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2013 DAT Breakdown – 24/23/20 by Centry

 DAT Breakdown

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has ever posted a DAT breakdown on SDN because chances are I have read it. Those were immensely helpful in conserving my time and focusing my studies. 

Perceptual Ability Test: 20 (73.8%)
Quantitative Reasoning: 27 (99.6%)
Reading Comprehension : 24 (94.4%)
Biology: 21 (91.8%)
General Chemistry: 25 (97.1%)
Organic Chemistry: 23 (93.4%)
Total Science: 23 (97.5%)
Academic Average: 24 (99.4%)

I studied a little more than 2 months, usually 1-2 hours a day for the first 5 weeks or so and then got serious with about 3 weeks left when I started studying 6-7 hours a day.
The first thing I did was watch all of Chad’s Biology videos. I know some people find these unhelpful, but they were simple enough (and short enough) to ease my introduction into studying for the DAT. Afterwards, I went through all of EK Orgo, General Chemistry, and Biology (in that order). I tried to maneuver my studying schedule so that I never went more than 2 weeks without looking at a particular subject. 
After going through all of EK, I looked at Schaum’s and read all of the chapters that didn’t cover Human Biology but would appear on the DAT (at least according to the topics covered), excluding those I felt I already had a good grasp on. 

These included:
Ch. 6: Photosynthesis
Ch 13: Basic Structure and Function in Vascular Plants
Ch. 14: Interactions of Vascular Plants with their Environment
Ch. 26: Ecology
Ch 28-32: Kingdoms of Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia

About 5 weeks before my DAT, I started working on the PAT. It’s important to start on this early enough and continue to work on this in the background of studying for the other sections. Looking at the PAT every day, even if for only 20 minutes, is vital.

About 3 weeks before my DAT, I ran through DAT Destroyer, creating flash cards on every question that I got incorrect. This process took about 9-10 days. Regrettably, I didn’t use Anki until after I had handwrote about 250 flashcards. 

I started taking practice tests about 2 weeks prior to my exam. It’s important to not take practice tests too late because you won’t have sufficient time to review your mistakes as well as review material. Also, I think it’s problematic to take practice tests too early because you aren’t at your full potential to succeed on it quite yet, and there is nothing more frustrating than doing mediocre on a practice test because you’re not sufficiently prepared, whilst simultaneously using up a practice test. It’s depressing and annoying. (They are, after all, the most expensive commodity and most accurate indicator of your success on the DAT)

Materials I used:
DAT Destroyer
Math Destroyer
ExamKrackers Biology
ExamKrackers Organic Chemistry (and EK 1001 Organic Chemistry)
ExamKrackers General Chemistry (and EK 1001 General Chemistry)
Crack the DAT PAT (10 Tests)
Crack the DAT Math (5 Tests)
Crack the DAT Science (5 Tests)
Schaum’s Outline Biology 2nd Edition
Topscore Tests 

Ancillary Materials:
Chad’s Videos (Biology only)

Human Physiology by Silverthorn
Biology 8th Edition by Raven

DAT Destroyer, even though the questions do seem to be scattered and sometimes too detail-oriented, is important to go through. It really does hit every corner tested on the DAT and I felt adequately prepared using both this and Schaum’s. Schaum’s is very detailed, but it’s not likely you’ll have to read all of it. Picking out the chapters that you don’t have a good grasp is how you should approach it. I’m slightly disappointed with my performance on biology because I felt I prepared enough for a higher score.

General Chemistry
I would highly recommend using EK Chemistry along with EK 1001 Chemistry because it provided a solid foundation for understanding all the topics and solving questions using diagrams and setting up equations. I think what makes these materials useful for the DAT is that both the MCAT and DAT don’t allow a calculator. To supplement these resources, Destroyer prepares you for the obscurity that may appear on the DAT while reinforcing your knowledge. 

Organic Chemistry
Going through EK Orgo and going through Destroyer is good preparation for this section. EK 1001 Orgo is alot, and I only went through it for topics that I had forgotten or that I didn’t have too much practice on. Of course, memorizing the roadmaps is sort of a prerequisite for success in this section. But more importantly, understanding the reactions is necessary, as well as its mechanisms.

For the PAT, only perfect practice makes perfect. I found that CDP was generally a good indicator on what to expect on the actual DAT. 
In my testing experience, the keyholes were relatively the same to that of CDP, in terms of difficulty, except that the graphics in CDP are better. The TFE section was a little bit easier on the real DAT. I had used the Line Counting method alot in my CDP tests, and I knew that the LC method would not translate to the real DAT. I had been averaging around 21 on my practice tests and had resigned myself to that score on the actual DAT, or lower. However, 2 days before my test I “figured out” how to perceive the objects in TFE and was able to easily solve these questions from then on. The greatest motivator was the fear of getting 0/15 in the TFE section on the actual DAT. 
The difficulty of the Angle Rankings was somewhere between that of CDP and Topscore, with CDP of course being the most difficult. The Hole Punching section had something I hadn’t encountered before in Topscore or CDP: 1/3 folds. This really caught me by surprise, as Hole Punching was my best section, and nullified my newfound abilities in TFE.
Cube Counting on the actual DAT was easier than CDP simply because there were less cubes to count. Pattern Folding was more difficult than CDP, but about as difficult as Topscore. I ran out of time and had to guess the last 3 Pattern Folding questions.

Reading Comprehension
I used a hybrid search and destroy method on the actual DAT. I don’t think that singularly using search and destroy would yield success on this section because the answers aren’t word for word. What I did was quickly read the question and the answer choices and would read the passage with the question and answer choices in mind. When I stumbled on the answer, I moved onto the next question. Retention of material throughout this process is the hard part.

Quantitative Reasoning
Math Destroyer and regular destroyer are enough to do well on this section. I suggest finding combination and permutation questions and doing them (I did about 35-40 of each). 
The real QR section was much easier than destroyer.

If I could have improved my studying experience, I would have used Anki in my studies earlier. I had attempted to DL it about 2 months before I took the DAT, and the DL got messed up and I kinda forgot about it. Anki is amazing.
Also, I probably should’ve practiced more PAT questions, particularly more difficult pattern folding questions. 

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me or PM me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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