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DAT DONE! Breakdown 8/10/2015

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by rach7290, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. rach7290

    2+ Year Member

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    PAT: 21
    QR: 18
    RC: 25
    BIO: 21
    GC: 20
    OC: 23
    TS: 21
    AA: 21

    Yay!!! I could not be more happy to be finished with the DAT! I went in aiming for 19's (obviously hoping for higher of course but didn't want to be disappointed!) expecting RC to be my highest and QR to be my lowest. I was terrified because I usually don't do well with standardized tests and I know many people here score much higher than me, but these scores are better than I ever expected for myself!

    Few things--I am a psychology major so I definitely had to spend more time on biology because I had only taken two bio classes and one was freshman year.. So I had a decent amount of information I had to learn for that. I am a rising senior applying this cycle. GPAs: 3.66 and GPAc: 3.84

    I began studying at the beginning of June but I was also worked a job all through June. I realized I needed to really buckle down and so I quit my job and spent the next two months studying. I think that if I had just really buckled down at the beginning of the summer a month and a half would have been an adequate amount of time to prepare and would have made the process less torturous. By the last week before my test I had terrible anxiety, a few breakdowns, and was barley sleeping. I felt that having spent three months studying I had added more pressure to myself and was so afraid all of that hard work and time I could still get bad scores; disappointing not only myself but all of my family and friends who kept telling me I would do great. Luckily, it all turned out for the best and I couldn't be more proud of myself. It was really hard and I spent 10 hours everyday studying while all my friends were partying and laying by the pool, but seeing those scores and being able to share them with my family made every hand cramp, frustrated moment, and tear worth it.

    I used DAT and Math Destroyer, Bootcamp, Chad's videos, Q Vault, and for most of the summer followed Ari's study schedule. If I could start over, the biggest change I would make would be to be more diligent in learning the material from the beginning, especially for biology.

    Biology:
    I began the first month or so reading cliffs and taking notes and then doing the DAT destroyer problems as ARIs's schedule says. After a few destroyer problems I quickly realized I needed to know more about physiology and used Feralis' notes to supplement that information. Bio destroyer is great, I wish I had had time to do it a second time, or at least do the problems I had gotten wrong again. I also wish I had made flashcards as I did Cliff's from the beginning and studied them throughout the summer. Instead I had a huge panic towards the end because I really wasn't sharp enough on facts and it's imperative you know the facts to be able to apply the information in questions. Two weeks before my test, I sent the entire week watching Craig Savage's videos on youtube which covers a large amount of the bio you need and making flashcards. I think this really helped me but if I had done it from the beginning the end would have been much less stressful and I could have focused on doing more destroyer problems. On my exam, I had at least two questions word for word that came either from destroyer or Bootcamp bio tests. So make sure you do them all because that really put me a ease to start my test. The day before my exam I reread all of Feralis' notes and redid all the heredity and molecular genetics questions I had gotten wrong in destroyer because they were my biggest weak spots. Overall though, the bio section is somewhat luck of the draw and being as prepared as possible will help put you at ease.

    Gen Chem: This section was a battle for me. I watched all Chad's videos and did all the quizzes taking notes though out. I did my first BC test and bombed it, I got like a below 15..I was not happy..and the frustrations didn't stop there. This material really was hard for me because I do not enjoy calculations and I was having a lot of trouble whenever I got to a problem requiring math. It freaked me out and my mind just seemed to go blank and I didn't even know where to begin. I watched Chad's videos a second time two weeks before my test and did gen chem destroyer three times. My test did have a fair amount of calculations so don't dismiss them because I know some people only get one or two..not me! My mind went blank on the test for the math problems again but I must have guessed well or gotten absolutely every other question right. If you can get through destroyer and really conquer those problems, you should have no problem on the real thing!

    Orgo: I love orgo, of all the sciences this was my favorite. There is no math and I had taken orgo 1 and 2 lsat year so this information was all fairly fresh, especially since my school does the ACS exams. I would say DAT orgo is easier than the ACS exam. I did destroyer 2.5 times and watched all of chad's videos and his questions for this section. Not definite what I got wrong here, this section is a bit of a blur, but I looked over the organic reaction maps as I was pulling into the testing center and while there are still a good amount of "reasoning" vs. reaction problems I was able to quickly recognize reactions and products thanks to the maps! Bootcamp and DAT destroyer are great resources for these. Chad is great, especially I am sure if you haven't had orgo recently, I wish I had done his quizzes to start with and then just watched the videos for places I had problem areas.

    Sciences in general:
    I took the all bootcamp and most of the Qvault tests for these sections and I am telling you, I could not getting anything higher than a 19 and it was beyond frustrating. Everyday toward the end I took a quiz and everyday I got a 19. I know how discouraging this is to not see improvement but my advice for people who go through this is just focus on what you are getting wrong and work on committing those mistakes to memory as early in the process as possible. What you get on those quizzes, in the end doesn't matter, it is what you get on the real test. So don't let those scores bring you down let them motivate you to keep working hard so you can do better on the real thing. I also got so many destroyer questions wrong like 3 times.. just really focus on actively studying what you are getting wrong, not just reading the answer and moving on from the beginning!

    PAT:
    I began by watching some videos on PAT, if you just google "DAT PAT *section*" there are different videos demonstrating the strategies for how to tackle these problems. I think this was necessary for me because it is something so different from anything I had ever done before, without knowing what to do for each problem, you are going in blind and will end up frustrated and with a lot of wasted time. At the beginning I was using the eyeballing game that Ari suggests in his study schedule but eventually dropped it and instead would just use the generator every night for 10-15 problems for each section. I will admit by the end of the night, I was tired and not in the mood so I definitely didn't do this every night which I probably should have. For the about 6 weeks I took a test weekly and then look the 3 tests in the week before my exam (Basically got a 19 on every BC test). All the questions on my exam looked very similar to the images you get on Bootcamp! I did have Qvault as well and did 1 or 2 tests but it wasn't necessary, BC is definitely enough IMO. I did my grids and charts with the few moments I had left after science.
    Keyhole: I seriously grew to hate this one and it was probably my least favorite section that I just really struggled with. I did feel as if the keyholes on my exam were easier than on Bootcamp, but there were 1 or 2 where I didn't think any of the answer choices were viable. I aimed to spend 10 minutes on this section and my strategy was just comparing the figure with the answer choices and narrowing them down that way.

    TFE
    : This section is one that just requires a lot lot lot of practice. Believe me I know how frustrating it is but stick with the BC generators and you will see yourself improve and it is immensely satisfying! For this, I began trying to get a general understanding and visualization of the object before looking at the answer choices. From there I could narrow down the obviously wrong answers, usually leaving me with two choices. At that point I would quickly count lines and that would usually give me my answer! Again, aimed to spend 10 minutes on this section.

    Angles: No clue about this one.. It is just luck in my opinion. On my test, I had some that were obvious but I had at least 5 where the angles basically all looked the same and were all in the same direction.. Don't waste much time on this section, in my opinion it is better to spend time on problems you know you can get a definite correct answer to. Probably spent 3 minutes max on this section.

    Hole Punch: Love this section. For me it really was fun and with practice you get really good at doing these! I used the grid and symmetry method. This is confusing to start out with but my the end you will be getting almost every problem right. I aimed to spend 6-7 minutes on these problems. My test was very comparable to BC problems with one or two trickier problems but nothing that was impossible to figure out.

    Cubes: For this I used the list method, going through and counting each block before looking at the questions for each figure. I began the summer counting bottom to top but found that counting top to bottom in sections was amore reliable method for me. One thing to note is that unlike BC, not every figure will necessarily have 3 questions, so make sure you look at the figure and not just assume it will be the same for exactly 3 questions. Qvault PAT tests have differing numbers of questions per figure if you wanted some experience with that. On my tests I got flustered with one figure that had a pit of an eye trick and restarted my chart 3 times. Finally I took a breath and cleared my mind and recounted them without worrying too much about time. This section is easy to get 15/15 so it is silly to miss one because you get mixed up and don't want to waste the time.

    Pattern Folding: The patterns on here were very similar to BC tests, not so much the generator. On the generator I always got questions where you had to match patterns and couldn't eliminate based on the shapes of the pieces. On my test, I had about 18 minutes left when I got to pattern folding and I really took my time with it. These ones are all doable with time so make sure you take your time and get these right rather than rushing to go over problems you have marked. I had an equal mix of ones you could eliminate by shape as well as some where you had to match patterns.

    Reading Comprehension:
    This was a section I was never too worried about I am an avid and a quick reader. I read the science articles suggested by Ari the first two months, everyday if I remembered, I used it as a break between destroyer problems and Chad videos. I did 4/5 BC reading tests and got low 20's on them. I had no questions on my test that had a statement and asked if the beginning and end were true or related. My test seemed to be more search and destroy type questions. My strategy was read the first question, read the passage until I found the answer, then read the second question and continue reading until I found that answer. Personally for me, pure search and destroy was too stressful. I finished this section with about 5 minutes left and used that time to write down some math formula's.

    Quantitative Reasoning (i.e bane of my existence):
    Number 1--I am so jealous of all you people who did four math destroyer tests and got 25's, I wish I understood math like you. Number 2--if you aren't one of these people, believe me I know it sucks and it is frustrating but don't give up. I easily could have done better than an 18, the questions on my real test truly weren't that difficult, but there were times I would go days in my studying without doing a thing for math because it just was frustrating and it was easier to ignore it. But push through because the light at the end of that tunnel is a wonderful score! I did all the math destroyer tests except 12 and 16 untimed (I didn't have enough time to get to these 2). I redid 1-5 timed. And I did 1-120 in the regular destroyer as timed tests. I also did Bootcamp Tests 1-4. My first time through Math destroyer I was averaging 20-25 right each time. I did a lot of flashcards to learn the formulas and when I went back through the first few math destroyer tests timed I was getting in the 30's. I got 18 and 19's on the bootcamp tests but I was getting about half of the questions wrong... I think my test was most similar to the QR in the regular destroyer. If I was to do it again, I don;t think I would have done the bootcamp QR tests. Instead when I was doing timed full tests I would have done tests from math or regular destroyer and used the calculator from bootcamp. I did run out of time on my test because I was making stupid mistakes and going through way too slowly. Don't let yourself succumb to this work quickly so you have a chance to do every problem and definitely get the easy ones. You mostly can guess and check but it does take up a significant amount of time.

    I had extreme anxiety leading up to the test, especially as the date got nearer and I did push my test back a week. I know that nothing anyone can say really can make it go away, I found everyone telling me I would do great made me even more anxious. I had a breakdown a week before my test and cried to my dad about it. I think the main thing you just need to remind yourself is that 1) The DAT does NOT define you, it's just a test and it can be retaken. If you work hard and keep trying eventually you will get it. 2) You don't have to tell a should how you ended up doing, I was dreading people asking how I did and if I did bad the awkwardness that conversation would become, just send a smiley emoji and say you did fine, it's none of their dang business anyway. 3) My mom left me a quote in a letter the morning of my test "Don't think and don't worry, when the time comes you will know what to do" -Mrs. Incredible you truly do know more than you realize you know and on the test it will come to you. Just take a deep breathe and press on.

    A million thanks to my family for their constant support and snacks the brought to the library for me, to Starbucks for always being there for a place to study and trenta ice coffees, you SDN'ers for your own breakdowns that inspired me and pushed me to keep working hard and all the people that work so hard to give us amazing resources so we can succeed on this test (@orgoman22, @Ari Rezaei, and Chad!).

    Good luck to all and if you have any questions feel free to leave them and if you ever need some words of encouragement shoot me a message I know how valuable they can be on a tough day!
     
    #1 rach7290, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  2. Mushibachan

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    lol my dad left me, "We're dead, we're dead, we're alive but we're dead." -Dash ;)
    haha jk congrats on the scores and good luck!
     
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  3. 510586

    2+ Year Member

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    Good job! Do you think you can post practice scores if you don't mind?
     
  4. Dwight Beet Farm

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    This is incredible. Congratulations. You worked hard and you deserve it. Can you elaborate more on Bio on the real thing? how was it in terms of detail?
     
  5. alexis2010

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    Congrats and thanks for the detailed breakdown and study plan. Yeah I live at Starbucks too. Lol
     
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  6. rach7290

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    I wasn't the best at keeping track of my practice test scores, I looked through some of my notebooks and these are the scores I had written down...
    Bootcamp:
    Bio-Didn't write any of these downs but I ranged from 17-20
    GC-<13/16/20/18/19 (I did go through and redo all of these again later in my studying)
    OC- 18 (didn't write the rest but ranged from 17-21)
    PAT-19/18/19/19/18/20/19/19
    RC-22/19/23/24
    QR- <15/18/19/19

    QVault
    Bio- 18/18/18/19
    GC-19/18/19/19
    OC- 20/19/19/18
    PAT- 19/20
    QR-17

    2009
    Bio/GC/OC-TS
    20/18/19-19
    PAT: 22
    QR: 16
    RC: 20
     
  7. rach7290

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    I would say that it was really similar to BC and Destroyer questions. I had a few questions that were basic definition recall, a majority that were more application type questions but if you knew the terminology they were fairly easy, and then one or two that were very application based that required more thinking. I didn't have to interpret any charts.
    Of course, bio is frustrating because you know so much and so little is tested but I feel like going through destroyer and reviewing Feralis' notes, everything on my test was covered between those two!
     
  8. orgoman22

    orgoman22 DAT DESTROYER
    Lifetime Donor Vendor Sponsor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

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    :soexcited::clap::clap:

    rach7290

    Congratulations!

    Love your scores and so will the dental schools! Very consistent, no low scores and 25 in reading, my hat is off to you:=|:-):, Dental schools will take notice and no doubt you will get multiple interviews.

    Thanks for taking the time to give back to the SDN community with a thorough breakdown of you DAT experience.

    Love your quote..

    "Don't think and don't worry, when the time comes you will know what to do" -Mrs. Incredible

    Celebrate, you deserve it!

    Dr. Romano and Nancy
     
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  9. aLemon

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    Congrats on your awesome DAT scores! Good luck!
     
  10. 510586

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    Thanks! When did you take those tests? Like qv
     
  11. rach7290

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    I took the qv tests in the two weeks before my test. Because I had already done all the Bootcamp GC and OC tests (following Ari's schedule), when I was taking full length practices at the end (I did 3 the week before my test) I would use the qvault GC and OC rather than the Bootcamp ones. I did a bio qvault bio every night the week before my test and whatever I got wrong I added to a quizlet which I can share with you if you like!
     
  12. rach7290

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    I seriously couldn't have done it without all your help so thank you!!! :happy:
     
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  13. 510586

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    No thank you I am doing them too! Thanks for the reply
     
  14. okiedokeartichoke

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    Aw, that was very encouraging! I'm not the greatest standardized test taker as well. My SAT and ACT scores back in the day were meh. I'm also a fellow psych major as well who last took a biology course 3 years ago, so this was uplifting to read. Congrats on your score! You reached the light at the end of the tunnel :)
     
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