Axiomatician

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So, hey guys. I'm not here asking for advice any longer. I am on the other side now. It feels good.

***UPDATE*** Putting this in a week after my exam. I was taking my QR portion a week ago, very nonschalantly at that. I was just ready to be done lol. This is just a little background info on me:

Hey guys! I am a Biochemistry major! My GPA is a 3.94, my sGPA is 4.0. I am going into my junior year of college, and have 4 more semesters left before I graduate. I was a musician throughout high school and an avid science lover. I went into college as a physics major, but knew I was going to change it to Biophysics because I was interested in Dentistry. My girlfriend is @Dancerkoh , and we both met at college, wanting to change our majors to Biophysics. She knew she wanted to be a dentist, but loved math too much to not continue to study it. I knew I loved physics and maths, but that I wanted to go into dentistry. Somewhere down the line, we stuck. We took the DAT together, same time and place, even rode their together, and wanted to specifically mention her because I feel that I have some good insight seeing how she studied vs. how she did on her real DAT.

Here were my scores:

Bio/GC/OC/PAT/RC/QR

18/19/21/22/24/21

My impressions a few hours after my test:

I felt so much better about this test. I got ice-cream last night with @Dancerkoh , my sweet girlfriend, who also took the DAT today with me. That ice cream was bad, and I had a stomach bug all night and this morning as well, as soon as I woke up. And ever after all of this sickness, which wasn't stress-induced, mind you, I felt like I was on the road to a 23+. I seriously felt great about the Biology as well as Gen Chem. I am truly surprised that I made such a low score in Gen Chem, as my Practice tests scores have never been below a 22. The biology was extremely simple. The general chem was also extremely simple. Chad's was an accurate representation of most of the difficulty of my Gen Chem, and not the hard ones on Chad's, rather the easier quiz problems. Organic was again very simple. There were no difficult reactions, Chad's would have been more than enough to prepare for it.

If I have anything to say, its that I don't think scores are equal. Once you get to 23+, the percentages work in such a way that luck of the draw is much more substantial than the time invested in studying. I believe there is something like a natural logarithmic curve, with achievable score vs. time studied. I personally studied hundreds of hours, probably thereabouts of 600. Notice I said achievable score rather than score.

You could always get lucky, study for 2 weeks, and get a 20 AA. Maybe you got a 17 in PAT, probably because its extremely foreign, and maybe your science sections showed you 95% of the material you reviewed and went over well. You could also study thousands of hours, buy all the study material in existence, get to an average score of 25 AA on your practice tests, and make a 20. They could throw you curveballs. There could be errors in the test(This has been known to happen). Someone could have gotten lucky guesses. The percentiles could be different. The scale of the test could have been less than optimal, poor even. You could have had an outlier that took your test and gone either way, gotten literally no more than 2 wrong, or gotten 85% of them wrong. I truly think that if you're going for high scores, I'm talking 25-30, you will fall victim to the luck of the draw. There is no doubt that some of the brilliant people I've seen get 24s and 25s could have also gotten 27s and 28s on other tests, but may have also made 21s or 22s on certain tests, if it didn't match what they knew. The big idea to take from my rant is that if you work hard and try your best, you will make scores that can get you into dental school.

***UPDATE*** - My impressions on each part of my DAT.
As of writing this, my test one one week ago today, and I was in there reading portion of my exam.

BIOLOGY - 18
Average Bootcamp score - 19

I felt like this section was extremely straightforward and easy. There were only a handful 3-5 that I was, in the slightest bit, unsure of. Seeing that I got an 18 was disappointing. I remember frantically looking for my A.A. at the end, and seeing that it was a 21, and being a little shocked but overall super relieved. My goal was a 21. I was thinking I was in the 23+ for all the sciences. If I had to give any reasoning behind it, it was that I probably missed 4-6, but honestly don't think I could have missed any more. I think my score was so low because there must have been a huge percentage of people to ace my specific Bio section due to its sheer simplicity.

GENERAL CHEMISTRY - 19
Average Bootcamp score - 24 (yeah, 24, rounded from a 23.5. I know..)
This is the score I am most upset with. I'm furious that I did so poorly on this. I was only unsure about 2 questions, and looked both of them up as soon as I got out to check and see if I remembered it correctly. I didn't. I missed 2. I doubt I missed more than 4 on this section, to be frank. The fact that I got a 19 on my real DAT, with my Bootcamp scores being 23,23,26,22, was honestly humiliating. I went through Destroyer 1.2x, and felt like that was enough. My test had maybe 5 math questions, and no calculations were involved. Simply setting up the equation was all they asked for. Focus on theory questions. Destroyer is gold.

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - 21
Average Bootcamp score - 18
This score only added to my shock. I felt less confident about this than I did General chemistry. It was very basic. I wasted a lot of time learning 50 different reagents and reactions, I was maybe asked 3-5, all of them being extremely basic. Know the basics. That's really hard to do with all the material now, because they are all overkill. The only reasoning I could use to see why I did best on this section was that no one taking the test understood Organic well, and because of that, this section, which I felt least confident on, was my highest score. Go figure..

PAT - 22
Average Bootcamp score - 19
This was easier than Bootcamp. With that being said, only SOME sections are easier. I probably didn't miss any in cube counting. It was easier. I probably didn't miss any keyholes(I was abnormally good at them, but even Bootcamp tripped me up, some of their images were, in all honestly, subpar, just like the real thing.) The angle were almost, if not the same difficulty, as Bootcamp. I SUCK at angles. I will never be good at them. Its just how it is. I practiced so so so so much. But I got consistently better with one technique, and that was imagining the angles were laptops that I was viewing from the side. That little trick took me form getting 3-6/15 angles to getting 7-11/15 angles consistently. I missed quite a few of the angles on the real thing, without a doubt. I feel like if I had an updated pair of glasses, as well as the skill so many people seem to have with angles, I could have been in the 24+ range. Either way, I am happy with it. A 22 PAT is not bad, and its better than most I see. PAT Bootcamp all the way. If Bootcamp is good for anything, its for PAT.

READING COMPREHENSION - 24
Average Bootcamp score - 20
My reading comprehension was extremely hard. EXTREMELY. I remember what all the passages were about, and specifically went to research them. WTF?! I won't say what they were, but after researching them, holy cow! HOLY COW! No wonder I did so great on this. I probably missed quite a few, but in my general opinion, not every test is the same and I probably wouldn't have done this well if I got some easier passages. Maybe a 21-23, but getting a 24 was a stretch. While it would be great for my ego to not discredit my work, I have to be honest and say this: my passage was overly hard. There were too many 12+ letter words, too much organic chemistry terminology, and WAY too many theory questions. I am naturally very scientific and do very well with analysis and theory. Most of the people taking the DAT had no chance against some of the questions I encountered. I have seen some breakdowns of people getting low reading scores and talking about how hard their reading was, and I think I know what they were dealing with. I don't have any advice for doing better for this section. Thinking critically and understanding science and the scientific method is more important in this than basic reading comprehension, or at least, this was the case for my specific exam. I am very thankful I got such a great score in reading, it saved my AA.

QUANTITATIVE REASONING - 21
Average Bootcamp score - 18
Not much to say about this... I am happy with the 21, I genuinely was expecting between an 18-20. Without a doubt, spend quality time with MATH Destroyer. This is such an easy section to get down. I think its sad to see these 22+ scores and see that they got a 16-20 in QR. It truly is an easy section to get down if you put the time into. Just imagine putting 500 hours of study into biology, only to make a 23, and you make a 19 in QR. If you would have just put 4-6 hours per MATH Destroyer test, 17 in all, I guarantee you could have gotten 23+ in that! Not even 4 hours, but I am exaggerating. Its not about doing the tests. Whats important is figuring out the trend in the problems you don't understand, then understanding them, even if you have to teach yourself through hours of agonizing pain. I would much rather do that then memorize and regurgitate a bunch of Biology, wouldn't you?






Materials used and my opinion on them:

First bought DAT Bootcamp in February, have had 2 subscriptions in total to this.

Second, I got out of my sophomore year at school in the first week of May, and shortly after bought a subscription to CourseSaver.com for Chad's videos(or DAT Videos).

Lastly, and most importantly, I bought DAT Destroyer and MATH Destroyer. I will mention her undoubtedly a lot, but a genuine THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to @orgoman22 . Nancy has been extremely personable and caring, and DAT Destroyer should be the first thing on your list.

I want to say first and foremost that my opinion is mine and mine alone. I had an old band director whom I was very close with once tell me: Opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one and most of them stink. While I am trying to make mine as clean and helpful as possible, I have to tell it like I saw it.

Remember, seeing this forum and some of these threads, you may forget that the real reason you should be here is to be a dentist, NOT to get a 95 percentile on a test that measures so little about actual dentistry.

DAT Bootcamp
Update: Here are my personal Bootcamp scores:

Bio/GC/OC/PAT/RC/QR

Test 1: 17/17/<14/18/19/17

A quick work on test 1... I took this test about two weeks into my studying, about 8 weeks away from my exam, in order to get a baseline idea of where I was. I had not started reviewing for Organic whatsoever. I will not include this test in any kind of average, because it really means nothing.

Test 2: 20/23/17/19/18/18
Test 3: 19/23/18/20/21/19
Test 4: 17/26/18/20/21/19
Test 5: 20/22/19/X/X/X

I intentionally only did the science section of test 5 because I was pressed for time and knew that my energy would be best used for the sciences that I seemed to know nothing about.

My REAL DAT: 18/19/21/22/24/21

DAT Bootcamp is good for PAT, and thats about it.

Yes, thats about it.


It has a beautiful interface; it seems extremely intertwined with personality. Ari has a 10 week study guide, as well as a guide on how to study for the DAT! The main page has many success stories on the front, one for each month. This gives the perception of a continued support of the site. He gives good advice, but its nothing that can't be found on SDN. Essentially, its closer to KAPLAN than a lot of people have realized(albeit better than Kaplan). It really isn't that personal, and there isn't a lot of information to actually learn from it. In contrast, there is actually very little you can learn from DAT Bootcamp, and it should not be used as a learning tool whatsoever. You get 5 full length practice tests. Again, the timer and feel of the tests, while not jaw-droppingly similar to the real test, does do its job in giving you somewhat of a similar interface as the real test. It wouldn't be hard to make it better, and I think it should be, specifically the reading section.

At first glance, it seemed like DAT Bootcamp has a lot going for it. You get the 5 length tests, as mentioned, as well as 5 subject specific practice tests. Little do you know, the subject specific practice tests are the same exact questions as the full length tests. My problem with it lies in the fact that these tests give you scores based on percentiles of people taking them. A word on this in just a few lines... For the PAT section, there are actually 10 practice tests, the latter 5 being each their own entity. They are increasingly difficult and were of great help to me. I took 6,7,8,9, and 10, all at least 3-4 days apart, trying my best to practice my weak points daily in-between the practice tests to see if I could get better. The PAT is what makes DAT Bootcamp relevant.

Now, here is my biggest problem with DAT Bootcamp. I bought DAT Bootcamp because it seemed like it was a great way to see how you would do on your real DAT. It scored you based on your performance alongside the last 1000 times it was taken. You may think this is good, but it isn't. Lots of people take these tests 3 and 4 times, doing their best to try and learn from their mistakes. They review and inherently memorize the question and answer. They get 22's, 23's, 24's, and most importantly, false sense of security because of the nature of DAT Bootcamp. Not only do they hurt themselves getting this false sense of security, but they also hurt others, because the scores on Bootcamp do not reflect genuine scores. They include these multiple attempt tests, possibly even the individual practice tests(Because YES, these individual practice tests will pop out a score to you too!). This undoubtedly skews the distribution of the scores overall. Maybe you got a 17 AA on your Bootcamp test because there were 14 people in the last week to take it for the 3rd time, and only miss 2-4 problems on each section, because they had memorized the test? Maybe you got a 17 AA on your Bootcamp test because Bootcamp is, in actuality, a good bit harder than most of the DAT's out at any given time? The truth is, there is a test bank of no more than a few hundred questions for each subject. There is no wonder why questions on Bootcamp looks a lot like Destroyer. I can't tell you how many questions were a sliver of something covered in depth in the Destroyer. It may be beneficial to memorize Bootcamp, but it really isn't an accurate score predictor, not even close, and I would honestly recommend not putting your money into it if you just want it for PAT. If you want to learn, get Destroyer. IF you want to test yourself, I feel that there are better programs than DAT Bootcamp. There are other options. DAT Bootcamp was great for PAT, it really was. But looking back, I spent $260 and practiced a TON of PAT over the course of 6 months, and I got a 22. If you have the money, go for it. DAT Bootcamp should really cut the price and only include PAT, and be PAT Bootcamp. That's my take on PAT Bootcamp.

Chad's Videos
Chad's videos! Now, remember, I am really not being a debbie downer. I really am not. Chad's videos have much more value than DAT Bootcamp. If you want something to be spoon fed to you, Chad's can do it. If you aren't very scientific, or its been years since you were in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, it can be helpful. I personally HIGHLY DISLIKED Chad's videos. I'm sure it wasn't just one thing that I didn't like. I really tried to use the videos. I work for every dollar I get, and I was going to make sure I used this Course Saver Subscription. I went through and watched all of the Gen Chem. I always did the quizzes. I watched all of the Math videos as well. Once I was finished with those, it had been, i.i.r.c., 4 weeks into studying. I felt like I had completely wasted 4 weeks. I started Organic, and I really wasn't able to do it anymore. I really didn't like Chad, and while its nothing personal, he just didn't click with me. The way he talked, walked, taught, nothing about him appealed to me and it got to the point where it was painful to watch his videos. I've never seen a bad thing said about Chad, and while again, its nothing personal, I would have spent my time better elsewhere.

***I forgot to mention that I was using Ari-s study guide, not modified at all, but rather just included with an extra couple of weeks towards the end for more and more preparation.

This is where I deviated from Ari's study guide. I made threads about it here on SDN, and they probably haven't received enough attention.

I would generally only recommend "reviewing" for no more than 4 weeks, unless you really aren't an involved science major. If you are a post-bac. student, if you are a mother of 3, if you are a Dental Hygienist, if you're a banker, you catch you my drift, you need to make sure you have adequate time to review. Chad's would be helpful for you. I feel like for the majority of Pre-Dental students, he isn't. I personally have a very strong background in Chemistry. I have made all A's in my chemistry classes. I did extremely well in Organic. I did very well in General Chemistry as well as Quantitative Analysis. However I was personally very weak in Biology. I have had Biology 1,2,3, and Genetics. The only hard class was Genetics, and it has, and probably will be one of the hardest classes I will ever have to take. No, seriously, everyone has that one class at their University that is laughably, insanely hard. Genetics was mine. This brings me back to the most important point about Chad's videos, people will benefit more than others with them. I should have spent more time learning Biology, rather than reading Cliff's AP Bio. So, I say to the reader that has gotten this far:

You are your own person. You most likely don't fall into a general category. General doesn't mean you need to learn everything. General also doesn't mean the most popular study materials will be the best for you. GPA matters only so much, because lets be honest, I made A's in all my biology 1-3 classes in college, but I learned more Biology the past 6 weeks than I ever have in my life. My University's biology department is oversaturated with more than 70% Pre-meds, the typical (Yeah, I wanna go to med school/dental school/pharmacy school) types, mostly because they really didn't figure out what they actually wanted to do, and more importantly, a lot of them could care less about science. We all know who I am talking about, and even if you feel like I am talking about you, I want you to realize you are YOU. Weaknesses and strengths need to be evaluated first, not last, and mindless reviewing because other people do it is almost as ineffective as not studying at all.

Chad's wasn't for me because I had a really strong base in the chemistries. I was also extremely weak in Biology. Being a Biochemistry major, I have had lots of chemistry classes and little to none Biology. 4 in total actually. That's my opinion on Chad's.

DAT Destroyer

I spent the most time with this. And I coulda/shoulda spent SO much more. I worked Biology completely, one time through. I started it again in the last 7 days before my test, and got past 100.
Gen Chem, I worked 1 full time through. I started over maybe a week before my test, and got though 30-60 of them? I worked organic two full times through. I started over for my second time maybe 15 days before my test, and was done with it again in 4-5 days.

Everyone says Destroyer will destroy you. What did you think it would do? The only source I know of to consistently work students hard enough to learn at least something and get 21+'s, I would venture to say the DAT Destroyer and MATH Destroyer combo were the best $200 I spent this year. I started working Destroyer in June, and it took me weeks and weeks to get through it. Almost everyone unanimously makes the mistake of starting Destroyer too late. I wish I would have just started by getting out Destroyer and working it. If I would have started my first 4 weeks working it, reviewing the notes in the back of it, and supplementing that with either @FeralisExtremum 's notes or @russelldw 's notes, I would have been in a much better position by the time I got to my last month of studying.

What makes Destroyer so hard is the time it takes to learn the material. Unless you are a genetic freak(some of you honestly are, kudos to you guys and gals), you can't learn multiple pages of notes in a day. I did good to learn a couple of facts about a couple of topics, in no more than a couple of subjects, each day. I never worked more than 30 Biology problems efficiently, that is, worked them all, numbering 1. through 30., taking my time to think and answer the questions, and then doing the important part, reviewing them. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT answer a bunch of questions and come BACK TO THEM LATER. DON'T! NO! STOP! Where you learn with Destroyer is seeing how you thought about a problem 5 minutes ago, recalling the information you know, but realizing that you got it wrong. Every synapse in your brain, every small, little, unspeakable thought pattern you had to lead you to what you wanted to put, that helped you reason your way through the problem, is still on your mind. When you realize the way you thought about it, and then see that you got it wrong, you are actively training your brain the way to think about it with incredibly complete and coherent solutions in the back. I remember trying to plan out and finish the Destroyer in X-number of days. HA! I had a study schedule around when I was 5 weeks away from my test, and I had 80 Biology problems a day, Gen Chem 40 a day, Organic 40 a day. Don't do this. If you can do 10 Destroyer problems in each section of Destroyer a day, and learn it well, you are doing good. Now, if that wasn't enough, and you only spent an hour and a half doing ten and reviewing what you got wrong, do another 10 of each. I learned the best when I did this, 10 gen chem problems at a time. I only wish I could have gone through Destroyer 2-3 more times, yes, that many. Unless you are getting 90% of the questions right, you still have something to learn. Learn everything in Destroyer, and you'll be set.

***Update, 1 week after my DAT
To end this, I want to say that each and every person on this forum is a winner. You obviously want to better yourself and put your name above the rest. That's great. I know each and every one of you reading this will be as thankful as I am for SDN as a resource while studying for this monster of a test. With that being said: I hate timed tests. I think they are a poor measure of intelligence and knowledge. I also think they are a poor way to see if someone wants to be a dentist for the right reasons. Too many fake people want to go into density, as well as law, and medicine, because of the security/socioeconomic class/misc. psychological reasons. While I am not here to judge others, I can gladly say that most here, I truly feel, want to be dentists not for the money, but for the teeth. Kudos to anyone who has taken their test and is reading this, and GOOD LUCK to those taking the test in the near future! I wish you well, regardless of anything else, because I know you want to put forth effort and do well.

Update: I want to give a quick shoutout to @DMikes . He is a genuine and down to Earth guy. He didn't know me at all, but saw my concern and drive to want to do well. He messaged me one day, giving me advice for Angle Ranking, and that was only the beginning. He is absolutely brilliant, and perhaps famously known to some as the guy who got a 27AA on his DAT from two weeks of studying. I know he will be a great dentist. Anyone as kind and caring as him deserves a score like that. Its easy to get caught up with numbers and scores, not just with the DAT, but all the hoops you have to jump through to get into medicine, and he was a constant reminder in my last weeks of studying that to be hard working and willing to help others is most important. Thanks so much.
 
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LuckBloodandSweat

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Grats you're done and in your sophomore summer too! I also agree with you about practice scores not being the best indicator. I would like to point out that while luck does play a part in really high scores (24+) I think the tests are normalized enough for others to generally do around the same on each version of the test.
 

asdf99

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Woah woah, are bootcamp scores actually based on the other people that wrote it LOL?
I know they give your your percentile, but I had no idea that the estimated score was based on that
 
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LuckBloodandSweat

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Woah woah, are bootcamp scores actually based on the other people that wrote it LOL?
I know they give your your percentile, but I had no idea that the estimated score was based on that
I'm fairly sure they compare you to other people that took it xD
 

redhotchiligochu

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Congrats! Very detailed outline of your DAT breakdown. I would like to see more feedback from other SDN users, I've had a very similar DAT breakdown as yours and want to see if our scores are "competitive" enough.

How were the Bio questions on the DAT? I thought it was straightforward but I might have made lots of careless errors because that was my lowest score out of all the sections also.
 

super frank

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Your second/third paragraph is the TRUTH! Congratulations on your great scores.
 

Axiomatician

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Wait I don't see anything from Dancerkoh o_O
She'll be making her own breakdown in not too long. Here's a spoiler though, hopefully she doesn't see this later.
She has a 4.0 and is incredibly smart. When I first met her, I could tell that she was way smarter than me. Like scary smart. She's completely done with the classes for a Mathematics major, and was done with all the way up through multi-variable calculus before starting our sophomore year. We both met wanting to be Biophysics majors, but that changed to Biochemistry because of the course catalog being more flexible in order to do research and things. What I am getting at is that her score is NOT indicative of how much time she put into studying. She should have easily made a 23+, and once you see her Bootcamp scores, 2007, and 2009 scores, there will be a unanimous "WTF?!?" from everyone to see it. She did good though, and she won't have to worry about retaking it.
 
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Rand627

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Congratz on being done man, it's always nice when you see someone ask questions over months and then post their breakdown!

I definitely disagree with you about bootcamp not being a learning tool. It's just a different learning tool, by the end of my study I had memorized every single o chem/gen chem/ and bio questions which was a great aid. It's also really helpful for learning the format of the test!

Anyway, enjoy the great feeling of being done! When do you apply?
 

Axiomatician

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Congrats! Very detailed outline of your DAT breakdown. I would like to see more feedback from other SDN users, I've had a very similar DAT breakdown as yours and want to see if our scores are "competitive" enough.

How were the Bio questions on the DAT? I thought it was straightforward but I might have made lots of careless errors because that was my lowest score out of all the sections also.
I thought my biology questions were extremely simple. They were all very conceptual, and not tricky whatsoever. I would put money that I got at least 34 of them correct. I didn't guess on 6, but I remember that there were 6 where I was somewhat torn on what to say. I feel like my 18 was so low because there were probably quite a lot of people to make scores higher than me, as well as not many people missing more than I did, which brings the normalized curve to around an 18. I felt like because my test was so easy, I actually got lower scores than I would have gotten if, perhaps the test had a few curveball questions that may have popped up in the Destroyer for me, but no one else knew them. I would have gotten a 20-22. I seriously finished the SNS and PAT and thought I had gotten a 22-24 TS and 22-23 PAT.
 

asdf99

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She'll be making her own breakdown in not too long. Here's a spoiler though, hopefully she doesn't see this later.
She has a 4.0 and is incredibly smart. When I first met her, I could tell that she was way smarter than me. Like scary smart. She's completely done with the classes for a Mathematics major, and was done with all the way up through multi-variable calculus before starting our sophomore year. We both met wanting to be Biophysics majors, but that changed to Biochemistry because of the course catalog being more flexible in order to do research and things. What I am getting at is that her score is NOT indicative of how much time she put into studying. She should have easily made a 23+, and once you see her Bootcamp scores, 2007, and 2009 scores, there will be a unanimous "WTF?!?" from everyone to see it. She did good though, and she won't have to worry about retaking it.

That's wack lol. Scary stuff
 
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DMikes

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@Axiomatician thanks for the shoutout but all the kudos goes to you! You put in the work and the hours and came out with a great score! Congrats man, enjoy the interviews and the rest of your summer!


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

Jueves

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Good Job!! I just took the DAT a couple of days ago and I got a 21AA as well. My PAT was awful and I agree that you shouldn't get caught up with numbers- I actually said something like that on my breakdown. The thing is that you're on SDN, where everyone is hitting a 22. I think that if you told your scores to everyone else they might even be awestruck, as the average for ACCEPTANCE is a 20 at most schools. Keep your head up- you deserve more credit than you're giving yourself.
 
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orgoman22

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Good Job!! I just took the DAT a couple of days ago and I got a 21AA as well. My PAT was awful and I agree that you shouldn't get caught up with numbers- I actually said something like that on my breakdown. The thing is that you're on SDN, where everyone is hitting a 22. I think that if you told your scores to everyone else they might even be awestruck, as the average for ACCEPTANCE is a 20 at most schools. Keep your head up- you deserve more credit than you're giving yourself.
You both are superstars in my book! Excellent scores and you got the job done the first time around! No DAT retake is necessary and all your scores were on target and consistent, just what dental schools like to see.

Will miss seeing you 2 around and answering your questions..


Wishing you the best and can't wait for interviews and acceptances.

Nancy
 
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Jueves

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Thanks
You both are superstars in my book! Excellent scores and you got the job done the first time around! No DAT retake is necessary and all your scores were on target and consistent, just what dental schools like to see.

Will miss you seeing you 2 around and answering your questions..


Wishing you the best and can't wait for interviews and acceptances.

Nancy


Thanks Nancy! You were a huge help.
 
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orgoman22

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So, hey guys. I'm not here asking for advice any longer. I am on the other side now. It feels good.

Here were my scores:

Bio/GC/OC/PAT/RC/QR

18/19/21/22/24/21

My impressions a few hours after my test:

I felt so much better about this test. I got ice-cream last night with @Dancerkoh , my sweet girlfriend, who also took the DAT today with me. That ice cream was bad, and I had a stomach bug all night and this morning as well, as soon as I woke up. And ever after all of this sickness, which wasn't stress-induced, mind you, I felt like I was on the road to a 23+. I seriously felt great about the Biology as well as Gen Chem. I am truly surprised that I made such a low score in Gen Chem, as my Practice tests scores have never been below a 22. The biology was extremely simple. The general chem was also extremely simple. Chad's was an accurate representation of most of the difficulty of my Gen Chem, and not the hard ones on Chad's, rather the easier quiz problems. Organic was again very simple. There were no difficult reactions, Chad's would have been more than enough to prepare for it.

If I have anything to say, its that I don't think scores are equal. Once you get to 23+, the percentages work in such a way that luck of the draw is much more substantial than the time invested in studying. I believe there is something like a natural logarithmic curve, with achievable score vs. time studied. I personally studied hundreds of hours, probably thereabouts of 600. Notice I said achievable score rather than score.

You could always get lucky, study for 2 weeks, and get a 20 AA. Maybe you got a 17 in PAT, probably because its extremely foreign, and maybe your science sections showed you 95% of the material you reviewed and went over well. You could also study thousands of hours, buy all the study material in existence, get to an average score of 25 AA on your practice tests, and make a 20. They could throw you curveballs. There could be errors in the test(This has been known to happen). Someone could have gotten lucky guesses. The percentiles could be different. The scale of the test could have been less than optimal, poor even. You could have had an outlier that took your test and gone either way, gotten literally no more than 2 wrong, or gotten 85% of them wrong. I truly think that if you're going for high scores, I'm talking 25-30, you will fall victim to the luck of the draw. There is no doubt that some of the brilliant people I've seen get 24s and 25s could have also gotten 27s and 28s on other tests, but may have also made 21s or 22s on certain tests, if it didn't match what they knew. The big idea to take from my rant is that if you work hard and try your best, you will make scores that can get you into dental school.
Materials used and my opinion on them:

First bought DAT Bootcamp in February, have had 2 subscriptions in total to this.

Second, I got out of my sophomore year at school in the first week of May, and shortly after bought a subscription to CourseSaver.com for Chad's videos(or DAT Videos).

Lastly, and most importantly, I bought DAT Destroyer and MATH Destroyer. I will mention her undoubtedly a lot, but a genuine THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to @orgoman22 . Nancy has been extremely personable and caring, and DAT Destroyer should be the first thing on your list.

I want to say first and foremost that my opinion is mine and mine alone. I had an old band director whom I was very close with once tell me: Opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one and most of them stink. While I am trying to make mine as clean and helpful as possible, I have to tell it like I saw it.

Remember, seeing this forum and some of these threads, you may forget that the real reason you should be here is to be a dentist, NOT to get a 95 percentile on a test that measures so little about actual dentistry.

DAT Bootcamp
DAT Bootcamp is good for PAT, and thats about it.

Yes, thats about it. I

will post all of my bootcamp scores, basically as much bootcamp info as I can possible. with explanation and theory along with it, but if I can keep it at this, well, its not very good. It has a beautiful interface, it seems extremely intertwined with personality. Ari has a 10 week study guide, as well as a guide on how to study for the DAT. The main page has many success stories on the front, one for each month. This gives the perception of a continued support of the site. He gives good advice, but its nothing that can't be found on SDN. Essentially, its closer to KAPLAN than a lot of people have realized. It really isn't that personal, and there isn't a lot of information to actually learn from it. In contrast, there is very little you can learn from DAT Bootcamp, and its not a learning tool whatsoever. You get 5 full length practice tests. Again, the timer and feel of the tests, while not jaw-droopingly similar to the real test, does do its job in giving you somewhat of a similar interface as the real test. It wouldn't be hard to make it better, and I think it should be, specifically the reading section.

At first glance, it seemed like DAT Bootcamp has a lot going for it. You get the 5 length tests, as mentioned, as well as 5 subject specific practice tests. Little do you know, the subject specific practice tests are the same exact questions as the full length tests. My problem with it lies in the fact that these tests give you scores based on percentiles of people taking them. A word on this in just a few lines... For the PAT section, there are actually 10 practice tests, the latter 5 being each their own entity. They are increasingly difficult and were of help to me. I took 6,7,8,9, and 10, all at least 3-4 days apart, trying my best to practice my weak points daily in-between the practice tests to see if I could get better.

Now, here is my biggest problem with DAT Bootcamp. I bought DAT Bootcamp because it seemed like it was a great way to see how you would do on your real DAT. It scored you based on your performance alongside the last 1000 times it was taken. You may think this is good, but it isn't. Lots of people take these tests 3 and 4 times, doing their best to try and learn from their mistakes. They review and inherently memorize the question and answer. They get 22's, 23's, 24's, and most importantly, false sense of security because of the nature of DAT Bootcamp. Not only do they hurt themselves getting this false sense of security, but they also hurt others, because the scores on Bootcamp do not reflect genuine scores. They include these multiple attempt tests, possibly even the individual practice tests(Because YES, these individual practice tests will pop out a score to you too!). This undoubtedly skews the distribution of the scores overall. Maybe you got a 17 AA on your Bootcamp test because there were 14 people in the last week to take it for the 3rd time, and only miss 2-4 problems on each section, because they had memorized the test? Maybe you got a 17 AA on your Bootcamp test because Bootcamp is, in actuality, a good bit harder than most of the DAT's out at any given time? The truth is, there is a test bank of no more than a few hundred questions for each subject. There is no wonder why questions on Bootcamp look a lot like Destroyer. I can't tell you how many questions were a sliver of something covered in depth in the Destroyer. It may be beneficial to memorize Bootcamp, but it really isn't an accurate score predictor, not even close, and I would honestly recommend not putting your money into it if you just want it for PAT. If you want to learn, get Destroyer. IF you want to test yourself, I feel that there are better programs than DAT Bootcamp. There are other options. DAT Bootcamp was great for PAT, it really was. But looking back, I spent $260 and practiced a TON of PAT over the course of 6 months, and I got a 22. If you have the money, go for it. DAT Bootcamp should really cut the price and only include PAT, and be PAT Bootcamp. That's my take on PAT Bootcamp.

Chad's Videos
Chad's videos! Now, remember, I am really not being a debbie downer. I really am not. Chad's videos have much more value than DAT Bootcamp. If you want something to be spoon fed to you, Chad's can do it. If you aren't very scientific, or its been years since you were in General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, it can be helpful. I personally HIGHLY DISLIKED Chad's videos. I'm sure it wasn't just one thing that I didn't like. I really tried to use the videos. I work for every dollar I get, and I was going to make sure I used this Course Saver Subscription. I went through and watched all of the Gen Chem. I always did the quizzes. I watched all of the Math videos as well. Once I was finished with those, it had been, i.i.r.c., 4 weeks into studying. I felt like I had completely wasted 4 weeks. I started Organic, and I really wasn't able to do it anymore. I really didn't like Chad, and while its nothing personal, he just didn't click with me. The way he talked, walked, taught, nothing about him appealed to me and it got to the point where it was painful to watch his videos. I've never seen a bad thing about Chad, and while again, its nothing personal, I would have spent my time better elsewhere.

***I forgot to mention that I was using Ari-s study guide, not modified at all, but rather just included with an extra couple of weeks towards the end for more and more preparation.

This is where I deviated from Ari's study guide. I made threads about it here on SDN, and they probably haven't received enough attention.

I would generally only recommend "reviewing" for no more than 4 weeks, unless you really aren't an involved science major. If you are a post-bac. student, if you are a mother of 3, if you are a Dental Hygienist, if you're a banker, you catch you my drift, you need to make sure you have adequate time to review. Chad's would be helpful for you. I feel like for the majority of Pre-Dental students, he isn't. I personally have a very strong background in Chemistry. I have made all A's in my chemistry classes. I did extremely well in Organic. I did very well in General Chemistry as well as Quantitative Analysis. However I was personally very weak in Biology. I have had Biology 1,2,3, and Genetics. The only hard class was Genetics, and it has, and probably will be one of the hardest classes I will ever have to take. No, seriously, everyone has that one class at their University that is laughably, insanely hard. Genetics was mine. This brings me back to the most important point about Chad's videos, people will benefit more than others with them. I should have spent more time learning Biology, rather than reading Cliff's AP Bio. So, I say to the reader that has gotten this far:

You are your own person. You most likely don't fall into a general category. General doesn't mean you need to learn everything. General also doesn't mean the most popular study materials will be the best for you. GPA matters only so much, because lets be honest, I made A's in all my biology 1-3 classes in college, but I learned more Biology the past 6 weeks than I ever have in my life. My University's biology department is oversaturated with more than 70% Pre-meds, the typical (Yeah, I wanna go to med school/dental school/pharmacy school) types, mostly because they really didn't figure out what they actually wanted to do, and more importantly, a lot of them could care less about science. We all know who I am talking about, and even if you feel like I am talking about you, I want you to realize you are YOU. Weaknesses and strengths need to be evaluated first, not last, and mindless reviewing because other people do it is almost as ineffective as not studying at all.

Chad's wasn't for me because I had a really strong base in the chemistries. I was also extremely weak in Biology. Being a Biochemistry major, I have had lots of chemistry classes and little to none Biology. 4 in total actually. That's my opinion on Chad's.

DAT Destroyer

I spent the most time with this. And I coulda/shoulda spent SO much more. I worked Biology completely, one time through. I started it again in the last 7 days before my test, and got past 100.
Gen Chem, I worked 1 full time through. I started over maybe a week before my test, and got though 30-60 of them? I worked organic two full times through. I started over for my second time maybe 15 days before my test, and was done with it again in 4-5 days.

Everyone says Destroyer will destroy you. What did you think it would do? The only source I know of to consistently work students hard enough to learn at least something and get 21+'s, I would venture to say the DAT Destroyer and MATH Destroyer combo were the best $200 I spent this year. I started working Destroyer in June, and it took me weeks and weeks to get through it. Almost everyone unanimously makes the mistake of starting Destroyer too late. I wish I would have just started by getting out Destroyer and working it. If I would have started my first 4 weeks working it, reviewing the notes in the back of it, and supplementing that with either @FeralisExtremum 's notes or @russelldw 's notes, I would have been in a much better position by the time I got to my last month of studying.

What makes Destroyer so hard is the time it takes to learn the material. Unless you are a genetic freak(some of you honestly are, kudos to you guys and gals), you can't learn multiple pages of notes in a day. I did good to learn a couple of facts about a couple of topics, in no more than a couple of subjects, each day. I never worked more than 30 Biology problems efficiently, that is, worked them all, numbering 1. through 30., taking my time to think and answer the questions, and then doing the important part, reviewing them. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT answer a bunch of questions and come BACK TO THEM LATER. DON'T! NO! STOP! Where you learn with Destroyer is seeing how you thought about a problem 5 minutes ago, recalling the information you know, but realizing that you got it wrong. Every synapse in your brain, every small, little, unspeakable thought pattern you had to lead you to what you wanted to put, that helped you reason your way through the problem, is still on your mind. When you realize the way you thought about it, and then see that you got it wrong, you are actively training your brain the way to think about it with incredibly complete and coherent solutions in the back. I remember trying to plan out and finish the Destroyer in X-number of days. HA! I had a study schedule around when I was 5 weeks away from my test, and I had 80 Biology problems a day, Gen Chem 40 a day, Organic 40 a day. Don't do this. If you can do 10 Destroyer problems in each section of Destroyer a day, and learn it well, you are doing good. Now, if that wasn't enough, and you only spent an hour and a half doing ten and reviewing what you got wrong, do another 10 of each. I learned the best when I did this, 10 gen chem problems at a time. I only wish I could have gone through Destroyer 2-3 more times, yes, that many. Unless you are getting 90% of the questions right, you still have something to learn. Learn everything in Destroyer, and you'll be set.


I will continue to update this as I see fit. I will definitely include lots of my DAT Bootcamp scores in order to show people they were a waste of my worries.

Update: I want to give a quick shoutout to @DMikes . He is a genuine and down to Earth guy. He didn't know me at all, but saw my concern and drive to want to do well. He messaged me one day, giving me advice for Angle Ranking, and that was only the beginning. He is absolutely brilliant, and perhaps famously known to some as the guy who got a 27AA on his DAT from two weeks of studying. I know he will be a great dentist. Anyone as kind and caring as him deserves a score like that. Its easy to get caught up with numbers and scores, not just with the DAT, but all the hoops you have to jump through to get into medicine, and he was a constant reminder in my last weeks of studying that to be hard working and willing to help others is most important. Thanks so much.

Congratulations! I feel honored to have been a part of your journey. You did the hard work and it paid off. Also thanks Dmikes for supporting others yet to face the DAT Beast. Helping others is important, because in turn you are helping yourself.

Wishing you the best my friend and hopefully our paths will cross one day when I am in the south.

Nancy
 
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MolarDentist

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"Opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one and most of them stink"
If this was Reddit I would have given you gold and and upvote :)
Congratulations on being done, and thank you for the long detailed honest breakdown.
You are only a sophomore, keep your grades up untill graduation.
Best of luck mate
 
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Ari Rezaei

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Congratulations on the 21 AA! That score will serve you very well during applications and interviews. Just to clear something up, only your first attempt is recorded for estimated score calculation, and scores below 10% correct are purged from the calculation. Nevertheless, I try to emphasize to not focus on your estimated scores and focus more on learning the material, as that is how you improve your scores. I even write I wish I could take out estimated scores as students focus too much on an arbitrary number instead of reviewing and studying what they got wrong, but it's an extremely demanded feature. Happy we could help you get a 22 in the PAT, though!

Good luck in the application cycle, it's clear you have an impeccable attention to detail which will serve you very well as a dentist. Let me know if you come interview Columbia! :)
 

Axiomatician

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Congratz on being done man, it's always nice when you see someone ask questions over months and then post their breakdown!

I definitely disagree with you about bootcamp not being a learning tool. It's just a different learning tool, by the end of my study I had memorized every single o chem/gen chem/ and bio questions which was a great aid. It's also really helpful for learning the format of the test!

Anyway, enjoy the great feeling of being done! When do you apply?

I agree to disagree! I will say that yeah, its pretty good for learning the format of the test. Its not spot on, and it should definitely be updated to be more like the real thing(only because of how simple a change it would be). I found multiple mistakes in the Biology section of explanations. Lots of confusing stuff, and it even caused me to learn a couple of things completely wrong.

I will apply in a year! Towards the end of my junior year, I'll have wrapped everything up to organize into applications, and as soon as they open up, around June 1st, I'm sending them in to the schools.
 

Rand627

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I agree to disagree! I will say that yeah, its pretty good for learning the format of the test. Its not spot on, and it should definitely be updated to be more like the real thing(only because of how simple a change it would be). I found multiple mistakes in the Biology section of explanations. Lots of confusing stuff, and it even caused me to learn a couple of things completely wrong.

I will apply in a year! Towards the end of my junior year, I'll have wrapped everything up to organize into applications, and as soon as they open up, around June 1st, I'm sending them in to the schools.
Well good luck, and welcome to the post-DAT club. It feels good!
 
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