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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/23/22 by hl4jn

DAT Breakdown – Achiever, DAT Destroyer, Crack the DAT

Bio – 25
GC – 21
OC – 23
PAT – 22
RC – 22
QR – 21
AA – 22
TS -23

Study Time
-21 days, 12hrs+/day everyday

I know my DAT scores aren’t as fabulous as a lot of the awesome people on here (=P), but hopefully my breakdown will help and encourage someone on this forum!! I took GC/OC as a freshman/sophomore and I haven’t taken intro to biology or the equivalent since 3+ years ago! So if you’re in a situation like me and are worried, do NOT worry – it is completely possible to pull up that biology stored somewhere in the back of your head =D

The short version
The first few days, I just buckled down with Kaplan BB, the Internet, and Cliff’s AP Biology book to relearn all the biology I had forgotten. Then I moved onto Chad’s videos for GC and OC – I didn’t use Kaplan at all. I then moved onto using the DAT Destroyer for the sciences and math, and Crack the DAT for the PAT and RC section. The Sunday/Monday before my exam, I took Achiever 1 and Achiever 2. I spent two days finishing up/reviewing DAT Destroyer and my science notes. Then I took Achiever 3 the day before the test. During all of this, I also made myself do one practice test a day from Math Destroyer – timed. Then I’d review all the solutions, even if I got them right, to see if the solutions had a simpler/faster way of solving a problem. Then I retook it the next morning, timed again, to make sure I remembered it. 

The long version
Biology (25) – AP Cliff Notes, Kaplan, Destroyer
As I have mentioned above, I have not taken a biology class since high school. I placed out of the intro classes because of my IB credits from high school, and the only biology class I had taken before the test was genetics (which helped with the genetics portion – unfortunately, I only had like one question on it haha). So I was really nervous about this section…

I studied a lot, a lot, a lot for this section because biology is just such a giant field in itself. I honestly feel like you can’t study too much for this section, because you really don’t know what you’re going to get hit with on the DAT. It doesn’t focus on genetics or cell biology or anatomy or whatever. The questions literally covered every cornerstone of biology, so you have to be ready for anything. 

To study, I used Cliff’s as a guide to what I was going to study. Their chapter divisions and Kaplan’s chapter divisions match up quite well (in different order, but same method of topic division except for like 2 things and plants). I would read a corresponding chapter in Kaplan for Chapter 1 in Cliff’s, read through Ch. 1 in Cliff’s, then go through both the Kaplan and Cliff’s to write a combined note. I did this for every chapter. And yes, I mean write it. I didn’t type, I didn’t just stare, I didn’t sleep with the books under my pillow – I wrote out pretty much every single word in those two books. For me, that is the only effective way for me to learn something. I may have killed several pens and my hand doing this, but it paid off. Any time I came across a word I didn’t know or a concept that was poorly explained, I Googled everything I could about the topic. This may have been a little extreme, but it definitely worked and paid off for me!

GC (21) – Chad’s Videos
I watched his videos, took very thorough notes, and rewrote them neatly into a notebook. When I was rewriting the notes, I made sure I understood every concept thoroughly. If I had even the slightest question (or curiosity), I Googled it or went through the videos again. Then I would take the video quizzes. I was a little disappointed with my GC score and I think what went wrong was that I’ve taken so many chemistry classes at this point that I’ve forgotten the little things, but understood the big picture of more complex things. So don’t get cocky like me and tell yourself that you understand the concepts and move on – you also have to know the basic things that aren’t conceptual but straight up memorization. 

OC (23) – Chad’s Videos
My university has a weird way of dividing up OC and GC. Instead of taking GC I/II one year and OC I/II another year, we had it so that it was GC I/OC I one year and OC II/ GC II the next year. What I needed to know for the DAT was all covered in OC I, which was 2 years ago and my OC II class which covered metallic chemistry, heterocyclic reactions, and biochemistry made me purge all the organic out of my life because the professor was just so horrible. Needless to say, I had to relearn all the OC reactions. However, I found them easy to memorize and relearn because I paid attention in class for OC I and did really well in there. 

My study method was pretty much the same as for GC. My only extra note on this section is that Chad does a great job of making OC more manageable, but I think that OC is only easy if you take your OC class in college seriously. Chad tells you “You don’t need to mechanisms” and blah blah. That’s great and all, but I think having known the mechanisms and the foundations of OC really helped me memorize what reagents do what to what reactants and produce what products. I saw a lot of questions on “How do you memorize what does what????” on here. All I can say is that if you are having a hard time keeping reagents, products, and reactants straight, learn the mechanisms and why things proceed that way and it will stick with you! You won’t need to know mechanisms for the test, but if you know the mechanisms and the basic foundations of OC, you will be able to tackle a lot of the mechanism questions they give you on the test. With that being said, do not only focus on the reactions! They still ask you a lot of non-mechanism questions and you have to be prepared for that!

PAT (22) – Crack the DAT PAT
As mentioned above, I bought the 5 test CDP package and worked through them and went through every question and every solution (even if I got the questions right) after each test to make sure I understood everything. I will elaborate on this more below in my study material comparisons. 

Another side note is that while you can learn the tricks for each section, to do decently on this section, you have to have lots of practice. It’s not like the sciences where you memorize facts and regurgitate it on the test. Do not push this off until the last minute to work on – practice, practice, practice because that is the only way you can improve. 

RC (22) – Crack the DAT RC
I bought the 5 test CDR package, worked through all the tests, and went through all the answers, as I did with the PAT. I will elaborate more on this below. Again, this section can only be improved by doing a lot of reading on your own. By that, I don’t mean gossip from magazines or who scored what in the last big football game. I mean reading news paper articles, debates, scientific articles, etc. 

Also, I have to say this – I see a lot of people on here saying “English is my second language and blah blah blah blah.” Stop – English is my second language as well, but I will NOT complain about it. I feel like at this point, a large portion of DAT takers are ESL students and I’m sorry, it kind of sucks – especially for tone/inference questions. But, again, read a lot and engage in a lot of conversations – you can do it, even if you are ESL. Do NOT use that as an excuse to let yourself off easy on this section and do NOT let yourself take that to mentally block yourself from doing well in this section! I think that mentality plays a big role, and if you say, “Oh, boo, I’m not a native speaker and I won’t do well on this section,” you are not going to do well. 

QR (21) – Math Destroyer, DAT Destroyer
I’ve mentioned this before – I did a practice test (timed) every day, reviewed all the solutions to make sure I knew what I was doing and that I was doing all the problems in an efficient way, and retook the test (timed) the next day. 

I have to say that I’m really disappointed with my score on here since I love math so much. I’ve never had troubles with it and I don’t know what happened. Maybe I was just getting too stretched out towards the end? 

I don’t know. But whatever the case, math is one of those things that you can’t memorize either. You can only do well by knowing the fundamentals – if you have a hard time with the Destroyer questions, I suggest you whip out your SAT study book from forever ago and learn the math concepts from there. Or maybe even Kaplan? (I didn’t read it). None of the questions are hard or convoluted – it’s a matter of how fast and accurately can you solve 40 question sin 45 minutes without a calculator and after 3.25 hours of testing. 

Again – practice!

My opinions on the study materials:
Destroyer v. Achiever v. Crack the DAT v. the real DAT
Destroyer – I think that the Destroyer was invaluable for the science and math sections. A lot of people say it’s overkill and such, but honestly – this is the DAT, the test whose scores have a large influence on your invitation to interviews. If you think it’s overkill, fine, but use it to prepare yourself! Additionally, look through all the answers – especially for the biology section! The DAT Destroyer has 400+ questions for the biology section, which might deter you from even attempting to finish that section. But do it. Do it right now. The best time investment you can make is to go through the Destroyer bio section. And I don’t mean just sit there, read the question, look at the answer, and go on to the other question. No, I mean actively do the problems. Do it like 10 questions at a time, look at the answers and read them all, write out the answers (& if it’s like a “all of the above are true” type of question, write down all the answer choices as facts). If you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t just flip and look at the solutions – look it up online, in your textbook, etc. Actively search for the answers and I assure you that it will stick in your head a lot more than just flipping back and forth. Also, the DAT Destroyer is great for biology because it formats its questions and gives solutions in a way that it TEACHES you more about the topic the question is on. I also really loved the road maps for OC! I have to say that the Destroyer does have some reactions that I don’t think you’d need to know for the DAT, but better over prepared than under prepared, right? I’d definitely 100% recommend getting the Destroyer.

Achiever – I’d definitely get this for the PAT, if for nothing else. The keyhole, cube counting, and pattern folding definitely prepares you for the real DAT. The angles were a little easier than what I had on the real DAT (D=) and the TFE was so-so. But seriously, get the Achiever because they updated (?) it and have awesome 3D images that help you visualize the Keyhole/TFE/Pattern Folding. For the sciences, I can’t really comment on the biology and OC. I’d say that the bio on my real DAT was a little less nitty gritty than Achiever, and I didn’t particularly find the OC on the Achiever difficult. The GC was definitely tougher in that the Achiever gives you more computation problems than you’d have to do on the real DAT, so if you always find yourself running out of time on the GC on the Achiever, don’t worry about it! You won’t have to do nearly as much calculations on the real DAT, and even if you do, they’re not as “long” as the ones on the Achiever. RC was – ahhh! Achiever helps you kind of plow through long, boring readings, and the questions are somewhat crazy for the Achiever, but if you can get through those – you’ll have an easy time on the real DAT. The math section, I have to say, was pretty comparable – maybe slightly harder. For almost all my math questions on the DAT, I had to do a lot of calculations. I’d have to say that the Achiever does focus more on statistics stuff than you’d see. In comparison to the Math Destroyer, I’d say it was slightly harder but not impossible. Oh, another side note – Achiever is harder than the real DAT, do NOT use Achiever to gauge how well you’ll do on the real DAT, and the Achiever tests progressively get harder (IMO). Also, I see a lot of “You’ll score ~3+ points higher on the real DAT than the Achiever…as you can see that did and didn’t happen for me in some of my sections, so if you really want to know how you’ll do on the DAT, I think a lot of people say taking TopScore – I personally didn’t want to know how well I’ll do so…

A1 – bio (20), GC (20), OC (19), PAT (18), RC (16), QR (25), AA (20), TS (20)
A2 – bio (16), GC (18), OC (19), PAT (20), RC (18), QR (20), AA (18), TS (18)
A3 – bio (18), GC (18), OC (23), PAT (19), RC (16), QR (21), AA (19), TS (19)
Real – bio (25), GC (21), OC (23), PAT (22), RC (22), QR (21), AA (22), TS (23)

CDP – The Keyhole is just too easy for this one, because there are so many answer choices that are obviously wrong. The TFE was good practice, and I’d say their angles and patter folding were more on par with what you would see on the real DAT. The cube counting was a bit excessive with the number of cubes they give you for each figure and the optical illusions that use to make you think the figure looks like this, but it’s really something else >.< I would definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY use the CDP to practice angles and pattern folding. 

CDR – I don’t know about other people, but I generally found the readings for the 5-test package CDR really interesting. Most of the passages are very historical/narrative/story like, which is not what you see on the DAT, but the questions, the easiness of the reading, and the length are more comparable to the real DAT than Achiever. However, Achiever’s topics are more comparable to the real DAT than CDR.

If you have any question, feel free to ask on here or via PM – I’ll try to answer ASAP, but I’m still trying to figure out school stuff so it might be a bit before I get back to you!

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