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2013 DAT Breakdown – 21/21/23 by JRod17

I am finally finished. I walked out of the testing center today drained, tired, yet so unbelievably happy this process is over and I won’t have to worry about taking it again…

Here are muh scores,

PAT 23
QR 20
RC 20
Bio 20
GC 21
OC 24 
TS 21
AA 21 

I am ecstatic with my scores. They may not blow anyone’s mind, but I worked my tail off for them. 

OVERALL STUDYING EXPERIENCE

I began “studying” in early June probably about three hours a day, and weekends off. The reason I quote studying is because I was using KAPLAN on demand. I would not recommend Kaplan to anyone… It’s not that it is that terrible, it is just in no way shape or form worth the $1200 shelled out to use it. The practice tests in no way represent the way the DAT asks questions and includes many concepts that were completely absent from my exam. With that being said, it did lay down the foundation for PAT as well as give me a general idea of what the DAT was all about. After my Kaplan phase, I studied for around 6 more weeks, averaging around probably an average of 5 or 6 hours a day with that average being scewed to studying longer the closer to my test date. I generally went light on Saturdays and took most Sundays completely off. I also went on a couple trips to Austin for day trips with friends and obviously didn’t study then. I also took kids to Young Life camp for a week in June. Didn’t even think about the DAT that week. Overall, about 6 weeks of legit study time.

It was during the first couple of weeks that I discovered SDN, and I am so thankful that I did. You guys have been a tremendous help and I loved reading the new breakdowns most days. They always included helpful tips and I always felt encouraged reading them. It was reading through breakdowns that I realized Kaplan was not going to be enough. I had never heard of the other materials like Destroyer, bootcamp, chads, etc. until this site. I initially posted a thread asking about which materials I should use to supplement Kaplan. Someone, don’t remember who, replied telling me that I should use Kaplan as a supplement and not the other way around. I decided to heed SDN’s advice and purchased the DAT destroyer as well as Chad’s videos. THIS SAVED ME. Sidenote: My awesome parents are the ones who payed for my Kaplan course. I was torn because I didn’t want to waste their money, but in the end the desire for a solid DAT score outweighed my apprehensiveness due to my parents. I ended up purchasing any materials I mention that aren’t Kaplan with my own money, and never told my parents this. If they asked me about Kaplan, I’d probably tell them it was great…


I ended up studying using other materials the rest of my time, and thanks to SDN and all of you guys, it payed off. Now for the individual sections and how I studied/test day. Also, sorry if this is long… I’m legitimately enjoying typing this and looking back at this summer.

NATURAL SCIENCES
BIO (20)
Materials: Cliffs AP, Destroyer, Ferralli’s, DAT bootcamp, DAT Qvault

I started off reading Cliff’s. After the Kaplan stuff I had done this gave a way better foundation. After reading through Cliff’s once, I started doing Destroyer questions. I started off terrible, but as I progressed I began doing a little better. I only did these once as they seemed so detailed I figured I’d never need to know half of them. With about a month left till test day, I began reading Cliff’s again and went through it a second time. Glad I did. With about two weeks until test day, I bought the entire DAT Bootcamp package. Hands down the best investment I made. For every section, these tests were money. For bio, great resource. With one week left to go, I read through Ferallis pretty thoroughly and I bought Qvault (bio only). Ferrallis notes are fantastic, and I wish I had gone through them again. Qvault was also great, highly recommend.

Test day: Bio surprised me as it was harder than I thought. In fact, I thought I did terrible. I was frustrated with myself as there were a few questions that should have been simple but I just couldn’t quite recall the right answer. If I had gone through Ferrallis once more, I’m confident I would have scored a tad higher. Advice: READ THE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY. Test makers were pretty tricky in some of their questions and had answer choices that look like the right answer, but aren’t quite correct. There were one or two completely rando questions I just guessed on. Lucky for me though, no plant questions!

Gen Chem (21)
Chad’s Videos/quizzes, Destroyer, DAT Bootcamp

Started off watching Chad’s, which, as everyone says, is VITAL to this section. I took notes on all of his videos and after took all the quzzes. After that, I half heartedly went through the Destroyer, and it destroyed me. In the end, destroyer for gen chem is complete overkill. Chad’s and bootcamp are all you need for this section. Bootcamp was fantastic for GC. Great representation of conceptual vs. calculation. I did all these tests twice. A couple days before test day, I did all of Chad’s quizzes and I am glad I did. 

Test day: I went through bio in about 25 minutes, and most of my time was dedicated to Gen Chem. I was perturbed by how hard bio was that I was freaked out most of this section. I honestly feel I could have done better, nonetheless, I’m pleased with a 21. About 1/3 calculation that were pretty straightforward. Conceptual wasn’t too bad either. There was however one question that was entirely random that I didn’t know how to do. Just made a reasonable guess and moved on. 

Organic Chem (24):thumbup:

Chad’s, Destroyer, Bootcamp
O-chem has always been a strong suit for me. I was banking on doing well here and luckily I did. Chad was phenomenal and is all you need for review. Destroyer for O-chem, unlike for gc, was awesome. Great practice that was challenging and taught me a ton. I went through it twice. Bootcamp was again superb. Awesome representation of the test.

Test day: I finished in about 20 minutes. Questions ranged from ridiculously easy to a few that made me think. They try to trick you so watch out! There was one question that had a reagent that I had literally never seen before, which surprised me as I went through Destroyer roadmaps multiple times. Just took a guess! Overall, I knew I had done well on O-chem. I had about 7 minutes after for the sciences so I went back and used it mainly for bio, but ended up changing a GC question as well. 

PERCEPTUAL ABILITY (23) 

Kaplan, Bootcamp

I may have just lucked out on the test, I’m not sure, but I felt PAT was super easy compared to any practice tests. I never bought CDP so I can’t compare there. I can however say that Bootcamp was excellent prep.

KH: Some serious WTF ones, but overall easier than bootcamp. Besides the ridiculous ones, it was easier to eliminate answers than bootcamp.

TFE: A tad easier than bootcamp. I was able to line count on a couple but after practice studying I had always relied on visualizing the structure, which was crucial.

ANGLES: Waaaaay easier than bootcamp. Not as easy as kaplan, but definitely doable.

HOLE PUNCHING: Close to bootcamp, maybe a little easier. There were a few tricky ones and a few really easy ones.

CUBES: Really easy, nothing crazy.

PATTERN FOLDING: Easier than bootcamp. Some tricky ones but overall not too bad.

For PAT, I started early with Kaplan. This gave me a good foundation, but in the end, Bootcamp prevailed. GREAT resource for PAT. It was a little harder than the actual thing which was good. I finished with about 15 min left. I went through all my marked and with 5 min still left on the clock, I got up and took my break. During the break I was slightly bummed, really not knowing how I did on the sciences except for O-chem. I thought I had bombed bio, and GC I had no clue. I ate an apple, took a deep breath and went back to work.

READING (20)

I didn’t really do anything to prepare for this except for one kaplan, one topscore, and one bootcamp practice test each. My strategy involved reading the first two questions and then “thoroughly skimming” the passage and answering the ones I found. This didn’t work too well for the first passage. Almost half of the questions on the first passage were applying a statement to ideas in the passage, which was tough. The second two passages were more search and destroy-esque as well as many “the statements are correct but not related” type questions. Overall, the one bootcamp test I took was the closest representation. I wish I had practiced this more and made use of the 4 bootcamp tests I didn’t bother doing. Oh well…

QUANTITATIVE REASONING (20)

I am pumped with a 20 in this section. I took four bootcamp practice tests and thats literally the only thing I did to prepare for this, so it was the section I was most nervous about. Bootcamp was a trillion times harder than the actual test. On the real thing, I went through and marked the ones I had no idea how to do or the ones that looked like they’d take a while. I got through the first wave and had about 12 minutes left to go back. I was then able to think through about 4 more questions. There were 5 or 6 questions that I had literally no clue on and just randomly guessed.


Overall experience
I was lucky enough to live about 3 blocks from my testing center. I literally walked to the center on test day, blaring tunes and getting freakin’ amped about the test I was about to destroy. Confidence is key! You’ve studied hard, so take pride in that and go in to the testing center ready to dominate. The night before, I walked to the testing center and said a prayer. This calmed me and definitely put me at ease. This brings me to my best bit of advice… The DAT is important. It is crucial to get a good score to get in to dental school. You must work hard and dedicate yourself. With that being said, the DAT is only a blip in your life in the grand scheme of things. So give it the work it needs, but don’t pour your emotions in to it. If you get a good grade, awesome! If not, buckle down and try again, but don’t let it dictate your life. 24 AA or 18AA, when your 75 its not going to matter. Life will take the course it’s going to take. 

Also, Live a little while studying! Take breaks! I hung out with friends every single weekend. I would have gone crazy otherwise. So, work as hard as you can, but don’t drive yourself insane.

To conclude… I studied a total of about 2 months. They were a draining two months, but I wouldn’t have done as well if I had studied during the school year, so I had to give up a summer. Thank you guys for all the help and support. Your replies and breakdowns were always super encouraging.


Here are my practice test scores… just to encourage you, as I did better on the real thing than most of my practice tests. The one topscore was the only full length I ever took. 

DAT Bootcamp (these are first time scores, I took them multiple times and did way better on the second time around).

Bio 1-5 (first ones had about a month left till test date, last 4 were in final 2 weeks)
17/18/18/18/20
GC 1-5
18/20/20/19/19
OC 1-5
17/19/21/24/20
PAT 1-5
17/19/19/20/19
RC 1
20
QR 1-4
20/19/20/21


Topscore 1 – full length
Bio/GC/OC/TS/PAT/RC/QR/AA
19/18/18/18/x/21/18/18

Qvault Bio 1-10 (last week of studying)
21/19/19/19/18/19/20/20/18/20


Thank you guys again. Feel free to message me or ask questions. I’m happy to help.

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