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How to improve my Biology score?


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2001
I took my DATs a few weeks ago, but will take them again because I did not do as well as I wanted. On the biology section, I only received a 16. I was very disappointed because I had read the whole thick kaplan book, barrons, did topscore, kaplan tests, reviewed some of my old Gen Bio book.
On the real test, I had really odd questions relating to either Ecology, Evolution, or the heart. There must have been 5-6 of these questions. I guessed on each!
Anyway, what should I do this time around? Do I need to memorize my whole Gen Bio book? I really don't know what else to do. I'm very upset with this score because I thought Biology would be my highest score. I have taken many many upper division Biology courses, have a BS in Biology, and this year, a Masters in Bio....What to do??
Any suggestions??? :(


Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2001
  1. Dentist
Try to search out the answers to those questions that you guessed on. That's a good place to start. Memorizing an entire book is unnecessary, however know major concepts inside and out.

There will always be some questions that you won't know (and some of those don't even count towards your score), but the goal is to get as many correct as possible.

I'm not sure what more to say, and you should have received a higher score if you have a masters in Bio (or will soon). Anybody else have some insight into this?


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2002
Do you get test anxiety? Although of my Bio major friends said even she is getting tripped up on the DAT Bio practice tets sometimes. Biology is a bitch. You never know what'll turn up.
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Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2001
Hey beagle!
When I took the DAT i got a 19 in bio and a 20 in the sciences and what I found helped me the most ( and I know that this is time consuming but..) I got out my gen bio book as well as the fat kaplan book sold at bookstores and I would read a chapter in my kaplan book and take notes. I would then go back and read that chapter in my gen bio book and take more notes. For reviewing the material all I had to do was then go back and look at my notes since they were pretty detailed. Like I said this is time consuming, but it didn't take me more than a month to study like this for the entire DAT. I hope this helps and good luck! You have 90 days to study so that you can kick butt on the exam.

tinker bell

1K Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2001
vallejo, CA

Sorry to hear how the biology went. That's not fair at all. I used the Campbell book to study for basic stuff like photosynthesis, krebs cycle, protein structures, DNA and RNA. Transcription, and translation and then botany.
For evolution and ecology, I used the Princeton because I think they are better than kaplan.
I think that Princeton book is much better with taxonomy and evolution and ecology.
Do you plan to take any prep course or just gonna do it yourself?
If you could, take Princeton. At least they have good instructor.
In a meanwhile, happy studying


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2002
I also had a Campbell text book from undergrad. THis helped a lot. I took warning from other SDNers, and did not trust Kaplan's material. I was persistant. If there was something I got wrong on a practice test, I would look it up in my bio textbook and read the whole chapter.

A lot of times on the DAT, I was able to rule out what I knew was not right in order to get the correct answer. It is not a matter of memorizing weird trivial facts about what distinguishes this from that, but having an overall sence of what sounds right and wrong. I got a 20, which I don't think is all that great of a score, but as long as you know a little bit of everything, you can pull an 18+.

AND, as you know, DATs can be random. You could get one that your brain is well-suited for, and you could get one that it is not. Yes there are a number of "equilizing questions" but I think each test can be different enough to make you freak out at the hard questions and do more poorly as a consequence.

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