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2013 DAT Breakdown – 25/27/22 by obeserabbit

Hey guys, I took my DAT earlier today and I figured I’d post a few thoughts to help out with motivation/studying tips. I ended up bookmarking like 30+ breakdowns (before I knew about La DATelisse), and they were really great for gauging where I was at, in terms of practice test scores, and also planning out how to study. Hopefully my breakdown is helpful; feel free to post/PM if you have any questions.

My scores were:
PAT 22 (93.8%)
QR 22 (98.7%)
RC 23 (96.1%)
BIO 24 (99.6%)
GC 29 (99.9%)
OC 28 (99.5%)
TS 27 (100.0%)
AA 25 (100.0%)

For study materials, I used Chad’s videos, Cliff’s AP Bio, DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer, Topscore, Achiever, ADA 2009, CDP, and DAT Qvault Bio. 

– I read through Cliff’s once, then decided to make my own outline based on Cliff’s, so I read through it again. It’s pretty much the same as all the other outlines out there, but for me it was more helpful typing it up myself. I went through Destroyer twice, and I had a section at the end of my outline for random Destroyer facts. First time through Destroyer was around 75% correct. During my second pass through Destroyer, I also went through DAT Qvault, and saved a bunch of questions that I wasn’t sure about. 
– Around two weeks out from my test date, I printed out my outline and highlighted/made notes and mnemonics in it. If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t have done a cold reading of Cliff’s and instead would’ve started my outline on day one. 
– I felt the actual test was pretty difficult (due to randomness), and there was one particular question on something which I hadn’t seen in any of my biology review. The biology section really is just a crapshoot, and I had a lot of marked questions when I finished this section. 

General Chemistry:
– I went through Chad’s videos and took notes by hand and also did his quizzes. After that, I went through Destroyer twice. The first time through I got around 76% correct.
– If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t have spent time watching Chad’s videos a second time. I ended up watching most of his videos a second time while following along in my notes, but this was kinda a waste of time for me. 
– This section was much easier than Destroyer.

Organic Chemistry:
– This was, and will always be, my weakest section. Conceptually, I just have a tough time understanding some of the topics. I went through Chad’s videos and took notes by hand and did the quizzes. Then, I went through Destroyer twice. I made note cards on every question I didn’t understand, but I’m not sure how helpful that was since I only went through them once…I probably wouldn’t do this again. The first time through Destroyer was ridiculous…I ended up getting around 55% correct. There was one stretch where I got 11 consecutive questions wrong… 
– The real test was much easier than Destroyer.

– I went through KBB just to get a feel for the questions. Then I started doing CDP. I bought the Royal Flush edition, but I really should’ve bought the middle one (Ace edition?), since I ended up not using the thousands of AR/CC/HP questions. For the first four CDP tests, I couldn’t even finish them on time. I didn’t have time to do all 10 tests, and I saved CDP #6 for last. 
– The real thing was harder than CDP overall, especially TFE and keyholes. However, cube counting and angle ranking were easier, while hole punching was around the same level. I also thought pattern folding was around the same level as CDP, maybe even a little easier. I’m pretty sure I lost most of my points in TFE and keyholes…

Reading Comprehension:
– The only practice I got here was through Topscore, Achiever, and ADA 2009. Topscore was too much S&D and too easy, while Achiever and ADA 2009 were both overly difficult. 
– On the actual exam, the passages I got were all science-based and weren’t too tough to read. With this section, you really need to watch your timing though. I was hoping for a higher score, but I’m definitely satisfied with a 23. 

– I went through Math Destroyer and like a 1/3 of the math section in DAT Destroyer. I also made note cards of all the formulas that were in the front section of MD.
– I felt that the QR section for my test was really tough (judging by the percentiles). There were at least 2 questions which I had no clue on how to approach. Overall, Math Destroyer was the best prep for this, but I was really hoping for a better score. 

As with all the other sections of the test, a lot of it is just luck, i.e. you might get an easy section or you could get stuck with a harder section!

I started doing practice exams around 16 days out from my actual exam. I started with Achiever, then went to Topscore, and finally did ADA 2009 two days before my exam. 

My practice test scores were:

Achiever (BIO/GC/OC/PA/RC/QR/TS/AA):
Test 1: 20 23 13 18 18 29 18 21 
Test 2: 18 19 16 19 17 19 18 18 
Test 3: 17 19 20 18 18 21 19 19

– Achiever has a nice layout, but is devastatingly tough. The PAT section is good practice though.

Topscore (BIO/GC/OC/PA/RC/QR/TS/AA):
Test 1: 19 18 20 21 29 21 20 21
Test 2: 20 21 23 23 22 20 21 21
Test 3: 21 21 19 24 29 30 21 24

– Topscore has a really ugly, outdated interface and I didn’t like their answer explanations (especially for QR). Also, some of their taxonomy questions are a bit too detailed imo. 

CDP (only did 9 tests; took CDP#6 on the day before the real DAT):
19, 21, 20, 20, 24, 29, 22, 25, 23

DAT Qvault Bio:
21, 21, 23, 22, 21, 22, 22, 25, 20, 19

ADA 2009 had an embarrassing amount of errors. After accounting for the errors, my scores were 30 Bio, 28 GC, 22 OC, 23 PAT, 18 RC, and 19 QR. One of my biology questions was directly from this test though, so I guess it was worth doing.

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