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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/21/23 by We Are PS

I finally finished my DAT today and I feel it’s appropriate to give the SDN community a breakdown because of the countless breakdowns that have helped me. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to PM me. I’ll be golfing and playing video games for the rest of the summer, so I have plenty of free time to answer. First, my scores:

PAT 23
QR 20
RC 25
BIO 21
GC 22
OC 20
TS 21
AA 22

Study Materials
I had the typical materials as one might expect: 
Destroyer/Math Destroyer – Helps you think outside of the box for application questions. 
Crack DAT PAT – Definitely buy this. 
Cliff’s – Pretty helpful but a lot more detailed than necessary for the DAT. 
KBB – It’s ok. I only read the BIO but I would still recommend just to have.
Chad’s Videos – Just buy them, they’re as great as everyone says. 
datQvault for BIO – Very helpful. A lot of good application questions. 
DAT Bootcamp – If you’re on the fence about buying DAT Bootcamp, you have to get it. I would highly highly recommend Bootcamp for the sciences because the questions are very representative of the real thing. 
2007 and 2009 ADA DAT – 2009 is pretty good, 2007 is way to easy. 
A few Achiever and Topscore .pdf one of my friends gave me – Achiever is obviously super hard and I thought a waste of time. I did a single Topscore and got like 17s on the sciences so I said screw Topscore. 

Study Habits
I started studying in the third week of May and would study for maybe 5-6 hours a day. Some weekends I would study, others I would not, but I would keep the studying to like 3 hours when I did. OK I am an extremely lazy person at times. I’m very motivated but it’s so hard to make myself just sit down and study for hours on end. Pretty much every day when I would eat lunch, I would say, “Alright now I’ll take an hour break. Oh I have a new Hell’s Kitchen DVR’d? Make that a two hour break.” Some days I would wake up and just go golfing and take the day off. Basically I looked for every opportunity to not study, but I would’ve been much more miserable studying than I already was if I hadn’t taken breaks often. 

I initially followed the 8 week schedule, but I modified it pretty quickly. When it came to Cliff’s and KBB, I would first read a chapter, then highlight, then take notes on what I highlighted. This was a complete waste of time because I didn’t even touch the notes but it’s whatever. For Destroyer, I went through it 1.5 times for the three sciences and I only did 7 Math Destroyer tests. Doing Destroyer more than once may be overkill because Destroyer is pretty overkill as it is honestly. I started doing practice tests with two weeks to go. Any question I got wrong I would write down as much as I could about all the answers and then just review.

T-Minus 24 Hours to Reckoning
The day before my test I went golfing and relaxed. I had to get a hotel because the testing center is like an hour and a half away and my test was at 8:00 am. I am not a morning person and there was no way I was getting up any earlier than 6:30. Before I left for the hotel I listened to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” on vinyl because I was thinking I need all the luck I can get.

I get to the hotel, had some of the best wings of my life and a beer, and then just relaxed for the rest of the night. I usually don’t use mouthwash in my brushing routine (which may be complete blasphemy to say on a pre-dental forum) but I made sure I used it just to appease the Dental Gods for the next morning. 

T-Minus 00:00 – The Moment of Truth Arrives
They let me start my test a half hour early which was pretty nice. I was able to set up my hole punching grids and cube counting charts during the tutorial, no trouble there. I didn’t ask if I was allowed to do this for fear of being told I wasn’t, so I just did it. 

I was fairly confident walking into the test, but then I started. The first BIO question comes up: “Hmm I don’t know this one. Better mark it.” The second BIO question comes up: “Hmm I don’t know this one either.” At this point I don’t know how many expletives were flying through my head and I was thinking that I greatly underestimated the DAT. I kept working and felt like I was marking every question. I ended up finishing with about 15 minutes left so I went through and tried to relax. Luckily, a lot of the questions finally clicked and I changed like 10 answers. 

BIO – It was fairly random as you probably know but you can reason your way through the answer choices and eliminate a lot of them. They asked a few conceptual questions in a verrrrrry round about way and I would’ve been screwed if I didn’t sit there and truly think it out. Qvault will help prepare you for these types of questions. 
GC – It was straight forward stuff, but I think my nerves made it soooo much worse. I got stuck on a super easy question and felt like a complete idiot. Luckily I figured it out and still felt like a complete idiot haha. Chad’s quizzes were similar in difficulty. 
OC – It was not as bad as I was expecting. Reactions that I had were really simple. Chad’s videos are critical for anyone who thinks they suck at OChem, because I got C+ in both OChem I/II. 
PAT – Keyhole was a lot harder than CDP. Some of the shapes I looked at and just sat there and said WTF is this. TFE was similar in difficulty to CDP. Angles were easier than CDP. I could narrow the choices down a lot easier. Hole punching was a lot harder because there were a lot of odd folds. Cube counting much easier and pattern folding was a lot harder I thought. CDP is really good though for practice and I only scored a 23 on CDP one time. 

I took my break and was thinking how I just wasted $385 on this test and was going to get straight 16s. I had five minutes left on my break and said screw it I just want to get this over with.

RC – I did not practice for this section at all and I do not fancy myself as a super reader so this is a shock. As soon as I clicked the button to start again I regretted it because I didn’t even think of a strategy to use. I was also not ready for the format. I thought the questions would be listed and I would only have to scroll down. No. You have to click next for each question. The first passage (13 paragraphs) I did pure search and destroy. The second passage (7 paragraphs) I did search and destroy, as well. The third passage (13 paragraphs) I read the first 8 paragraphs and wrote down important words. I would definitely recommend writing down the important words from each paragraph, but more importantly, just make sure you know what strategy you’re going to use because I wasted time just sitting there figuring out how to tackle it. 

QR – At this point I just wanted to get the hell of there. The first two questions were easy, but from then on I felt like the test was just kicking me while I was down. It was very similar to Math Destroyer. I thought DAT Bootcamp was super hard compared to the real thing. I’m thinking I guessed on 10-12 questions so I have no idea how I got a 20.

Before I clicked done to receive my scores, the only emotion I felt was anger. I couldn’t believe how poorly I did after putting two months of my life into studying. I clicked done, my scores appeared, and I had to check the name at the top because I thought they screwed my scores up. 

Final Advice
Get DAT Bootcamp. There isn’t a whole lot out there reviewing Bootcamp because it’s relatively new, but it is definitely the most representative source that I used. Take breaks and take breaks often. If you’re studying for 10 straight hours each day, I feel like you’re just wearing yourself down. During the test, try to stay as calm as possible. I read breakdowns where people said they felt like they would have to retake it. I kind of just shrugged this off, but I am telling you right now PREPARE YOURSELF for this feeling. It is NOT fun feeling like that. I am by no means a genius and have felt extremely “Average Joe” when lurking SDN. This just shows if you put in the work you can do it!

EDIT: I completely forgot my practice scores which can be pretty helpful. I have to say that I standardized all scores to the 2007 ADA DAT score sheet which was probably a bad idea because the scores came out to be a lot lower, but that gave me more motivation. 

DAT Bootcamp 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
BIO 19, 18, 18, 17, 19
GC 17, 16, 20, 18, 17
OC 18, 19, 19, 20, 17
QR 19, X, X, X, X

DAT Achiever 1, 2
BIO 18, 17
GC 14, 18
OC 16, 17
PAT 18, 18

BIO 18, 18, 19, 19, 22, 19, 20, 25, 19, 22

20, 20, 20, 20, 22, 20, 22, 21, 23, X

I was averaging 12-16 wrong on Math Destroyer.

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