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2013 DAT Breakdown – 21/21/25 by GJMeig

Hey guys, like many people on here that write these breakdowns, I’ve been lurking these forums for the past couple of months reviewing breakdowns, schedules, resources, etc. and I thought that I would give back myself with a breakdown in hopes that it could help anyone out in their studies for their upcoming DAT. I’d like to thank everyone on here that’s posted useful info/breakdowns because they really helped guide me in my studying. I’m not going to apologize about the length of this breakdown like everyone else does, it doesn’t make sense to me because the lengthier breakdowns are more useful anyway.

So firstly, my breakdown:
PA: 25 (99.1)
QR: 20 (95.1)
RC: 21 (88.9)
BIO: 24 (99.6)
GC: 20 (86.0)
OC: 20 (84.4)
TS: 21 (96.2)
AA: 21 (97.2)


Materials used:
Cliff’s AP Bio
DAT Destroyer
Math Destroyer
scsc7211’s Version of Alan’s Bio Notes

KBB: Was good for a general initial review of materials. I took Gen Chem three years ago and Orgo two years ago, so it was nice to get a quick refresher run through using this source. I am a Bio major, so I didn’t really need that much review in this section, but again, it was a good comprehensive review. PAT in this was a joke, but it’s good for the first time encountering PAT material. QR review was also a good initial review.
Cliff’s AP Bio: A very good source to supplement with KBB. Goes more in depth on important topics than KBB, and for the most part, covers the majority of what was on the DAT, but not all.
DAT Destroyer: Great review source. Going through the first time, I would only get around 60-80% right in the chem’s (~90% in Bio, it’s what I know best). The questions are much more difficult than on the actual DAT, but extremely helpful in solidifying your knowledge of the subjects and knowing the worst case scenario. The solutions and explanations are tremendous. Second time through, I would rarely get a problem wrong, but I mostly credit that to a photographic memory, and the amount of times I would review incorrect answers.
Math Destroyer: Great source for the QR section, very similar to the actual DAT, but harder typically. I highly recommend getting this, as it really helps you to speed up in this section which typically is an issue during the actual DAT.
CDP: Got the 10 test version, great PAT source, I really don’t think there’s much better out there for the amount of practice you get and a very similar format to the actual DAT. The interface and crispness of the images are actually better than on the actual DAT, so do note that.
CDR: (5 test version) Good initial review for the RC section. I’ve never really been much of a reader, but this really helped to get my mind into gear on doing these type of questions. CDR has many more inference and tone questions, and less scientific based articles, but it’s still helpful to go over.
Topscore: Really good at testing what you know in the end and tightening up loose ends. I thought that most of the sections were similar to the actual DAT. Chemistry’s were comparable, Bio had some classification questions that were way too in depth, but overall the section was helpful. PAT is decent the first time through, but because it repeats through the others, they aren’t a great measure for you. RC was comparable, more search and destroy type questions, but better in that the passages were science based. QR was similar as well. I actually deleted my scores for this, going through the second time, but I would say I averaged between 20~22 on AA and TS and 23~26 on PAT.

On to my schedule:
7 weeks
For the first couple of weeks, I would probably say I studied between 6-10 hours a day. For the last month, I started researching full time at a cancer therapeutics lab, so I could only really study between 3-6 hours a day after getting home from that. I used the 6 week study plan by dentalWorks, and I gotta say, I really need to thank you for posting this schedule. It really helped me figure out a way to begin studying with structure and a solid foundation. So, for the first 2 weeks, I went through KBB and Cliff’s, supplementing more in depth with the internet. The next 20 days, I went through the Destroyer’s twice (50 bio, 30 GC, 30 OC and Math Destroyer Test each day), improving tremendously the second time through, as I mentioned above. Each day I would go back through the previous days sections and understand why I got something wrong. I also did CDP/CDR every other day, which helped hone in strategies. For the last week and a half before my exam, I went through the 3 topscore exams every other day, and just went through notes, especially scsc7211’s version of Alan’s Bio notes which incorporated material from KBB, Cliff’s, and the Bio Destroyer.

Actual DAT:
BIO (24): As I’ve said, I’m a bio major and I’ve seen all of this material before, so this section wasn’t tough for me. Random, but not terribly so. There were more in depth knowledge questions than in study sources where you would have to apply yourself, but as long as you know Cliff’s, the random questions in the Destroyer, and most of the info in Alan’s Notes you should be fine.
GC (20): Probably should have done better, or gotten Chad’s Videos (everyone apparently is in love with these) but I didn’t feel like spending the money on too many sources for my studying. I only used destroyer, KBB and prior knowledge for this section. Most of the questions were fair, some had poor wording which threw me off, but not bad. Much easier than the Destroyer, on par with Topscore.
OC (20): Pretty much the same as GC above. Again, some more poorly worded questions, but other than that, pretty straight forward. You don’t need to know anything too complex for this section. I studied a lot of mechanisms, but I would say only half of my questions were mechanism based, and I had a lot of conceptual questions that I guess I somewhat overlooked. 
Natural Science: Finished the natural sciences section with about ~30 minutes to review marked questions.
PAT (25): I had a feeling I would do well in this section. Throughout my studying, I would consistently do better to the point where the only questions I got wrong on the last few CDP tests were angles. CDP: 20/21/22/20/(it clicks here)23/26/23/22/24/26. I finished this section on the DAT with about 15 minutes left to review my marked questions.
Keyhole: Not too bad, similar to CDP, maybe some were more difficult mostly because the interface isn’t as crisp as in CDP. Strategy: visualize in my head.
TFE: Again, similar to CDP, not much to really complain about here. Strategy: visualize what object looks like, something I’m just good at, never used the line counting strategy, so I don’t recommend it. Just learn to see the object, it may seem more difficult at first, but it’s worth it in the end.
Angle Ranking: Easier than CDP, many times there were only two reasonable answers to choose from. Strategy: Find the smallest and largest, then narrow down the last two with the laptop technique and rapid eye movement.
Hole Punching: Initially this section really stumped me. But, after watching a video on the line of symmetry technique and grid, these actually became fun to do and became an easy section. Again, comparable to CDP, but I did have a 1/3 fold. It wasn’t too hard to figure out though, so I don’t really understand the hype about them.
Cube Counting: Easier than CDP, less cubes, less illusions. Used the table and tally technique.
Pattern Folding: On par with CDP, a few were pretty complex but for the most part not too bad.
RC (21): Not too bad, longer and more scientific passages than CDR, a good mix of tone/inference and factual questions. My strategy here was to read the article fully, taking maybe one or two key words from each paragraph, then attacking the questions. I couldn’t do SnD because I just can’t get the gist of a passage without actually reading it. Just stick with one strategy that works for you in this section, that’s the best advice I can give. I finished with about 5 minutes left to go over marked questions.
QR (20): Pretty surprised at this low score, but whatever. I finished my first go through with about 15 minutes to go over all of the questions I hadn’t answered or marked. I rushed at the end to get some and had to guess on a few. Typically I didn’t have an issue with timing using Math Destroyer and without a calculator, but I just guess the nerves kicked in. The calculator also sucks, lagged and wouldn’t clear sometimes. Similar to Topscore and Math Destroyer, nothing too tough besides a few word problems.

Overall, I am happy with my scores, wish I could have done better, especially in the Chem’s and QR, but it’s over, and I can finally stop stressing out about it and enjoy my summer. I’m a rising senior, have put my application in, and have a 3.94 GPA / 3.90 sGPA. Hope to be getting some interviews come August-December. Thanks for taking the time to read my breakdown, if you have any feedback, comments, or questions, feel free to ask and I will get to them eventually. Good luck to everyone who will be taking their DAT in the future.

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