Thank you to “Lucky Tangerine,” DentalDAT has begun an Archive of DAT breakdowns! “Lucky Tangerine” has some of the highest scores that I have seen on the DAT. If your scores do not match up, don’t worry! The DAT breakdown is not meant to discourage anyone, but to encourage everyone to do well. Read through this breakdown in order to get an idea of what it takes to do well and what materials you should use. Good luck to all of you preparing for the DAT!
PAT: 30 (100.0)
QR: 23 (98.8)
RC: 23 (89.8)
Bio: 26 (99.5)
GC: 29 (99.7)
OC: 29 (98.9)
TS: 28 (100.0)
AA: 26 (100.0)
I studied beginning in mid-‐June all the way up to a week into September. I divided my studying into two phases: the review phase and the practice phase. During the review phase, I studied the material for biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and math for content and understanding of the topics. During the practice phase, I tested my knowledge and mastery of the material to ensure that what I reviewed was ingrained into my head. If I missed I problem during the practice phase, I read the solution in its entirety and understood why the correct answer is what it is. If I was still rusty on a certain topic, I referred to my books/notes to solidify my understanding of the material so that I would not miss a question on the topic again.
PAT [Kaplan + Crack DAT PAT (CDP)+ Topscore + Condog’s PAT videos]
Review: I learned about all 6 sections of the PAT and the rules through Kaplan Blue Book to get
a general idea of how to attack the questions. Then I watched Condog’s videos (I’m not sure if they’re still up on YouTube) for tips on how to manage the different sections.
Practice: I first did all the practice material Kaplan had for the PAT. The material
was okay since it served to help build my perceptual ability. As many others have said, the angles are way too easy compared to the real thing, but the other sections are good. I purchased Crack DAT PAT (CDP) afterwards to really develop my perceptual ability. At first I practiced just trying to get the right answer and ignored how long it took me to complete all 90 questions.After a few tests or so on CDP, I started to get the hang of it pushed myself to complete the section within an hour. The most important thing is to just keep doing these PAT tests throughout the time you spend preparing for the DAT. Not only does it help you get used to the PAT section, but it also serves to keep your perceptual ability at its prime when it comes test day. After going through CDP once, I did the tests over and was getting at least 24s on the tests.
Keyholes: I wasn’t sure what people meant by proportions on this section since all
the keyholes I had matched the figure pretty well. This section was comparable to CDP, but the ones on the Kaplan practice tests were good in preparing you to reorient the figure and deciding which keyholes is the best.
TFE: CDP was a good representation of this section. I visualized what the object would look like and determined the answer. This section was one of the harder sections for me while studying but by the end of my studying, this section was my strong points due to practicing these problems repeatedly.
Angles: CDP was definitely harder than what appeared on my DAT. I always struggled with this section the most on CDP because I honestly could not tell the difference between some angles on those practice tests. The angles on the DAT was much more discernible! Plus, boxes surrounded each angle so that might’ve helped with orienting the angles to do the“hill method.”
Hole Punch: CDP was harder than the real thing. I used the “grid method” to keep track of the holes just to make sure where the holes lie. A lot of the hole punches was doable in my head after practicing with CDP so I probably could’ve skipped on using the grid method.
Cube Counting: A lot easier than CDP! The figure was huge on the screen and there are way fewer cubes to count. I kept track of my cubes by making tallies for each figure.
Pattern Folding: Everyone is right in saying there were fewer patterns/shading and more complicated shapes. CDP was good for folding with patterns, but Kaplan practice tests and Topscore were good for folding with more complex shapes. I shouldn’t have spent too much time double checking my answers for this section. By the time I got to the last few questions for pattern folding, I was pressed for time and had to quickly figure out the correct answer by going with my gut. So if you confidently determined an answer to be right, then it is 100% right and all the other choices are completely wrong!
QR [Kaplan Book + Chad’s QR Videos + Math Destroyer + Practice Tests]
Review: I read through all the chapters for QR in the Kaplan book and by the time I finished going through that, Chad released his QR videos so I went through the videos in a couple of days. Chad’s QR videos were pretty good, but they were especially good for permutation/combination problems with his method of simplifying these types of problems.
Practice: Math Destroyer is the one of the greatest investments in doing well in the QR section. A lot of the math is from high school, so you’ve probably done a lot of these problems back in the day. It’s just that you haven’t done it in so many years! At first I went through all 12 tests in Math Destroyer just trying to figure out how to solve the problems.This was such a grueling process since this would take me more than double the time allotted for the QR section. The most important part is reading the solutions and understanding why and how they solved each question. After enough practice, the questions they ask on destroyer become so limited that you will be able to set up and solve for the answer quickly. After going through Math Destroyer once, I practiced all 12 tests within 45 minutes. This is the most important part since you have to practice and get used to doing the QR section under limited time.
Timed Math Destroyer Scores (out of 40): 37, 31, 37, 38, 40, 37, 38, 37, 38, 39, 24, 30
The DAT QR section was much easier than Math Destroyer. Time is money on this section so you want to be able to go through all the easy problems (they definitely appear around questions 35-‐40 so don’t dwell on the earlier problems; this is how they get you!). If you see a problem that is time consuming or simply do not know what to do; pick an answer,mark it, and move on! I think I had about 5 or so questions that I’ve guessed on and marked, so with 2 minutes left I just made educated guesses before time ran out. Know your conversions (lbs, oz, kg; ft, mi, km). Know how to do those rate problems, Distance =Velocity *Time problems, and probability problems stone cold! Keep in mind that the calculator lags. Try clicking hard since it seemed to help with registering my inputs.You’ll be able to test out how reliable the calculator is during the tutorial before the exam.
RC [Kaplan + Crack DAT Reading + Practice Tests]
Practice: I practiced with the Kaplan reading sections in the book as well as the ones
online. I thought these were a bit easier, but the passages were about the same. I also used CDR to practice with more tone, inference, main idea questions and thought it was a pretty good. Pure search and destroy doesn’t’ work for me since I end up wasting more time trying to find the answer as opposed to reading and answering the questions. I don’t’ write anything down since I find it time consuming (even if it’s just a few keywords) and my handwriting just comes out sloppy anyways. Kaplan practice tests and Topscore had comparable passages but I found their questions to be very tricky and much more difficult.
The RC on the DAT was much easier than any of the practice material I used. The passages I got were antibiotics, herbal medicine, and bone fractures. They were all
14 paragraphs each. The first passage I read all the way through and answered the
questions accordingly in the order they came up on the test. This method took me longer than expected but I continued using this method for the second passage as well.
This left me with ~15 minutes for the last passage. I had to change up my strategy here so I could finish on time. So what I did was read the first two paragraphs and the last two paragraphs. This was usually sufficient to tackle the tone/inference questions (there aren’t too many overall and they were fairly easy to answer). And then I skimmed through the middle paragraphs taking note of the topics in my head. I had to haul ass with the 5 or so questions left since time was ticking by now. I read each question quickly, determined where in the reading it referred to, skimmed for the answer, and answered the question hoping it would be the correct answer. I did this for the remaining questions and had 10 seconds to spare. I didn’t have time to go over any marked questions so I just hoped that the answers I picked were good enough and hopefully I’d get at least a 20 in RC.
Somehow I scored a lot better than any of the practice reading I’ve done since I
could only manage to get as high as 21 if I was lucky. Just to add on, I was never able
to finish any practice reading on time and was always rushed to answer the last few questions.
Bio [Kaplan Book + Cliffs AP Bio + Wikipedia + Alan’s Notes+ Destroyer + DATQvault]
Review: I went through the Bio section in the Kaplan Book and then went through
the corresponding topics in Cliffs. I tried taking my own notes but didn’t find it too efficient so I just read through those two books and highlighted main points/terms. I used Wikipedia for further explanations on some topics I wanted to get clarification on. I ended up just reading through both books just once and applied what I learned through practice problems.
Practice: I honestly thought that doing practice problems was the most important part in studying. After reviewing through Kaplan and Cliffs, do I really know what I reviewed from those two resources? It all comes down to applying the material learned through practice problems. Destroyer was especially good in testing how well you actually know the biology topics. Though the questions weren’t representative of the actual DAT, it served to elaborate on biology topics and teach you new information through reading the solutions for each question. I went through Destroyer bio two times and moved on to DATQvault after.
DATQvault is very good in that the format of the questions were similar to the DAT. They have a good amount of questions that tests how well you know your bio by making you apply what you know when given a new situation-‐the DAT loves to test you through these types of questions. I suggest going through all the questions that’s on DATQvault just to expose yourself to more practice problems and to solidify your bio knowledge. I also found the exhibits for taxonomy very good in reviewing the different phyla and such. Remember to review all the questions, even if it’s random. Who knows, it might show up on your DAT and at least you’ve exposed yourself to the topics.
DATQvault Benchmark scores: 21, 20, 20, 21, 21, 20, 22, 22, 19, 21
I also used Alan’s Notes, which is very good to look over after going through Kaplan, Cliffs,and Destroyer. I added onto the notes with information from DATQvault.
The questions that appeared on the DAT were a bit easier than Kaplan practice tests
and Topscore. After going through Destroyer, DATQvault, and practice tests, the majority of the questions on the DAT were mentioned in those resources in some shape or form(which is why I think the more exposure to bio problems, the better).
I was so happy to have Destroyer because some of the random facts from it actually appeared on the DAT and saved me!
GC [Chad’s Videos + Destroyer]
Review: I went through Chad’s videos once and took notes. After each video I did the
quizzes. A little more than a week before my DAT, I reviewed my notes and did the quizzes again.
Practice: I jumped right into the Destroyer after finishing the videos. I got 83% the first time through and 94% the second time. It’s very good for practicing calculations and testing concepts. Chad’s quizzes are actually more on par with the real thing.
The questions were pretty much straightforward. No tricks or surprises. Chad’s + Destroyer were sufficient in preparation for this section. There was a lab technique question but it was fairly easy to figure out if you’ve taken chem lab.
OC [Chad’s Videos + Destroyer]
Review: Exactly the same as GC
Practice: Again, after finishing Chad’s videos I started working on Destroyer. This was the hardest for me the first time through (69%), but I was able to learn from my mistakes and understand all those rearrangements and tricks the second time through (88%). Chad’s quizzes, again, were similar to the DAT.
The questions asked on the DAT were very basic and straightforward. Destroyer + Chad’s was more than sufficient for this section. There was also another lab technique question for this section as well, and again, it was pretty easy to figure out if you’ve taken o chem lab.
I did the Kaplan Diagnostic in mid-June, then the Midterm sometime mid-July. A week before my exam, I did 7 practice tests every day at the same time as my actual DAT to build up my testing endurance and to get used to doing a full length exam. I did the following 7 in order: Kaplan Final, Kaplan Practice Test 1, Kaplan Practice
Test 2, Kaplan Practice Test 3, Topscore 1, Topscore 2, Topscore 3. Here are all my practice test results:
CDP: 21, 23, 23, 22, 24, 23, 25, 23, 25, 22
CDR: 18, 20, 19, 19, 20
Personally I thought the Kaplan tests were pretty difficult compared to the actual DAT. I found the Topscore tests closely matched the real DAT spot on. If anything they were slightly harder but I can definitely say they’re a good predictor of how you’d perform on the real DAT under the same testing conditions.
Day Before DAT
The day before, I looked over Alan’s Notes w/ the notes I added on and looked over Destroyer’s Roadmaps. Besides that, I did nothing else but hung out with a couple friends and enjoyed some sunlight. Man did it feel good!
-‐Take a day off or two if you need a break from studying. I personally ended up watching a movie every Friday at the theaters during the month of July.
-‐Keep track of your break time. It takes a while to check in/out. By the time I returned,there was a pop up that said my break was already over. Fortunately it didn’t start the RC until I sat down. I guess I got pretty lucky there.
-‐Bring ear plugs if you have them
-‐Work hard, stay positive, and stay motivated!
-‐Try to stay calm during test day and during the test. It helped me to imagine how good it will feel once I finish.
-‐Pray. I could not have done this on my own without God.