My DAT breakdown -- [22AA / 22TS / 23PAT]

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Jun 13, 2017
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Officially done! I can't tell you how good it feels to have this test completed, it quite literally took over my life these past 2 months. During my time studying this forum was my lifeline. SDN would immediately have a response to my most obscure questions, so I wanted to post a quick version of my own experience in hopes that it would help out someone else!

Before I continue....
*Note to everyone preparing for the DAT: You can do it! Yes YOU! Put the time in and give it your best shot. Let your passion drive you and no matter what you will succeed :) *

21/20/26/23/23/22 22/22

Time spent studying: ~2 months (6 hours/day, 6 days/week, ~300 hours total)
Resources: DAT Bootcamp $$ (a must have), Crack the DAT $$$ (PAT useful, other sections meh), Chad's videos (great review and they're free now so yay), AP Bio Cliff notes (very helpful, also free!), Feralis notes (free and helpful) and YouTube!

**didn't buy bootcamp until halfway through studying and it was the best decision I made!**

BIO (21) Breadth > depth.
Very pleasantly surprised with this score! It's been a while since I took biology so I had to relearn everything. Read through AP Cliff notes while taking detailed notes, and watching Youtube videos to supplement my understanding (highly suggest Bozeman Science channel). I condensed my notes 2 more times because physically writing out the facts and drawing systems really helped me. Feralis notes were very helpful when I just wanted to skim through things to make sure I understood the basics. Most important thing that helped me gain bio exposure was Bootcamp's biology exams. It is not enough to just take the exams, but it is imperative that you look over your test and read (I also wrote down) the detailed explanations they provide. There is always something to learn even if you got the question right!

GC (20) Mike and Chad will be your BFFs.
I was a little upset by this score because on Bootcamp's exams I was getting between 24 - 30. I watched through all of Chad's videos, all of Mike's videos (through bootcamp). Before the exam I went back and looked at all of the chapter summaries from Mike's video and condensed again (lots of writing!). Best thing I can say is do as many practice problems as you can! This section will take the most of your time during the science part of the exam so practice.

OCHEM (26) Reagents, Reactions, and Repetition
Honestly, the reason I was able to get this score was because I had such a great professor in college. She drilled us and worked us hard but because of her I had a solid foundation to build on. Like general chemistry I watched both Chad's and Mike's videos and took notes. Be able to recognize many reagents but also understand why it is doing what its doing. This will help you identify any seemingly new reagents (i.e. you know what a base does, so then what would happen if an electrophile was added etc.). Practice problems and slowly go over the answers, do not passively check, always use it as an opportunity to learn something new.

PAT (23) Practice, practice, practice. Do NOT leave this until the end.
Finally here is where Crack the DAT (Just get Crack the PAT), was the most useful. Early in my studying I watched the videos on Crack the DAT explaining the different types of problems and how to best tackle them. From there I would just do generators on Bootcamp and Crack as much as I could. In the beginning I had trouble with timing, the first two sections (keyholes and TFE) would take me the longest and I would start to panic I was running out of time. After practicing I realized I could get through angles, holes, and cubes fairly quickly, so I had to tell myself to relax and take my time on the earlier sections. The real exam had a mix of keyholes, some were very easy and some were pretty odd shaped "rocks".

RC (23) You're reading for the questions, not to learn what's in the passage.
I never scored above a 21 on Bootcamp so imo it is harder than the real exam! I am not a fast reader at all so I would adapt my strategy depending on the nature of the passage. I used a mix of search and destroy method, and I would liberally use the highlighting tool so it was easy to go back and check. Read Scientific America articles everyday to increase speed, but remember on the DAT you're reading to answer the questions not learn the article (I was able to skip entire paragraphs because of this).

QR (22) Watch your time! Finish strong!
I know when you get to this section you're pretty worn out but it's important to keep that fire lit and push through to the end! While studying (using Bootcamp) I would often run out of time and have to quickly guess on the last 2-3 questions. To remedy this I would make an educated guess on problems I knew would take me a long time, so I had time to answer questions I knew how to do. At the end I would go back and try out he harder ones.
~I didn't have any trig questions, but had a lot of the new "quantitative comparison" questions! Bootcamp had a lot of examples of these~

Bonus tips:
-USE THE STRIKE OUT FEATURE (by right clicking on answer during DAT). This honestly helped me so so much.
-I rescheduled my exam and pushed it back about 5 days and I'm so glad I did. I had just recovered from strep throat, and was mentally very drained. Those extra days I planned some fun and relaxing things to do to ease my mind.
-If at first you don't succeed, try again! Believe in yourself and remember if you really know you want to be a dentist, not even a poor DAT score will stop you. It may take longer but nothing can stop you from reaching your goals.

Best of luck to all and a big thank you to everyone in SDN community.
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Pearl E. White

7+ Year Member
May 20, 2014
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Excellent scores! I am so thrilled to see that OChem score! Very well done and best of luck to you during interview season.


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2016
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Thank you for awesome breakdown! and Congratulation!
I'm taking DAT in a week, and with Bootcamp, my QR score has been consistent in the range of 15-18. I didn't think of buying Math destroyer earlier, so I'm planning to review the bootcamp tests again and again before the exam. But, I'm not sure if I'm doing right :(
I noticed that you only used Bootcamp for QR section.
Could you give me any advice on studying QR? Thank you!!:biglove: