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2013 DAT Breakdown – 21/22/21 by topshelf

DAT Breakdown 5/10/13

Hello, I have been reading SDN for quite awhile now. I am applying this upcoming cycle. I took my DAT this morning at 8AM, and I want to contribute my DAT experience since reading the breakdowns helped me throughout the process.
I studied for 7 weeks and used: Chad’s videos, Cliff’s AP Bio 3rd edition, DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer, Achiever, DAT Qvault, Crack DAT PAT, Crack DAT Reading, DAT Bootcamp, and my lecture notes from anatomy.

Real Scores:
PAT 21 (87.9) 
QR 18 (84.7) 
RC 24 (94.0) 
BIO 22 (95.9)
GC 21 (87.0)
OC 22 (90.4)
TS 22 (95.6)
AA 21 (93.4) 

Practice Scores

Achiever 1: 19, 18, 15, 19, 19, 20, 20, 18
Achiever 2: 21, 19, 16, 19, 16, 21, 19, 18
Achiever 3: 18, 21, 15, 16, 19, 17, 17, 18
DATQvault: X, 22, 20, 20, 24, 21, X, X

Math Destroyer (timed): 24, 30, 32, 33, 35, 37, 33, 33, 34, 29 (avg 32/40)
Qvault Bio: 20, 22, 19, 20, 20, 19, 20, 22, 20, 19 (avg 20)
CrackPAT: 20, 20, 20, 20, 22, 23, 22, 23, 28, 25 (avg 22.3)
CrackReading: 18, 20, 22, 20, 18 (avg 19.6)

Test Day

PAT (21) Crack DAT PAT, Achiever
Overall, I felt that the test was right in between CDP and Achiever in terms of difficulty. For each section, there were questions as hard, if not even harder than Achiever, and there were questions that were as easy as CDP, so it balanced out to be right in between the two.
Keyholes: Harder that CDP, but easier than Achiever for the most part. In CDP, it’s so easy to eliminate answer choices and it’s so obvious that they’re wrong. On the real DAT, the shape complexity was comparable to CDP for the MOST part, but the answer choices were not as easy to eliminate. I also had a few extremely weird, irregular shapes, that were more difficult than the Achiever keyholes.
TFE: Similar to CDP difficulty in terms of visualizing the 3D shape. When I started practicing PAT, TFE was my worst section. I just didn’t get it. I did line counting on the first two CDP tests, but after staring at the solutions, it clicked and I understood how to visualize the 3D shapes. On the real test, the shapes were easier to visualize than the Achiever questions, so I was happy about that.
Angles: Similar to difficulty of CDP, harder than Achiever. About half of the problems had two angles that differed by only a few degrees. I started practicing my using the “hill” method, but switched to covering most of the angle with my finger and comparing the tiny angles.
Hole Punching: On practice tests, I’ve always gotten 100% since the first day with the line of symmetry method. However, the real test was surprisingly odd. The folds themselves were pretty simple, but the holes were in odd places. Some of the holes were in between the tic-tac-toe gridlines (wth?). There were a lot of 1/3rd folds, but that was fine because Achiever/CDP have many of those questions.
Cubes: Easier than CDP, similar to Achiever. On the real thing, there were less cubes and less “trippy” cubes structures. There were SIX FIGURES (A to F) on my test, unlike Achiever/CDP which have 5, so it kind of threw me off.
Pattern Folding: HARDER THAN ACHIEVER/CDP!  This was one of my best sections on the practice tests, but the real test had mostly SHAPE folding, and they were ALL complex, irregular shapes with tons of in-foldings like the keyholes.

QR (18) Math Destroyer, DAT Destroyer
I consider myself to be very strong in math- I scored high on the SAT math and got 5’s on AP calc I&II without studying at all, but the QR ended up being my lowest section on the DAT haha. I practiced with Math Destroyer timed. I knew how to do most of the questions on Math Destroyer, but timing was a challenge for me. The real thing was comparable in terms of difficulty with Math Destroyer and Achiever. DAT Destroyer QR section is a joke compared to the real thing. I solved problems more quickly during the real test, but I think I made stupid errors as a result because I thought I felt like I did a lot better on this section. I also struggled with the probability questions, which is embarrassingly ironic because I was a TA for an upper-level statistics class  Oh also, unlike Achiever, you don’t need to press 0 before the decimal on the calculator on the real thing.

RC (24) Crack DAT Reading, Achiever, Qvault (1 test)
I am a slow reader, especially when it comes to detailed, science passages, and I just don’t consider myself to be a good reader overall. Also, I want to mention that English is my second language since I learned it when I was 8. I’m 100% fluent though (actually I’m more fluent in English than my native language), so I don’t think it’s relevant, but I just wanted to mention it for the second-language people. Anyway, Getting horrible scores on Achiever made me scared for this section. I NEVER finished Achiever RC on time; on test 3, I guessed on all of questions for test 3 haha. After being depressed with Achiever Reading, I bought 5 CDR tests since I read on SDN that it’s more comparable. Practicing with CDR boosted my confidence, but I don’t think it was necessarily beneficial in terms of getting “better” at reading. I would suggest CDR just for getting used to the timing and developing your strategy, ONLY IF you feel that you aren’t that strong with reading. If you are decent at reading, I think the free Qvault RC would be enough to develop your strategy. With CDP/Achiever, my strategy was to read very quickly, like half skim/half detail-read, for 10 min per passage, then answer questions in 10 min. I found CDP passages to be quite enjoyable and an easy read, except for test 5 which had really long detailed passages. 
On the real thing, I ended up doing pure search and destroy because I could NOT concentrate on actually reading and my mind was everywhere at this point. Difficulty/amount of detail of the PASSAGE were between the of Achiever and CRD, but the QUESTIONS were WAY easier. Very straightforward. There were only a few tone questions but they were easy as well. I finished right on time 

BIO (22) Cliff’s AP, my anatomy notes, DAT Qvault, Achiever, half of DAT Destroyer 
Harder than I expected by FAR. I knew Cliff’s basically cover to cover going into the test, and I also have a strong anatomy background (almost TA’ed for anatomy as well). However, that wasn’t enough. Majority of the questions were as random as DAT Destroyer Bio and way harder than Achiever. I actually thought Achiever Bio was quite straightforward. I honestly don’t know how I pulled off a 22 on this section.

GC (21) Chad’s, DAT Destroyer, Achiever, DAT Qvault/Bootcamp (1 test)
Oh my. Again, this section was WAYYYY harder than I expected. I felt confident going into this section because I got ~90% correct on Destroyer the second time through this week, and my Achiever scores were decent. I read that GC on the real DAT seems like a cake once you do DAT Destroyer/Achiever, but for my test, that was NOT true. Both conceptual/calculation questions were actually harder 

OC (22) Chad’s, DAT Destroyer, Achiever, DAT Qvault/Bootcamp (1 test)
Started this section with about 25 minutes left. I had to rush through this section, but thankfully, it was quite easy. I think I made mistakes because I had to rush. All the reactions were ones covered in Chad’s.

OVERALL: My real DAT scores on all the sections ended up not being what I expected. I think I got really unlucky with bio and gen chem because they were harder than ANY practice test I’ve taken, including Destroyer and Achiever. During the test, I seriously thought I’m gonna have to retake it because of those two sections. I was relieved to see my scores, but at the same time, I was disappointed because I was expecting and hoping for higher scores on GC/OC.
I also did not expect to score a 24 on RC going into the test. I thought this would be my lowest score, but it ended up being my highest.
I don’t know wth happened with QR haha. I expected to score higher on this section. QR was my lowest section and RC was my highest, although I’m Asian and it’s supposed to be the opposite of that. Hahah 

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