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took DAT 8/2/06 -- actual vs Topscore vs Achiever scores

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by ysrebob, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. ysrebob

    10+ Year Member

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    Finally bit the bullet and took the test yesterday, after three or four nervous postponements! Comparing other posters' real scores to their TopScore and Achiever scores on this forum was a huge help in deciding when enough studying was enough, so here are all mine:

    test (date): BIO / GCHEM / ORGO // PA / QR / RC

    ACTUAL DAT (8/02): 24 / 23 / 22 // 24 / 21 / 24

    Topscore 1 (7/05): 20 / 18 / 18 // 25 / 16 / 29
    Topscore 2 (7/29): 20 / 18 / 20 // -- / -- / --
    Topscore 3 (7/30): 20 / 16 / 19 // -- / -- / --

    Achiever 1 (7/27): 19 / 20 / 21 // 22 / 20 / --
    Achiever 2 (7/28): 18 / 19 / 17 // -- / 21 / --
    Achiever 3 (7/31): 17 / 18 / 19 // -- / -- / --

    I didn't take any Kaplan tests. Thought on the "real thing:"

    BIO: generally not hard, but with a few questions on extremely obscure/random things. If I had to over again, I would allow a couple days right before the exam to skim back through Campbell and try to load up short-term memory with the kinds of stuff you'll never retain in the long term. Most helpful books: Campbell; and to a lesser extent Exam Kracker's MCAT Biology. I do not think the Kaplan blue book alone is enough coverage for this section.

    CHEM: as expected; plently of calculations but nothing harder than the merely "average" questions on TopScore/Achiever. You cannot know less chemistry than I knew when I started studying for the DAT -- I'm an older applicant and last took chemistry in like 1991. I didn't even remember what molarity was when I started studying. Also, if you're struggling to finish the science section of your practice tests in 90 minutes, you'll be happy to know it seems like the GChem section on the real DAT takes less time to complete than on any of the sample tests. I was allowing 45 minutes for GChem alone on the samples and struggling to finish science within the 90 minute limit; on the real DAT I think the GChem questions took under 30 minutes and I finished science with time to spare. A lot of the problems don't make you calculate out a final answer; you just have to choose the correctly-set-up equation from among a set of choices. Most helpful books: Kaplan blue book (enough all by itself).

    OCHEM: Emphasis was on fundamentals. I was expecting a lot of obscure reactions but the test really just hammered the basics. Several Sn1/Sn2/E1/E2 questions so really know that stuff like the back of your hand. Most helpful books: Kaplan blue book is good in that it covers all the reactions you would possibly need to know (except they leave out Diels-Alder, which some people apparently have seen on the DAT). BUT, Kaplan is kind of inadequate on explanations (again, I was started out studying with absolutely zero knowledge of OChem and couldn't even have told you what an alkane was a few months ago; if you took orgo in the last couple years Kaplan should be anough all by itself). If like me you needed a more fundamental explanation of things, Exam Krackers MCAT Ochem is terrific. Also I found a free "virtual text" that gives super clear explanations of mechanisms. Helped me understand Orgo much better:
    <http://www.cem.msu.edu/~reusch/VirtualText/intro1.htm>

    PAT: Easier than Achiever for sure; more comparable to Topscore. On hole-punching there were no half-holes, but they did have lots of diagonal folds.

    QR: No suprises. I just couldn't motivate myself to study for this section at all.

    Bottom line is, DON'T WORRY! The real thing is SIGNIFICANTLY easier than any of the sample tests IMO, at least on science, and on the science section there's also less of a time crunch. Best luck to everybody and hope to meet y'all in D-school in Fall '07!
     
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  3. tom_servo_dds

    tom_servo_dds Senior Member
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    Great scores! Congratulations!!! :)
     
  4. IzzyMarieDMD

    IzzyMarieDMD Member
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  5. ConfusedOne

    ConfusedOne Member
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    Thanks for posting your scores. You rocked the test! Congrats
     
  6. iHEARTfraps

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    wow thanks for all that help!! congrats on your scores.
     
  7. thehipster

    thehipster Senior Member
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    Wow, amazing scores. Congrats. Now you can just relax and let them come begging for you. Where are you applying?
     
  8. shushu

    shushu Junior Member
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    congrats!!! those are awesome scores....i just ordered the mcat ochem...i really hope it does help....im just so confused when it comes to ochem...how long did it take u to understand it?
     
  9. thehipster

    thehipster Senior Member
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    Did you take organic in college?
     
  10. allstardentist

    allstardentist All-Star
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    u did well on PAT, any tips/strategy on PAT?
     
  11. RockstarDMD

    RockstarDMD sUcCeSs iS mY OnLY OpTioN
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    Congrats, best of luckl!
     
  12. Fariba

    Fariba Member
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    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!

    What a relief, huh?

    How long did you study for? And I, too, would like to know how you prepared for the PAT section - your score is unbelievable! :eek:
     
  13. ysrebob

    10+ Year Member

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    I really admire the folks who are able make good scores with only a few weeks or even days of studying, but knew personally that wasn't likely to happen... memorization is a slow grinding process for me. I made a huge time investment in preparing for this test. Starting way back in January, have worked on it virtually every day, anywhere from 4 to 10 hrs/day as other responsibilities permitted. It was pretty miserable. Almost 100% of that time went into learning Chem / Ochem, since I was literally starting from scratch there. I was already up to speed on Bio (currently completing a PhD), so far less studying required there.

    Shushu, I feel your pain. Anybody who is starting from square one w/ Orgo, try a little paperback book called "Organic Chemistry as a Second Language." It walks you through a good solid understanding of the fundamentals.

    Wish I could offer some good study ideas for PAT but that was one part I didn't really prepare for. The angles section is probably study-proof. The other parts seem like they would be more trainable, with effort. E.g. hole punch might get easier after spending some time with paper squares: fold it up various ways, punch a hole, try to mentally visualize how things will look as you unfold it, then actually unfold the paper to check yourself.
     

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