2013 DAT Breakdown – 20/21/20 by roquer2
My DAT scores: TS 21 / PAT 20 / AA 20
I will go over EVERYTHING, from the materials I used, the programs bought, my practice test scores, the days leading up to my test date, my actual DAT experience, and opinions/thoughts/advice.
1st, I like to start with a small intro of myself (don’t think I ever formally introduced myself yet lol). I’m graduating this fall, 4 1/2 senior here, and I’ve followed the traditional pre-professional career since my 1st year of undergrad. I was completely immature, ignorant, lazy the 1st 2 years of undergrad (skipped studying midterms for tail gating, partying, wouldn’t go to class, went to play basketball and chill at my rec instead, etc). After the 2nd year, I remember reflecting one day of what have I accomplished exactly, and I felt disgusted. So, I decided to turn it around and I took my studying serious, I wouldn’t miss a day of class and I would ALWAYS sit up front, joined my school’s predent group and am now VP, did community service/shadowing every chance I got, I stopped following the path of my friends and paved my own, and became that guy that came into every test with the mentality of just destroying the test and walking out 20 mins later. A’s piled up in all my upper divisions and life was good.
So now that’s outta the way, lemme get down to what most of everyone came in here for: The Breakdown
I started studying April 30th, and originally scheduled my DAT on June 4th. I 1st want to salute ANYONE who has studied for their DAT during the semester, because I started studying 3 weeks before my finals and my grades SUFFERED (Received my lowest grade since 2 years ago, a C+ ). I would suggest anyone who is going to start studying for their DAT to do it within a time period excluding your actual semester hours. It is TOUGH, and this is coming from a guy who studies religiously/efficiently. Sh@! is hard!
Anyways, after my finals, I would get up every day around 7:30 am ish or so and head to the campus library, set up and study in the same spot, and would push myself till 6-7:30 in the evening. So I roughly studied 10-12 hours a day. Then head home and relax. Rinse, repeat. I would only take 1-2 breaks for a piss break/call my girl/talk to my friend who’s a DS2 or any of the incoming 2017 class for advice, etc. Note, I had already established a disciplined study routine before my studying. That’s why my endurance and threshold is SO HIGH that I never broke focus until 5-6 hours later till my 1st break. If you’re not up to par with that, short breaks are always a good thing AS LONG as you don’t prolong it for like an hour or so!
The materials I used are as follows:
-Chad’s DAT vids/quizzes
-DAT Destroyer, 2009
-StudyBlue Notecards program
-Cliff’s AP Bio, 2nd Addition
-Alan’s Notes (Edited)
The practice tests are as follows:
-Achiever (3 Test)
-CDP, Royal Flush
-DATQVault Biology/Gen Chem
-Kaplan old practice tests (only did half of 1 test)
Chad’s DAT Vids/Quizzes (10/10): Dude is the man! I loved the vids and explanations. Definitely perfect for Ochem/Gen Chem. I liked the feature that allows you to watch his vids in high speed too. I did it to every single video and I would make notecards from every concept he mentioned. I used StudyBlue, this online notecard program ( I will get to this later). I only went through his Ochem vids onced and skipped a lotta stuff he mentioned bc I was already on top of my Ochem game :meanie. However, I would still do all his quizzes for Ochem for practice. For Gen Chem, this guy nails the main concepts you HAVE TO KNOW for the DAT. Some of his quiz questions for Gen Chem was pretty representative of DAT questions as well. His vids are a must have.
Dat Destroyer, 2009 (10/10): OVERKILL. I HATED this thing when i first started it. I only did Ochem and Gen chem sections for the 1st week, and MAN did it suck. I split the sections up 32 questions a day. Since I was already good in Ochem, I would miss 3-4 questions outta the 32, every day. However, for Gen Chem I would miss 13-15. I finished each section within the week. I would then go back to the beginning, go over each and every single question again, marked the questions I missed and starred the others that I missed AGAIN. After completing the Destroyer the 2nd time, I went thru round 3 by ONLY working the ones I starred and focusing on the concepts for each question. I think this is what the Destroyer is all about. It throws you different looks and ways to ask a question, and it will show you different ways to attack the problem. Word of advice: If you go thru the Destroyer more than once, treat each time as the first time seeing those questions. You do yourself no justice memorizing the answers. This thing is one of the main contributing factors to my scores, and I actually ran into a few questions on my actual DAT that seemed like it came outta the Destroyer. Read the solutions to your missed questions and remember the concepts forever!
StudyBlue (7/10): It’s a cool, online notecard program. I paid subscription and it allows you to quiz yourself/flip cards on your phone via downloaded app (assuming you have a smartphone). I gave it a 7/10 because, let’s be real, I WAS NEVER a notecard type of guy. SURE, it was convenient to be able to take out my phone and flip cards I made whenever and wherever, but trying to make questions for yourself and word em correctly on each notecard is time consuming when you haven’t done it before (like me). I’m a hard notes type of guy. I write out my stuff, condense em, read powerpoints, etc. I’m not used to making questions to ask myself. I just get straight to the meat of the concepts instead. My advice, if you haven’t made notecards before, don’t waste time and just stick with pen and paper. Sure, you can give it a try, but I tried it and it ended up being somewhat of a waste of time.
Cliff’s AP Bio, 2nd Addition (9/10): Great, great resource for Bio. I don’t think it’s all you need to learn Biology, but boy does it contribute to your learning. I started studying for Bio a week and half before my actual test. It took me about 5 days to finish reading the whole AP Bio book. I underlined, circled every important concept, wrote in the margins where necessary, and did the quizzes at the end of the chapters. After finishing , i would go back and reread the sections I was a little fuzzy on. It’s nice to be able to read sentences that were made for high school kids compared to the sentences presented in my upper division bio classes. Oh how I miss being young.
Alan’s Notes (Editted) (10/10): I found an edited version in someone’s thread a while ago. It was basically Alan’s notes, plus Barron’s AP Bio and Cliff’s AP Bio notes all in one. A very condensed, 49 page outline of notes. I loved read these notes because these were the type of notes I am used to reading. I read these notes 2 days before my DAT.
Math Destroyer (?/10): I only did a test and half. I was somewhat good in math, but for some reason I just couldn’t muster the strength to study it consistently! I haven’t seen or touched math for about 2 years now, and seeing all geometry/problem solving equations didn’t help my ambition to ace the QR section. Another week of math and everything would’ve been dandy. Questions in the Math Destroyer will definitely help prepare you for questions on the real thing.
Topscore Pro (8/10): Probably the closest thing you will get to the actual DAT. After taking the DAT, I can confirm that this is very very similar. I somewhat liked the solutions for questions I missed, but some explanations didn’t really satiate my understanding. For test 1 and 3, I only did the science sections. I don’t remember the scores for my 1st attempt for test 1 since I erased the test report after, so I’m just going to post the recent scores.
Test 1 (SNS only)
Test 2 (FULL TEST)
Don’t remember. It’s in one of my threads I made previously
Test 3 (SNS only)
Achiever (9/10): Tough practice tests! Overkill, yes. Necessary for 20+, definitely. I WISH I went over the ones I missed again, but oh well. If you can score 17, 18+ on individual sections, then you’re pretty much in great position to get 20+ on the real thing. I highly recommend the Gen chem and PAT Keyholes/TFE section from Achiever. Concepts for Gen chem are presented in various forms of questions for Gen chem, and the Keyholes/TFE are GREAT practice for the actual DAT. I wish I focused more on the Achiever KH/TFE than CDP KH/TFE. Also, I don’t even remember taking the test 3. I think I might’ve just BSed the whole test because I was tired at that point. Pretty much explains the crap scores lol.
Test 1 (SNS and PAT)
General Chemistry: 19
Test 2 (SNS and PAT)
General Chemistry: 15
Test 3 (SNS only)
General Chemistry: 13
CDP, Royal Flush (9/10): From playing a lot of sports that require perception, as well as a lot of Call of Duty and such (lol), I have always been somewhat good at perceptual applications. The only technique I used from CDP was the Cube Counting method, where you label 1-5 on a piece of paper, but other than that, that was about it. I used the tests as practice tests every other day, and did the bonus AR/HP/CC features that came with the program.
DATQVault Bio (9/10) and Gen Chem (8/10): Biology is what really makes DATQvault great. I think the Bio section was most representative of the actual Bio section. Sure, I scored subpar on a lotta the tests. But that was because I took the tests before studying the actual Bio concepts/sections. It was just a way for me to find out exactly what I needed work on. Then, I would go back and find the questions I missed, and go to Cliff’s and write down each missed concept in the margins of the respected section. For Gen chem, I didn’t really like the explanations, but i bought the Gen chem section just for the sake of practice. I went through 4 tests a day, so the Gen chem section was only good for 3+ days.
Bio Tests 1-8
Gen Chem Tests 1-10
-Kaplan old practice tests (2/10): I forgot who gave me this big book of practice tests, but I remember going through half a test and stopping because the questions were kinda weird, but more so I think they were mistakes. So I stopped, grabbed the book, placed it in a box, and shoved it underneath my bed.
After a good time studying, I was set to take my test June 4th. However, I got cold feet and pushed it back to June 10th. I was primarily concerned with QR since I hardly touched any math materials. After pushing it a week back, anxiety started to set in. I’m telling everyone this right now that I have NEVER had a slight anxiety attack, nor do I ever get nervous for a test. Within the last 2-3 days before my June 10 test, I started getting some cases where I would randomly take deep breaths in public, in my house, showering, etc. If a guy like me gets nervous for the DAT, then I think it’s only normal that majority of people will feel the same way. It’s normal people. Just don’t try to panic. It will do you NO GOOD.
The day before my exam, I went to my school library, reviewed very very lightly so I didn’t burn out. I then packed my stuff up around 5 pm, got my longboard, and rode around campus. It was nice since there weren’t a lotta people on campus, so I just cruised all over. It was pretty much my last gasp of free air before the big day and I think this contributed to me being more focused than anxious. I honestly think everyone needs a good release the day before. It does the brain no good to try and cram before a big test. Like Drake said. “If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got. The theory is brilliant”. You either know it by that time or you don’t.
***DAT Day, June 10th, 2013***
I only got 5 hours of sleep, woke up at 6:41 am, felt ready. The feeling of anxiousness and nervousness was non existent and it felt like a normal test day for me. However, as my clock hit 7 and I was pulling out from my driveway, I started to get progressively nervous. To make a long story short, I arrive at my Prometrics place, got out of my car and the first thing I said was “FUUUUUUUUUUU! I forgot my WALLET!”That’s when I started to freak out. I ran inside the building and tried to talk calmly to the woman behind the desk. She said no worries, just go and get it and come back quick. I was so relieved since I thought I would have to forfeit my test date, but nevertheless it was a crappy start to a big day. I got my wallet, came back, went inside and luckily the guy fingerprinting me was from an area in Texas where I lived at before moving. I was able to shoot the sh!t with him to calm my already shooken nerves. He then brought me to my cubicle, said goodluck, and I got started.
I received laminated boards and 2 fine pointed sharpies. I actually liked writing on them. My advice, don’t write too big. There is no reason why you would run outta space through the SNS/PAT sections. Now, after the tutorial, I clicked next and bam, I was already in the Bio section. I hafta say, Topscore was DEFINITELY representative of the actual DAT. It was like I was taking another practice test. I actually finished the SNS section with 7 mins to spare. However, my heart was RACING and I just couldn’t think straight. I’ve never felt this kind of pressure before due to the idea that the DAT is my ticket to Dental School, and ultimately the start of my life career. I progressively got more and more anxious, doubting answers I picked and questions I marked. After the SNS section, the PAT section started.
I went through the first 17 questions, looked at the timer and then started to freak out. I spent a whole 20ish minutes and I was only on question 18! That’s when I started mumbling to myself ,”Wth. I am NOT supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be studying some more in the library. What are you doing here”. My knees were shaking, I kept sighing after every 3-5 questions, and kept marking questions as I went through it. I blazed through AR/HP/CC, but left myself only 4 mins for PF! I guessed on the last 9 questions till time expired. The 15 minute break message popped up, so I got up, left the room and got some water. I looked out the door of the building to see the beautiful, sunny sky and a sense of calm hit me. I drank my water, told myself it’s not that bad. Just go in and finish strong. So I only took 7 mins of my break, went back in and jumped to the RC section.
Now, I’ve only practiced RC on Topscore and hit a 21 so I thought I would be fine. When that first passage came up, I immediately lost interest. It was SUCH a BORING passage! I actually felt like falling asleep . After that passage, the last 2 were more interesting, but I was pretty sure I bombed the RC section due to just that 1st passage. After that, it was time for QR. Man oh man was I in trouble. I only studied math for 1 and 1/2 days, TOTAL. Luckily, I ran into a lotta questions that I was able to set up and solve, and if I couldn’t solve a question fully, I would just plug and chug. However, I knew I screwed up on the math section.
When the timer ran down, the post-test survey popped up. A feeling of despair surrounded me while I was filling out the survey. After finishing it, my scores popped up unexpectedly. I TRIED to shut my eyes as fast as I could, but managed to see 17 as my 1st score. At that point, I felt as though I messed up BIG TIME. I went down each score slowly, and wouldn’t you know, my scores were better than I expected!
General Chemistry: 21
Organic Chemistry: 25
I was seriously at a lost for words because I thought I BOMBED the heck outta the whole test. I left the room, and the guy looked at me and said I should feel better now since I did well on my test. He handed out my printed scores, and I was on my merry way. When I left the building, I let out a big “YEAAAAAAAAAHHHH” in complete and utter relief thinking that I scored something like 17, 18, 15, etc.
After 5 hours of reflecting over my scores, reality started to set in and I felt defeated. I knew I didn’t do as well in math as I would like, but I was definitely pissed at my Bio and PAT scores. I thought I would score A LOT higher on em due to how simple they were presented. Granted, I only studied Bio for a complete 2 weeks, but I guess the wording on the test got to me. Overall, I feel defeated due to how simple the questions on the test were. These were questions that I should’ve gotten all correct, and I guess that’s what explains this feeling. Oh well.
So there’s my complete breakdown/DAT story. Time for some advice for those studying/about to study:
1. Everyone will get anxious/nervous: Let’s be real. I’m that guy that walks into the classroom/lecture hall, ready to murder a test, start the test and leave within 20 mins while everyone is just hitting mid stride, and find out later I’m the only one who got 100 while the average on the test is a 70. I don’t get nervous for tests at ALL. But seriously, this test got to me mentally. The worst happened less than a week from my test date. I developed the whole ,”breathe in, breathe out” routine within that week to overcome a type of anxiety I have never felt. And I actually mentally broke down during the REAL thing! I questioned myself on why I didn’t reschedule right in the middle of a question! Guys and girls, you will probably develop some form of nervousness/anxiety. Some less than others and vice versa. But you just have to go down swinging and know you will get through this all and come out victorious on the other side.
2. DO NOT expose yourself to 1 side of the spectrum only: The reason for my rescheduling from June 4th to 10th is because I was bombing the heck outta Topscore and DATQVault practice tests. I didn’t feel ready, yet those questions in both programs as SUPER EASY. The reason why I was bombing them: I only exposed myself to the hard, tough questions in Destroyer and Achiever. You have to expose yourself to both sides of the spectrum, both easy and hard. For me, I think the wording on the easy questions threw me off because, well, maybe they were TOO easy. I would over think the simple ones and that led to missing valuable points. So take it from me. Don’t just practice hard questions. Do the very easy ones too and get use to the wording. I will tell you that some of the wording on the actual DAT is weird, but that may be due to me not being 100% used to seeing those types of easy questions.
3. Overprepare = Success: I’m a big believer that the best way to ace a test is to overprepare. After overpreparing like a mad man, when i finally got to the test, the questions on the real thing are just so simple. I think I shot myself in the foot on some of the very simple questions because my train of thinking was that ,”man, these are so simple. There HAS to be a catch”. I can tell you that that may not be the case. The questions seemed pretty straight forward. That’s why I’m very disappointed in my Bio grade, because those questions were just too simple to miss.
4. Time is money: Practice your timing on practice tests. Timing will get to you on the actual test when you see precious seconds tick off. Work on being fast, but not careless. My biggest problem on the test was being OCD and clicking on an answer, rereading the question and MAKING SURE I didn’t accidentally change my answer. Looking back, that definitely wasted another 10 seconds on any question I did that to.
5. Be confident: It’s regurgitated, but only because it holds true. When studying, you may have off days, but just know deep down inside that you know your stuff. You have to convince yourself that there’s no way you can forget something when you’ve seen it 3, 4, 5+ times. It’s all in your head, and you have to win the battle in that department. Be confident and tell yourself you KNOW your stuff.
6. Practice tests don’t mean a darn thing!: IMHO, almost any practice test I took, I got pissed at due to sub par scores. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I felt very strongly that those scores were not indicative of my understanding and knowledge. I’ve said it time and again, I know my stuff. I don’t know everything, but I know when I’m supposed to get a question right or wrong. After my 2nd Topscore test, I finally succumbed to the idea that practice tests doesn’t tell me anything about my studying. I then started to use the practice tests as study guides rather than grade evaluators and honestly I think that’s how they’re supposed to be used. Just my 2 cents.
7. You get out what you put in: I’ll keep it short here. You work hard, you succeed. You half ass it, you get half-assed results. Plain and simple. There’s no tricks, gimmicks, etc. It’s just a simple battle between you and yourself.
Ok everyone, that’s all I have to say! I hope this sheds some light on a lot of things some of y’all may be confused about and gives hope to those still waiting to take their DAT. I have to say, I’m proud of my scores, but not fully satisfied. I know I’m capable of a 22, 23+, and looking back on the questions presented, they were just sooooooo simple. I think a cocktail of anxiety, nervousness, and self deception screwed my chances of getting higher scores. You have to understand, it’s just you and a computer in that cubicle. All it takes is for you to be mentally weak to screw up, and that’s definitely what happened to me during my DAT. I’m just glad that even though I underperformed to my standards and high expectations, I still pulled out presentable scores due to hard work. Just work your tail off and watch the pay off. Goodluck to everyone!