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2013 DAT Breakdown – 23/22/23 by stevieobee

Okay guys so I decided to make a breakdown to help others succeed and because this site has been so helpful to me so I thought I would do the best I can to return the favor.


This breakdown will be detailed only to a point where each point is necessary.

First off, I think my background education will be relevant to the amount of studying time available to me and how I managed to compensate for the lack of time.

So I just finished my first year of college and only took general bio/chem and organic chemistry in the summer that supplied relevant info regarding DAT science. I only had about 3 weeks to study as well.. so not a lot of time but it was do-able.

Materials/Amount of time studied:

Bio: Kaplan Blue Book, Destroyer, Cliff’s AP, some of Chad’s videos, and google (best free resource imo) roughly 30 hours (4 solid hours a day)

-Destroyer was extremely useful in knowing random facts that you wouldn’t normally see on practice tests or any other testing material. I only used Kaplan to pretty much “expose” myself to the subject but I think I spent too much time reading it thorougly and taking notes for each chapter… You mostly want to use Cliff’s AP Bio to grasp a strong core in the field. I watched some of Chad’s videos on subjects that I was not really strong in but I also googled some concepts as well. Personally, I think google is the best resource out there that’s free and handy if you come up with random questions on specific topics since the book can explain only to a limited extent.

Chem: Destroyer, Chad’s Videos. about 10 hours (2 hours a day for the days I did study on chem)

-Now I was “destroyed” by Destroyer on this subject. I thought I had most of the basic concepts down but turns out I forgot a huge chunk of concepts on electrochemistry, acid-base rxns, etc. Destroyer pretty much pointed out what topics I lacked in and from that, I used Chad’s videos to find specific videos. (Remember, I did not have a lot of time to study so I knew there was no way to watch all of his videos.)

Ochem: Destroyer (esp road maps), Chad’s Videos, class notes 5-10 hours (I didn’t do much studying on this since I just finished ochem summer classes 3 weeks prior to my DAT test date)

-My university’s summer class pretty much prepared me for the majority of this portion. I think my professor taught well beyond on what I really needed to know to the extent that taking the ACS test for my final seemed piece of cake compared to his portion of the final. Nevertheless, Destroyer’s road maps helped a bunch and Chad’s videos reinforced how the mechanisms worked and why certain products were formed.

PAT: CDP. 11-12 hours (10 hours for the test and 1-2 hours reviewing mistakes)

– CDP was pretty much all I used to prepare for DAT. At first I was inexperienced in the whole TFE and pattern folding but after about test 4, I got the hang of it. I personally think there really is no definitive way to help others improve on this section other than to expose them to possible methods that other people found useful and let you decide what’s best for you. 

-One tip that worked for me: I used a combination of method for angle ranking (hill method, rapid eye technique, the “cone method” – idk if anyone ever came up with this but sometimes I would view the angle to see it as a cone and see which one was wider = larger angle) So what I would do is use the hill method to compare the 2 angles and if they still seemed similar, I would use the rapid eye technique, and if that didn’t work I would use the cone method. If all of these didn’t work I would close my eyes for 2-3 seconds and open them and quickly focus on the 2 angles and whichever seemed intuitively smaller/larger would be my final answer.

QR: Math Destroyer about 4 hours (3 practice tests + 1 hour to review wrong answers- didn’t have enough time to do all tests)

-Okay, so Math Destroyer was quite brutal too at first but I think the subsequent tests start to apply the same type of formula/method you had to do for the previous tests. For example,if you got a hang of the specific formula/method Test 2 tested you on, then Test 3 mostly had the same type of problem just with different numbers/scenario. I think Math Destroyer is a good resource to hone your skill in trig, permutation/probability, and tricky algebraic problems with weird word problems. 

RC: Topscore, Kaplan. 6 hours (I pretty much only did 3 practice tests from Topscore and 3 from Kaplan- again didn’t have enough time to practice on this section a whole lot.)

-None of the resources really “improved” my reading ability. I think the resources pretty much helped me learn what kind of strategies I should use to answer all the questions on time. The strategy I would take is to skim the first 5 questions and read the passage about 1/3 of the way and answer any of the first 5 questions that I could. Then I would skim the next 5 questions and read 2/3 of the way and repeat until I finished the passage. By then I pretty much only had the overall/summary questions and would answer those last.

Practice Test Scores:

CDP: TopScore:
#1: 18 #1: Bio: 21, Chem: 20, Ochem: 19, PAT: 20, RC: 22, QR: 20 (TS: 20, AA: 20)
#2: 20 #2: Bio: 19, Chem: 18, Ochem: 19, PAT: 23, RC: 22, QR: 22 (TS: 19, AA: 20)
#3: 18 #3: Bio: 18, Chem: 21, Ochem: 21, PAT: 23, RC: 29, QR: 22 (TS: 20, AA: 22)
#4: 19
#5: 22
$6: 23
#7: 23
#8: 22
#9: 26
#10: 23
Random Test: 24

REAL DAT Experience:
– So Bio was like totally random for me, none of the questions really tested my knowledge on the major concepts, but it was too specific in my opinion. Luckily that’s where destroyer saved my butt.
-Chem and Ochem was quite similar to Topscore, and pretty much why I got similar scores
-PAT was easier than CDP forsure, the angles were definitely easier, cube counting and hole punching were easier as well. TFE and Keyhole were on par I would say. However, the pattern folding was quite tricky for me since it mostly dealt with unique patterns and a lot of unsymmetrical, weird objects (I had to pretty much mentally fold the paper in my head)
-RC: okay so I think I messed up a bit on RC due to “being out of phase”. During the test, the first passage really just bored me to death with a boring topic and a whole of random jargon I had never seen before. Disinterest definitely does not work toward your favor. Luckily, the second passage was quite interesting and relevant to my life in a health-medical way. Overall though, I think by this time I was just tired (my eyes were tired to looking at the screen and I just wanted to move onto QR to get out of there lol)

Tip: I only used 8 mins of my 15 break and I think I should’ve used the full amount to just relax my eyes and clear my mind but then again, I really really wanted to get out of there…

-QR: Okay so this section was by far the easiest math test for the DAT I have ever taken. Rudimentary calculation, something you would see in the SAT math. I was quite surprised when I finished the test with 15 minutes to spare. I only spent 5 reviewing the marked questions and just clicked “END” :D

– So to cut things short, if you think you’re running out of time until your test date comes up or you’re nervous or whatnot, DON’T BE. The mindset I had when I walked in there was that I did all I could do in the amount of time that was available for me and whatever score I would receive would reflect my effort and I will be satisfied with it. 

If you’re too tired or too nervous, your mind won’t be as focused as it should and your scores will not reflect your true potential. I would recommend sleeping early the night before to get a good night of rest.

And for any people who likes physical activity, I recommend lifting weights or doing some medium-high intensity cardio because doing strenuous activity really clears your mind and helps with the stress. After about 5 hours of studying, I would lift weights and do some cardio for 40 minutes and shower and my mind literally felt “organized” and “refreshed” to the point where I was motivated to study for another few hours before hitting the hay. 

I think the main contibuting factor to doing quite well on the DAT was the MINDSET and DEDICATION. I would be watching Chad’s videos while I eat, review destroyer notes while I take a long dump, decline my friends’ offer to go to beach, turn off the cellphone while I worked, set up an alarm at 7am because I thought waking up at 9am meant I wasted 2 hours of precious studying time. That’s how dedicated I was and the effort I put in rewarded me with the satisfaction I needed after a long journey.

Anyways, I hope you guys realize that it is possible to get a decent score with the right attitude and dedication. I am a believer of hard work and I do not think you will be able to pull of a decent score with shortcuts. Have the right mindset and be willing to make sacrifices only temporarily. Good luck you guys and I hope this helped!

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