Get into Dental School

2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/22/25 by duvaldentist

Hello SDN community sorry I didn’t post this sooner but I wanted to wait a day to make sure this was real life lol. Although my scores are not that of the elite I am more than happy with my results. So with out further ado here are my results from yesterdays madness along with my first attempt scores (from July 2011). 

Re-take Results —————- First test scores

PA: 25 (99.0%)  —————— PA: 21 (87.9%)
QR: 21 (96.4%) ——————–QR: 17 (75.6%)
RC: 20 (64.3%) ——————- RC: 16 (14.4%)
Bio: 23 (97.4%) ——————- Bio: 19 (76.6%)
GC: 21 (87.0%) ——————- GC: 17 (46.8%) 
OC: 23 (94.4%) ——————- OC: 21 (85.7%)
TS: 22 (95.6%) ——————– TS: 19 (75.0%)
AA: 22 (97.0%) —- AA: 18 (62.8%)

I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who continues to post on this site, I can not begin to express my gratitude to all of you. So i’ll simply leave it at “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart” with out you guys this level of improvement could be possible so again thank you.

So for my retake I studied for about a month and a half i wish i had more time but given the situation at hand I just had to work with it. Initially I scheduled a date which would have given me 1 month to study but after gauging my progress I knew that despite getting my scores in a little latter in this application cycle the extra time was going to make a world of difference and as you can see they did. With that being said for those of you who are or will be prepping for the DAT just know at the end of the day no one knows you better than your self, so if ever faced with the decision to postpone your exam date do some soul searching and gauge your progress through the material you have covered. You will never feel fully prepared for the exam regardless of the amount preparation (its just the nature of the beast), so put the nerves and anxiety aside and really soul search to see if postponing is right for you. 

I personally used the following materials: Chad for OC GC and QR (10/10), Cliffs AP Bio (9/10), Crack DAT PAT (10/10), DAT Destroyer (7/10), DAT Math Destroyer (6/10), DATqVault (10/10) for this i mainly used it for its 10 bio tests and a handful of the math exams, and the trial version of DAT Bootcamp (I didn’t get to use the entire product so I wont rate this material), Feralis Bio notes.

I also didn’t have any time to do any full tests like TopScore, Achiever, ADA 2007, ADA 2009. But I would recommend at least TopScore to build stamina and timing. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to use any of these sources but I guess my previous experience with the test was enough. 

Chad is the absolute man :horns: (I don’t know if your reading this sir but on the off set chance that you are “THANK YOU!!!!!” your beyond awesome)… Chads is an absolute must have in anyones DAT prep arsenal, It has been about 4 years since I’ve taken G-Chem and about 3 years since I’ve taken O-Chem so anyone that is in my boat with a weak foundation of the Chem’s Chad’s videos and quizes is the way to build a solid foundation, his lectures are not only informative, but fun as well (and lets face it DAT prep can get pretty stale some times). And for those of you who already have a solid foundation Chad’s videos are a way to channel in on and focus on high yield topics of the DAT (bc the DAT is nothing like U.G. chem courses thus you must approach the material in a different manner as well)….—- Also side note Chad’s QR videos are great as well, he really breaks down major topics that show up on the DAT.

Cliff’s APbio is another must have, although the book was made for high school AP students don’t let it fool you, it is filled with great information that will help you build the proper foundation for the Biology section. I personally read the book once taking good notes on material that I found difficult or wanted to review at a latter time (Ex. cellular respiration, the cell cycle, the different genetic terms such as incomplete dominance V.S. Codominance, etc…), I used these notes periodically through out my study session to revisit these topics until eventually I had them memorized. The only down fall to cliff’s AP bio is that it is not 100% all inclusive but to his defense the Dat bio is so vas that it’s to much to fit into one book, and that’s where DATqVault, DAT Bootcamp, and Destroyer shine they introduce you to topics that you may not have covered during you initial bio prep…. One thing to note about Cliff’s is that I’ve herd the 4th edition focuses less on DAT material than the 3rd edition so watch out for that when purchasing this book.

Crack DAT PAT (10 test version), as some of you may know I posted about this topic a few weeks ago, and after taking the DAT I can vouch that Crack DAT PAT has gotten a lot harder in comparison to recent years (at least in my opinion and take that for what its worth). But don’t let that discourage you because you can rest assured that after a few headaches you will start to get your technique down and come test day you will rock out. I recommend watching some youtube videos on different strategies if you are having problems with any particular section to help you develop your own personal strategy and once you have that down start by taking the first test in individual PAT test portions (EX. Just keyhole, just TFE, just hole punch, etc…) so you don’t get to overwhelmed all at once. Once you get a feel for that take the next couple of tests with out the timer to further develop your technique and for the last 4 or 5 tests or so use the timer and develop your speed. 

Here is the strategy I used for each of the PAT sections:

Keyhole – This just boils down to practice there is no real strategy to it in my opinion. Simply look for key features that stand out on the given answer choices and try and match those to the “Master” object slowly but surely you will begin to eliminate answers until you are left with the right one. 

TFE – Initially this section will be pretty difficult until your brain begins to develop a strategy, but persistence is key and over time I promise it will get easier and easier. For this section first start off by understanding the rules behind solid V.S. dotted lines also develop your ability to predict/identify the orientation of the shapes from different views (this is going to be difficult to explain via text but i’ll give it my best shot). In the past the method of line counting was used a lot but i have recently seen a lot of posts discouraging the use of this method, I personally never used this method (exclusively atleast) so it was not an issue for me. I just developed an ability to visualize the 3D object and this is what I also recommend to all of you. I think the biggest mistake people make for this section is that they try to visualize the object and then try and match up line for line, hole for hole, and cut out for cut out in the answer choices. Instead start by looking for differences in the answer choices, once you have identified a few refer to the main object views and start to eliminate answer choices that don’t match with the main object. Over time you will have eliminated all the wrong answer choices.

Hole Punching – I found this section to be my personal favorite in the PAT. At first i tried doing it all in my head but that was a big mistake so deff utilize the dry erase paper for this. Start by making a 4X4 grid like this but with 4 slots — > # once you do that work to “unfold” the object by going from images R to L. Place a dot in your grid for the corresponding initial punches, heres the secret for every fold draw a line on your grid that corresponds to the fold this line will serve as a line of symmetry. With this line of symmetry take any punches on one side of the line and reflect it over to the opposite side of the line in the corresponding spot. Note that after some folds punches are “False” punches bc the paper no longer resides in that location, if that is the case then erase the false dot and continue. 

Angles – This was tied for my least favor category along with pattern folding. The best advice I can give for this section is that practice makes perfect. The slight strategies that I did use included the “Rapid eye” technique which essentially is moving back from the screen looking away to refresh your judgment and then to quickly glance back and fourth at two angles that you are having problems distinguishing between in hopes that it will become more clear which is either larger or smaller. First I recommend Identifying the most obvious angles, they are usually the smallest or largest and sometimes both. Once you have identified that you can refer to the answer choices to see which choices you have narrowed it down to. From there it will be difficult but hopefully the rapid eye technique will help you out. Also another thing helpful to do is to mentally compare the angles to your standard 180 and 90 degree angles. In a lot of cases especially with the 90 degree angles you can identify those that are obtuse acute or very close to 90 and that helps a lot as well. Just to rant a bit I hate how they include angles with legs that are not proportionate to the other leg, these instinctively look longer so thanks DAT for trying to lie to my brain and thanks for making me rewire my neural networks just for you lol. One last bit of advice is that DAT Bootcamp has a “random angle” generator which is great for developing your angle ranking techniques.

Cube counting – For this section a lot of people use the tick mark set up where you make columns for 0 1 2 3 4 5 sides exposed and place a tick under each after they count the sides on each of the cubes. I found this strategy great for beginners but I believe there is a more efficient way of doing this section. I invite you all to try my method out (it may have been invented already but I came up with this on my own as well) count the cubes the same way you normaly would L to R and D to U or how ever you do it but instead of making the chart which already puts you at a disadvantage because your losing time making the chart, try to simply count the cubefaces cube by cube and with out looking write the number associated with that cube down on your paper. For each row of numbers you write down correlate that to a row of cubes once you go to a new row go down and start a new row of numbers, this allows you to keep track of your place on the cubes with having to look away and risk losing your spot. So to recap this method gives you two advantages. #1 you don’t have to take your eyes off the cubes so you don’t run the risk of missing a cube or counting a cube twice or most importantly losing your place all together and having to start over (which happened to me a lot with the difficult cube set ups). #2 This method also allows you to go back and check your counting if you don’t feel comfortable with a certain row for example because the row system sets up a way to keep track of which numbers belong to which cubes. so for example instead of the ticks you would write something down like this

2 3 3 3 4
3 2 1 0 3 4 5 3
1 2 3
3 3 3 3 2 3 4

At the end once you have the numbers listed just go through and count up how ever many time you wrote the number the questions are asking for. So for this just practice writing the numbers down without looking and eventually trust me you will like this method. I got this idea after taking notes without looking because when I looked down in class I would miss a power point slide or something.

Last but not leastPattern folding – I despise this section greatly and I’m getting a headache just writing about it lol, but for this I was never the best at so I would refer to others for help on this section. But from my experience I would do the easy folds first like the ones that just fold into a unique shape with no designs. Then I would go back and do the rest. I had a particularly difficult time with the cubes and odd shapes with complex patterns. My best advice is to 1st see if the patters can be folded the manner displayed in the answer choices and just follow to see which edges could/would match up in the objects. 

DAT destroyer is great but it is very long, I was unable to go through it more than once but I wish I had I know it would of bumped up my G-Chem and O-Chem scores up but Im not complaining. Bio is great for those odd ball questions and to see where your weak points are. Key with this source is to thoroughly review all the solutions because thats where you will benefit most from this source.

DAT Math Destroyer – I did the first 6 tests in this book and decided to stop because #1 some of the problems where far beyond the scope of the DAT and #2 with this book you could never finish in 45 minutes thus it indadvertedly screws up your timing. I will however say that this book is great for learning the material, despite being beyond the scope of the exam it really drills some good foundational topics into your cranium. If you have the time I suppose its worth going through but if not this is one of the sources you can skip over. Just make sure if you do use this you need to supplement it with another source to get your timing down bc with QR timing is key (I personaly used DATqVault for timing and it was a great source for QR).

DATqVault – (I only used the Bio and QR tests) qVault Was a great source of Bio questions to give you the edge on those random or difficult questions on the real DAT. Also their breakdown of the questions categories by section so you could see where you are weak was a major bonus to gauging what I need to brush up on. The QR portion was a great representation of the level of difficulty of the real DAT also this gives you a great way to develop your timing for the QR.

DAT Bootcamp – I only took the free Bio test which was great so I figured it was worthing mentioning if anyone is thinking about getting it I would recommend it. Also with the free account you can access the “Strategy” material which gives a tremendous amount of helpful tips and tricks for the DAT.

Feralis Bio notes – I only had the time to skim them but from what I saw these are golden, I would read Cliff’s first to build a foundation and then focus on these notes for the details. He also recently uploaded an edited version so deff be sure to check that out.

Wow this is a lot longer than I had expected and I’m sorry for those of you who wanted a quick read but I felt I needed to give back for all that I have taken from this site lol.

So my recommendations on the actual test day: for the break bring something to keep you hydrated (I choose vitamin water “Revive” to revive me during my break lol), and bring a snack to get your glucose levels up (I brought a cliff’s bar but was only able to eat half because I had no appetite at the time). Before the test take some aspirin bc your brain will be on overdrive during the exam so the last thing you need is a headache to slow you down. Also bring some ear plugs, the ear things they provide are uncomfortable and the people constantly coming in and out of the test center could get distracting unless you like that type of environment. For breakfast have plenty of water or juice to get you hydrated and eat something that will power you through the test (I ate a bowl of oatmeal with fruit, a banana :banana:, and drank some water). Make sure to use the restroom, bc i know for me I had to go at least 5 times before the exam the nerves and anxiety really got to my bladder so make sure to have it drained come test time. After my break in the middle of the RC section I had the urge to go again but the whole sign in and sign out ordeal would have really cut into my time so I just held it in for the rest of the test needless to say i’m sure I could have improved my scores had it not been for my silly bladder. Last but not least sleep early the night before and arrive early to the test so you can relax and clear your mind so you can prepare to focus.

For the Bio part of my DAT I did not run into to many questions that seemed to come from left field, I believe its because I utilized the bio destroyer qVault and some of Bootcamp to cover the random side of the bio exam. Don’t get me wrong I did have one or two that I had to not covered in my prep but I was able to use critical thinking to figure out a plausible answer choice. My advice is to just use Cliffs then Feralis notes, and supplement it with destroyer qVault and possibly bootcamp.

For GC I felt I had a good grasp on the concepts but always struggled a little with the calculations, thus I think thats where I lost some points. Overall Chad is the man with this section and supplemented with Destroyer you will be golden.

For OC again like GC I felt confident about my conceptual understanding of the topics but some of the oddball reactions got thrown into my exam that I was not able to cover with Chads alone, but given more time to go over Destroyer OC I’m sure your basis would be covered.

PAT – 

The keyholes where on par with Crack DAT PAT, although I did get one question that I swear had the same answer choice twice just flipped which just so happens to also be the correct answer choice so I don’t know if I choose the right one, but I sure hope i did lol (I spent all 5 minutes of my extra time trying to figure out why they where different but I couldn’t find a single thing but oh well). 

The TFE seemed slightly easier on the real DAT than Crack DAT PAT especially since the real deal didn’t have any small or squished lines like Crack DAT PAT.

Angle Ranking surprisingly was a lot easier in my opinion that Crack DAT PAT. I dont know if it was due to my extreme focus during this section but every question seemed doable. I didnt have to many 1 or 2 degree difference questions or questions that had crazy oriented angles. Also on the real DAT the legs of the angles are very long which seems to make the difference in the degrees more obvious which is very helpful. 

Hole punching which is my favorite section gave me a surprise as well, normally the difficulty lies within the difficulty of the folds but instead on my exam I ran into 2 diff problems… #1 the hole punches them selves where a lot smaller than that of any practice test ive seen. #2 the folds where not on the lines of the 4 by 4 they where almost midway between two sections so it sort of threw me off so just watch out for that. As far as the folds themselves much easier than the folds on the new crack dat pat.

Cube counting was very straightforward with no structures that had an excessive amount of cubes like on crack dat, so this section was easier than crack dat.

Pattern folding was rough for me as always at least for a hand full of questions that had crazy shapes and crazy patterns so just practice an im sure you will rock this portion. 

For RC I did not practice one time and as you can see that strategy didn’t work for me my first time around either, luckily this time I got interesting passages (or at least i tricked my self into believing they where) so that along with simply trying to keep a strong pace helped me bump this score up.

QR by this time I was burnt out, I had to use the restroom and had a headache so I tried my best but quite frankly I was ready for the test to be over. For this section the questions are mixed between easy med and difficult. Your job as a test taker is to be able to identify which questions fall into which categories. Here timing is everything, so dont be afraid to use the mark button and guess on hard questions. If you practice and know the math topics you should be able to do all the easy and med questions then go back to the hard/long questions last with the remaining time. With the use of practice tests like qVault I was able to become comfortable skipping questions and coming back to them if i had time, and that I think is the key becoming comfortable with marking and guessing on the hard one. Dont get me wrong dont mark all the questions but mabe 5-6 and come back to them after because remember a right answer is a right answer regardless if its an easy or hard question so make sure you dont spend to much time on a hard Q and then run out of time to answer 5 easy questions. It’s all about give and take on this section and identifying the hard/long questions that they throw in there to slow you down.

Over all the test was a lot easier than I had imagined it to be, I just want you all to know after all the practice we DATers put our selves through it deff over prepares us and makes the real thing a lot simpler so just stay on track and stay motivated and you will rock the exam.

My last parting words will be to answer this question “If you could do one thing different what would it be?” I would have incorporated more “Fun” time to offset the stress of DAT prep, Im not going to lie at the end I was getting a little depressed after sitting at my desk day in and day out so make sure to make time to do things that are fun for you like play some sports, chill with your friends, go shopping, exercise or what ever it is that will keep you level headed.

If you guys have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer your questions. And for those of you who read this whole thing just think of it as prep for RC :D

Advertise with AceDAT
Ace the DAT | Tips and Tricks to ace the Dental Admissions Test and get into Dental School!