DAT DONE 10/13 - Breakdown

joejoe22

Full Member
Dec 9, 2009
11
4
  1. Pre-Dental
    Hi all!

    Up until this point I've only been taking from this forum and thought it would be a good idea to give back to the website a little with this post :) I, like many others, was absolutely overwhelmed with all the resources and opinions on DAT materials and the DAT itself. My advice: pick a guide(s), stick with it, and be confident on test day. There are numerous reviews of DAT study materials and I agree with most of them, but getting caught up in choosing the "best" materials will cause you more stress than good. Nonetheless, below is my review of the test and the materials I used to prepare. Any constructive criticism is welcome along with any advice in applying, practicing interviews, and school recommendations.

    Just a little background on myself, I'm a 4th year neuroscience major at a Big Ten school. My cumulative gpa is about a 3.2 with a science gpa of about 3.25 and an upward trend (3.7 and and 3.5 last year), freshman year killed me :mad:. Currently, I'm planning on taking a gap year and would therefore apply in June 2013 and hopefully begin in Summer 2014. Being from the Midwest, I plan on applying to most of the schools in the area and a few on the East and West coast.

    Breakdown:
    PAT: 19
    RC: 22
    QR: 22
    Bio: 19
    G Chem: 19
    O Chem: 20
    TS: 19
    AA: 20

    My first reaction to these scores were overall positive, especially since I rescheduled my first appointment 2 days before out of fear.

    PAT: Crack the PAT definitely prepared me for this section. Keyholes were right on point, as expected. I didn't really use a particular strategy other than just tracing/matching up key landmarks of each figure. Overall, the hardest part of the PAT. I feel like this section you either get it or you don't, but a lot of practice can certainly improve your performance. Angle ranking gave me a harder time than expected. I believe there's a setting on the software that lets you choose the degree differentiation between the angles. The default setting is around 5 degrees I think but it might be advantageous to practice on 3 or 4 degrees. Cube counting was straightforward on my test. This section never seemed to really give me a problem during practice. Crack PAT seemed to give more complex structures. The tally method worked fine for me here. Hole punching was very similar to Crack PAT. I just setup grids on my dry erase board and marked of the hole punches as I mentally unfolded the paper. Pattern folding was also very similar to the practice software. This section in general gave me a hard time and I didn't use a particular strategy to try and tackle it. Overall, I would recommend this software. It gives good practice tests and decent interface that tracks your performance. I scored similar on the practice tests compared to the real thing. I didn't focus on this section as much the last few weeks of studying and probably could have improved. Time became a bit of a factor in this section and I would recommend moving at a solid pace, marking unsure questions, but at least marking down your best answer before moving on (even if it's a blind guess).

    QR: Chad! I went through all the videos and quizzes on Chads and felt prepared for the test. Print out his outlines and follow along, highlighting everything you don't understand. There was a variety of questions in this section, most of them covered by Chad, but a few were not. I honestly thought I swept this section minus 1 or 2 questions and was surprised to get a 22 (story of my life :confused:). I was able to manage the time in this section and went back to check a few marked questions.

    RC: Basically the most straightforward part of the exam. I bought a kaplan book that had some practice tests in it, which helped. I labeled each paragraph 1-15ish on my dry erase board and wrote down keywords, names, and dates as a cue in case I couldn't answer the following questions. Overall, I liked this strategy and thought it was useful, especially when trying to dissect the dense vocab questions.

    Bio: I went all the way through Barron's AP and through some of Kaplan's bio. Barron's covered the major topics and Kaplan went into a lot more detail. I did a lot of the questions/reviews in both books and took a few Kaplan practice tests. This section on the test was soooo broad. There were a few questions that were not even remotely addressed in my intro bio courses or review materials ( or at least to my knowledge). However, the questions I did know seemed to come easy. In hindsight, I wish I covered more topics in general and didn't worry so much about the little details. However, trying to worry about any random Bio question they can throw at you will drive you crazy :eek: Overall, these materials provided a good understanding of Bio and helped me through a majority of the questions.

    OChem / GChem : Chads for both! Chad went in depth into both subjects and offered a nice set of supplemental quizzes. I did cover all the videos for both subjects but did not do ALL of the quizzes, only those which I felt I needed practice. Going into the test I felt much more prepared for GChem, but it didn't show in my scores! I performed better in my Gchem class than my Ochem class at school too. Either way, both sections gave pretty reasonable questions and there wasn't anything I have not seen before. Really buckle down on the main topics and practice. I wish I would've have practiced problems more so I could have calculated the problems a little faster. The time constraints for the natural sciences put a little pressure on me but I did have time to go back a review most of my incomplete/marked questions.

    I really hope this review helps you in your studying. Do not spend weeks and weeks trying to find the perfect study materials. There's no need to buy a brand new copy of everything either (besides the software of course). The pre dent club at my university has a listing of recycled DAT materials for sale, as I'm sure many of yours do too. Don't get discouraged and never count yourself out. I can't tell you how many times I felt like rescheduling my test again. I don't think anyone walks into this test without any anxiety. It's part of taking the test and part of what you're being tested on (ability to handle stressful situations).

    GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
     
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    joejoe22

    Full Member
    Dec 9, 2009
    11
    4
    1. Pre-Dental
      Ok, I wanted to keep the thread going with an update. It's February now and I still don't know if I should retake the test or not. I've heard both from some advisors and I still can't decide. My gpa is around a 3.2 but I've had 4 or so semesters that were 3.5+ Also, if I get a lower score my second time will it hurt my chances?
       

      Bahatska

      Full Member
      May 5, 2011
      11
      0
      1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
        Ok, I wanted to keep the thread going with an update. It's February now and I still don't know if I should retake the test or not. I've heard both from some advisors and I still can't decide. My gpa is around a 3.2 but I've had 4 or so semesters that were 3.5+ Also, if I get a lower score my second time will it hurt my chances?
        I'm in the same boat as you ! My GPA is around the same as yours ! only thing is that I stayed one extra year to retake the first year courses i did bad in... Now that I think about it, it wasnt the best idea cuz it turns out that they actually average both grades so I have NO CLUE how my GPA will turn out right now (I'm applying from Canada)
         

        Shazzam

        Full Member
        5+ Year Member
        Oct 22, 2009
        243
        4
          Ok, I wanted to keep the thread going with an update. It's February now and I still don't know if I should retake the test or not. I've heard both from some advisors and I still can't decide. My gpa is around a 3.2 but I've had 4 or so semesters that were 3.5+ Also, if I get a lower score my second time will it hurt my chances?

          I wouldn't. It's not easy to score above the 20's and it's a gamble to assume you could pull it off as one or two questions will pretty much kill your score. I would work on the GPA, it's the only thing holding you back IMO.
           
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          joejoe22

          Full Member
          Dec 9, 2009
          11
          4
          1. Pre-Dental
            I would really rather not take it again but I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to increase my chances. As you said though, it's easier to score a few points lower and harm my application greater. Right not I'm still thinking I'm going to pass on the retake but I do have some time. I'm also taking a gap year and can study from july to september or so
             
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