December 2023 DAT Breakdown 24 AA / 23 TS / 25 PAT

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Jan 10, 2024
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Hi everyone! I took the DAT and December and really appreciated reading through these breakdowns so I figured I would post one as well!

PAT - 25
QR - 23
RC - 27
Bio - 23
GC - 23
OC - 22
TS - 23
AA - 24

Currently in my gap year. Graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2023.

Materials Used (in order of helpfulness):
  1. DAT Booster
    1. All of the biology videos were incredibly helpful, I skimmed the FB notes and took my own notes off of this content but most of it is already in the Anki decks. The BioBits are also representative of questions on the test. Overall, I would say the science sections are very representative and helpful in terms of content review and practice problems.
    2. I scored higher on the PAT section of the test than I did for any of my full-lengths and I used all of the PAT tools.
    3. I would say the QR and RC sections of the DAT Booster are a tad easier than the test itself, however, I may have also just gotten a little unlucky with the test but I scored a little lower on the actual DAT than on my practice tests. The practice test interface is slightly different on the booster website than the actual test, but this was before their most recent update in December 2023 so I am not sure if they have fixed this.
    4. I followed the 10-week study schedule and completed all of the recommended content review. I finished the study schedule early so I adjusted the schedule to do 2 practice tests a week leading up to the exam.
  2. Anki
    1. I used this program religiously and recommend utilizing it from your first day of studying, otherwise you won’t be able to see all of the cards. I downloaded the decks from DATBooster and suspended all of the cards. After reviewing concepts through the DAT Booster material, I would unsuspend the cards from each topic. Additionally, I would add cards for topics I struggled with and edit cards as needed to make them better suited for my study habits. I changed the default settings only for the Feralis-Booster Bio Notes since there were significantly more bio cards than any other section (started with 20 new cards a day and eventually settled on 65 new cards a day to ensure I saw all the cards). I ended up with ~3,300 biology cards, 215 QR cards, 450 OC cards, and 390 GC cards.
    2. At some point, it didn’t always feel the most useful, especially when it was taking up a lot of time but I am glad I stuck with it. Be sure to utilized this resource as a way to figure out what you are struggling with and troubleshoot. Don’t just avoid cards you keep forgetting.
  3. DAT Bootcamp
    1. I started using DAT Bootcamp about two weeks before my test. Their test interface was exactly the same as the DAT but I felt like the platform inflated my scores. I scored really well on their first full length but it felt like everything was a bit easier on Bootcamp than on Booster. I personally prefer the more challenging test prep to ensure I do better on the test.
    2. I only used Bootcamp for two reasons. The free full length and the free PAT resources. I wanted to experience variations of PAT questions in case the test wasn’t exactly like Booster problems. I will say I really enjoyed the explanation videos that were attached with all of the Bootcamp PAT videos, it helped me come up with new strategies and gave me new perspectives when approaching problems.
  4. Quizlet
    1. I used this resource very sparingly. In my free time, I would swipe through quizlet decks but there was more than enough information provided between the Anki and Booster videos. I wouldn’t stres about using the Booster Quizlets but if you have the time then check them out.

Study Timeline
This is my study timeline and what I figured worked for me. You know yourself the best so try different methods to see what allows you to work most efficiently. I was between Booster and Bootcamp but after talking to friends in dental school and doing research I chose Booster for the price and user interface.
August 2023
I decided I was going to give myself a little over three months to study, so I registered to take my DAT on December 18th.
September/October 2023
Halfway through September, I purchased DAT Booster and began content review. I was following the 10-week study schedule and would sometimes fall behind and readjust as necessary. I finished content review at the end of October. Keep in mind, I haven’t taken general and organic chemistry since 2019/2020 and I took them during COVID so I went really in depth with content review. If you have taken these classes more recently, you likely won’t take as long with this section.
November/December 2023
Here is where I made major adjustments to the study schedule. I had extra weeks to work into the 10-week suggested schedule. In total, I took 11 practice tests (10 Booster, 1 Bootcamp). I took the first booster test sometime in September, whenever the study schedule recommended. Each week of November I took one practice test, reviewed the test, did a ton of anki, and loosely followed the study schedule recommendations. In December, I took 2 practice tests the first week and three practice tests the 2nd week. At this point, I was no longer following the schedule and just taking practice tests/reviewing topics I struggled with.

Day of Exam
  • Bio (23): It was mostly straightforward but there were a few questions that I wasn’t expecting and not sure how to answer. I think the bio section can be a hit or miss depending on your test because there are so many questions the ADEA can pull from but if you utilize all of the Booster Bio resources, you’ll do well.
  • GC (23): Again, pretty straightforward. The calculations were much simpler compared to the Booster practice problems but do practice problems so you know how to approach questions on the test.
  • OC (22): I was most worried about this section because I took OChem during COVID and learning OC while your professors are adjusting to teaching online isn’t the most ideal way to learn. You should definitely review concepts and watch videos. Understand concepts, do not just memorize the reactions. While the Booster OC Anki deck was helpful with memorizing reactions, it should not be your only resource to study this section.
  • PAT (25): I scored higher on the DAT than I did on the practice tests. I was averaging ~21 for my practice tests so I was very happy with this score. This section is really about time management. I struggled the most with keyhole and TFE so my strategy was to do my easiest sections so I would have extra time for my hard sections. My order was angle ranking, hole punching, cube counting, pattern folding, top-front-end, and then keyhole.
  • RC (27): I scored lower than I was hoping since I was getting 30s on the Booster practice test, however, while taking this section my computer would glitch, become unresponsive, and start scrolling down the passage without my guidance. It was a bit frustrating and definitely cut into my time. The interface is also not as pleasant and easy to navigate as the Booster website to keep this in mind. There was a mix of conceptual and word-for-word questions, but mostly word-for-word. I used the Partial Reading Strategy during my practice tests and the actual test and it worked pretty well for me.
  • QR (23): Most of the problems were simple algebra, probability, and rate questions. However, I got a couple of confusing questions because they made me make assumptions about the information provided which I learned not to do during the Booster content review

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