2013 DAT Breakdown – 23/23/21 by Racquetball3r
Total Science 23 (97.8th percentile)
Academic Average 23 (98.7th percentile!!!)
Decided I should probably get around to posting my breakdown on here since reading others comments helped me to determine how I should plan and use my study time. My primary study materials were Kaplan Blue Book 7th Edition, DAT Destroyer, Topscore, Crack DAT PAT, and Chad’s Videos. Topscore I really only used to get myself used to the timing on questions, not so much as a gauge of how prepared I was for the test. I think it is dangerous to try to guess how you will do on the real test by comparing it to topscore. I studied for one month, about 8-10 hours a day. Fortunately it was at a time when I could devote my full attention to studying for the DAT without any other major distractions.
My main study tools for this section were the Kaplan Blue Book 7th edition and DAT Destroyer. I went through every question destroyer had to offer, and wrote down notes on anything I felt like I might be a little shaky on or anything I wanted to remind myself of. I would then read over the notes every night before I went to bed for about 15 mins just to refresh myself and get my memory working. I also read the biology section of Kaplan’s book about 4-5 times total, really making sure I understood the nuances of each subject. I also added to my notes any question I missed during topscore practice tests. I printed out Alan’s Bio Notes with the hopes of reading over that in the parking lot right before I went into test, but the center was so difficult to find I ended up having to run in as soon as I got there. I felt very well prepared during the actual bio section on the DAT. I was worried because so many people say that there are some really random questions, but I honestly didn’t come across any questions that seemed to come out of left field.
This was one of the sections that I was most disappointed with my score. I was really hoping to score much higher on this section. If I could have snuck out a few more point in this section my total science score would have been much higher. There were a few questions that just really puzzled me. Other than those few questions I felt very confident with the material. I know Chad’s videos get a lot of acclaim, but they really are worth their salt. Best money I spent on DAT prep materials hands down. I probably watched each chem video twice. On top of that I worked through all the problems in DAT Destroyer. Like has been said many times it is overkill, but will make you very confident on the real thing. Another thing I did that I would recommend is making flashcards of the formulas that you want for this section. Along with reading over my bio notes every night before bed, I would go over my chem and o chem note cards. I didn’t get any lab technique questions.
This was absolutely the section that I was most terrified of. My college exposure to o chem was less than pleasant to say the least, and it had been about 3 years since I had looked at a mechanism. Chad’s videos again saved the day. I made a notecard with every reaction that Chad went over in his videos and went over them and over them like a mad man. After I got comfortable with memorizing the reagents and reactions, I watched the videos again and that for me was what really cemented them in my memory. I kept studying my notecards, but they were pretty well in there after that. I worked through some of the o chem problems in DAT Destroyer, but they were just way too out there for me to get any practical use out of them. I did however really like the “road map” pages in Destroyer. Basically its just a few pages that summarizes all of the major reactions from o chem, just organized in a very useful web. On the actual test I only recall one question that I just flat out didn’t know the answer to. All in all coming out with a 23 after my horrible experience with it during undergrad I was more than happy.
Once again I was a little disappointed at my score in this section. I have always had a pretty natural ability to manipulate images in my mind, and for that reason I spent almost no time studying for this section. I felt my time would be better spent studying the things I felt shaky on. I did buy the 3 test version of crack DAT PAT just to give myself a taste of timing and what the questions would look like. I was very glad I did. After doing all 3 tests the angle ranking on the real test was an absolute breeze. The angles on crack were usually only about 3 degrees apart from each other, not to mention turned in the weirdest ways. The real DAT probably had angles differing by anywhere from 5 -7 degrees in my opinion, super easy to spot after doing the crack DAT PAT tests. Keyholes were about the same difficulty as crack. Hole punching had some really weird folds that I didn’t think they were even allowed to do. Those few threw me off and took me way too long to figure out. I did learn to use the grid method for hole punching which generally got me 100% on crack DAT PAT hole punching. Pattern folding was insane. This was the section of PAT that I was not at all prepared for. Maybe it was my nerves, but I just couldn’t picture the images in my head very well. I do want to mention one thing that maybe everyone already knows, but that helped me a lot on pattern folding. Before I figured this out I would spend way too long trying to envision how the pattern would be folded in all different directions, and would not score very well either. The key is that the pattern can only be folded into the paper. That is to say that the back of the pattern is white and can’t be flipped over and folded. Once I figured that out I was able to do very well on this section in crack DAT PAT.
I have always been a strong reader, and didn’t do anything to prepare for this section. I read a lot of people’s breakdowns that talked about the search and destroy method. I would personally advise you to stay away from it unless you are really pressed for time at the end. Just read each section at your normal pace, really trying to pick up on the details. The slower reading will be made up for when you get to the questions and are able to pinpoint where in the passage you can go to find the answer since you read it slowly enough to really understand it. I had one really hard passage right from the get go, and then two medium difficulty passages after that. One was on the physiology of broken bones, one was on homeopathic remedies versus prescription drugs, and the last was on the history and discovery of antibacterial agents. It did help that I had a strong background in Biology from my undergraduate studies.
This section in my opinion was absolutely insane. I consider myself to be very strong in math, and I spent a lot of time preparing for this section on top of that. I felt like I went over every problem type that they could possibly throw at me. I watched many of Chad’s videos, although not all of them. I also worked through all the math problems in DAT Destroyer. In addition I had about 75 notecards of just formulas for this section that I studies every day along with the chem and o chem ones. Despite all of that preparation there were about 10 problems that I had absolutely no idea how to do. The hardest part about this section was the time. A few of the problems I was able to get through fairly quickly, due to the fact that they only involved one step. The majority of the problems however involved 4 to 5 step calculations that really make it almost impossible to get through the section in time. I would highly recommend just skipping a ton of the problems the first time through and just quickly and correctly answer those that you are familiar with and then go back and worry about the rest. I had about 20 seconds left in the section when I still hadn’t answered 5 of the questions, so I just had to straight up guess. My 21 was still in the 97th percentile, but I was still I little discouraged after it was all over.
I just want to add that clicking the final answer on the optional survey and waiting for that score to pop up on the screen is probably the most nerve wracking moment of your life. However if you have done the proper preparation and really pushed yourself in your study, when that screen pops up it will be one of the most relieving moments you have ever experienced too. Good luck to all you future test takers out there lurking on SDN. Hope some of this info helps you in your preparation. Best of luck, and hope to see you in dental school.