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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/22/22 by calvzzz

First and foremost, I wanted to give a shout out to everyone that has helped me along the way and made this possible! Y’all know who y’all are :D. As a thanks, to the sdn community, I had decided to spend some of my time to write this breakdown. If I can help at least one person out there reading this, then my mission is complete. 

CAUTION: It’s f****in LONG. I bolded my scores and sections for those who are only curious about what I used. 

Ok…a little background.

My first attempt at the DAT was a year ago and I scored: 

BIO: 17; GC: 17; OC: 21; PAT: 21; RC: 17; QR: 21; TS: 18; AA: 19.

After browsing through this forum and numerous others, I decided to apply to as many schools as I could afford. With a subpar GPA, decent DAT scores (except for those 17’s…hahahah can’t believe I still got a 19) and a good amount of volunteer hours, I ended up applying to 14 schools (3 instate). I was hoping to get a few interviews and perhaps 1 acceptance. But all hope was lost by January ’13, when the rejection letters began to pile. It sucked at first, but it made me realize that I had to do something to increase my chances the following year. Since my GPA was pretty much set in stone, I knew that I had to take down the DAT.
After graduating in May and with about 2.5 months of studying, I finally did it.

BIO: 22; GC: 22; OC: 26; PAT: 22; RC: 18:cry:; QR: 20; TS: 22:); AA: 22:).

What changed from last year?

Motivation. Discipline. Sacrifice.
Everyone is different, so the best advice that I can give is to study at your own pace. With that being said, you also have to be efficient and study to retain and learn information. For me, that meant quitting my part time job, studying in blocks, and setting weekly goals since I didn’t always have the time or dexterity to grind out hours of studying. It’s true; I neglected a lot of my friends during the first half of studying because I was determined to score well on the DAT and I didn’t want to get distracted from my mission. But as the DAT approached, I was able to just kick back ~2 days of the week leading up to the exam and catch up with some friends. The other 5 days or so, I just practiced problems and learned from my mistakes. 

So..what did I use to study/practice?
BIO
A lot of people say that this section is random, and it definitely can seem like it. I took advice from one of my buddies that beasted the DAT and he just told me to use different biology sources to read from, watch, and even listen to.

Cliff’s Notes 3rd Edition (9/10)
Although I thought this was an amazing source for the biology section, the plant section was really dense. After reading many breakdowns here on sdn, I found out that it was not a topic that was high in yield. So I decided to just understand the general concepts on how they functioned, hormones involved and their structures, versus the nitty gritty. I read this book twice, slow. I also used it as a reference when doing practice problems from time to time.

Feralis’ Notes (10/10) 
Looking for a concise version of Cliff’s that is condensed to 81 pages and portable? This is the answer. Some say it can be too detailed, and it might seem like it too. But since this topic is so vast, you really wouldn’t know what would truly be on the exam until you take it. So strap on your helmet and dive into it. 

Kaplan Blue Book (7/10)
I rated this book a little higher than most because I read Cliff’s first. With Cliff’s being more dense and detailed, it made reading the Kaplan book like a novel and finished it in a few sittings. It was also nice that it had a small section on the eye and ear. This book showed me what general concepts I knew and which concepts I needed to reread and understand. I only read this once, because I preferred the details in Cliff’s. In my opinion, the Kaplan book is not necessary to do well. 

Audio Osmosis (8/10)
Very short, sweet, and simple. Hits a lot of the main concepts of biology and great tool to use when on the road and AFTER reading over the topics they talk about. The two guys are entertaining considering that they’re just talking about biology. Again, not necessary to do well.

Craigsavage on YouTube (10/10)
This guy is awesome! I never liked photosynthesis, how the hierarchy of plants worked, and even the DNA/RNA replication nonsense until after I watched his videos. I’m a visual learner, and always tried to put strange biology names and concepts with pictures. So if this is you, check him out!

Misc. videos on YouTube and Google (10/10)
When in doubt about, just Google it, Bing it, Yahoo? Or whatever. Just use your search engine and watch/read away. Pretty much common sense.

Destroyer (10/10)

Use this as an aid to your biology reading and don’t get discouraged. I probably got 50% the first time and 80-90% the second time. Understand the reason why answers are right and wrong. The formats of some of the questions aren’t realistic compared to the DAT, but you can pick up on a lot of the random facts that it throws at you.

Achiever (?/10)
 – 16/17/17
A little fuzzy on how this section was because it was my first timed biology section that I took. I just remembered reading the answers and explanations to each and every question. 

Topscore (9/10) – 19/24/19
I thought this was pretty representative of the real DAT and great to use during your last few weeks of studying.

Bootcamp (10/10) – 21 on the free exam 
Awesome! The wording of the questions was probably the closest to the actual thing. Would’ve probably invested in it if I knew about it earlier and had the time.

Datqvault (10/10) – 21 on the free exam
Nice application type questions and an extra bonus for being free :).

2009 ADA (8/10) – 21
I only give this an 8 due to the frustration of the errors it had. Otherwise, make the investment and it’ll be worth it, trust me.


GC
This section is very manageable for anyone to make above a 20. There weren’t really any curveballs thrown at me during the exam. Most of the mistakes I have made on practice problems and exams were due to misreading. So my solution was to slow down, read the question, analyze it, and ATTACK! 

Chad’s Videos/Quizzes (20/10)
If I ever meet the guy, I’m definitely going to buy him a beer. This was the main source that I used in terms of learning chemistry for the DAT. Very concise and focuses on high yield topics, exceptions, and is very easy to follow. He’s the man! Take the quizzes that correspond to each chapter, rather than each video. I also recommend that you go through all of the quizzes about a week prior to your exam since the format of the questions being asked on the actual exam is pretty similar. There was a few times on the DAT when I said to myself, “OH, I remember Chad said talked about this!” or, “..ahhh Chad told me about this exception..”.

Destroyer (9/10)
Got destroyed in this section for sure. Use this as an aid to learn some things that Chad doesn’t go that much in depth into. Don’t get too caught up in the heavy calculation based questions.

Achiever (9/10) -17/17/18
This was hell. Numbers were hard to manipulate and I literally just wanted to quit halfway through the GC portion. In the end, I continued to learn the concepts behind these problems and learned from my mistakes. Made the real GC on the DAT feel simple.

Topscore (9/10)
 18/18/19
Realistic to what the DAT will be like. I should’ve scored higher if I had just slowed down and READ!

Bootcamp (10/10) – 19 on the free exam
About the same ratios of calculation based problems versus conceptual problems. Again, I probably would’ve invested into it if I had the time and money.

ADA 2009(10/10) – 21
Very close to the DAT exam, invest in it.


OC
I wasn’t the best at ochem in college, but I did enjoy it to an extent. Although you really don’t need to know how to do mechanisms, it really helps in my opinion. Knowing how electrons flowed and what intermediates formed allowed me to memorize fewer reactions and understand a basic concept of what organic chemistry is all about.

Chad’s Videos/Quizzes (10/10)
I don’t know if it is because I took ochem 1 and 2 already, but Chad made this section feel like a joke compared to the class. Everything was easy to learn and understand. In my opinion, Chad’s Videos alone will be sufficient to help you score at least a 19-20. 

Achiever (9/10) – 19/19/20
To my surprise, I felt like there weren’t too many curveballs thrown at me due to some past knowledge from my undergrad. If you’re looking to find some ochem problems that are a little more challenging, achiever is the answer.

Topscore (10/10)
 – 23/19/21
Occasionally threw a reaction at you that made you wonder if you ever covered it through Chad’s or any other source. Overall, it was very representative of the real DAT.

Bootcamp (10/10) – 24 on the free exam
Exam felt easy? Don’t really have an opinion on this, sorry. Check out the strategies on the website for lab techniques. There’s a nice summary of them.

ADA 2009 (9/10) – 23
Had a few really weird questions and mistakes in the answer key. Overall, it was comparable to the real deal.


PAT
One of my friends told me that playing games help with this section. I laughed because I used to play video games all of the time. In the end, I guessed it was true (bro-science). I never really studied too hard at this section because it, too, felt like a game or a puzzle to me. Search for strategies that people post on this forum and who knows, you might end up using it! Also time yourself for each of the sections and get faster at what is easier. This will give you the extra bit of time you may need for the sections that require a little more thinking. If you stick to your strategy and perhaps a little luck, you will be able to do well. Oh yeah, don’t panic either. I got to the pattern folding section with around 18 minutes left and I usually have a little more than 20 minutes left. This made me panic and I couldn’t think straight. For the next 8-9 pattern folds, I had no idea wth I was doing and ended up marking C for each and every one of them. With 12 minutes left, I rubbed my eyes a little and told myself to just focus and stick with my strategy and ended up going back over all 15 pattern folds. It was then, when I realized how idiotic I was and the answers were obvious. Panicking will only cloud your judgment and limit your abilities, so focus and stay CONFIDENT!

Kaplan (7/10)
I initially didn’t know what in the world PAT was, but Kaplan was a nice and gentle introduction. Everything is much easier, but only use it if you happen to have it already. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.

CDP (10/10)
 – scored around 22 consistently
I don’t know why people have been trashing CDP lately, but I thought it was a great source. I used it to determine what I should do for each section and just stuck to it. Of course, a little instinct was involved due to practice.

Topscore (6/10) 
There were too many repeats on the exams. Because of this, I won’t even list my scores. The difficulty, on the other hand, was comparable to the actual thing.


RC
1/3 passages was easy and snd-able. The other two…yeah right. One required you to read and analyze how a hypothesis applied, and the other had the questions with the answer choices such as: A) the statement is correct, but the reason is not. B) Both statements are correct, but not related. Etc. I was never a strong reader to begin with, and my snd method didn’t really take those types of questions into account. I prepared for tone questions and main idea questions, and neither of them showed up. Just my luck..hahah. I panicked once again, and just clicked around until the time ran out, literally.:shrug: I’m really hoping that this section doesn’t come back and bite me in the ***.

Topscore (7/10) -19/21/21
Not really representative of the actual exam. Too easy to just read questions and find answers.

Bootcamp (9/10) made an 18 on the free exam a few days prior to my test
Most realistic way they would ask questions about the passages. Get exposed to those types of questions earlier (not like me).

QR
I was never really bad at math, so I didn’t take this section as serious as the sciences. I felt that I just needed to look over some formulas and did a few problems here and there from Kaplan and other practice exams. Mainly, I just shrugged off this part of the exam because I felt like I could get at least a 20. Many have said that Math Destroyer is overkill, so I never even touched it.

All in all, anyone can do well on this exam. Like the majority of us, we’re not geniuses and can’t magically pull out a 26AA or whatever out of our ***. Although your score is based upon how other people do, you shouldn’t let others discourage you. Even though I probably had a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a perfect score, I told myself that I had to be as prepared as I can be. Lastly, let your brain relax from studying every once in awhile, especially the final week leading up to the big test. When you get to that stage, you have to make sure you build up your stamina and be trust in your studying.

Best of luck!

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