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2013 DAT Breakdown – 20/20/24 by dc14222

Hello SDN!

I finally finished my DAT on August 4. I took two months to study for it after school let out for the summer. It was a nerve wracking experience and I’m actually really happy about my scores even though they aren’t the greatest. So here’s a breakdown of what I did so that y’all can learn from my mistakes and good points and get an even better score since dental school gets more and more competitive every year!
Who I am: I go to a private school in NJ, and the faculty are really great and taught me so well! I currently have a GPA of 3.82 and am applying to TX schools and schools around NJ. I have a weak GC background, since I tended to just take what I learned at face value and not understand that much of the concepts behind it. I have a really strong OC background. This was my favorite subject in college and I worked really hard on it. Bio has always been my weakest subject because I’m a math person and don’t like memorizing as much, but I did the best I could do while studying. I think the most important classes to take for this are Ecology, General Bio, Cell Bio, Genetics (DEFINITELY!), Micro, Anatomy and Phys.

My scores:

PAT 24, 98.1%
QR 19, 91.2%
RC 19, 52.2%
Bio 19, 76.6%
GC 20, 79.8%
OC 23, 94.4%
TS 20, 85.2%
AA 20, 87.6%

PAT (Crack DAT PAT, Achiever, random quizzes in Kaplan)
For PAT, I used mainly Crack DAT PAT during the school year. I really enjoyed studying for PAT since they are like puzzles to me, and I LOVE doing crosswords and puzzle games. Crack DAT PAT was great. Loved their explanations and their pictures were very similar to the actual DAT. When I was taking the DAT I was thinking that the PAT section was so easy because it looked more like Crack DAT PAT than it did on Achiever. On Crack DAT I was averaging around 21-22. I bought Achiever later and that PAT was so hard, I was averaging 17-20 but I think this one was harder so I had to learn to look at pictures in more ways than one. Like apertures were so hard on Achiever, but not as hard on the real DAT. I would definitely use both to study. And I feel like it’s a skill that you develop over time. You may not get it at first, but just keep trying and stare at the picture until you can get a 3-D shape in your head. Then everything is a breeze!

QR (Crack DAT, Achiever, some DAT Destroyer QR)
When I was taking the real DAT I thought I had MISERABLY FAILED this section. I marked ten questions and by the end of it, I had ten word problems to do in 2 minutes, so I just marked randomly and ended the test with the thought that I had failed. But I was pleasantly surprised by my score. Crack DAT was a great starter, but there was 25 tests of variations of the same thing. By the end I was getting 25s on the tests and I knew it couldn’t be that easy on the real DAT. And Crack DAT gave you conversions, so just memorize conversions just in case they don’t have them on your DAT. When I started using Achiever, I was averaging 16-19 but I thought so many of the questions were overkill. I think the best thing to do is to focus on setting up word problems quickly. If I were to do it again I would go through all the easy questions very quickly and then spend like 20 minutes doing word problems (if that were possible lol). I think the most representative and useful is the DAT Destroyer QR practice tests. It’s variations of the same types of questions but if you can get through those than maybe you can get through anything.

RC (Crack DAT, Achiever)
Crack DAT was definitely too easy for this section, and I was averaging 21-22 on it. Achiever was so hard, and I got a 14 on it one time but it has science passages that represents the real DAT. I actually had one passage on the real test that was on Achiever. I was so surprised, the questions weren’t the same but I definitely remembered taking the same practice test on Achiever. I didn’t practice too much for this otherwise, and didn’t go over what I did wrong (which I really should have) but I knew I wasn’t going to get a 25 on this section and I wanted to focus on the sciences.

Bio (Old notes, DAT Destroyer, Crack DAT, Achiever, Cliff’s Bio, KBB)
This was the most nerve wracking section and before taking the DAT I was convinced I was going to get a 15 on this. I was doing so bad on Achiever (13-17) and little details weren’t sticking in my mind. My advice: use mnemonic devices like it’s nobody’s business. I had such dumb ones, but whatever helps you will be good to remember details and will eventually help you with pathways and the like. I went through Destroyer three times, but I wish I went through it more. When I was taking the DAT, I came across four or five questions that were so similar to those in Destroyer, it was crazy. I would focus on using Destroyer as it was the most similar. But when using Destroyer, don’t just take the explanations, but google the questions you don’t understand and remember the pathways by reading up on Wiki about it. Do the same for Achiever as even though those sections are hard, learn from the mistakes to help you out. Cliff’s Bio was great as a review, but there were only a few topics I was really hazy on that I needed to read it twice. KBB was alright, but I think it was just good as a review.

GC (Old notes, Dr. Laude’s Chem Notes from UT Austin, DAT Destroyer, Achiever, Crack DAT, KBB)
This is the section I spent the most on. I was so weak on this subject and did not remember even learning anything in class. What helped the most with not knowing concepts was Dr. Laude’s Chem Notes from UT Austin. This book helped so much with learning concepts that this was my holy grail for two months of studying. DAT Destroyer was great as well, but it was variations on the same questions that you need to learn the basics of it to actually understand how to set up the equations. Achiever was great to learn from but it was very hard. I got a 13 in one section and I got so depressed after that I gave up on Chemistry for a while. Crack DAT was alright, it was just more practice problems that you could use to test your knowledge. KBB I feel was only good for learning about Chem procedures but they had some practice questions that were also good. I feel in order to get an acceptable score you have to focus on Gen Chem because most people took this subject 2+ years ago and you basically have to relearn things. A regret I have was not using Chad’s videos. I saw some of the videos beforehand and didn’t want to buy them because I knew I wasn’t going to use Orgo and the Bio was free. I didn’t realize that there were quizzes that so many people found useful. I wish I had bought this instead of being cheap because everyone swears by Chad lol.

OC (Old Notes, Crack DAT, Achiever, DAT Destroyer)
I have a strong OC background, so I didn’t study too hard for this section. Destroyer was great and I went through it twice, and the roadmaps were wonderful. Crack DAT was good practice for beginners, but Achiever was sometimes too hard, but this section was always the highest for me when I took the practice tests (19-22). I don’t have much advice for this but to always practice your reactions and to study your old notes if you’re already strong in this. If not, use Chad’s videos and I’m sure you will do great!

I went through so many emotions studying for the DATs. The first two weeks was a mad rush to go through all my notes and thinking I should have studied during the school year, then was going through all the books and practice tests and feeling down for doing so poorly on so many sections. Then I was really positive and started going through this phase that I was going to get atleast a 19. Then two weeks before my exam I was crying almost every day and convinced I was going to get a 17 on the DAT. I think the reason for this was because I took my last Achiever test one week before my DATs, which was a BIG mistake because I got a 17 and I felt like such a failure. I was so nervous the rest of the week and I went into my test very nervous. If you’re doing bad on the practice tests, don’t worry too much. Always learn from your mistakes no matter what. Just like life, you have to always reflect on what you did wrong and LEARN from it. It’s the only way to ever succeed. Don’t let bad scores get you down and lose your confidence!

On a side note, if you are Catholic, I did the St Jude’s Novena nine times a day for nine days to help me before the exam. It always made me feel better while studying, and I definitely would not have done good without God’s help. I want to thank all my professors: Especially Bio and Chem because I would not be where I am today without their teaching and guidance. I also want to thank my parents and friends sooo much for providing me with education and emotional support throughout everything. Lastly, I want to thank SDNers for their breakdowns that really helped boost my confidence when I was averaging 16s on Achiever. I think this is a great site to help those who are trying to get into graduate school so you have peers to learn from.

Good luck to everyone applying this cycle and for all future test takers. Study hard and no matter what happens, if you try your hardest you can do anything you want in life!

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