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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/21/23 by hoopraeb

 DAT breakdown – low budget (kinda long)

Hey guys! So I took my DAT yesterday (yaaaay it’s over! ) After lurking on sdn boards everyday for the past week to pump up my stress levels, I have decided to give back (cause that’s what we pre-dent kids are all about ) and offer my own breakdown. 

I studied under a super low budget (<$100) meaning no CDP, destroyer, achiever or any of that good stuff I have been hearing about  On top of that I was also under a severe time constraint (total only 3 weeks)
1 week during spring break – kinda meh studying
2 weeks during summer vacay – 1 week of kinda meh studying and 1 week of I’MAHARDCORESTUDYINGMACHINE

AA – 22
TS – 21
Bio – 20
GC – 22
OC – 21
PAT – 23
RC – 26
QR – 23

I know they are not the most ah~mazing scores, but I am satisfied with them. 

Study Materials:
-Chad’s videos (~$40) – Chad is amazing, the sky is blue, the earth revolves around the sun, yeah, yeah…But for reals, Chad helped enormously. I was rusty on both chems because it has been over a year since I have taken either, so Chad was a great refresher. (It really would help if you take the DAT fresh out of these courses btw) I didn’t get to watch all of his videos due to lack of time, nor did I get to watch them more than once, but if I could’ve, I would’ve. I also wish that I had found that fastplay option a little earlier (meaning not when I only had 3 videos left! >_<)

-Chad’s quizzes – What I love about Chad’s quizzes are his detailed explanations to the answers. I am also indebted to his brutal angle ranking quiz. Angle rankings used to be my second worst PAT section, but I was able to develop my own little V trick with help from a good beating from his angle quiz. 

-Cliff’s AP Bio (FREE) – Pretty good resource. I only got to skim it but I did do the quizzes after each section to see if had a good grasp on the material. FREE though because I borrowed it from the library!

-KBB (FREE) – I would say decent for covering overall foundation. That PAT section though, tsk really gives you a false sense of security! ALSO FREE because my local library had 6 in stock! Get on your free resources, yo. 

-Barron’s ($14) – SO MANY ERRORS/TYPOS (I’m seriously tempted to send them my list of errors I found for posterity’s sake -_-) But it was ok in the end since I combined it with the forces of Cliff and KBB and even Campbell’s when I got doubtful. The PAT section was better than Kaplan’s though and I think their methods for PAT did help. Overall also gave some good memory tips that I actually did use for the science sections. I bought it mainly cause it was cheap  and since they had not one, not two, but *four* practice exams. I grew wary of it after finding so many errors in the first one I took (but then again 2009 sample exam was also loaded with errors!) So it became another form of studying by double checking some of the dubious answers which never hurts.

-MCAT flashcards ($10)- I only bought these because I couldn’t find DAT ones and I thought some of the science material was similar enough. In theory – probably would have been great and would have been awesome to help my lowly bio score because I suck at straight memorization. But I didn’t even end up using them  what a waste

-datQvault – A great resource for practice. Had I had more time, I may have considered buying the full set. Those free tests that I did take had a very similar feel to the real DAT and my scores here were pretty similar to my actual scores. 

-2007/09 practice exams ($35) – 2007 wayyyyyy to easy. 2009 QR was a killer! After I finished any practice exam, I always made a breakdown of which topics I missed the most questions in and then reviewed those topics in detail. Say I just missed a simple question on tropomyosin. That prompted me to go back and review the whole sliding filament model and muscle fibers in general. I thought that really helped me brush up on my weaker points that way.

Actual DAT
-Bio – I didn’t focus as heavily on bio during my studies so I am thankful I got a 20. In practice I was getting 18s. I really had only given all of the bio materials in its entirety a once over. Harder than I had hoped for (it’s no joke about those random questions!) but still doable. I think what also made it so difficult was the fact that it was the first section and I was literally shaking and had a constant uneasy feeling. I was so nervous, so I marked a lot of the questions and came back to them in the end when I could think straight again. 

-GC/OC – Pretty clear cut. Was a confident booster after bio.

-PAT – I think I got pretty lucky because this part wasn’t nearly as hard as I had anticipated. Keyholes are the bane of my existence, and yet I think this was one of the easiest set of keyholes I have ever done! Conversely, hole punching, which I had always found to be my best section turned out to be pretty tricky. The shaded pattern folding was pretty bad too. I was so confused I ended up having to draw out some of the figures!

-RC – I’m a pretty quick reader so I found the best method for me was to actually read the passages. I epic failed when trying to use S&D in practice and ended up confusing myself more. If you can read fast enough, do it. I followed the method of going to the first question, reading until you find that answer then go to the second question, continue reading until you find that answer and so on until you’ve finished the passage. The passages I got were pretty interesting which helped. I actually finished with 15 minutes left too! Surprised myself with that! So before I moved on, I worked on prepping some QR stuff.

-QR – Time has always been an issue for me with QR. I usually know how to do all of the problems, but I just take a little bit longer than I should. To help reduce wasting time on QR, I used my extra RC time to write out a lot of little things I usually have to think twice about. Like some of the squared and cubed numbers, factorials, common fractions to decimals, formulas, trig functions, etc. So I made kinda this a formula/reference sheet. I was still short on time though and ended up having to guess on the last two or three questions. It wasn’t hard per say, it was just time consuming math like rate questions. I do have to give a shoutout to that “Changes to 2013 QR section” thread though! I did spot out some of them stats questions and didn’t dedicate too much time on it which I think helped 

Final thoughs
I definitely think I got pretty lucky with the exam I took, because the real thing didn’t seem nearly as hard as it could have been/I had been expecting it to be. 

In retrospect, studying on both a time limit and min budget is a horrible idea. If I could choose though, I would have wished for more time even if it was just another week or two. I think my TS could have been pulled up by at least 2 points which goes to show that you really should only take the DAT when you feel ready. Where I fell short on Bio and OC was remembering the breadth of the material which I felt would have stuck better had I not crammed it. (No excuse for GC, I always kinda sucked at it although ironically it was my highest out of the sciences)

My final advice would be to be confident with what you do know and don’t let what you don’t know pull you down. The change in attitude really helped me rebound in the first part after the bio section. If you are nervous, your brain gets clouded and that is not conducive to test taking. 


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