DAT Done 12/19/2011 - I can see the light...

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ushaseos

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WARNING: This may be a bit long. I have posted up the short summary right at the beginning.

NOTE: I am done with the DAT but I'll be applying next cycle so I'll be on here for a long time! If anyone has questions please PM me, I'd be happy to help you out just like so many people here have helped me...even when I'd ask silly questions!

Top Score and Achiever Practice Test Scores

Scores:

14wvz8z.jpg


Study time: 3 Months while working full time

Materials used:

- Kaplan Testbank (Sciences and QR)
- Cliffs AP Bio 2nd Ed
- Baron's 1999 DAT Guide
- Kaplan Bluebook 2007
- DAT Destroyer 2007
- Exam Krackers 1001 Chem/O-Chem/ Passages
- Crack Dat PAT – 10 Test
- Crack Dat Reading – 10 Test
- MCAT Audio Osmosis
- DAT Q-Vault
Reference Materials:
- Cambell's Biology PDF
- Lehninger's Principles of Biochemistry
Practice Tests (Full):
- 7 Achiever
- 3 Top Score
- 2007 DAT
- 2009 DAT
- Released OAT (Sciences and QR)
- Kaplan Diagnostic Online
- KBB Test 1
- Baron Test A and B

Top Score and Achiever Practice Test Scores

Short Summary:

Prep: CDP, Achiever, Top Score, Cliffs and Destroyer were the most useful. ADA tests were crap, they weren't representative and had mistakes. Baron's and KBB aren't adequate prep, but they are good starting points. The rest of the stuff I had were mainly to just go all out prep wise. I didn't want to take the exam twice, I think I could have spent a couple hundred bucks less, but taking the test a second time would have cost me as much…pretty sure.

Sciences were manageable and way easier than Top Score or Achiever. I didn't think I did as well in bio and thought I did better in O-Chem but my score says otherwise. Bio is RANDOM (I got a Km question and I was damn lucky to remember Vmax vs. substrate plot)

PAT was very easy compared to Achiever, CDP is the best. Top Score was harder too, but they just copied questions in Test 2 and 3 so its not the best prep software

RC was decent too, closest to Crack Dat Reading passages. Top Score was way more dense but had similar questions. Achiever is WAY overkill – passages are torture and questions are too hard.

QR – Easy for me since I am a math tutor, but Destroyer and Kaplan test bank were the best prep for this. I didn't get Math destroyer since I was scoring low-mid 20s in every test including achiever (which is once again harder than the real thing). There was one strange question about Distance and acceleration and one stats question, but the rest was easy enough.

I finished sciences with 30 minutes to spare, spent 15 reviewing, 5 minutes calmly sitting and ended 10 minutes early. I finished Pat 7 minutes early. I took only 8 minutes of my break to grab a bite to eat and go to the bathroom. Finished RC with less than 2 minutes to spare and Finished QR with 20 on the clock...after QR I just didn't feel like going back any more to review...kinda regret it now!

Final thoughts – Practice materials were way harder than the test, but that's the way it should be. I didn't score very well on any TS/Achiever or any other test (except the 2007 ADA which I got a 25AA on). ADA tests are nice I guess but they have many mistakes so check them very carefully!

I have said it before and I'll say it again: STANDARDIZED TESTS (like the DAT) DON'T TEST HOW SMART YOU ARE, THEY TEST HOW MUCH PRACTICE YOU DO! I am a person of average intelligence and English is my 4th language. If I can get a decent score so can you! No this isn't a vacuous "you can do it", it is what I genuinely and honestly feel about this test.
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The Long Version:

Well I lurked on these forums for a while when I decided to take the DAT, great tips to be found everywhere! Then I finally had some questions, all of which you guys answered very well so thank you for the support! Great little community we have here in these otherwise competitive health science fields.

Method: I took 3 months, clumsily described below for your reading pleasure

Month 1: Burn through the Kaplan Test Bank, Destoryer, Cliffs, KBB, Baron's. I graduated last December and have been working full time as a Private Tutor since. I wanted to refresh my science background and pick up speed for QR so this month I basically ran through everything under a strict time limit to get this campaign going. Kaplan Test bank is also very useful and gets you in touch with a wide variety of topics where the difficulty is much higher than the real DAT. Destroyer is of course legendary for its difficulty and its extremely detailed (nit-picky) questions. Not for the feint-hearted, but EXCELLENT prep for all subjects (I didn't do the math portion since I am pretty good at Math and I tutor from Algebra up to Calculus BC). I got most of my printed material from my sister's friend who is at UCSF right now (the MCAT books pilfered from my Sister's stash!). Even though they are not the newest ed, they are sufficiently good and got me oriented. I was trying to save money since I knew I'd need it for the softwares.

Month 2: CDP and CDR and Exam Krackers. This was my month of practice in PAT and reading. While I did this I didn't want to loose touch with the Sciences so I'd randomly do some Cliffs multiple choice for bio, or the 1001 Exam Krackers books for Chem/OChem. When I dove into my sister's stash of MCAT stuff I found the MCAT Osmosis CDs. I commute 1 hour each way to work so once or twice a week I'd play an Audio Osmosis CD to review the material. This was the easiest month for me since CDP and CDR were such great software and got me very familiar with the test format and little tips and tricks. The sciences stuff was also easier than the things I did the previous month.

Month 3: Every practice test I had. Did most in 1 sitting as a real test, getting up early in the morning to do the test if necessary…the worst month by far, but it prepared me VERY well I feel. I did 7 tests in 8 days (near the end of November/Start of December) and after that doing 1 test in a day was not exhausting any more. Mind you that I did all this while working full time, though I did have to abandon social aspects of my life a bit (and also put on 10 pounds :(). Achiever is TORTURE. Every section is so hard and every question is pure evil - hand crafted by Satan himself. It puts you in the WORST possible scenario and if you can hold your nerves in the Achiever tests, you'll not be scared or confused by the real DAT. Top Score was decent, the software was crappy but the content was good (PAT excluded). KBB/Baron's and the paper tests weren't great and not that helpful but practice is practice! Kaplan's online test was excellent, though the bio section is WAY harder. I found DAT Q-Vault like a week before my test so I did 3 free tests but didn't buy it since I knew I wouldn't be able to finish it (and I wanted to do whole tests more at that point). WHEN YOU DO YOUR TESTS PLEASE ANALYZE THEM IN A DETAILED MANNER AND MAKE NOTES. On the day of my test I woke up at 4:30 AM and went through my heavily summarized notes and every single practice test analysis (each about 1 8.5*18 page of all the mistakes I made). My appointment was 8:00 AM

Materials summary:
- Kaplan Testbank (Sciences and QR)- If you are rusty or want some challenging materials the Kaplan Test bank is great. This is the same thing they give you online access for (for a couple hundred bucks) I got it in print from my sister's friend and found these VERY useful. These don't have any PAT or RC stuff!

- Cliffs AP Bio 2nd Ed – Excessive amount of detail, but if you weren't a bio major I can see this being great. If you were a bio major and you didn't sleep through intro bio, this is pretty good review material. I would prefer Campbell over this as reference material though (like when you make mistakes and such on a test, go check Campbell not Cliffs). Lehninger's is great to review metabolic pathways and such (Pretty sure other biochem books would work fine!)

- Baron's 1999 DAT Guide – Not very useful, wouldn't buy it individually, but I got it bundled with the Kaplan test bank and a couple other books.

- Kaplan Bluebook 2007 – Not very useful. The review is not in depth enough and the test isn't very representative of the real DAT. It makes a good starting point I guess, but I had better options so KBB got very little attention from me.

- DAT Destroyer 2007 – Amazing, even the 5 year old version got me up to speed in every area. After going through O-Chem I was almost in the same position as I was at the end of semester 2 of O-Chem. Gen Chem review is on par with Achiever. Bio is a bit too random, but this isn't a bad thing since in bio you need breadth a lot more than you need depth in any particular area.

- Exam Krackers 1001 Chem/O-Chem/ Passages – easy questions, not very representative of the DAT, I had these books lying around and while I am tutoring these books made great study tools. In between answering questions asked by my students, I'd quickly do a couple. Not recommended highly but it if you aren't a chem or Ochem person, start with something easy to straighten out elementary concepts…before Achiever and Destroyer nag you to death with all the finer points.

- Crack Dat PAT – 10 Test – F***ing perfect. The tests are exactly like the real thing for 4/6 PAT sections. Keyhole and Pattern folding are way easier in CDP. Cubes are way harder but the rest is on par…or so I felt. You need this if you want to not worry about the PAT. If you don't have the money, steal it or whatever!!!!!

- Crack Dat Reading – 10 Test – Not as necessary as its PAT brethren, but definitely great. For me this was an ABSOLUTE necessity since I hate English, I hated it on the SAT, I hated that I had to take 2 semesters of it in undergrad and I hate tutoring it on the rare occasions I have to. This made RC fun for me. The passages are engaging and the questions are challenging. The software is top notch. Highly recommended, but the necessity is questionable if English is your first language and you don't feel like you need too much RC help.

- MCAT Audio Osmosis – Made for some extremely annoying car music when I was driving to and from work. The quirky humor and omission of some bio topics (since MCAT is more focused on human anatomy and physio). Just skip discs 1-4 since they are physics. The Chem and Ochem parts were great. The one disc about RC was definitely AMAZING. It really got me to analyze my RC method and put me on the right track. This + CDR made RC do-able

- DAT Q-Vault – I only did the 3 free tests since I discovered this really late (1 week before test). It is very good and like with all prep materials, I scored lower here than the actual test (21, 20, 22). It would have been great had I known about it before especially considering how cheap it is and how easily accessible it. The interface and software portions is fantastic too. Highly recommended if you need bio help.

Practice Tests Summary:

- 7 Achiever – Oh my god these are so hard. I scored an AA of 21 on test one. Everything after that was 17-19 on the good days. Don't take these scores to your heart and for god's sake don't do these on consecutive days unless you want to exhaust yourself physically and emotionally. RC and PAT are definitely great practice on this, but the sciences are not at all representative and Bio tests on these are just way to freaking random. With all its flaws though, get Achiever, it is the single best bang for your 140 bucks since it prepares you for EVERTYHING…though it might cost you more due to anti-depression meds and psychiatric visits that will surely ensue upon completion.

- 3 Top Score – Not as difficult as achiever but still more difficult than the DAT. PAT was lazily done and only PAT on one test actually matters. Even then they just copy pasted stuff from the 2007 ADA test (which copy pasted from the unreleased 1993 test). RC is much harder and denser, but the passages were way shorter in my opinion. The software is utter crap and uses Word, but at least it works without a hitch. Missing calculator for the math section, but if you are on a PC just open your calculator program and use only the mouse to simulate the real test conditions.

- 2007 DAT – Crap. Too easy, not representative, truncated RC section. Do it cause its free but don't take your score to heart. I got a 25 AA and a 26 TS on this test.

- 2009 DAT – Crappier! Not only is it not representative, there are WAY more typos and the QR and RC sections were way more difficult. Now that isn't a problem with Achiever or Destroyer since they explain to you what you messed up on. This P.O.S. doesn't have the decency to even give you a good answer key or any explanations. Get it if you want, it is not worth the price of entry. On my other threat a fellow SDN member told me he/she has a different version so maybe I have the bad one.

- Released OAT (Sciences and QR) – Not great. The Sciences section was actually very close to the real DAT and I scored very similarly on this (well sciences and QR). It has the same RC passage as the 2007 DAT and of course physics is useless for us. Definitely do this one. Thanks for releasing a good test ADA! Though I feel I should retract that thanks since it is also plagued with errors in the sciences.

- Kaplan Diagnostic Online – Excellent. Bio is way more difficult, PAT, RC and QR are truncated, but still perfect…especially from something that is free!

- KBB Test 1 – Decent. Not the hardest, PAT was pathetic, but the sciences and QR were pretty hard. Maybe the newer ed's have better tests. Pales in comparison to Top Score or Achiever but much better than the ADA tests at least!

- Baron Test A and B – Did them cause I had time and had the book, no other reason. There were a couple mistakes and the tests weren't very realistic, but what the hell.

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Ive been waiting all day for your post since you said you had the test today. I compared my 3TS and 3 achiever scores with yours from the earlier posts and except for math and RC they were in the same range. I've been working really hard and I really really hope to get scores as awesome as yours and hopefully I'll get at least a 19 on RC since I suck. Great job and congrats!
 
Ive been waiting all day for your post since you said you had the test today. I compared my 3TS and 3 achiever scores with yours from the earlier posts and except for math and RC they were in the same range. I've been working really hard and I really really hope to get scores as awesome as yours and hopefully I'll get at least a 19 on RC since I suck. Great job and congrats!

Thank you for your kind words!

I am glad our scores are similar in the practice material, hopefully our real scores will be too ;). When is your test?

RC is a pain but with the Osmosis CD and CDR I felt very encouraged. In the test I actually made 1-15 bullet points for each passage in my break, I had one 22 paragraph essay about ethics, one about fungi and one on epithelial / mesenchymal transformations. The two sciency ones were 14 paragraphs and quite dense, while the ethics one was more artsy and vague. If you are hitting anywhere near 17-18 on Achiever or you'll EASILY get 20 on the real thing. I was actually a bit dumbstruck by how easy PAT and Sciences were and I think I lost focus on the first passage. You're putting in the hard work, I hope you 1 hit k.o. the DAT.
 
Thank you! I hope so too :)
My test is on the 29th and I was nowhere near 17-18 on achiever! My highest onCDR was a 19!! Terrible I know! OMG! If I get passages as long as yours I'm pretty sure I'll mess up! 22, and two 14s!! Dear Lord! I Also used Godfrey which is harder than CDR. I'm still practicing everyday but honestly what i need is a miracle haha. My strategy is to answer questions as I read. My sGPA is pretty low so my only chance for an interview is to get at least 22 AS/AA. I'll continue to study hard for the next 9 days and hope for the best. Go take a well-deserved break my friend. You're done with the hard part.
 
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Your scores are amazing......I hope I can see the light like you do soon. I am confident, but still scared at the same time because I'm retaking and what if I do worse? damn that's my only fear.......how did you get those exams? =). anyways congrats and good job..
 
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Thank you! I hope so too :)
My test is on the 29th and I was nowhere near 17-18 on achiever! My highest onCDR was a 19!! Terrible I know! OMG! If I get passages as long as yours I'm pretty sure I'll mess up! 22, and two 14s!! Dear Lord! I Also used Godfrey which is harder than CDR. I'm still practicing everyday but honestly what i need is a miracle haha. My strategy is to answer questions as I read. My sGPA is pretty low so my only chance for an interview is to get at least 22 AS/AA. I'll continue to study hard for the next 9 days and hope for the best. Go take a well-deserved break my friend. You're done with the hard part.

Don't lose hope, you can do it, actually if you did CDR, Godfrey and Achiever and Top Score you had done a LOT of RC. I actually would vary methods based on passage. I answer while reading for dense passages (I did that for both my science passages). The Ethics passage though I read through in 10 minutes and made detailed notes with names/concepts per paragraph so I could quickly cross reference. It is also easier to deal with 22 para passages since all the paragraphs will be small (easier to scan!)

On a side note is English your first language? I am pretty sure you can explain a moderately low RC score in your interview (especially if its not your first). So don't worry, just stretch yourself the next nine days and do your best.

@ Kevinrho - I got lucky and there was a guy here who sold them to me for a hefty fee. I am removing them from my breakdown since they are not supposed to be publicized and I definitely don't want any heat from the man. Thanks for the complements though! While I'd love to say "it was I and nothing else that is to be credited with this" I can't in good conscience. I just consider myself pretty fortunate at this moment when luck and hard work coalesced.
 
Don't lose hope, you can do it, actually if you did CDR, Godfrey and Achiever and Top Score you had done a LOT of RC. I actually would vary methods based on passage. I answer while reading for dense passages (I did that for both my science passages). The Ethics passage though I read through in 10 minutes and made detailed notes with names/concepts per paragraph so I could quickly cross reference. It is also easier to deal with 22 para passages since all the paragraphs will be small (easier to scan!)

On a side note is English your first language? I am pretty sure you can explain a moderately low RC score in your interview (especially if its not your first). So don't worry, just stretch yourself the next nine days and do your best.
=QUOTE]

I'm not done with Godfrey yet but I'm hoping it'll help me improve bit. Yeah, I "try" to use different methods depending on the passage but doesn't always work and it just becomes S&D and guess work for the last passage since I normally run out of time if the passages are long. You can probably tell by my struggles that English isn't my first language. Thanks for your encouraging words ushaseos. I'll post my scores if I do well.
 
I knew you would do well. Congrats! Just make sure now to have your ADEA app ready to go June 1st. Good job bub.
 
Those scores put you in a VERY good position my friend, well done and enjoy your break!!:D
 
congrats man.. my test is next month and i am going ballistic about it.
I too am worried about the exam and working hard.
Man I hope to see the same light you did after the exam... haha
if you don't mind me asking, how did u get the DAT Q-vault free exams?
Would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
 
Thanks for all the positive comments you guys, much appreciated.

@ deebs: I replied with great haste! Hope everything was clear

@ thejamespark: I just signed into their website and they gave 1 free test. Then I had to write a question for the second one and same for the third. By that time I knew it was enough and I just had like no more time to do it so I just stopped at test 3. If you have the time it was pretty awesome. (Also I was a Bio major so I felt ok about most of the sciences such). Good luck with the prep, don't freak out just keep up the hard work!
 
great job man! you are my inspiration.
btw, is there anyway you can get the crack PAT used for like a cheaper price? or is buying it from the website the only option?
 
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Well you can only really buy it on the website. I am going to sell off my laptop with all the software on it. It'd be a nice deal for someone wanting Achiever, Top Score, CDP, CDR and all my other digital review stuff.

If you want only CDP though definitely take Crack DAT up on their offer. It is really nice software and totally worth the price they charge.
 
Thanks for the positive comments you guys. I found my old thread with some practice test scores so people can see the difference in scores between Top Score/ Achiever and the real thing.
 
What schools are you looking to apply to? With these scores you will definitely have good options.

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Happy New Year! I hope that in 2012 you will receive the acceptance letter to the Dental School of your choice.
 
I am shooting for UOP and UMB so far. I still need to read about all the dental schools though. I know I am not applying to Howard, Loma Linda and Columbia. Considering there is ~ 60 schools in these United States, I am 1/12 there. Do you have any suggestions? I know I don't want to do academic dentistry, definitely more of a clinical person.

Happy New Year everyone. We only have 356 more days to live since 2012 kills us all!
 
There are a few good ones in New York state, New Jersey and Pensylvania. Where are you from? You want to be in or out of state?

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Amazing scores. Well done. With those scores you are pretty much in where ever you applied. Good luck on the rest
 
Congrats for the awesome scores! :thumbup:

I was wondering, where'd you get the Kaplan test banks from? I took the course a while ago and dont have the materials anymore, I didn't know where to get just the tests
 
Sorry guys, didn't mean to ignore your questions but I have been travelling.

@ dotoday - I am in California, would like to stay in California if possible, but I am open to going pretty much anywhere. TBH I need to do research and understand what each school is good for etc.

@ NewBee12 - Thanks for the positive comment!

@ ROCOCO8 - I only did the Science and math. My scores were 21/23/23/30 for Bio/GC/OC/Math. It was a good test!

@asdfray - It is complicated. I'd like to kick back and say "yep I'm done!" but there is still plenty to be done for a good application...when does it end? Lol

@ predent9 - actually I got them in paper print. One of my sister's friends who took the DAT in 2007, sold me all the books he had for 250 or 300. Included in that were the tests (also got destroyer and bunch of other things though they were totally abused). Fortunately he didn't write on the test bank itself and I used my tablet PC to simulate the computerized test model.
 
Thank you for your kind words!

I am glad our scores are similar in the practice material, hopefully our real scores will be too ;). When is your test?

RC is a pain but with the Osmosis CD and CDR I felt very encouraged. In the test I actually made 1-15 bullet points for each passage in my break, I had one 22 paragraph essay about ethics, one about fungi and one on epithelial / mesenchymal transformations. The two sciency ones were 14 paragraphs and quite dense, while the ethics one was more artsy and vague. If you are hitting anywhere near 17-18 on Achiever or you'll EASILY get 20 on the real thing. I was actually a bit dumbstruck by how easy PAT and Sciences were and I think I lost focus on the first passage. You're putting in the hard work, I hope you 1 hit k.o. the DAT.


I thought I remembered you having an ethics topic so I searched it...turns out we had all 3 passages the same. I am surprised that they would give all 3 passages the same almost a month apart!
 
Lol! Thanks, I actually took this 3 days before mine and the score is definitely best birthday gift I ever got!
 
Thank you for this great breakdown!

Would you recommend studying by section, as in dedicating 2 weeks per section and going through all of the material on that section, or would you recommend going through the material one at a time? Thank you!
 
Thank you for this great breakdown!

Would you recommend studying by section, as in dedicating 2 weeks per section and going through all of the material on that section, or would you recommend going through the material one at a time? Thank you!

I'd recommend not splitting the subjects for too long. What you want to do is concentrate on one subject for maybe a day or so if you feel you need it but get back to some sort of holistic approach that encompasses all the subjects. The only exception is Sciences since they are pretty vast and you will need to devote a couple weeks to get to the level you want to start before concentrating on the rest of the test. I hope that answers your question.
 
@ushaseos
I know you're a firm believer in achiever, so you might be a little bias. And I think you answered my question already, but what do you think gave the best explanation after you got a question wrong? Topscore achiever or qvault? I know I'm probably gonna get a lot wrong in achiever and I don't mind that as long as it makes me better. I'm not looking for these tests to gauge my knowledge, but more to get used to the format. At the same time, I don't wanna be learning things I don't need to know.
 
TopScore and Achiever are mediocre in explaining mistakes, I mean they offer a decent explanation but its not always the easiest to understand, but CDP and CDR are excellent in this department. Qvault is pretty good too...well at least the bio was, I didn't get to any other qvault subjects. Destroyer, CDP and CDR are the best at explaining mistakes.

I am definitely biased towards achiever but I understand that it isn't for everyone and there are limitations. It will make you better but it'll give you terrible scores and it won't be a pleasant experience at any point!
 

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