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Studying for the DAT in ONE (1) Week

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cfun

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Hey guys. First post.

Before I jump into this I would like to say one thing:
I do NOT recommend this. I was faced with extenuating circumstances that forced me to do so. If you can study more do it. But if you cannot or don't feel prepared this study 'schedule' may help.

Background about myself:
I just finished my second year so I took the DAT earlier than usual at the recommendation of a friend. Said friend graduated this year. He did poorly on his DAT and since he didn't have time to retake it he did not get accepted this cycle. I'm all for taking it early, especially because the topics on the test align well with the intro classes.

Right not I have a 3.8 cGPA and 3.6 sGPA.

I went in with a very solid foundation, taking Calc 1&2, Stats, Gen Chem 1&2, O-Chem 1&2, and Bio 1&2.

I took my test yesterday and here are my result, they aren't stellar, but they will be competitive at most schools and with my extracurriculars I should be accepted somewhere.

PA 19
QR 20
RC 23
Bio 18
GC 17
OC 21
TS 19
AA 20

I hit 20AA, which is exactly what I was shooting for, I was however very disappointed in both my PAT and GC sections.

Lets get to the point. Studying. In one week.

Materials: I bought a slew of materials. I bought some used set of what felt like a hundreds books on eBay for $200.
The list is as follows​

  1. 2 x CliffsAP Bio
  2. CliffsAP Chemistry
  3. 2009 Kaplan Review Notes
  4. 2008 Kaplan Guide
  5. 2007 Kaplan Review Notes
  6. 2010 DAT Destroyer
  7. 2008 DAT Destroyer
  8. Organic Chemistry for Dummies
  9. 2001 PCAT Audio Learn
  10. Barron's Organic Chemistry
Here's a list of what I used to study for the DAT:
  1. CliffsAP Bio
  2. 2008 Kaplan Guide
  3. 2001 PCAT Audio Learn
  4. Then numerous free practice tests online
Day One:
I skimmed CliffsAP Bio in it entirety (waste of time, if you are going to take the time to go through Cliffs actually read it. I wasted a whole day). And started doing PAT, simply just understanding the directions, watching videos on some techniques and just getting the overall gist of things.
Day Two:
I realized my mistake. But felt too rushed to read it again. I went through the Bio section of the 2008 Kaplan Guide and took each of the sections practice tests.
I also went through the QR section and the practice tests. Math has always been a decently strong subject for me. Also on QR, the stuff I didn't know (i.e. Trig, SOHCAHTOA stuff) I ignored. I figures missing those 2-3 questions wouldn't be a deal breaker.
Day 3:
I went through the OChem Section of Kaplan. And listened to the O-chem PCAT tapes. Nailed down 3 of the 6 PAT sections
Day 4:
I started my worst subject. I went through Kaplan, listened to the Audio Learn GC tape. I also did 2 more PAT sections.
Day 5:
I did a little more GC studying from Kaplan and did the practice tests. I listened to the first Bio Audio Tape and did the last section of the PAT.
I also did my first practice test today. The 2009 ADA one. It killed me. I got a 14 AA. I stayed up, well into Day 6, reviewing all my wrong answer (and I'll tell ya, there was a lot of them).
Day 6:
Completely demoralized, I reviewed all my corrections, then took the online Princeton REview Practice tests. Another terrible score, but I did the same thing as before and review every single answer. Right and Wrong.
In the afternoon, I listened to the last two Bio tapes, and began to accept the inevitable, a retake.
Day 7:
I took the free DAT Genius Practice test in the morning and review my answers. Then in the afternoon I took the free DAT Bootcamp Practice test, reviewed my answers.

Test Day:
I was very calm. I had accepted the fact that I would be retaking and I was going to consider this a practice.
I had to drive to another town so I rocked out to Adele all the way there. Got a subway sandwich and went to meet my death.

Turns out the environment is pretty laid back compared to other standardized tests (except you can't wear hats, which is weird). Plus it was 100x easier than any practice test I took. Which I will attribute to the presence of the 'gimme ' questions on the real thing that weren't there on the practice ones.

And best of all, I finished by 3:45, it only took me 3 hours. I finished every section except RC with so so so much time that I was able to go through every question to double check at least once.

And the rest is history.

Quick Note:
When I say take a practice test, I mean sit down and take it like its the real thing.
When I say I listened to the tapes, I mean I actively listened, taking notes, and then looking up stuff I didn't understand.
Also, as you saw, there is no time next to each day. Some days I spent 15 hours studying and some I spent 6. Every morning I would set a list of goals for me to complete, sometimes I overestimate the time it would take and get done early, sometimes I underestimated and didn't get done until 4 in the morning. I just depends. But that's the best studying advice I can give, set goals and stick to them.

All in all:
Study for more than a week if you can. But if you can't the biggest thing people need to do is: take every practice test you can, stay calm, and get a d**n Audio Book. The Audio Learn saved me. In my version it literally said "Remember this: ..." and what do you know, the DAT had the same question.

(PS Sorry about the typos and also I don't care, so don't be a grammar Nazi)
(PPS Don't use DAT Destroyer unless you have time to completely master it [go through it 4-5 time] or else it is just completely demoralizing)
 

Likkriue

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I mean you are only on your second year....but the issue is, don't you want to have the highest DAT possible? Imagine if you put 2-3 months into it, Im sure you would do much better.
 
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jakeyk

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I mean you are only on your second year....but the issue is, don't you want to have the highest DAT possible? Imagine if you put 2-3 months into it, Im sure you would do much better.
Agreed. You pulled off solid scores with one week of studying, imagine if you dedicated 4 or 8 weeks. Considering this is your career, I'd spend more time
 

Alikhan9

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I wanted to ask people on here because usually I start to study for DAT around 2pm until 12-1am, I was wondering is this a good schedule because I feel I just can't study in the morning?
 

cfun

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I mean you are only on your second year....but the issue is, don't you want to have the highest DAT possible? Imagine if you put 2-3 months into it, Im sure you would do much better.

Agreed. You pulled off solid scores with one week of studying, imagine if you dedicated 4 or 8 weeks. Considering this is your career, I'd spend more time

I completely agree but the way I see it, a 20 still falls in the 80th percentile and I work as dental assistant, plus I have a solid GPA, so I feel pretty good about my chances. I would make sense to strive for a higher score but in the end, it's the person they select to attend their school, not the test score.

And now that I have it out of the way I can focus on service, I am going on a Mission trip to Africa in August.

Another huge thing that I forgot to mention was where I'm from, Montana. So we are part of a program called wwami that kinda bolsters our application when we submit to partner states (like Washington).
 

cfun

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Thats insane I imagine you put in 14 hour study days?

I wanted to ask people on here because usually I start to study for DAT around 2pm until 12-1am, I was wondering is this a good schedule because I feel I just can't study in the morning?

I can't speak for everyone but generally I woke up at 8 am, went to work from 9-12 and then would study until I completely all my 'goals' for the day or just felt that I was no longer retaining anything, so sometimes I would study from 1pm to 4am and other days would be 1pm to 8pm. Just depending on how it felt. (Working during this time did suck, but like I said extenuating circumstances, plus it was a really nice break from reading textbooks)

Also, I made an effort to take a 15 minute video break every 3 hours. I'd go play a game of Halo or Minesweeper or something just to unwind briefly.
 

FutureDDS_11

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That's impressive! I've been studying for a month and still worried haha.
Other than Cliff's AP, what did you use to study for bio? And what did you use for PAT and how did you approach studying for it?
 

cfun

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That's impressive! I've been studying for a month and still worried haha.
Other than Cliff's AP, what did you use to study for bio? And what did you use for PAT and how did you approach studying for it?

For Bio...
I used just Cliffs and Kaplan. Cliffs (for me) seemed almost to in depth which caused me to miss the big picture. Plus the audio learn tapes which were great. All in all, know Kaplan front and back, and use Cliffs as a supplement for specifics.

As for PAT...
I just watched videos and then practice and practiced. For me PAT wasn't too bad, I am terrible at angle ranking, it killed me and is most likely to blame for my lower score. The PAT is all about practice, Youtube videos on various strategies and approaches, try them out, and see what works best.
 
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