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What I Wish Knew Before Taking the DAT

chickensoupdr

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    Hello.

    I thought starting a forum where those who have already taken the DAT can offer some quick, last minute advice or "fun facts" about their experience (ie, what they did during the 15-min test break, whether their test center offered noise-cancelling headphones, how they managed to stay calm and collected throughout the test, etc.) would help those who haven't taken the test yet. Hopefully, it will let others, including me, know what to expect on test day.

    Any advices/stories are appreciated :)
     

    Freeskier02

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      This is all basic advice but I think sometimes people forget to do these things:

      -Google the location of the testing center so you can arrive easily and early. (I was stressed out trying to find mine, which is the last thing you want on your mind)
      -Use the facilities before you go in to take your test.
      -Mine offered noise canceling headphones
      -Make sure they give you working markers, test them to be sure
      -During the tutorial and break, I wrote down all the formulas I had memorized and mapped out the sections for myself.

      Good luck! I'd write more but I've gots to roll
       

      Double Bonded

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        Hello.

        I thought starting a forum where those who have already taken the DAT can offer some quick, last minute advice or "fun facts" about their experience (ie, what they did during the 15-min test break, whether their test center offered noise-cancelling headphones, how they managed to stay calm and collected throughout the test, etc.) would help those who haven't taken the test yet. Hopefully, it will let others, including me, know what to expect on test day.

        Any advices/stories are appreciated :)

        great thread :thumbup:

        i'm also interested in this
         

        peanutb123

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          This is all basic advice but I think sometimes people forget to do these things:

          -Google the location of the testing center so you can arrive easily and early. (I was stressed out trying to find mine, which is the last thing you want on your mind)
          -Use the facilities before you go in to take your test.
          -Mine offered noise canceling headphones
          -Make sure they give you working markers, test them to be sure
          -During the tutorial and break, I wrote down all the formulas I had memorized and mapped out the sections for myself.

          Good luck! I'd write more but I've gots to roll


          If its like an hr away even 15 mins away its a good idea to drive there once to know where it is, so you wont get lost on the exam day. One less thing to worry.

          sleeping pill before the night around 7pm...

          last is... if you get or feel or practice in a room which is not cold... i would suggest to wear hoodie , socks and shoes. The reason i suggest a hoodie is that you can use the thing that goes over you head to just cover enough surface of your neck to feel nice(yet not wearing it over your head), warm and comfortable to take the exam.
           
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          lusity

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            Keep the lid closed on the marker when you're not using it, even in between questions, because they dry out really fast. Even though it doesn't take that much time going out to get replacement markers, it's a hassle and very distracting.

            I recommend using the break. That little bit of extra time really saved me from going crazy.

            Last but not least, don't freak out. I felt so down after the SNS section because I thought I failed it, so I let the misery engulf me throughout the rest of the exam. I figured since I failed it, I might as well just rush through the rest of the section, get my score, and get out asap. Bad mistake. Math was my strongest section before going in to the testing center and yet it was my lowest score on the DAT. Just take your time.
             

            LittleTomato

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              - Coming from a small town, I didn't realize how much of an issue it was to deal with rush hour traffic. Don't forget this when planning what time to leave!
              - I also took a sleeping pill the night before because I know my body and I know that when I'm anxious I don't sleep at all. Also my dumba** friend decided to call my cellphone at 10:30 that night (I had it on as my alarm clock) to "see what I was up to." Wow. Really? Remember how I had this SUPER-IMPORTANT test I've been preparing for for MONTHS? But I digress. I still don't regret yelling in her ear. The sleeping pill was a good idea. It's the only reason I got back to sleep.
              - The testing room is COLD. Wear long sleeves.
              - I used the noise cancelling headphones. They didn't cancel all of the noise, but a considerable amount of it. There were a lot of people typing where I was.
              - Bring food for the break, lest you hit a sugar low in the last half of the test
              - Don't have your grandpa drive you there. Mine insisted that he be a part of my testing experience. He was late. He forgot to leave on time the morning of my test. Picture an 87 year old man driving his age down the highway. And then he got lost on the way to my apartment. I was there three minutes before my test was to start. Mission accomplished, I guess? Either way, a very stressful situation
              - adjust your eating habits to when you will be eating breakfast before you leave and when your break is so that your body gets accustomed to this.
              - Never give up! Never surrender!
               

              Phish

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                - Don't drink coffee the morning of the DAT, even if it your daily routine. Instead, take a caffeine pill. The last thing you want to have is to have to pee so badly at the end of the PAT that you have to leave 5 minutes early, not being able to check over your work. Trust me.
                - They offered noise-canceling headphones. I think I tried them out, but I actually preferred to have the quiet noise around me then weird and uncomfortable pilot headphones on.
                - The eraser (at my place) sucks.
                - The reading comprehension paragraph scrolls back to the top of the passage anytime you change questions.
                 

                IdahoDoc

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                  I took 1/2 of 1 anti-diuretic pill. I also wore an old long sleeve shirt and used the sleeve for an eraser. There is nothing worse than trying to erase with an old eraser that just smears and leaves the white board all messy. I also traded out the worse mark of the two they gave me during the break and got another just in case.

                  MOST OF ALL make sure you get the print out and make sure it is embossed!!!
                   
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                  Cuse44

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                    I wish I had known that...
                    -The test isn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be. (Especially RC)
                    -BIO is random
                    -Prepare the best you can for GC and Ochem. This is where you'll boost your AA/TS average.
                    -Don't be nervous. Put yourself in DAT-like conditions and take practice exams as if it's the real thing. Going along with this, visit the test center beforehand and know what it looks like/where you'll be on test day. And as others' said, make sure you know exactly what documents you need to bring.
                    -Math is a pain but still manageable. Afterall, it's mostly HS math. Don't underestimate it.
                    -And most importantly, be confident in your own abilities to excel.
                     
                    I wish I had known that...
                    -Prepare the best you can for GC and Ochem. This is where you'll boost your AA/TS average.

                    This quote is worth its weight in gold. Bio is to random. RC can't really study for it. PAT doesn't factor in. QR can't really study for (unless you're already good in math). GC and Ochem are the easiest sections because its SPECIFIC and NOT BROAD.

                    If you can ace those two sections and get straight 19-20's on the rest of your sections, you will end up with a 23+ AA/TS easy. Do the math. I wish I knew this. :)
                     

                    quillow

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                      What everyone said above... plus eat breakfast that morning. Or at least eat the night before. That was my mistake. I still managed to do well but I thought I was going to pass out halfway through. I also didn't know about the sleeping pill thing and couldn't sleep the night before. That sucked.

                      calculators are allowed during the exam?? i was told and i read that it was not allowed.

                      You can use the computer calculator. It is not reliable though. It's better if you can do things by hand. I tried using the computer calculator but it was slowing me down.

                      If you're worried about anything, try to look over and briefly memorize your notes right before you go in. Then immediately write that stuff down on the white boards! Trig is my worst area in math, so writing a trig table really helped me. Write down probability equations too, if you remember them.

                      Take your fifteen minute break too.
                       

                      molar3

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                        my tips/expirience:
                        -DONT freak out
                        -sleep well the night before (although this usually will not happen), rest the day before, dont worry about it, do not CRAM for your test the days prior, this will ONLY stress you out .
                        -use the headphone the testing center provides, it really helped to lull out noise for me
                        -check out your test center before your test date
                        -know where your IDs and which IDs you will use well before your exam date and make sure ur names match up
                        -BIO IS SOOOOOOOO RANDOM, i was a bio major and studied cliffs inside and out NUMEROUS times i thought i was going to score a 24+ on it, so egotistical and um i ended up getting a 19 because half the stuff i had never seen before and i swear i had like 3 questions on frogs (Wtf?)
                        -i thought the questions are oddly worded for all the science sections, i dont know if the person who wrote the test was like an illiterate scientific nerd.....or writes the questions on purpose in a convoluted manner. Half my problem with the orgo section was it took me a while to figure out WHAT they were asking me for (got 19 on this as well)
                        -gen chem---KNOW YOUR CALCULATIONS!!!! you NEED to know how to SOLVE problems. u need to know how to do conversions. do not think youre going to just get factual based questions, bc u wont. (got a 23)
                        -RC-not too bad (altho i dont know bc i wasnt piano'd , thank the LORD)--got a 25. i'd say read the whole passage thru and thru, then search/destroy
                        -quantitive reasoning----ummmmm uhhhhhhh.............practice? time is most valuable. pace urself and make sure u have time to answer all the questions. i blind guessed on the last like 10 questions.....no joke. got a 16.
                        AA:20

                        and remember whatever you do, DO NOT FREAK OUT!!!!!! BE CONFIDENT. if u think u blew the bio section, GET OVER IT and dont blow the rest of the test. remain calm the whole time. use your breaks, write out all your math formulas during ur 15 minute break, (and ur science formulas during the 15 minute intro) THEN get up and go pee or whatever u need to do. keep track of time, bc the test will start whether ur there or not.
                        -bring a jacket/hoody bc it was cold as hell in my testing center
                        -dont drink much of anything the morning of ur test or ull have to pee-not good
                        -remember-its not the end of the world if u dont get a 25+

                        gluck ppl

                        oh also, check ur markers when theyre given to you, and check ur eraser, and if u dont like the way they write, TELL them bc this is YOUR test and you paid for it, so get the sources you deserve.
                         

                        lusity

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                          Here's another advice.
                          I wish I had taken the time to study the grading rubric. Instead of spending all your time trying to memorize all the lil tidbits in the Bio section, spend more time improving your math and reading skills. QR and RC make up a giant percentage of your AA score. I wish I had known that and didn't neglect QR as that ended up being my lowest score. If I had a better QR and RC, my AA would have been significantly higher, whereas a slightly higher Bio, GC or OC only makes up a third of the AA. That's not to say that you should do mediocre on the sciences as they make up the TS, but QR and RC is equally important too.
                           

                          Rlow04

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                            I tried to study some stuff the morning of the test, and it just made me nervous. So instead I went on Youtube and watched videos that made me laugh (Julian Smith).

                            I also had a playlist of my 5 favorite songs that I listened to in the parking lot of the testing center. By the time I got into the testing center I was relaxed and happy.

                            I don't know how much difference this really made, but I was able to think clearly and not freak out, so I'd say it was a good thing.
                             

                            chickensoupdr

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                              Hey guys!

                              I started this forum, and I am so happy that I did because the tips here have been very helpful to me. Anyways, I took the DAT for the first time today, and I am very happy with my scores. So thank you everyone who has helped out!

                              Here are some of my tips/advice:
                              - If you get to the test center early, check out where the restrooms are so you don't waste time looking for them during your 15min break
                              - Take a snack!
                              - Bring ear plugs. My test center let me take them in, and it definitely helped because some test-takers around me were typing away the whole time
                              - You are not allowed to wear a watch into the test center but make sure you don't lose track of time during your break
                              - Take the tutorial at the beginning of the test to calm down and mentally prepare yourself before starting the test
                              - And most importantly, even if you think you bombed a section, do not give up. Clear your head before each section, and definitely give it your all because it will be worth it in the end.
                               

                              losinghair

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                                Here's another advice.
                                I wish I had taken the time to study the grading rubric. Instead of spending all your time trying to memorize all the lil tidbits in the Bio section, spend more time improving your math and reading skills. QR and RC make up a giant percentage of your AA score. I wish I had known that and didn't neglect QR as that ended up being my lowest score. If I had a better QR and RC, my AA would have been significantly higher, whereas a slightly higher Bio, GC or OC only makes up a third of the AA. That's not to say that you should do mediocre on the sciences as they make up the TS, but QR and RC is equally important too.

                                Lusity.
                                Im not saying I disagree with you or anything, but can you tell me where your getting this info? That ratio between natural sciences and QR/RC doesn't really add up. I score a 15 on QR, 19 on RC, 19 bio, 18 OC, 16 GC. AA17, TS18. If what your saying applies, my score would have been dragged down to a 16 or so dont you think?
                                 
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                                lusity

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                                  lusity.
                                  Im not saying i disagree with you or anything, but can you tell me where your getting this info? That ratio between natural sciences and qr/rc doesn't really add up. I score a 15 on qr, 19 on rc, 19 bio, 18 oc, 16 gc. Aa17, ts18. If what your saying applies, my score would have been dragged down to a 16 or so dont you think?

                                  .333(18ts) + .333(19rc) + .333(15qr) = 17.16aa which is rounded down to 17aa

                                  Sorry I didn't make myself clear, I meant to say that the bio, gc, and oc together make up a third of the AA, which means scoring a really high on Bio does not have the same affect on the AA as scoring high on either the QR or RC. Though of course I also mentioned not to neglect the sciences as they make up the TS, which is also factored into the AA. I could be wrong though, but I remembered reading it somewhere and that made sense to me.
                                   
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                                  iamgosu

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                                    .333(18ts) + .333(19rc) + .333(15qr) = 17.16aa which is rounded down to 17aa

                                    Sorry I didn't make myself clear, I meant to say that the bio, gc, and oc together make up a third of the AA, which means scoring a really high on Bio does not have the same affect on the AA as scoring high on either the QR or RC. Though of course I also mentioned not to neglect the sciences as they make up the TS, which is also factored into the AA. I could be wrong though, but I remembered reading it somewhere and that made sense to me.

                                    hey lusity you're a bit off for this
                                    to clarify, your AA is simply (QR+OC+GC+BIO+RC) / 5.
                                    TS is (OC+GC+BIO)/3
                                    Because if what you said is true, with my DAT scores, my AA would be (20*1/3 + 27*1/3 + 24*1/3) = 23.66, which should round up to a 24, but it isn't, I have a 23. I might be mistaken though...
                                    But what you're trying to say still makes overall sense. It is much easier to improve your QR score by getting more questions correct and working on timing than trying to improve Bio score by studying a lot more where it might not help since the question pool is really random
                                     

                                    losinghair

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                                      hey lusity you're a bit off for this
                                      to clarify, your AA is simply (QR+OC+GC+BIO+RC) / 5.
                                      TS is (OC+GC+BIO)/3
                                      Because if what you said is true, with my DAT scores, my AA would be (20*1/3 + 27*1/3 + 24*1/3) = 23.66, which should round up to a 24, but it isn't, I have a 23. I might be mistaken though...
                                      But what you're trying to say still makes overall sense. It is much easier to improve your QR score by getting more questions correct and working on timing than trying to improve Bio score by studying a lot more where it might not help since the question pool is really random

                                      hm... you both bring up good strategies and points. Whether your right or wrong, I appreciate it.
                                       

                                      lusity

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                                        hey lusity you're a bit off for this
                                        to clarify, your AA is simply (QR+OC+GC+BIO+RC) / 5.
                                        TS is (OC+GC+BIO)/3
                                        Because if what you said is true, with my DAT scores, my AA would be (20*1/3 + 27*1/3 + 24*1/3) = 23.66, which should round up to a 24, but it isn't, I have a 23. I might be mistaken though...
                                        But what you're trying to say still makes overall sense. It is much easier to improve your QR score by getting more questions correct and working on timing than trying to improve Bio score by studying a lot more where it might not help since the question pool is really random

                                        Oh you're right, in your case my logic doesn't add up. Your formula makes sense. Thanks for clearing it up :)

                                        Sorry for the confusion losinghair
                                         

                                        losinghair

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                                          Oh you're right, in your case my logic doesn't add up. Your formula makes sense. Thanks for clearing it up :)

                                          Sorry for the confusion losinghair

                                          sorry if were veering of target with the subject matter of this post. I do find it interesting though. Increasing your RC score sounds easy, but it seems kind of like biology in the way that your score seems pretty solid regardless of the extra work you put in. Its hit or miss with the subject matter, and some people get hit with a lot of subjective questions while others luck out and get factual questions. As for QR, adding a calculator hasn't really done anything for raising peoples scores. The time limit remains extremely insufficient, however, it is a subject where a lot of practice can make a difference of getting 3 or 4 more questions right, which actually raises your score for that section almost 2 points. not bad really. This was a good post thanks for bringing it up. Those are two neglected sections.
                                           

                                          NJDental

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                                            All of this advice is great and very true, but my number one piece of advice is to take two excedrin (or drug of choice) a half hour before the exam starts, especially if you're prone to getting headaches easily, or migraines, like me =(

                                            I got a migraine just before half way through the exam, so the second half of the exam was absolute TORTURE. I didn't think I was even going to be able to drive home that day let alone finish the exam.

                                            Even if you aren't prone to getting migraines it can't hurt to take some precautionary measures because trust me, the LAST thing you want to happen is to get a horrible headache during that exam!!!

                                            Also, yes wear something warm if you want but I would suggest layers, have a heavy sweatshirt that you can take off if you get hot, because me personally I get very hot and flustered during exams, so I would not be wearing a sweatshirt or even long sleeves.
                                             

                                            yappy

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                                              To those of you that have taken the DAT - are these "subjective" bio questions simular to MCAT bio questions. I have studied using "exam crackers" which are geared toweard the MCAT and they have problem-solving-like bio questoins given a set of data.

                                              Just wondering - Thanks.
                                               

                                              losinghair

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                                                To those of you that have taken the DAT - are these "subjective" bio questions simular to MCAT bio questions. I have studied using "exam crackers" which are geared toweard the MCAT and they have problem-solving-like bio questoins given a set of data.

                                                Just wondering - Thanks.

                                                I would say that they are definitely closer to the MCAT style of BIO question than they are the kaplan and destroy DAT type questions. I studied with exam krackers also and they seemed more true to the real thing.
                                                 

                                                NJDental

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                                                  Wow, a migraine mid-test? I feel so bad for you! :/

                                                  Did the scores come out at least somewhat positive?

                                                  No, not at all :(
                                                  I started hurrying to finish because I needed to get out of there and just lay down, I think I only actually attemped 1/4 of the math section, so my score for math was a 14 which brought down my AA. Not a good day, but I definitely learned my lesson and will be much more prepared when I retake it in July!
                                                   
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                                                    Good thread, bump.

                                                    Anyone have any other input on what they did or plan to do the day before the exam? (Was going to start a new thread, but didn't see the point after reading this one) I'm thinking I'll just relax and play some video games or something.
                                                     

                                                    dentalWorks

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                                                      Things I would change if I redo DAT? hmm

                                                      1) I would spend 80% of my science preparation into GC and Orgo, and rest 20% into Bio.... If I woulda done this right, I would certainly scored higher on the 2 chemestries and brought my AA and TS higher

                                                      2) Never, NEVER underestimate the QR section. I was a math wiz all my highschool and college years, so I figured it would be beneath me to actually TRY to study for QR. I half-assed math destroyer (big mistake), my strongest subject became my lowest score. Problem is, no matter how good you r in math, after 3.5 hours of testing the basic sciences, PAT, and reading comprehension, your mentality is exhausted, your reading and thinking power becomes slower.... since I didn't do any practices tests before DAT (actually I did just 1), I didn't build the right "testing-stamina"... that + half-assing my QR preparation killed my score

                                                      3) I would change my studying from 3.5 months to just 2 months (or even less). When you stretch it out, you start to forget material from first month



                                                      Good thread, bump.

                                                      Anyone have any other input on what they did or plan to do the day before the exam? (Was going to start a new thread, but didn't see the point after reading this one) I'm thinking I'll just relax and play some video games or something.

                                                      2 days before my test, I went over the "annoying" chapters of cliffs AP (the one about all the classifications, and the one about plants and thier hormones).... No matter how many times i read that material, I always forgot it 1 week later, so I figured If I read it 48 hours before the test, it might stay fresh incase a question comes up

                                                      The day right before the test, I hit DOTA pretty hard, beating up noobs and trash talking helped alleviate the stress.
                                                       

                                                      dentalpath

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                                                        Just Breathe. It will be impossible for a ton of people to rememember a lot of advice. As long s you get to the testing center on time and give it your best shot, you will be fine. I was super anxious/nervous but once the test started and I got more involved with the material, the anxiety and nervousness disappeared. Eat something for breakfast and schedule the test during a time you feel most comfortable. I scheduled mine at 12:30 (not an early riser) also try and calm yourself down. Your Topscore results should tell you what to expect. I thought Topscore was really similar to the actual DAT...and provided good practice. Study your sciences, UNDERSTAND the chemistries and most of all dont neglect QR. Do your best and you will be glad you didn't give up half way through..
                                                         

                                                        futureDRariel

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                                                          i just took the DAT today and i do have some advice i'd like to share...

                                                          for the actual material in the exam...
                                                          • in general- you can't make markings to eliminate options on the computer so don't do it on your practice exams. also, invest in a mini white board at target (~ $4). try and practice with it when you do practice tests.
                                                          • biology- i feel like i prepared as much as i could and dang...some of those questions were random. haha. review old notes and do practice exams to see which section of bio you're weakest in. [22]
                                                          • gen chem- chad's videos. enough said. haha. [23]
                                                          • ochem- i didn't actually get a chance to watch chad's videos for ochem but i'm sure if i did, i would've done much better. if anything, know your basic mechanisms and the conditions with which they will occur so you're ready for any possible variation of a reaction. [20]
                                                          • PAT- practice as much as you can so you don't get too surprised. practice your strategies to master each section (ie. for cube counting, make a table and tally how many sides would be painted for each cube to keep track- do this on the white board). [23]
                                                          • RC- for me, it helped me to read the passage completely and thoroughly. sometimes this doesn't work for others, but it helped me chug through the questions. just sharpen your reading and understanding skills by reading as many different sample passages as you can. [25]
                                                          • QR- oyy...i used to love math but this section killed me. i barely practiced for this one so i would say don't underestimate it! some of the questions i got were intense and i wish i knew shortcuts to solving them to save me some time. i guessed on a lot of them. [18]

                                                          for actually taking the test...
                                                          • if you're able to have someone reliable drive you to your prometric center, i'd recommend it. my bf drove me at 6:45 am for my exam at 8 am and it just gave me some extra time to gather my thoughts and relax.
                                                          • even if you don't normally take the time to have a good breakfast, do it on the day of.
                                                          • on the day before, take a break. in the morning i did one final practice test and then took the afternoon off. go visit the prometric center so you know exactly where you'll be going and then go somewhere to eat or shop or watch a movie...something.
                                                          • take the given 15-minute break. eat your snack, drink a little water, use the bathroom, and stretch.
                                                          • chew a piece of gum while you take your test. i love chewing gum during a big exam to take some anxiety away.
                                                          • before entering the exam place, skim over topics you know you have trouble with (this was classification of species for me). if you see it before your exam, you're more likely to retrieve the information faster during the exam.
                                                          • and lastly, just relax. it's a big day, i agree...but it won't help if you're a crazy, nervous wreck.

                                                          good luck to everyone! =]

                                                          21 TS/ 22 AA
                                                           

                                                          duvaldentist

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                                                            Wow amazing thread, im in the process of studying for the DAT and this was extremly helpful... But i was wondering, how did you go about checking out the testing sight before hand? do you just show up and ask for a tour or something? Also with the whole sleeping pills thing, if for some reason you cant sleep that night wont the pills make u more tierd during the exam.
                                                             

                                                            futureDRariel

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                                                            Mar 18, 2011
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                                                              Wow amazing thread, im in the process of studying for the DAT and this was extremly helpful... But i was wondering, how did you go about checking out the testing sight before hand? do you just show up and ask for a tour or something? Also with the whole sleeping pills thing, if for some reason you cant sleep that night wont the pills make u more tierd during the exam.

                                                              well for my prometric center, it was really small and not really anything worth "touring" but i'm not sure if that's how everyone else's is. mine was located among a bunch of different suites under one building number so when i went down to visit, i wanted to make sure i got to the right suite without driving around so much to look for it.
                                                               

                                                              jazane08

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                                                                This may be specific to my testing center, but I would have been able to take the exam about 4 hours earlier than my scheduled time. I was schedule at 12:30, but I called to see if coming in at 10 am would be too early. They said that I could actually come in at 8! I ended up taking the exam at 11.
                                                                 

                                                                jazane08

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                                                                  Wow amazing thread, im in the process of studying for the DAT and this was extremly helpful... But i was wondering, how did you go about checking out the testing sight before hand? do you just show up and ask for a tour or something? Also with the whole sleeping pills thing, if for some reason you cant sleep that night wont the pills make u more tierd during the exam.

                                                                  The center on Philips Highway (I'm assuming you're taking it in Jax?) is pretty small. There isn't much to tour. I think there were only about 20 computers.
                                                                   

                                                                  UCSD1984

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                                                                  May 9, 2011
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                                                                    Bump for the great thread, let's keep it alive.

                                                                    I'd love to hear some emphasis on how some people would have studied differently, too. How much time studied, how many hours per day, and perhaps even some insight from people who have scored very well (20+) in the Biology section. I'd love to see what materials some of the 20+ers used for Bio, since it's such a vast and random section.
                                                                     
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