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2013 DAT Breakdown – 22/23/22 by kang17

DAT Break Down (May 7, 2013)

Just wanted to thank everyone in this forum. I know I don’t post much, but I do read on a regular basis. The information here is golden! Couldn’t have done it without you guys. I’ve posted an overview on top and then detailed description and reviews below. Hope this helps. Keep in mind that many of this information have already been posted on the forum, but I thought it would be nice if I put it all into one post and put my opinion and experience in it to confirm what others have been saying. Best of luck to everyone!

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Overview
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Scoring
PA – 22 – 93.4
QR – 21 – 96.4
RC – 19 – 52.2
Bio – 23 – 97.4
GC – 22 – 91.8
OC – 25 – 95.8
TS – 23 – 97.8
AA – 22 – 97.0

Study Materials
Anki
Chad’s Videos (TS)
Cliff’s AP Biology (Bio)
Crack DAT (Royal – TS/PA/RC)
DAT Destroyer 2011 (TS)
Math Destroyer 2011 (QR)
Kaplan White Book (Bio/PA)

Test Materials
ADA Sample DAT 2009
Barron’s DAT CD Test 1
DAT Destroyer 2011 (Timed)*
Math Destroyer 2011 (Timed)*

Study Schedule
8 Week Study Schedule by DentalWorks (Expanded to 12 weeks)
* I couldn’t afford Achiever and other practice exams so I made my own exams with Destroyer and Crack DAT. The week before today, I started to take equivalent pf 2 exams a day (10 hours) so that 1 exam felt like nothing and that it was easier to focus 5 hours at a time. Maybe it’s extreme, but it definitely made 5 hours feel like nothing.

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Detail
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Testing & Scheduling Tips
I recommend scheduling the test on a weekday (Tuesday-Thursday) afternoon. I live in the city so I’m constantly bombarded with distractions and friends on the weekend. Of course you’re not going to go out on the weekend before your exam, but it minimizes the phone from buzzing and ringing when you’re uber stressed.

Eat an hour before your exam to give you time to digest and avoid food coma and feeling nauseous from anxiety. Oh, drink your coffee early too. I actually really needed to go pee during the first half 

Afternoon test gives you the opportunity to sleep in just in case you were up all night with anxiety, which happened to me. It also allows you to warm up with a few problems if need be. I usually need to warm up because I’m usually sluggish and need a little momentum going in.

The new thin non-erasable markers are great! I thought they’ll be bad, because I’m used to erasing on the white board, but they’re very very thin so made everything easier to fit onto the page. I didn’t have to replace any of the two front and back grid paper they gave me. For those who use the tic-tac-toe method, the grids are small enough to fit numerous problems. I worried because I usually erase the dots during practice

Bring a non-zip hoodie/long sleeve in case it’s cold! They wouldn’t let me wear my outdoor jacket/wind breaker. The room was plenty warm enough though so I lucked out.

Call ahead and ask if you can bring your own ear plugs. If I knew I could of, I would of. The noise canceling headphones weren’t too bad, but they’re not perfect. I know some people work best in complete silence since they get annoyed with people sniffling and moving around.

Testing Experience
The overall difficulty on the actual DAT was on par with 2009 sample exam. I actually scored 1 point higher in TS on the actual DAT than the 2009 sample exam. (More details below)

The layout of the test for me was exactly like Crack Dat. I was told by a friend that his was more like Barron’s DAT CD exam. I guess there are multiple formats circulating right now, or they’re in the process of transitioning. The RC passage was horizontal like Crack DAT, which I found very annoying… I don’t remember if the position of the passage reseted back to the top with each question. I know Crack DAT doesn’t, but the Barron’s DAT CD exam does. Just keep an eye out for that. Also, the mouse wheel doesn’t scroll though the passage. You have to manually scroll with the mouse by clicking and holding. I suggest practicing using the mouse with your non writing hand to save time.

Study Materials

Anki [3.5/5]
In theory, Anki sounded flawless. In practice, it was a headache… If you guys don’t know, Anki is a spaced repetition flash card program. Look it up on Google and download it if you want since it’s free. It takes up a lot of time setting up the program, creating the cards, and actually reviewing the cards. I ended up making a bunch of cards for each section I reviewed. I highly recommend you don’t do that because you end up having too many cards and not wanting to review them and it just piles up and you end up wasting your time… In the end I reverted to just adding problems I got absolutely wrong to keep it fresh in my mind, or facts that are just pure memorization such as the number of ATP in a cycle, age of earth, and the IR and NMR numbers. Do not put concepts in this unless you really don’t know them, or you’ll over load yourself. I’m sure this is a great program, but you get what you put into it. For me I put too much junk and got minimal return…

Chad’s Videos (GC/OC) [4.5/5]
I watched through the videos once on the 1.4x speed. Chad is awesome, as you all probably know. The quizzes were very similar to the type of questions on the DAT, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean they’re sufficient. I recommend using Chad’s Video as a foundational refresher and then going onto Destroyer problems so that you can breeze through the actual DAT. 

Chad’s Videos (QR) [4/5]
Same thing as above. Great refresher for foundational math. I haven’t taken math in four years so it was definitely helped. I felt like it was lacking in the quizzes and the type of problems that show up on the actual DAT. But once again, this is where Destroyer fills in the gap.

Cliff’s AP Biology (Bio) [3.5/5]
Honestly, I thought this book was overkill. I stuck with it because I used DentalWork’s schedule. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get a good refresher, but there are just too many unnecessary details that made studying drag on and on. I recommend just reading for overall concepts and refer back to the book when you run into weak points in practice problems. This would have saved me a lot of time instead of reading and trying to absorb everything which I end up forgetting anyways. Then again, I’m a slow reader and get tunnel vision lol…

Crack DAT (Royal – PA) [5/5]
Definitely a must! It’s pretty much like Destroyer. Better to over prepare than under prepare. I did think the actual PAT was overall easier. I was averaging around 18 at first then jumped to 22-25. Keep in mind that the actual DAT for me was more shape based, which kinda threw me into a loop since the Crack DAT PAT is more pattern based for the folding part, if you know what I mean. Also, the actual DAT had some questionable images, meaning they were a bit blurry or disproportionate. To remedy this I would take or at least look at the Barron’s DAT CD tests to get some exposure. For example, I realized that some of the folds in the hole punch section were in thirds and not in fourths or halves. I don’t recall Crack DAT touching on this.

Crack DAT (Royal – Bio/GC/OC) [3/5]
Meh… Like everyone else said, the exams were way too specific in my opinion. I would use this once you’re comfortable with everything else and are out of test questions, or you can go over it a little by little on a regular basis. The actual DAT does have a few really specific wtf questions, but it’s all about efficiency. Is it worth plowing through all these exams for specific questions that may or may not show up? Yes, if you’re comfortable with all of your foundations and aiming for really high 20s. If not, it’s over kill. I averaged 18s on these exams couple days before today to give you a perspective.

Crack DAT (Royal – RC) [4.5/5]
RC has always been a weakness of mine since grade school. I’m just a slower reader and get tunneled vision easily. These exams were a life saver because I averaged 14-16 early on. I know… I tried the whole mapping and reading passage and reading questions before strategies. I still ran out of time. After the third practice exam, I said screw it and reverted to search and destroy methods. The number of exams they gave me was enough to practice this method and boost my score up to 18-20s. Keep in mind that the Crack Dat questions were more interpretive than objective. I thought this was good for me because it forced me to learn how to search and destroy through out the whole passage quickly to get a general overall feel, tone, author’s opinion blah blah blah… I hate RC as you can tell…

DAT Destroyer 2011 (Bio/GC/OC) [5/5]
I actually saw a good amount of questions that were similar in the biology section though they were specific. At first I thought the questions were too detailed as well, but the explanations in the back really connected the bigger picture between the answer choices. I even ended up reviewing the explanations for the questions I got right to reassure my thought process. Also use it as a reference to pin point my weak spots so that you can revert back to Cliff’s AP Biology for reference. GC and OC is golden. They’re hard and will “DESTROY” you. I got so discouraged, but plow through my friends. Read the explanations very carefully and rework the problems talking to yourself why things are certain way, especially GC. If you can do all of the road map for OC, than you’re in a solid spot. I also went through the problems pretty slow to get a solid grasp the first time through. The second time I treated it like an actual timed exam (40 Bio, 30 GC, 30 OC, 40 QR) with Crack DAT PAT and RC. This way I learn to time myself and really see if I understand the difficult questions. Anyone can do difficult problems with unlimited time, but if you can do it on a time restraint… than you’ll fly through the actual DAT with time to spare to review your answers.

Math Destroyer 2011 (QR) [5/5]
Same as above. Know your probabilities, trigonometry, and geometry! Oh and most definitely the rate problems. I hated all of these problems since I haven’t taken math in four years but I guarantee you most of these will be on the actual DAT. Once you’ve gone through majority of the practice exams, you’ll have a solid grasp of the type of questions they’ll ask you. As for Test 11 and 12, they’re overkill so don’t stress about them.

Kaplan White Book (Bio/PA) [3.5/5]
Meh… If Cliff’s AP is too detailed, this was too broad. They work well together because of that. It’s nice to get multiple perspective on the same topics. Think of Cliff’s as an encyclopedia and Kaplan as an outline. Or… think of Cliff’s as a textbook for a class and Kaplan as the professor’s outline or powerpoint. They complement and work well with each other better than either alone.

Test Materials
ADA Sample DAT 2009 (Online) [4/5]
QR was much harder on the sample exam than the current DAT, but besides that it was pretty much spot on in the other sections. Also, if you want to review the questions after taking it, don’t get the online version. Get the paper version instead. I’ve heard you should order it 2 weeks in advance? If you do take the online version, you better have 5 hours to yourself because you can’t access it again. Which is another con, because after taking the exam I had no idea which problems I got wrong and why… Maybe I didn’t see the link? I don’t know… Either way you can’t go back to it once you close out. Also, they only give you raw score and not the scale score. I used the 2007 conversion chart, but you never know how accurate it converts. Also, DO NOT PRESS BACK on your browser. The system is really really slow and gimmicky. Another reason to buy the paper version. As for format and layout, it looked nothing like the actual exam. In summary, great representative to actual DAT, online execution was done horribly.

Barron’s DAT CD Test 1 [3/5]
I’m kind of split on this. The over all difficulty was similar to the actual DAT, but there are a good number of problems with the exam, most notably in the PAT section. Some of their answers were horribly incorrect, so use this material for more for the “feeling” of taking a test as appose to “learning” from it. And don’t take the score too seriously since they are riddled with mistakes. I do have to admit it did expose me to crappy images in the PAT section and the strange third folds in the hole punch section which the actual DAT had. I did score relatively similar to my real DAT, give or take the mistakes they had.

Study Schedule
8 Week Study Schedule by DentalWorks (Expanded to 12 weeks)

I love this guy! Seriously, DentalWorks saved me money and time… I’ve sampled Kaplan and it just wasn’t for me. Also, many of my friends told me they were just too vague and insufficient and not worth the money. I don’t have personal experience, but I did use Kaplan’s white book which is suppose to coincide with the course. Then again, I’ve also heard that they updated their course, so I don’t know. Anyways, this schedule is intense! You really need to be honest with and discipline yourself. What do I mean? Well, first and foremost, if you know the material, you honestly don’t have to spend so much time reading the biology section. Skim it and move on like DentalWorks said. It’s all about being efficient! I personally had to spread it out over three months due to various emergencies, but worked out quite fine. I did end up forgetting some of the early stuff, but you just gotta refresh.

Well, that was my journey. I won’t lie, it sucked and it was long, but it was definitely worth it in the long run! I wish you all the best 

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