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2013 DAT Breakdown – 20/21/20 by ChrisM07

Hello all! I finally took the DAT today for the second time and would like to give back since I used the breakdowns here extensively in my quest to conquer this exam. First, I want to give a thanks to just a few of the people (among many) who have helped in particular over these three months:Glimmer for the awesome compilation of breakdowns and seeming interest in seeing people to well. Illfavor, for taking the time even after the exam to answer people’s questions and to contribute and sskater for the marvelous “tetherball” method for angle ranking (it sure came in handy today). Ari, you’re the man. Thanks for putting up with all of my e-mails concerning your test questions. I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone to whom I did not get a chance to respond to via PM if you replied to a message I sent. 

In case anyone cares, I’ll give a little background information about myself. Dentistry first entered my mind as THE profession when I was in 9th grade in 2003. For me, it had everything I was looking for in a career (as I’m sure for all of you too). Fast forward a few years, I graduated with a degree in geology (yes, rocks) in January of 2011. My undergrad career was filled with ups and downs and I did some damage to my GPA early on and have really been working ever since to pull it up. I just graduated this May with a Master’s in Biomedical Science degree from a medical school and have spent my summer from May 16 – August 14 studying for this test. I think about this career path every day and it’s truly the only thing I have EVER wanted to achieve. 

I started this summer by coming back to SDN to read breakdowns. The first one I read was Glimmer’s. I told myself that I was NOT going to get discouraged into thinking that I can’t get these scores too. My goal was to see what people did so that I could hopefully do just as well. So my first read was Glimmer’s breakdown. Then I read Illfavor’s soon after. Whoa. While the two of them, like many others here on SDN, have superhuman scores, they are themselves a human much like myself. We are alike. They have a brain, and so do I so we should be able to achieve similar scores (easier said than done). I used the many breakdowns here as motivation to better myself. I took the suggested resources to heart and really gave thought when investing in them.

DAT 2011: 

BIO: 18
GC: 18
OC: 20
PAT: 17
RC: 20
QR: 16
TS: 18
AA: 18

DAT 2013:

BIO: 21 :mad:
GC: 22 :love: 
OC: 21 
PAT: 20
RC: 19 :(
QR: 17 :laugh: :barf:
TS: 21
AA: 20


DAT DESTROYER:I have the 2011 version since I studied for it then so I figured this would be good enough to use.
1. BIO: for my test personally, way overkill. I was averaging 80% correctness on the first pass. I attribute this to the classes that I took in this past year though so don’t fret if you’re not destroying the Destroyer on the first pass. Two years ago, the first pass of Destroyer put me in the fetal position where I questioned the direction of my life. I could have done just as well with Cliff’s. The questions were just…weird. I really wanted my score to be higher since I had just spent the past year studying medical school level biology. To be honest, I actually WANTED this test to make me use my knowledge in this section. Instead, it was extremely broad like everyone says. Stick with Cliff’s and Feralli’s notes. That should be good enough. BTW? DON’T ignore taxonomy. Pretty sure that’s where I lost two of my points (HINT: TWO). Many of the questions were not asked in that straight forward of a way. Some though were just blunt questions like “What is responsible for doing this?”. No brainer stuff. Other questions, I was like, “wait, so what are you asking me?”
1. GC: Again, beyond overkill although it helps to reinforce concepts. I also was expecting to do better based on my scores on Bootcamp and Destroyer. Like before, these questions, I found, were asked in a roundabout way. For instance, I KNEW what the question wanted, but for some reason, the information they gave me in the question made it difficult for me to solve it (I eventually did after staring at it long enough but this contributed to my shortness of time with the sciences).
3. OC: Too much again. Still, you want to be prepared so you need to do these questions. While someone may have an easy test, someone else might have a hard one that will require a Ph.D in organic synthesis in order to complete. Know the roadmaps, know Chad’s. 
4. QR: I hated studying for this section the first time I took this test. I hated it now (some things just don’t change). I did what I could to understand these concepts. The problem is timing. Individually, these problems are do-able. When under a time constraint? It’s a ton harder. I had four minutes left in this section and just ended it there because I knew that there was nothing more I could do. I just wanted to get ta dat score sheet, ya feel?

BOOTCAMP: Straight nasty sauce over here. When I started to look for new materials in May, I came across this and was hesitant because there are tons of software and programs out there that promise everything on the DAT. I checked SDN and found a FEW good reviews (at the time) and said screw it and bought it. Plus the price was good. Much to my surprise, the tests are actually really good. I averaged 19-26 on each of the science tests.
1. BIO: Essential. His tests ask very straight forward questions but it also asks ones that force you to think. This is how it is. The DAT has “give me” questions but then it has “fun’s over” questions. Bootcamp has a good mix of both just like the real thing. Plus, the customer support (AKA: Ari) is top notch. Ari really wants to help people succeed. Not sure if I see THIS kind of support in the medical field (pre-meds take note).
2. GC: again, awesome. He has a good mix of simple enough questions and ones that require math and such.
3. OC: perfect representation.

PAT: WAY representative. 
1. Key Hole: Slightly easier than Bootcamp. Oh and I have a gripe with the test. This test did NOT follow proportions all the time like Bootcamp. If you’ve ever done CDP, you know that they don’t always follow the proportion rule either. I expected more out of you DAT, I really did. The first few on the DAT were smooth sailing. Round peg? Round hole. Square peg? Square hole. Then it was a Christmas tree, pine needles, ornaments and all with its corresponding hole (“fun’s over”). In fact one, I was like “is this the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.?”.
2. TFE: pretty similar. DAT is a tad easier.
3. Angles: very similar unfortunately. Get used to the 3 degree difference. Shoutout to sskater. Picture these bad boys as a tetherball and it should help some.
4. Hole Punching: This is my bread and butter right here. I might actually do these for fun in my spare time. Pretty accurate, not overly complicated. The holes DO change size though so it’s weird on the real thing.
5. Cube Counting: WAY fewer cubes on the real thing.
6. Pattern Folding: I was always a little rough around the edges on this one but got the hang of it after time. DAT was a bit easier in my opinion. Less wacky shapes, less objects that look like they’ve been run through a paper shredder. 

QR: I thought it was much more difficult than the real thing, but for some reason, I did worse on the real thing :laugh: .

RC: Eh, similar I guess. Definitely had questions like, “Both statements are correct; NEITHER statements are correct, etc.”

CLIFF’S: This had most of what I needed to know. What it didn’t cover, Feralli’s notes, Bootcamp, or DAT QVault covered. Destroyer was too much but it’s essential to be over prepared.

ACHIEVER: Yeahhhhh about this……I spent almost the whole summer debating about this. It’s BEYOND TOO MUCH FOR THE DAT. The only thing it’s good for is PAT and timing. MAYBE QR. Just MAYBE. But don’t asked me about QR, I puked this section.

CDP/CDR: Loved this. Perfect for getting the hang of keyholes. From there I moved on to Bootcamp where things got real. But this was good cause it takes you away from your comfort zone and forces you to adapt to difficulties. CDR was alright and let me develop some sort of method. I just took notes on each paragraph. The last one I ran out of time and had to search and destroy it. That’s the one that gave me the 19. I just know it.


This test, in my opinion, is largely based upon the mentality that you have when you walk into the testing center as well as the weeks leading up to the test. Believe in yourself. Know that you can do well. It’s potentially a 60/40 confidence to knowledge ratio. The better you feel about yourself, about your ability to do well on the test, the more likely you are to do well. Now, maybe this isn’t the case 100% of the time for everyone, but I think it holds water. During the summer, I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. This is normal but it’s important to keep them in check. It’s fine to be nervous about this test, it really is. It’s not fine to be so nervous that it inhibits your ability to do well. Today, I woke up anxious, but I was still functional. There were times that I just flipped out on my study buddy. I felt bad afterwards. Luckily, he’s taking the MCAT so he does the same once in a while so he gets it. After, I just felt better and could carry on with my studies. So, let it out once in a while. It’s ok. Punch a pillow, throw something, kick something, just let the stress and anger out (in a constructive manner I guess). \

I quickly reviewed my QR notes (what good they did, right?) and had lunch with my MCAT buddy. I walked into the testing center calm and collected and sat down and just told myself that I did everything I could and that I had to tackle this head on. Upon the first biology question, the world around me ceased to exist and I was focused on nothing but tackling each question individually. Before I knew it, the test was over. Even during the test, I found myself saying, “wow, this is finally happening. The DAT. For Dental School!”. I cannot imagine what this test would have been like if I was freaking out. I will say though, that my level of anxiety and my heart rate and pulse increased exponentially as I was filling out the survey because I knew that my future rested on those scores just seconds away. I don’t think that even if I tried to re-take it, they would increase so it looks like, for now, I will have to stick with what I have.

I think I covered it all. If I didn’t ask me! Let me know if you care about practice scores so I can compile them! Hopefully it’s worthy enough of a menu item on Glimmer’s list (at least the table scraps section?).

Hope I didn’t bore you all and that you took something away from this. I’ll update it here and there.


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