eatpenny

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
43
21
Status
Pre-Dental
I just first wanna start with a few huge thank yous, especially to the number of other people who have posted VERY useful tips of all kinds on SDN. Also, to Ari, at DAT Bootcamp, his site was great for practicing timing and overall learning types of material on the tests. I apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to be thorough.

24 AA :soexcited:
22 TS :clap:
23 Bio
21 Chem
25 Orgo :wow:
21 PAT :shrug:
26 RC
23 QR

I've uploaded my scores for my practice tests. I beat my average on every section, which surprised me a ton.

Things I Used:
  • DAT Question of the Day: Free daily question in a science or math section straight to your email, free to sign up for on DAT Bootcamp
  • DAT Destroyer (selling mine if you're interested): Hundreds of questions on the sciences (and a few more on QR) that you will find useful. Do them untimed as it suggests, and understand why a given answer is the correct answer. They also sell "Destroyers" for individual sections, so you can get extra problems if you still feel uncomfortable in a section.
  • Cliffs AP Bio 3rd Edition: Don't get the 4th edition, it takes away a bunch of plant bio that will definitely show up on the actual test. It's available in PDF format here: https://d3jc3ahdjad7x7.cloudfront.net/eYi7l6kHHrjBXFgOFMJn0hkd2hhDo6esBwXuv0a4mGhV3usT.pdf. If you prefer a hard copy, it's like $10 on Amazon. A really nice overview of the Biology you need to know, without going into too much excessive detail, along with having quizzes at the end of each chapter.
  • Chad Videos: Simply put, they're a must, especially if the Chem and Orgo sections aren't your thing. I honestly didn't think I would get more than like a 20 on Orgo. My Chem grade was a bit lower than I'd expected but still not bad, and I think Bio and Orgo compensate well. I'd watch a few videos (about 2 hours of video, pausing constantly to take notes) each day, and then take the respective quizzes the next day, to see how much I retained.
  • DAT Bootcamp: Really useful, even if you don't have an account (although I suggest you get one, definitely worth it). It has a lot of little blog posts about enzymes, QR functions, Orgo Lab techniques, etc. Also, members get all of the practice tests, and use of unlimited PAT section questions. And it isn't that expensive (I think I paid like $120 for 3 months). Great for working on timing, I finished SNS with like 20 minutes to spare. Also, from what I heard, Ari has really improved the site in the past few years and added more info/tips/practice, so it's even more useful now.
  • Feralis Bio Notes: Might be a little too detailed, but they're still well written, and worth downloading. Comes in Flash Card format (have to download Anki), or Word Doc format. Available here: http://datbootcamp.com/feralis-biology-notes-anki-deck/.
  • 2007 DAT: Honestly, not worth your time. RC is like 1/3 of the real test, the scaling of the scores is weird, and the PAT is too easy. Plus the copies (easy to find online) are poorly printed. You'll get some good science practice, though, if you feel you need it.
  • 2009 DAT: Still not great, but it's the best official DAT available. Check out online for mistakes, cause it had a lot of mistakes. Free here: http://www.predent.org.vt.edu/admissions/dat-sample-test-2009.pdf, or you can order it in the mail (I wouldn't suggest online, the system is odd).
  • Daily science article to work on reading speed.
Overall Opinions on Sections:
  • Bio: It's hard to feel like you're done studying for the bio section, so it's not worth stressing out about too much. However, it's an important score, so don't neglect it. Need to know a lot of terms, and understand the basics of everything. BREADTH OVER DEPTH. I thought the section was similar to the DAT Bootcamp questions, and the DAT Destroyer Questions.
  • Chem: I'm pretty sure I found a mistake in this section, which is kinda unfair, but whatever. Harder than '07 or '09, but definitely doable.
  • Orgo: Knowing the products of every major reaction is probably enough to get you at least a 20, I'd say. Understand lab techniques, those are fairly easy points (there's gonna be a couple of them, and there are only like 2 or 3 question types).
  • PAT: Keyholes were weird (there seemed to be a few that didn't have any correct answer), and the Angles sucked as usual, but not too bad. Think I could've done a bit better, but time became a bit of a factor (cause of Keyholes and TFE).
  • RC: The main section I was never really worried about. Had a passage on a similar topic as a practice test of mine which helped. I used a type of viciviper strategy, where I'd read until I could answer the first question, answer it, and then do the same for the 2nd, 3rd. By the time I finished reading, I'd usually have answered half or so of the questions. DON'T CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY ON TEST DAY. Test what works best for you (it took me a couple of practice tests to truly get this down).
  • QR: My scores really wavered during practice, so I wasn't too sure what I would get. Pretty happy with a 23, it was definitely easier than Bootcamp, '07, '09, and DAT Destroyer.
General Tips (I'll edit this if I think of new ones):
  • Truly learn the material. Understand why your answers for whatever study materials you choose are wrong, don't just memorize.
  • Keep a study schedule, and review it every few days to make sure you're on track/to see if you need to change it to focus more on areas of trouble.
  • Take your practice tests around the time of your actual test (same day of the week). It helps your brain get used to churning around that time of day.
  • Don't take it during the school year like I did. I had to, because I started studying so late in the summer, but it's not a good idea. The pressures of hanging out with friends, plus the school work can really hurt your studying time.
  • Make up some acronyms for things you're struggling with, and try to have them relate to you in some way. For example, my friend came up with "AG is Pure" for Purines (relating to UVA basketball player Anthony Gill). Some other good ones are on this site: Biology Mnemonics To Know For the DAT | DAT Bootcamp.
  • Do some PAT practice daily, if possible. It helps with timing, and with perfecting your strategies (I'm not gonna go in depth on those, cause TONS of other posts have, that did a better job than I could).
  • Try to see if you can check out your testing site the day before, to get a feel for it (I couldn't cause I live 2 hours away).
  • Get a good night's sleep, and a good breakfast/test break snack. You don't wanna be falling asleep during QR.
  • Use your keypad on your keyboard for the QR Calculator, it's a great time-saver.
  • If you can, make your grids for Hole Punching and your charts for Cube Counting during the tutorial, and write down some notes/formulas you might not wanna forget.
  • The markers they give you aren't dry-erase markers, so if you need more space, and you don't wanna waste time waiting for the proctor to replace your papers, just lick your finger and erase, cause the marker is water-soluble.
  • Plan something fun for after the test. This can be a nice way to calm your nerves. My best friend had her 21st birthday party that night, and I also stopped by Moo Thru (an amazing ice cream place on 29 - Virginia kids will understand). If partying isn't your thing, just find something that you'll be looking forward to. It could even be sleeping for a day.
  • For the most part, don't fret. This test likely isn't the be all end all. And honestly, it isn't that "hard" per se. Just like with every standardized test, it's really testing how well you've prepped for that test. I got a C+ in 1st semester Orgo, and that ended up being my best science grade. You only have to do better than the other people taking the test. As you're practicing, you'll start to find your own ways to "cheat" the test. Just relax, treat it like any other test, and GOOD LUCK!
P.S. If you have any questions about my study habits, or anything, feel free to comment or message me.
 

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OrphanageCaretaker

2+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2014
345
364
Status
Dental Student
Your average practice OC and actual OC score have such a large discrepancy, regardless, beautiful score, bookmarked and liked to further look at when I start studying for the DAT in several months. Congrats on the score again!
 
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eatpenny

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
43
21
Status
Pre-Dental
Great job, and thank you for the info. May I ask how long you studied for?
Thanks! 6-7 weeks, I think? Although I took my 1st practice test (the free DAT Bootcamp one) about a month before I actually started studying.
 
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eatpenny

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
43
21
Status
Pre-Dental
Your average practice OC and actual OC score have such a large discrepancy, regardless, beautiful score, bookmarked and liked to further look at when I start studying for the DAT in several months. Congrats on the score again!

Thanks a ton! Nice to see my advice helping people. Yeah, honestly, I think part of the 25 was a bit of luck (I didn't have any NMR or IR questions, which I SUCKED with during my practice). I'm still a bit surprised by it.
 
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eatpenny

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
43
21
Status
Pre-Dental
Splendid job! I am curious of your study schedule, though.
Thanks! I studied for about 6-7 weeks. I did Bio review for most of the time. Chem review (Chad's videos) for the first couple weeks, with the associated quizzes. Orgo review the same way for the next 2 weeks. Spent the final week reviewing all of my notes. Did PAT practice almost every day, and at least 1 full practice test a week. (Had to change my schedule occasionally to handle packing for school/actual schoolwork, hanging out with friends so I didn't go crazy, etc.). Did my DAT Question of the Day whenever it got pushed to my email.

- Wake up, shower, eat breakfast (about 10 AM)
- Day's set of ANKI Bio flashcards (don't do 50/day, cause it'll add 100 old ones/day, which is a lot)
- Previous day's Chad's Videos quizzes, to check retention
- Lunch sometime, generally in the middle of the videos
- Chad's Videos, whether it was Chem, Orgo, or Bio, about 2 hours of videos (which, with pausing a bunch to take notes took like 4-5 hours)
- Dinner, break, watch some TV
- Previous chapter's quiz on CliffNotes
- A chapter of CliffNotes Bio, with notes
- Read a science article or 2, to work on reading speed for RC
- PAT generator on DAT Bootcamp for a given section, or a full PAT practice test
- Any other review I had/found (Feralis Notes especially the Excel cheat sheet, DAT Blog, Mnemonics for the sciences, QR formulas, PAT tricks, etc.)
- Chill, sleep (no work after midnight)
- Once I ran out of Videos, I replaced that time with untimed DAT Destroyer questions (40 Bio, 30 Chem, 30 Orgo each day, 40 QR), which took about a week and a half.

On day of practice test (generally Fridays, cause my actual test was on a Friday)
- Wake up, etc
- Practice test (started btwn 11-12, since my actual test was 11:45)
- Snack during break, really late lunch, smaller and later dinner
- ANKI flashcards afterwards
- No Chad's or CliffNotes quizzes
- Went over questions I got wrong (and the ones I got right, cause DAT Bootcamp explanations had a lot of info)
- Still did my PAT and reading
 
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