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2013 DAT Breakdown – 25/24/27 by dbd

Resources used: DAT Achiever, DATQvault, DATBootcamp (free version), DAT Destroyer, Kaplan Blue Book, Chemistry: The Central Science 9th edition, Campbell Biology 9th Edition, Organic Chemistry:5th Edition, Hulu, Netflix.

PAT: 27

Achiever Scores: 
PAT: 17,19

after the second test, they got harder and harder and I didn’t bother recording the scores cause they were lower and lower.

Bio: 20 20 22 22 21 21 21 18 19 19
GC: 19 21 24 21 24 21 20 24 24 24
OC: 19 21 19 19 21 20 20 19 19 20

I guess Qvault is pretty representative of your score, at least it was in my case for GC. I’d recommend saving questions you get wrong, and retaking each test after a day. I redid the Bio/GC sections until I got every single question right on the practice tests. OC was bs, and I didn’t bother. BSBSBS. Confusing and BS. Repeat BS. OC was my lowest score though, so there’s a chance that I just was doing bad, but every single E2 reaction according to Qvault ends up with the Hofmann product instead of Zaitsev, which is BS. 

So I think that out of all of the resources I used, DAT Destroyer was the best to hammer small facts into my head. 

Achiever in my opinion was the best practice test there was to prepare you for the worst. I think it warrants a post by itself, but that’d be pushing it. I had issues finishing within the time limit for almost every section. I used the 7-test version, but I only took 5 complete tests. However, I’d recommend getting the 7 test version simply for the PAT section. Note: an achiever test is harder than the real thing by at least ten times. I’m pretty sure I could’ve guessed on every single question and gotten scores similar to what I actually got when trying. DO ACHIEVER. YOU WILL FEEL LIKE CRAP. But that’s the reason why it works. You freak out, feel like you know nothing, and then you can focus on your weaknesses. It also prepares you mentally for the off chance the real DAT hits you like an Achiever test does.

PAT: This came out as a pretty big shock since I didn’t really go the common route of CDP. I was getting 16-18 on the first six Achiever tests. What I did to practice was do the first three Achiever tests and focus on my weaknesses. Keyholes, TFE, patter folding were all pretty hard. After you fail these three, go back and look at each question until you are certain you know why the correct answer is correct. You start to see patterns, and you find techniques that work for you that aid in this. One tip I have for pattern folding is to focus on a unique shape/shaded part of the figure, and notice what neighbors that piece. Then go through the answer choices and eliminate them. Draw it out if you must when you’re studying; it helps. TFE: once you look at enough, you start to be able to distinguish what all the dotted lines/solid lines look like and you can then picture it in 3d in your head. You’ll learn all the tricks about how to distinguish circle and diamond holes, etc.

Bio: To study: Read Campbell bio. I can’t believe I don’t see this more often on here. Word on the street is that the writers use Campbell to write the questions. It’s also on the list of DAT reference texts by the ADA. Learn the anatomy sections from this book. Read WHATEVER SECTION YOU ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH IN THIS BOOK. I feel like AP review books are nice, but they’re review books, meaning that it’s sort of assumed you learned the material once and you’re using it to REVIEW. They have the information, but I think it’s easier to put into context when you have this book. Seriously, it’s colorful, detailed, makes sense and has great diagrams. Also found some questions on the real DAT that were directly from the sections on anatomy. For Practice: Destroyer and Qvault. Do both. Keep doing them until you can do em all correct. Don’t settle for 80% right, or 90% right. What if all the questions on the DAT concern the 10% of all of biology you don’t know? You’re screwed. Bio’s such a broad subject, cover all bases. 

GC/OC: I don’t feel qualified to give advice on this section. I will say that Chemistry: The Central Science also happens to be the DAT reference textbook. It’s very good at explaining everything and has practice problems they work out step by step. It’s a great textbook. So great that DATQvault uses these exact example problems shamelessly in their actual tests they sell for $50. ahem. plagiarism. ahem. That being sad, Qvault is nice since it randomizes the questions and puts them into 40 question blocks. Not sarcastic. It’s much easier to do problems when you have the chapter on that topic right in front of you. Destroyer was overkill for the Chem sections, but if you don’t have a strong background in Chem, it doesn’t hurt to do them. The reactions I saw on my DAT test were very basic, but I probably screwed up on acidity/basicity stuff. Know that. I probably should’ve watched Chad’s vids. meh. oh yeah. DONT GET OC QVAULT. IT SUCKS. I know I didn’t do great on OC, but seriously, there’s some wrong answers on there and learning wrong information is a bad idea.

RC: I just read fast I guess? I looked at the first question and then read the passage. When I came to the answer of the first question, I answered and moved on. Then once I finished the passage, I just looked for the answer in the passage. Search and Destroy I think it’s called? I got pretty lucky and my passages were super easy. Answers were explicitly in the passage and it was pretty easy. Finished with 20 minutes left.

QR: I can’t math. I didn’t study. I should have. I had like 3 trig problems and I’m certain I got every single one wrong. I pretty much trusted I knew how to do algebra/geometry and stuff.

In the days leading up to your exam, trust that you’ve studied enough. Don’t freak out. When studying: set goals by topic mastery, not by time spent. Take breaks. There’s no way in hell you’re going to be productive for 8 hours straight. Don’t kid yourself. Unless you feel like you’re actually getting something out of doing that, then you’re better off taking a break every now and then. Be social. Go hang out with friends. Go watch game of thrones. Arrested Development Season 4 on Netflix. Community/parks and rec on Hulu. Exercise. EAT. exercise. yeah.

Notes on other study material. DAT boot camp was pretty cool. I tried the free version and thought it was pretty helpful. Didn’t get it since I thought Qvault was gonna be the same thing, but from what I saw bootcamp’s OC section was much better.
Kaplan Blue Book: First, idk why it’s called blue book since mine’s more purplish. It’s too damn broad. If you use it as your main info source, you’re gonna have a bad time. I don’t recommend it. Pretty much useless. PAT section: too easy, Bio details: very broad and leaves out some stuff, although it’s decent for giving memorization tips. Flat Pig for Anterior Pituitary hormones if you know what I mean. 

Final Shoutouts: Glimmer and the stash of breakdowns that make my results look like crap. It’s good motivation to see other people who are able to do this well. And my good friend at Penn Dental who’s a god and got a 29 AA for giving me his input and tips on how to approach the DAT. He’s god.

BAM. Good luck people.

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