March 17 DAT Breakdown (23AA/23TS/22PAT)

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Sean Roudnitsky

New Member
Mar 18, 2022
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Hey all, just took the DAT (March 17), hopefully I can provide some useful information for y’all.
PAT - 22
QR - 20
RC - 26
Bio - 21
GC - 22
OC - 27
TS - 23
AA - 23

Current Junior (biology major) with ~3.9 GPA.
I was initially scheduled to take the DAT on January 20. I started to study for that exam around New Year’s day, so a little under 3 weeks to study. My only materials used were a Kaplan review book from 2017 and a DAT destroyer book from 2016. Needless to say, about a week before exam time, I attempted the free practice exam on DATBooster and did not even get through the entire exam as I felt so severely underprepared that I didn't bother finishing. Avoid Kaplan at all costs (just one person’s advice). I will say, however, that their chemistry review was sufficient. Immediately after this I rescheduled my exam to March 17 and downloaded the FREE anki decks (for all subjects) available on DATBooster’s site and started going through them. These decks were BY FAR the greatest and most useful resource for studying, especially biology. About a week before my exam I paid for the DATBooster subscription (very late, I know), and it was definitely the wisest choice I made. I only wish I had done it much sooner. I would suggest avoiding DAT Destroyer, the level of difficulty of those questions exceeds that of the actual exam by lightyears. Destroyer only served to worsen my anxiety and make me feel more unprepared.

Subject Breakdown:

Bio (21) - Definitely the subject I went into the exam with the least confidence, only because I was only able to get through about half of the anki deck (a combination of procrastination and personal stuff). You’ve probably read this a million times, but BREADTH OVER DEPTH. It is better to familiarize yourself on a surface level with 5 different topics than to know every tiny detail of how the kidneys work. I spent way too much time worrying about the tiniest little details that there were some topics that I just did not cover at all. All of the questions on the actual exam are very surface level knowledge. I’d say the most ‘specific’ question was “Which heart chamber pumps blood to the pulmonary circuit?” However, all I can really say is to use DATBooster’s anki deck. It is very large, and will take very long to get through (I suggest at least 2 months, if you can), goes into a lot more detail than is necessary, however it WILL prepare you for 25+ in the bio section. I attribute my 21 only to the fact that I barely reached the halfway point. Also, DATBooster’s practice tests and question banks will prepare you very well. They are definitely harder than the actual exam (not by a lot), however the formatting and subject matter are all extremely close to the real exam, unlike Destroyer, and the explanations for all the questions, answers, and wrong answers, are all excellent. Also, Booster’s lecture videos are very good, and cover topics that are specific to the DAT. Within the week that I used Booster, my practice scores went from 15 to averaging a 20.

GC (22) - All I really did here was go through the Kaplan review book and then do practice questions on Booster. Once again, Booster was an excellent resource. Questions were very representative of the real exam. That’s really all I have to say for gen chem. The Booster anki deck for gen chem is not big at all, is very easy to get through, and most definitely covered stuff that I saw on the real exam. The only real way to study for GC is practice questions.

OC (27) - It’s hard for me to speak on OC because I didn’t really study for it (currently taking OC in school). Definitely be able to rank acids and bases and stability of carbocation/radical intermediates. Once again, Booster’s anki deck was amazing. Because it is a multiple choice test, it's much easier than the typical open-ended questions you see on exams in school. Booster questions were spot-on, pretty much word-for-word, structure-for-structure, question-for-question accuracy.

PAT (22) - The PAT generators and practice tests on Booster are definitely significantly harder than the real exam. I was consistently averaging 17-18 on Booster, and the real exam felt like Booster on easy mode. I do think that this is a blessing though. The harder PAT questions on Booster train your brain to be able to do much harder problems much faster, and it makes the actual exam feel like a relief. I was definitely appreciative of the level of difficulty on Booster.

RC (26) - THE PROMETRIC COMPUTERS ARE SLOW. When I was studying I would read the questions ahead of time and then read the articles. This does not work on the prometric computers. Every time you go to the next question, it takes at least 1-2 seconds to load, and at times up to 5 seconds. This doesn’t sound like a lot but it adds up. You will waste so much time going through all the questions. My suggestion and what I did: spend 10 minutes reading the article in depth, then spend 10 minutes tackling the questions. As you are reading, actively ask yourself, is this something that could come up as a question? If yes, highlight it. Booster is great at preparing you for this kind of stuff. The questions they ask relating to the articles are pretty much exactly the type of questions asked on the DAT. So it will train your brain to be able to recognize certain parts of the articles that would come up as questions.

QR (20) - Didn’t study for this section at all. Took a Booster practice test and scored a 24 and never looked back. I will say, once again, Booster questions were pretty much 1-for-1 compared to the real test. I think the reason I scored so low was that I never took time to take a full-length practice test (all subjects) with real timing, so I wasn’t conditioned to test for that long. I definitely was extremely burnt out towards the end and wasn’t giving 100% effort.
In summary:
  • Take full length practice tests. They will condition you. The test is long, and it is exhausting. My QR score suffered because I was so burnt out and unconditioned.
  • READ CAREFULLY. Throughout a large portion of the exam, you will be pressed for time. That is just part of it. Naturally, you will start to read faster, you will start to skim through questions. Just please make sure you read carefully. I found that on many of my practice tests I would get questions wrong simply because I didn’t read the question correctly.
  • DATBooster - by far the best bang for your buck. It is an unfortunate fact that you cannot succeed on this test without spending significant money on study materials. DATBooster is the only way to go. Very representative material and very good resources for a very good price.
  • Avoid Destroyer - unless you are aiming for a 30, avoid Destroyer. It is unnecessarily difficult and will only make you feel more unprepared than you might be.

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Congratulations on your scores! How did you feel that your practice scores compared to your scores on the actual exam?