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2013 DAT Breakdown – 23/25/23 by jlee110

 have been a long time lurker of these forums and just took my DAT on 9/10/2013. Since these forums have been such a tremendous help to my studies, I thought I’d contribute and help those taking the exam soon. I graduated in 2010 and will be applying next cycle, so I think I can be considered a non-traditional applicant? I’ve been studying for approximately 3 months. I’ll make this as to the point as I can.

My scores are:
PAT: 23 (94.7%)
QR: 20 (88.3%)
RC: 22 (85.9%)
Bio: 24 (99.1%)
GC: 25 (97.1%)
OC: 25(96.6%)
TS: 25 (99.3%)
AA: 23 (98.1%)

Resources: 
Destroyer
Math Destroyer
Crack DAT PAT
Crack DAT Reading
QVault (All sections)
Topscore 
Chad’s 
Examcracker MCAT Bio 
Cliffs AP
DAT Bootcamp 
Feralli’s notes 
Anki
Internet/Youtube 
**in terms of resources used, I think all testing material is useful to a certain degree, some better than others. So just get everything if your finances allow you. 

PAT (CDP, qvault, bootcamp)
PAT was never really a problem for me and I scored average of what I usually got on all 3 practice materials.
Keyhole: Hardest section in the PAT section of the actual test. I think qvault and cdp are good practice, but not challenging enough. So of the 3 practice materials, bootcamp is definitely the best for keyholes. 
TFE: On par with all 3 practice materials. I visualize everything and don’t line count. I usually eliminate the obviously wrong answers and then pinpoint the differences in the shapes. 
Angles: On par with all 3 practice materials. Use Bootcamps angle ranking generator to hone in on a technique. I used the rapid eye one.
Hole punch: A little harder than all 3 practice materials. There was a lot of 1/3 folds on my test, but I usually do well in this section. Used the grid method.
Cube counting: On par with all 3 practice materials. Just do the cube counting quickly and count total cubes. This should be the easiest section for everyone.
Pattern folding: On par with all 3 practice materials. Just visualized everything.

QR (Math Destroyer, Qvault, bootcamp)
This is usually my best section during practice tests and I probably studied the least for this. I am bummed about the score, however, I felt the actual test was pretty hard. I had to mark about 8 questions and managed to finish with 5 minutes remaining. I think I got a harder QR section than usual. Reflecting back on the actual test, I think the questions that stumped me were just genuinely challenging. I would recommend all 3 of the study materials above and also be sure to time yourself. Ari at Bootcamp has some good advice on his “math strategy” section. 

BIO (Destroyer, Qvault, cliffs, examkracker, ferrali, Bootcamp)
The way I studied was by going through cliffs ap once through and made anki cards for most of the bolded words. Reviewed 50 to 100 Anki cards every day. Cliffs is a pretty dry read, so google image any of the bolded words you don’t fully understand. Also use youtube (khan academy, crash course, craig savage, etc.) I used examkracker mcat bio for better explanations and pictures for all the non-ecology/biodiversity/plants topics. Go through destroyer and understand each answer, while updating Feralli’s notes and additional anki cards. Lastly, I did qvault and bootcamp tests. Also, not many people talk about it, but I found Chad’s bio quizzes to be fairly useful to go through.
On the actual exam, I marked about 8 questions I wasn’t 100% sure on. But there were no odd ball questions, in my opinion. Every single question on actual exam can be found on Feralli’s notes.

GC and OC (Destroyer, Qvault, Chad, Bootcamp)
Truthfully, if you are studying for DAT and you don’t use Chad, you’re putting yourself at a real disadvantage. Get it and you’ll be set with orgo and gen chem. Go through destroyer, qvault and bootcamp after. Also, I don’t know why people don’t like qvault for OC and GC, but I found them to be incredibly useful for these sections. Also made anki cards for chad’s lecture and reviewed every day. 
On the actual exam, I marked maybe 3 to 4 questions for each section, but I felt confident I had the right answers for those (I guess I got a few of those wrong).

RC (QVault, CDR, Bootcamp)
I would recommend Bootcamp > Qvault > CDR. This was definitely the section I was most nervous for. But I ended up doing fairly well on it. The passages on my actual exam were interesting to read and all 3 were about 10 to 13 paragraphs. The questions were very straightforward and qvault-like. I think both bootcamp and qvault are really great practice. Bootcamp in my opinion had very representative hard questions that you would see on the actual exam and qvault trained you with normal questions you would see. Qvault’s passages are also very boring and long, so if you can get through those, you’re pretty much set in terms of coming across difficult passage content. My strategy for this section was to number my laminated sheet 1 to 50 and question map the first 10 questions at the start of each new passage with keywords. Then answer the questions as I read the passage.

Other:
After I completed my reviews, I was two weeks away from my exam. I wanted to spend this time simulating the actual testing experience. I’ve previously taken mcat and gre with prometric testing centers before so I knew what I was getting myself into in terms of testing conditions. I think a lot of first time takers don’t realize that taking any exam at these places are really stressful and you can easily lose focus even with minor distractions. I would gladly share my insights of test day, but I don’t want this post to get too long since most of you reading this should probably be studying instead! Contact me if you want and I’ll gladly help in any way. I took the three topscore tests a couple days apart starting 2 weeks prior to exam day. Make sure you take the exam in identical conditions as you would on test day. 
Also bring ear plug. They help tremendously! If you are scheduled to take the exam with other testers who are taking exams like the MCAT, they have sections where they have to type an essay, so the click-clacking of the keyboard is very distracting. People walking in and out of the room is also distracting. 

Good luck to those taking the exam soon and let me know if any of you need help or advice.

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