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2013 DAT Breakdown – 23/23/22 by pinkpolkadots

Hi SDN community!

I finally took my DAT on 9/18/13! I’m super grateful for these forums because they have helped me soo much!! I found resources that I would have never heard about otherwise and whenever I got down/discouraged, I would look through people’s amazingly high breakdowns to motivate myself. 

PAT – 22 (93.4)
QR – 24 (99.0)
RC – 22 (84.4)
Bio – 24 (98.9)
GC – 22 (91.8)
OC – 22 (90.4)
TS – 23 (97.8)
AA – 23 (98.7)

Overview: I studied for about 11 weeks, but definitely think it could have been condensed..a LOT. I started out by sticking to the sample study schedule by dentalworks. It was good to setup a routine and pace myself to study, BUT for me it also gave me an excuse to slack off a bit. I was finishing the allotted studying by studying maybe 5 hours/day…leaving a LOT of time for hanging out with friends and chilling. I think studying for the DAT could definitely be doable maybe half the time with solid, focused ONLY studying.

KBB for oc, gc, bio (6/10) – mehh…
Chad’s videos for gc, little bit for oc (10/10) – awesome!!! use the 1.5x speed if you have a strong science background -> efficient review
DAT Destroyer for gc, oc, bio (10/10) – lots of hard practice problems -> makes actual test seem easier 
Math Destroyer (9/10) – same as for dat destroyer
Crackdatpat (8/10) – helpful practice, lots of practice problems
DAT Bootcamp (10/10) – lots of practice problems, all sections were very similar to actual (except math was way harder). recommend doing at least a couple of practice tests to get the timing down and put yourself in a timed testing environment.
Cliff’s AP bio (7/10) – fill in the details lost in ferrali’s
Ferrali’s bio notes (10/10) – condensed, quicker to go through

PAT: (crackdat pat, bootcamp)
Studied first with crackdatpat, was great for getting a feel for all the sections, honing in and practicing strategies for the different sections. I thought it was SO HARD at first and couldn’t finish the tests the first couple of times and was getting around 19’s. I searched sdn/youtube/google for different techniques and experimented to see what worked and by the 4th test I was getting around 22’s. In the week before my test, I bought a subscription to bootcamp and did those practice tests. Their PAT was definitely harder than crackdatpat but the explanations were great- clear, helpful. 

QR: (math destroyer, bootcamp, GOOGLE!, little bit of kbb)
I’m decent at math but not particularly fast but I think with practice anyone can get a good score on QR because the things they ask you are pretty limited. The same types of questions appear with different variations in all the practice tests. For this section, best to practice, practice, practice. Any questions that show up that you don’t understand -> google and make sure you understand the concepts. Math destroyer was helpful in exposing myself to every single type of question that could appear, but the variations in this book were SO MUCH harder than the actual test. Bootcamp was also good- more practice. I studied the KBB review over math concepts – wasn’t very helpful. 

RC: (bootcamp)
I didn’t prepare much for RC until the week before and the only thing I did was do the 5 practice tests in bootcamp. I used a slight variation on the s&d method, read 3 questions at a time and read through the passage. I felt like there wasn’t much I could do to prepare for this section except for find what method would be best for me – look on sdn for the best method for YOU and then practice with tests. I do like to read in my spare time (but definitely NOT science journals lol).

Bio: (cliff’s, ferrali’s, destroyer, little bit of KBB, bootcamp)
I love biology and have a strong bio background from school but had heard a lot of people say the questions were random and it’s totally a crapshoot. Although the bio’s section does have a huge breadth, I actually don’t think the questions were random at all – there was nothing that wasn’t covered from my study resources. Destroyer was awesome at giving you a huge exposure and I had more than a couple questions that were straight from destroyer!! Bootcamp was good in providing more practice problems (always helpful!) KBB was mehh, cliff’s was great – lots of details, illustrations. ferali’s was awesome!! Condensed info, put into note form so it didn’t take forever to go through. I only went through ferali’s once, 1 wk before my test but it would have definitely been beneficial to go through it more than that.

GC: (Chad’s, bootcamp, bit of KBB, destroyer)
While bio/oc were fresh in my mind from the last year, GC was all the way from 2 years ago and I definitely forgot a lot. KBB was not very helpful AT ALL, felt like I kind of wasted my time with KBB after experiencing how AWESOME chad’s videos were!! I went through all of the GC videos once and did the quizzes twice (1x a month before, 1x a week before). Helps you understand the underlying CONCEPTS I had long forgotten. There were some concepts that I never understood ever (throughout my whole chem career at school) and Chad helped me understand those things too. After going through chad’s, destroyer problems were way more manageable. 

OC: (destroyer, bootcamp, little bit of chad’s, little bit of KBB)
I love organic chem!! I was hoping for a higher score in OC to pull up my score because I found oc in destroyer to be way easier than gc and I was scoring 25+’s on bootcamp in OC. But I am still grateful for the score I got! Destroyer was more challenging than the actual test and had a lot of random reactions that seemed kind of irrelevant. Bootcamp was more realistic…mostly basic questions – no mechanisms!! Watched a few chad vids on concepts I was iffy about and went through the oc quizzes once. Once again…kbb…meh…

Actual test!
My test was at 8AM at a place about 30 min from my house so I wanted to sleep early. I went to bed at 10PM but my heart was RACING and I tried to relax, calm down, think positive, etc but I seriously could not. I was so ready to take the DAT lol. I ended up sleeping at 3:30 and being wakened at 5 by some birds and then not being to fall back asleep. I left myself a 20 min buffer but still there was absolutely awful traffic and I got there at 7:35 (we were supposed to be there no later than 7:30) and I ran breathless into the testing center. During my break I went to the bathroom, drank a bit of water, and ate some almonds. Definitely bring a snack, I was hungry and don’t think I could’ve lasted without food.
PAT:I think the actual pat was a bit harder than crackdatpat level but not by much – for sure not as hard as bootcamp. You can miss a decent chunk of problems and still get a pretty good score on PAT… my advice would be – don’t second guess yourself and if you spend more ~1 min/question, guess, mark, and move on. 
QR: I was surprised because it was much easier than any of the practice tests I took. In all my practice tests, I would never finish in 45 min but in the actual test I time left to check over my work. The questions on the test were comparable to the easy questions on the practice tests I took.
RC: Got three pretty interesting, straight forward articles (none super dense/scientific). Pace yourself – know when to guess, mark, and move on! Chances are, you’ll find the answer sometime later after you read more of the passage.
Bio/GC/OC: Time was not an issue because either I knew the answer or I didn’t. I had ample time to check my work. Bio – as I mentioned, not “random” definitely study for breadth over depth! GC/OC: straightforward, nowhere near as tricky as destroyer. bootcamp was very representative of all three sections.

other random stuff/tips:
I was stressing about the 2 pieces of scratch paper, if the pen would be fine enough, what if I needed more etc – the pen is very thin and it was easy to get more paper as needed. I brought my own soft earplugs (must be wrapped though!) and it helped a lot with the random noise. There are other test takers (MCAT?GRE?) in the same room who were typing like crazy so definitely bring a pair! Eat a nutritious filling breakfast and give yourself buffer time for traffic, especially if you’ve never been to the testing center before.

Shout out to my awesome, super supportive family and friends. Right before my test, I read their good luck texts and felt so empowered. Without them, I would have never been able to make it this far! 

Lastly, CONFIDENCE is key. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Good luck everyone :)

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