2013 DAT Breakdown – 26/26/25 by mostprecious
Wow… I took the DAT today, and it feels amazing to be finally done with it!
I am immensely happy. I could not keep my smile off, and the lady at testing center noticed it too. Thanks SDN for being a great resource for a newbie like myself. Whenever I wanted to throw my DAT Destroyer against the wall, I would come to SDN and look at top-notch score breakdowns to get me pumped. As much as I gained, I would like to do my own breakdown and give back to you.
From February to mid-June, I tried to spend a couple of hours each day to study, on top of my school load. (Usually from midnight to 2am, and it was hard, especially because I love sleep) I kept to my vow for about 75% of the time. During this time, I covered conceptual in bio, gchem, and ochem. For exactly one month from mid-June to mid-July, it was all problem-solving and reviewing, each day 8-10 hours.
And here we go:
PAT 25 // Crack DAT PAT (10 tests)
The first 5 sets on CRACK I scored around 21ish and then I got the hang of it. The last 5 sets I scored around 25ish, only missing around 4 problems on angle on each test. I panicked on the real DAT because keyholes were so crazy. Each problem seemed to have 2 answers, I marked like half of them, and had barely the time to go back and answer. Angles were easier, and I used my own original trick to imagine a pacman with its mouth as wide as each angle and compare which pacman has its mouth more agape. Hole punches seemed different and tricky, but CDP was enough to prepare for it. Other sections were fair as well.
QR 27 // DAT Destroyer, Math Destroyer
I have a strong math background, but I kept missing two to four problems out of 40 during practice. I got so mad at myself and I would snap the book shut and spend an hour playing game on my tablet instead. Many were stupid algebra mistakes or because I didn’t read the problem carefully. On top of it, I needed to review trig functions, combination/permutation, probability, and p-test. Every problem I missed, I updated my “correction notebook.” I wrote down its solution, why I missed it, and what I needed to fix in order to avoid missing a similar problem on the real DAT. Several days prior to the test day, I reviewed all the formulas and my “correction notebook.”
RC 25 // Crack DAT Reading
By far, reading made me worry the most! This was probably the reason why I couldn’t sleep well the night before the test (only three hours of sleep.. I just couldn’t fall asleep! I got scared, because this never has happened before. I was surprised that I actually managed the test in sleep deprivation.) English is my second language, but I always loved reading books. Still, I would sometimes fail to catch little details and implications. I think Crack was harder (average ~21), because some of its answer choices were evasive and unclear.
But I was gladly surprised that the real DAT had clear answers and only required that I understand the passages. My trick is to simply read passages quickly (6~8 minutes) and answer them. To speed-read, I dab my eyes about three times on each line of words. Each time I “dab” at the line with my eyes, ( I see a group of words at once, ) ( dividing a sentence into little bits like this) (to make understanding easier.) ( I only glance once to do so.) (Mind you, we understand words) (because they bring a certain visual image to our brains.) — Do you see? These virtual parenthesis made me read faster. I kept focusing on those visual cues. Also, after each paragraph, I re-read the first (topic) sentence to remind myself what it was about so I know where to look for certain words. I mind-mapped it in my head, not taking actual notes or anything.
Bio 23 // DAT Destroyer, AP Cliff’s Notes, Feralis’ Notes
I can’t agree more with Glimmer1991 about this, that covering your basics is better than knowing little bits here and there! I honestly was shocked at how much I did not know on the Destroyer even after having had memorized most of AP Cliff’s. It was bad because I was discouraged and started to lose the momentum of studying and want to quit. I intended to do the Destroyer three times and learn what I’m missing (like epithelial and skeletal system), but never finished the 2nd round because of the sheer amount of information that needed to be covered. If I did do three times as initially planned, I might have done better.
All I did was to know AP Cliff’s back and forth, and it should enough. If I had more time, I would also master Barron’s or Kaplan’s AP bio, but could not get to it. Feralis’ notes, I used only for reference and for parts not covered by Cliff’s. I used Anki flash drives, and my tip is to use visual mnemonics. For example, when I memorize the word “erythrocytes,” I would associate it with the name “Eric” just because it sounds like it, and visualize a bleeding Eric (any Eric you know!). Maybe he got a prick in his finger and there’s red blood on it. Whatever it is, now I would never forget that “erythrocytes” means red-blood cells.
GC 30 // DAT Destroyer, Chad’s videos
I took notes while watching Chad’s videos. I honestly has never seen someone that talented in teaching. He’s the man! I did destroyer three times. As I did for QR, I made a “correction notebook” for this section as well. I wrote solution of what I missed and why I missed it. Some I would miss again on my 2nd or 3rd try — those I put two large red X’s, so I know it for sure. I reviewed his notes multiple times. First time I look through his notes, I make sure to understand. Second time I go through it a couple days later, I retain like 70% of it. Then third time, fourth time, and so on. This way, I retain 100% of whatever Chad said.
OC 25 // DAT Destroyer, Chad’s videos
I did exactly the same as GC.
Looking back, I realize that I am one horrible person who just can’t get his butt glued to the chair. I lack endurance. Sometimes I’ve had to stand up and walk around the room every ten minutes during studying. I would be mad at myself for making stupid mistakes and just take a 2-hr long nap to forget about it, or I would just fall into a never-ending youtube trance. (We’ve all done that, right?? …. or maybe not, all you monsters out there) Anyways, what matters is how much you will let yourself put up with your laziness. One time or other, we need to grow up and deal with our weaknesses, so we would become mature health professionals who can deal with others’ weaknesses. For me laziness is a weakness.
Lastly, what kept me going was this Bible verse: (still glued above my period table of elements on my wall)
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” Corinthians I 10:13
Quite literally, the mentioned “test” was the DAT. And it’s OVER!
That is all. Others have done it, I have done it, so can you! I feel as though I just woke up from a month-long nap. And now I face the reality and cheerfully continue on.