit is the smaller angle. Thankfully, the angle ranking was easier on the exam than in CDP. While studying the cube counting, I would look at every cube and write down the exposed sides. However, I would often miscount the cubes while tallying them. This was one of those dumb mistakes I made all the time, so I made sure to check my counting before selecting an answer. I really thought I had failed this section since I had to guess on so many questions due to a lack of time, but in the end it was alright.

    Reading Comprehension: 22
    I've never been a big fan of reading comprehension, and I honestly didn't study much for this section because it's pretty hard to "study" reading. While reading, I would write a few words down for each paragraph so I knew the main ideas. By jotting down a few words, it was easier to go back into the passage and basically "control-f" and find what I needed. This section seems to test how well you can "control f" without the actual keys.

    Quantitative Reasoning: 21

    I honestly hated studying for this section because I'm not a math person. My score for QR never really improved much, and the different trig identities always got me. I probably should've studied more for QR, but oh well.

    My Mistake
    The DAT is a timed test, so it's important to be efficient but also not to rush it. Over and over again I would miss a question because I read it too fast or misunderstood it. I made sure to use a timer while studying a section so I felt the time pressure. I would also do 40 biology questions or 30 organic chemistry questions at a time just like the real test. Knowing that the time is ticking can be scary, so try to get used to it. I had to remind myself to also slow down so I wouldn't keep making silly mistakes.

    Materials
    DAT Destroyer and MATH Destroyer were great. Yes, they were really difficult and at times overwhelming, but it's important to be over-prepared. In the beginning, I would feel really dumb because I would get so many questions wrong, but I tried to stay positive and think of it as gaining knowledge instead. Practice makes perfect.
    Kaplan's DAT course was very comprehensive. I took the online version which included online classes, 5 practice exams, extra questions for each section, flashcards, and suggestions for improvement. The class is pricey, and I didn't really utilize the actual live classes that often. I felt that my time could be better spent doing practice problems. However, I didn't like Kaplan blue book. AP Cliffs was much more detailed with the biology section, and you can't really learn chemistry and organic chemistry by only reading about it. I hand-wrote the information in AP Cliffs to really remember it. Writing everything gets tiring, but it's worth it.

    Testing Environment
    You CANNOT write down anything before the test starts or during the tutorial. Make sure to follow all of the testing rules! You can't bring anything into the room, not even water. I tried not to drink much water before the test so I wouldn't end up needing to use the restroom during my exam (which has happened every time I took a practice exam).

    Work Ethic
    My DAT performance was very poor when I started studying, and the only way I got my scores was through hard work. What I've also realized is that not only do you have to work harder, you have to study smarter. If the strategy wasn't working, I needed to fine tune it. Make a study plan and stick to it. If you're really stressed like I was, make sure to have at least part of the day to relax. I started going to the gym almost everyday (I used to never work out) to de-stress myself. So make sure you still time for yourself, work hard, and study in an effective way. Everyone has his or her own method of studying. I personally am horrible at cramming and I needed the repetition and large range of practice in order to learn. Study hard and you'll do great!

    GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! I hope my breakdown was helpful!
     
    #1 ax5bv, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
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  3. Beautiful-mind

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    hi! What was your reading passages about?
    were they all science topics?
    Viruses, Diseases, scientists and things like that?
     
  4. ax5bv

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    Hey! The reading passages are always science based! You don't need to know anything information about the reading topic beforehand to answer the questions.
     
  5. ToBeDDSS

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    Awesome. Those are sick scores.
     
  6. Dotoday

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    Amazing scores. Very nice job. Congratulations.
     
  7. ax5bv

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    Thank you so much! :)
     
  8. Sharon914

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    Thanks for wonderful breakdown!!Congratulations.
     
  9. biomolecmed

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    Excellent scores. Congratulations.
     
  10. SpartyOnYo

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    Awesome scores!! Congrats :horns:
     
  11. Romano Scientific

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    Congrats! We are very happy our material helped you tackle the exam. All the best for your future.
     
  12. biomolecmed

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    During the test, they only give you 2 laminated sheets of paper. When you ask for an extra, were they quick to bring it? Also, how many times can you ask for extra sheet of paper?
     
  13. ax5bv

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    I only asked for new sheets of paper during my 15 minute break, but you can go to them and ask for more instead of just raising your hand. I don't think there's a limit to how many times you can ask but you can double check with them before you take your exam.
     
  14. bodmon

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    Great scores and congrats. Do people start using Destroyer once they are done learning all of the material?
     
  15. Mary1984

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    Congrats on your amazing scores and thanks for your breakdown.
    I have a question about the PAT portion. Is that true that you said we can't write anything down during the tutorial (break time). I was planning to draw some squares for the hole punching section during the tutorial time.
     
  16. cacajuate

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    nice revive of a dead thread.


    depends on the testing place if you can write on it during the tutorial.
     
  17. ax5bv

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    Thank you! Yes, people usually use destroyer after learning the material because it's important to develop a strong foundation of the material before testing yourself on it. Good luck!
     
    bodmon likes this.
  18. ax5bv

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    Thanks! You cannot write anything during the 15 minute tutorial. I would ask your testing center before you start just in case. Usually if you can finish the science section early, you can draw your hole punching squares in that time which is what I ended up doing.
     
  19. mls2dds

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    Congrats on those scores!!! I appreciate you sharing the workout advice and making time for yourself.
     

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