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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/22/19 by saintguitar

Hi guys, 

I can’t say enough about this forum, just to have a place where you can share not just information but vents about the DAT !! 

I took the DAT on 08/13/13 and here’s my breakdown:

PAT: 19
QR: 19
RC: 21
Bio: 21
GC: 23
OC: 25
TS: 22
AA: 22

Overall GPA: 3.17 
Science GPA: 2.99 (grades from last 11 yr = 2.7nish plus grades from last yr = 3.66)
Graduate School GPA: 3.56

First of all, the scores you see on this forum is NOT a representation of the overall DAT takers; the average score for those who got in last year varies from school to school, but you can still get in with a well-balanced 18, or 19. 

DAT Materials Used: 
KAPLAN On-site: I second most people on the KAPLAN. The class itself is not really good. It is good to get a refresher, however, on the entire subjects except for some topics in bio. Also their online materials are actually a good practice and helped me with the strategy, which I will summarize later in this post. 

KAPLAN Online: broken down to each subject and each week’s assigned material. Lots of practice quizzes and tests. I was worried just like many of you are, because I was NOT doing well on their tests, but my actual DAT score came out much better; however, you should not give yourself a thought that you will do well on the real exam when you are doing bad on the practice test, I will iterate more later in this post.

Cliff’s Bio 3rd Ed: I bought this book for $10 several years ago. I love how it covers every topic in biology and gives concise information. However, you should not rely bio on this book alone. More on this later.

Destroyer 2009 version: I bought this in 2010 and this time I actually used it!
I personally think that their general chem and organic chem questions are tougher than the actual questions presented on the DAT but nevertheless, these are the types of practices that you want to get yourself accustomed to.

DATqvault: I did NOT know about this site until a week before my test. I came to this forum to see any last minute exercise I should do before I hit the DAT, and I ran into someone talking about qvault, I was like, “What is that??” Whoever you were, the poster, I owe you a cold one my friend. qvault’s bio questions ARE random but because it has so many questions available, it will help in just to get the groove of choosing a right answer on the computer. Also you can save any question you like and work on those problems any time, whereas KAPLAN’s online practice materials do NOT have “Mark” function, which was very very very annoying.

DATqvault Bio: As I said above, the questions on qvault are not exactly what you should be focusing on alone. However, there are so many problems that you can relate the answers to important topics, and I will explain more on the strategy later.

DATqvault Ochem & GChem: These were probably my favorite materials I used. I felt like these questions were closer to what the actual DAT gave than the problems from the Destroyer. Sometimes the types of problems overlap with each other but still a good practice.

Textbooks: a good reference. I did not dig into it hardcore-ly. I verified the information in the Cliff’s to the more recent materials in the textbook just to make sure. Also to brush up on the IR, NMR, etc.

Testing Experience:
I started studying about 2 months ago, and I think it is about enough of the time to get down the materials and not get “bored” out of the materials and the pressure. 
On the testing day, I actually got lost but thankfully I was not late to the exam !! 
The prometric centers do a pretty good job at hiding inside those business complexes:)

For the exam, wear in layers, do NOT drink too much before the exam and make sure you go to the bathroom BEFORE the exam, shower in the morning in hot water, eat, and get up at least an hour early before your exam time to get your brain going. 

Studying Strategy:
In two words: PRACTICE WORKS!!
Without putting your time and effort, there is no other way around the exam.
Just like many other greats have said before, you just have to do it!
What worked for me may not work for you, so make sure you know your learning style.

For me, lots of practice questions helped me A LOT. But make sure you are not just memorizing the answers; you need to know why you got the answer wrong, and try the same questions several times until you can read the WRONG answers and can tell yourself WHY those were wrong. If you are unsure about some choices but you got the question right, mark the problem and make sure you know all the answer choices. 
Of course, on the real DAT, as long as you can eliminate the bad choices, you can make a pretty good prediction on the right answer. BUT, that is not what you need to think about when you are studying. 
HOWEVER, if you have really short time between now and your exam, focus on those high-yield topics!! Yes, some topics are asked more heavily than the others and if you are running out on your studying time, you should focus on those topics instead of trying to learn the entire subject.

G-chem: solve lots of problems by hands will prepare you better. I took 3 hours per day to solve 60 Gchem questions on the destroyer and 2 qvault tests everyday during my last week of studying. Make sure you know which formula you need to use for which type of question. 

O-chem: I solved lots of problems on the destroyer, KAPLAN, and qvault. I must tell you, organic chemistry was definitely my weakness during my practice tests up until a week before the exam. So I said, alright, let’s find out what I am missing the most. For those individual reactions, I used the roadmap from the destroyer; I made two separate “worksheets” from each roadmap: one without the products, and the other without the reactants. I just started predicting the products, or reactants depends on the worksheet until I can say which reactants make which products. Again, practice works!

PAT: I did not get a good amount of practice on this and it shows. I was planning on doing crack the DAT as I bought it a few years ago already, but I ran out of studying time. KAPLAN did teach me a few tricks for the PAT and I love it for TFE and Hole punching, but I could never get the keyholes and pattern folding. So I essentially made up for poor scores on the keyholes and pattern folding by getting all, or most from TFE, Hole Punching, and the cube counting. 

RC: I read lots of textbooks for my graduate program and I did not really practice for this section. I wrote down any important piece of information, like person’s last name, a particular year for something, data, etc., for each paragraph so I can go back to the exact paragraph to search for the right answer. 

QR: Again, I did not practice much for this section and it shows. I was always “good” at math but of course I’m talking about 15 years ago!! Make sure you know, sin, cos, tan, sec, etc., as there will ALWAYS be at least one or two questions on that.

Testing strategy: when you begin the test, you are given 15 minutes of tutorial. Use this time efficiently!! No need to read the tutorial if you are adequately familiar with the testing system already! Use this 15 mins to write any formula, equation, reaction, etc., on your board. Also I made special spaces for the cube counting, numbers from 0 ~ 5 and about five separate boxes next to them so I can count them easily during the PAT section. Practice this as well before the exam.

Final Thoughts:
I know this was a rather lengthy breakdown, but I hope it would help someone out there as it helped me reading from other people’s breakdown.
Don’t get discouraged by the scores from your practice exams; they are what they are, just a practice. You want to make those mistakes on the practice exams, not on the real DAT. 
Give yourself a break, I made mine Sunday, to kind of de-stress and get yourself energized for yet another week of hardcore studying.
I am extremely happy with my score except for my RC, as I used to get 24 out of it, but nevertheless I feel like I did all that I could.

Last but not least, GOOD LUCK to all of you and I would be more than happy to answer any questions :)

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