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2013 DAT Breakdown – 24/24/25 by piranha

April 2013 DAT DONE + Breakdown!

TEST DONE. Thank you SDN dental folks! I lurked the hell outta this forum in preparation for this exam and it definitely helped me feel more systematic, optimistic, and less alone in this crazy process. Breakdowns really shaped the way I studied for this test. I owe everything and my first born child to this community. Time to pay it forward! 

My scores:
PA 25 (99.0%)
QR 24 (99.0%)
RC 24 (94.0%)
Bio 24 (98.9%)
GC 23 (95.4%)
OC 23 (94.4%)
TS 24 (99.1%)
AA 24 (99.6%)

A nostalgic reflection of how I spent the past 3 months:

Started studying in February, took the test late April, so ~3 months of studying. I’m a non-traditional applicant that will be starting Dschool at 24 (if I get in, of course). I averaged around 5 hours a day of quality study time while working part time. Had longer days (up to 8 hours) when I felt really motivated, shorter days (as little as 3 hours) when my brain felt fried, but 5 hours on average. 
I did not plan for days off, but they happened along the way (sickness, ankle sprain, car issues, big family/ friend events)… give yourself a little bit of a time cushion when you’re scheduling your test, because LIFE HAPPENS. I originally wrote out a schedule for myself following the 8 week plan posted on the forums, but quickly realized that I needed extra time to feel competent enough to test. 
I stayed sane by trying to make time for friends once or twice a week, studying in social settings, and working out as study breaks and for stress relief. It’s not a fun process (for most of us, at least?!) but it’s worth it!

Study Materials: 
Kaplan Blue Book, Cliffs AP Bio, DAT destroyer, Math destroyer, Chads Videos, Crack Dat PAT

PAT (CDPat 7/10 of the tests): Started with a 16 on the first one and felt really discouraged, but kept going at it. Test 7 was my last, and I made a 23. It was around a 1 point improvement with each test, for me. In CDPat I trust. Once you find your approach, get into the groove of it, and learn to keep pace, it flows and becomes kind of fun. 

QR(Math Destroyer, 5 tests): I’ve always felt decently strong at math. Did 5 tests from Math Destroyer. Did not spend too much time worrying about this section after I got a feel for the types of questions that would be asked. 

RC: Did not really study for RC unless you count reading books or the news here and there in my free time. Ive generally done well on other standardized reading tests. My method was to read through the whole passage as enthusiastically as possible, then answer the questions, going back through the passage as needed. 

Bio (KBB, Cliffs, online notes posted, Destroyer x0.5): Read over KBB bio section and took detailed notes over everything, read Cliffs AP Bio once without notes, skimmed Alan’s and Feralis bio notes 1x each. Created mnemonics for any unfamiliar/ difficult material, and did about half of the DAT destroyer problems. Was a bio major in undergrad, so that definitely helped. 

GC (KBB, Chads Videos x1, Destroyer x2.5): Read over KBB and took detailed notes, which set a good foundation, but I didn’t feel too solid about my understanding until I viewed Chad’s Videos and went through his quizzes. I did DAT destroyer once after reading through KBB and did absolutely awful. Went through it a second time after going through Chad’s videos, and it clicked much more! After the 2nd time through destroyer, I made a list of the #s missed, and redid only those for my 3rd time through. 

OC (KBB, Chads Videos x1, Destroyer x2.5): Same process as with GC! I was terrible at ochem in undergrad. Happy with my score. 

Practice Tests: 2 total: KBB printed test in book (midway through studying), Kaplan online diagnostic test(1 week before exam, yikes!). 
I’ve heard good things about the other testing resources (Achiever, Topscore) and probably would have given them a shot if I had more time. 

If I could do things over again, I would have planned to take a weekly practice test to evaluate progress and identify weak points. I had a hard time gauging how ready I was until I took my second practice test, and by then I only had a week before the test. But I averaged ~20 for all sections and decided it was decent enough to not back out of my testing date. 

When your test date draws near and nerves start to kick in, think back to all the time that you put into studying and KNOW that your hard work will see you through. You are more ready than you think you are! Go get your dreams, champions. Dats it. 

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