I'm new to the forums and wanted to know who has taken both the DAT and the MCAT? I'm currently taking the MCAT August 19th and want to take the DAT as well. I'm taking the Kaplan class for the MCAT and my studying up to Aug 19th will be solely for the MCAT. I wanted to know how much extra I need to study for the DAT (apparantly they test you on photosynthesis) as well as for the visual perception part. How much time between the two did you guys take? Thanx for your help!
A lot of the sections on the MCAT and DAT overlap, but there are some differences.
Biology: The DAT tests on ecology, evolution, and animal classifications that are not tested on the MCAT. So you know all those phyla of animals you had to learn back in freshman bio? That's on the DAT. Make sure you review plant biology also, including, yes, photosynthesis.
Chemistry: Both general chemistry and organic chemistry questions will appear on the DAT as well as the MCAT.
Physics: There is no physics on the DAT, but there is on the MCAT.
Verbal Reasoning/Reading Comprehension: These two sections are very different on the MCAT versus the DAT. The MCAT VR focuses more on inferences, logical deductions, assumptions, arguments, and conclusions. You will only occasionally be tested on passage details or the main point. The DAT RC focuses almost exclusively on asking you about details from the passage. There are fewer DAT passages, and they are longer than the MCAT passages and have more questions associated with them. To do well on the MCAT VR, you must work to improve your ability to analyze arguments. To do well on the DAT RC, you must work to improve your ability to find details in a long, dense piece of prose quickly. Being organized and systematic to your approach is essential for both tests.
PAT: There are six perceptual ability subtests on the DAT, with no MCAT equivalent. These are the angle ranking, keyhole test, front-end-top perspectives, hole punching, pattern folding, and cube counting. Make sure that you practice doing them on the computer and not just from a book, because the resolution is much lower on the computer. This is especially important for the angle ranking.
Math: There is no math section on the MCAT, though you will almost certainly have to use some algebra and trig to solve the PS problems. The DAT has a separate math section that goes up through trig/pre-calc. There is no calculus on the DAT.
Both tests are now given on computer and are not adaptive. (In other words, the questions can be completed in any order for a given section, and they are all worth the same amount.) Hope this helps.