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Studying for The Biology Section of the DAT, 2 Good Books to Prep for DAT Biology

October 20, 2012
Kaplan Blue Book, A good review for the DAT

DAT Biology

Below is a list of topics that are covered on the DAT Biology test, as listed by the ADA on the DAT portion of their website: The scope of the test covers a wide range of topics, but the questions are not as in depth as one might see in a class devoted to a specific topic like Ecology. Major Biology Topics to Know for the DAT Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Origin of life
  • Cell metabolism (including photosynthesis/enzymology)
  • Cellular processes
  • Thermodynamics
  • Organelle structure and function
  • Mitosis/meiosis
  • Cell structure
  • Experimental cell biology

Diversity of Life

  • Biological Organization and Relationship of Major Taxa (Six-Kingdom, Three-Domain System) – plantae, animalia, protista, fungi, eubacteria (bacteria), archae, etc.

Structure and Function of Systems

  • Integumentary
  • Skeletal muscular
  • Circulatory
  • Immunological
  • Digestive
  • Respiratory
  • Urinary
  • Nervous/senses
  •  Endocrine
  • Reproductive

Developmental Biology 

  • Fertilization
  • Descriptive embryology
  • Developmental mechanisms
  • Experimental embryology


  • Molecular genetics,
  • Human genetics
  • Classical genetics
  • Chromosomal genetics
  • Genetic technology

Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior

  • Natural selection
  • Population genetics/speciation
  • Cladistics
  • Population and community ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Animal behavior (including social behavior)
Two great test prep materials that I highly recommend using for preparing for this section and brushing up on your Biology are: Cliffs AP Bio Book and Kaplan’s Blue Book.
Kaplan’s Blue Book has material for each and every section on the DAT. It is a great resource to refresh yourself with the general concepts of many of the topics tested on the DAT. However, I would not recommend using only KBB to prepare, as it does not everything.

As I was preparing for my test, I read many good recommendations about the Cliff’s AP Biology Prep Book. It is not super in depth, but it does cover a very wide array of topics. Also it’s very easy on your wallet! You can sometimes find a great deal on these books used at eBay or, but I often find that Amazon has the cheapest prices, used or new.

Buying both of these books NEW will probably cost around $55-60, including shipping. Not a bad investment to improve your DAT score!


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