Category: DAT

DAT Breakdown by: AHugeDeadWhale

Thanks to “AHugeDeadWhale” DentalDAT was able to add another quality DAT breakdown to the archive. The scores that he earned are nothing to be ashamed of. Just about anyone with scores in this range has an excellent chance at getting multiple interviews and ultimately multiple acceptances. Read through this carefully as he gives some great feedback on study materials and some excellent tips for studying for the DAT.

AHugeDeadWhale DAT Breakdown

BIO: 19
PAT: 21
Reading: 22
QR: 21
AA: 21

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone on this forum for their help and tips. Definitely, couldn’t have done it without you guys. If anything, your posting of 21+ scores scared me into studying hard lol.

I took a Kaplan online course and used their online tests as my practice tests. I had never gotten higher than 17 on Science on any of the Kaplan tests (I think they are supposed to be fairly easy). I don’t know what magically happened on Test Day, but somehow I pulled it off. I didn’t do a single full-length test for the 3 weeks leading up to the test (IDK why lol) so maybe something clicked for me in that time?

Bio: Cliff’s, Kaplan. Bio is my weakest subject, as you can see. Everything was pretty straightforward on the test but like other people have said, it was really random. There were a couple that I just had no idea about. When I read the first question, I was completely clueless and had to mark it. Thought to myself, “Well this isn’t going to go well.” I read through Cliff’s once (available here) and Kaplan bio once (available here). Then randomly in the weeks before Test Day I would just open up a random chapter and read it. I only went about halfway through Bio because honestly it was kicking my butt and I was getting really frustrated. I think it is overkill and the only helpful quality of it is that it gives you a reality check on how much material there is to know. I don’t remember much about Bio now, probably because I was so freaked out while taking it lol. I do remember I had several ecology and evolution questions and only one basic taxonomy question. I would say to expose yourself to as much material as possible and favor “breadth over depth” if you are short on study time.

GChem: Chad’s was enough for this section. I watched Chad’s twice over the course of a few months. The first time through I took super detailed notes, but the second time I was sat back and watched and tried to pick up on things that I hadn’t seen before. Again, Chad’s is a little much here. The math on this section of the test wasn’t that bad at all, pretty straight forward. A lot of them were the “setup” type problems where you just pick the answer that has the right calculation setup. I probably made some stupid mistakes here.

OChem: Chad’s. Watched Chad’s 2X. I didn’t finish Destroyer for this either. I’m also retaking Organic I right now in the summer so I think that really helped out a lot. The test was definitely heavier on Organic I material, so pretty basic reactions. There were I think 3 or 4 EAS reactions as well. I used to hate organic chem but now I think I understand it (well, at least on a DAT level) and actually kind of like it. I finished the Sciences with about 10 minutes left and used that time to go over my marked problems.

PAT: Crack DAT PAT. Once you know how to approach each type of problem and have developed a strategy for solving it, CDP is all you really need. Kaplan PAT is too easy, don’t use it. For example, I had been able to use line counting for TFE on Kaplan, but on the actual test most of the answer choices have the same number of lines and so I had to actually picture the shape in 3D. The difficulty level is about the same as CDP, which surprised me because I thought CDP was supposed to be harder. I had been getting 20-22 on CDP. I will say that angles on my actual test are FREAKING HARD. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything I missed came from the angle section. They definitely don’t care about lining up the angles for you at the same size and rotation. And even when they did, I still couldn’t tell them apart. I just went with my “gut” on most of them. There were also a few (2 or 3) keyholes that were quite outrageous and I had to mark them and basically use an educated guess. Everything else was straightforward. Hole punching and Cubes were a little easier than CDP, I thought. I only had a max of 16 cubes to count, not bad at all. I finished with about 90 seconds left.

Reading: I did not prepare for this section at all. I had been getting 21 on the Kaplan practice tests (available here) and I wasn’t sure how else to prepare for it. I actually spent 5 minutes of my break time deciding whether I was going to read the whole thing through or just go straight to the questions. I am not a good reader so I used the search and destroy method, which worked out for me. I hardly got any tone questions at all. Oh yeah, I got the ETHICS passage. I actually thought I got every question right on this whole section and I finished with 20 minutes left (wtf right?). SO maybe the Ethics passage tricked me or something, but I thought it was fairly easy, not nearly as hard as other people have said. Maybe I got a different Ethics passage?

QR: Math Textbook. I am pretty good at math, or so I thought (5 on AP Calc BC, that is my claim to fame lol). I went through all of the Math Textbook because it helped me gain some of my confidence back haha. Some people have said to go through it twice, with and without timing. I was pretty confident so I just put 45 minutes on my timer and dove straight in. The first few practice tests I only got through about 30-33 questions and getting a lot wrong. So I looked over the answers carefully, found out the “quicker” ways of doing those problems and brushed up on my equations and formulas. After Test 4 or so, I was able to finish an entire test basically right on time with getting only a few questions wrong. To be honest, I was aiming to get everything right on this section, but that didn’t work out I guess, LOL. I think my mistake was that I got caught up on one problem and I didn’t want to give up so I wasted like 4 minutes on it. Then I had to rush through everything else half-assed. Poop. I finished the section with about 1 minute left.

Even though I think 21 AA is quite good, I don’t think it will be enough to get me in during this cycle. I have 3.0 scGPA and 3.3 cumGPA with lots of volunteering. Still, I am applying to all the Texas schools (resident) and a few of the OOS friendly ones around the country to test the waters.

Thanks for reading and good luck to you all!

Thanks once again to “AHugeDeadWhale” for donating his DAT Breakdown! If you have a DAT Breakdown you would like to donate you can contact me via e-mail at

More DAT Breakdowns

DAT Breakdown by: SLYgUY2098

To Start of this new year “SLYgUY2098” wanted to lend all of you pre-dental students out there a hand by posting his DAT breakdown here on DentalDAT. First of all, congratulations to “SLYgUY2098” for a job well done. Scoring in the 98th percentile is not an easy task when it comes to the DAT. I highly recommend that you read this breakdown along with the others that are posted in the DentalDAT archive. Use the information that you gather from these successful students to formulate a winning strategy for yourself. Once you formulate a strategy that fits you and your schedule stick to it and you will see the results that you have been longing for.

SLYgUY2098 DAT Breakdown

PAT: 21 (87.9%)
QR: 24 (99.0%)
RC: 23 (89.8%)
Bio: 21 (92.3%)
GC: 21 (87.0%)
OC: 27 (98.7%)

TS: 22 (95.6%)
AA: 23 (98.7%)

Generally speaking, I thought the actual DAT exam was easier in respects to the practice that I’ve been doing. The only section that I thought was harder was the PAT, specifically pattern folding. All in all, as many have stated, if I can do it, so can you.

I would like to thank everyone on SDN that has helped me throughout this summer and Dentalworks for his DAT 8-week study guide that I based my study schedule on. My family, friends, and you SDNers truly made these scores possible. I am humbled and deeply grateful. I will be posting a complete breakdown later tonight.

Here’s my breakdown:

Practice Tests:
Test 1: 29/28/30/22/22/20/30/26
Test 2: 22/28/30/30/29/25/27/28
Test 3: 24/28/30/26/22/21/28/26

Test 1: 17/19/19/18/18/16/19/18

**Before I begin the actual breakdown of how I tackled my studying for the DAT, a quick note about materials. KBB was not the best. I read it as a  foundation but didn’t rely on it at all. Pretty much none of it stuck after I finished with it. Achiever was ridiculous and  killed my confidence. TopScore was pretty accurate in its difficulty.  Nearly matched that of the real DAT.** Additionally, I modeled my study schedule after Dentalwork’s 8-week study program.

Materials: KBB, DAT QVault, Cliff’s AP Bio, Alan’s Notes
I first started with KBB (available here) and realized that practically nothing I read was sticking. Asking advice from a friend who already took the DAT last year, I then bought the Cliff’s AP Bio. Solid investment (available here). Cliff’s goes through almost everything you need for the biology section of the DAT. It lacked on details regarding the skeletal system (bone anatomy) and special senses (eye and ear).

Next, after reading through Cliff’s twice. First time through, I got about 50-60 wrong. Then my second run, I got 10 wrong. I then reviewed Alan’s notes. They are detailed but very succinct. You really have to know your material to find Alan’s notes useful (and they are!).

I intermittently did DAT Qvault (bought the subscription) and it really helped. Started out at 18 for benchmark test #1 and went up to 23 for benchmark test #9 and #10. Very good investment and helped broaden the range of questions I came across.

Overall, I felt quite prepared for the bio section of the real DAT.

General Chemistry: 
Materials: KBB, Chad’s Videos
I watched Chad’s videos once, then textbook once. Took notes using the handouts provided by Chad. I initially tried textbooks prior to watching Chad’s videos and I knew next to nothing. Chad’s videos are VERY helpful. It was worth my money!

Overall, I felt super prepared for this section.

Organic Chemistry: 
Materials: KBB, Chad’s Videos
Same thing as General Chemistry. Did textbooks twice, and looked at the roadmaps too! (They help!)

Overall, I felt really prepared for this section as well.

Quantitative Reasoning:
Materials: KBB, Math Textbook, Chad’s Videos
Judging from the success I had with Chad’s videos for GC and OC, I plunged into his latest collection of videos, the ones for the QR section. It turns out I made the right decision. I tried Math textbook before watching the videos and I ran out of time about 25 problems into it. Post-watching the videos, I nailed all 40 with a few minutes to spare. I did Math textbook once through.

Overall, I was really surprised at the QR section. I know it has a nasty reputation for being the section people run out of time on, but I finished with 5 minutes left. There was nothing I didn’t know or see before between Chad’s videos and Math textbook.

Added advice: Please do not underestimate this section! I know I first did because I assumed I knew everything due to my perfect math SAT scores, but that’s not the case! Take this section seriously too!

Reading Comprehension:
Materials: Crack DAT Reading (10-test), TopScore, Achiever
Crack DAT Reading was nice, I used the 10-test version. Went through all of them, scored 23-25 on each one. It had more history and philosophical passages, very few on science. It helped build my speed and focus.

TopScore reading passages were far more like the real DAT because they were highly technical and science-based. Achiever was a bit overboard in my opinion.

Overall, I was confident going into the RC section. I read every passage (taking 10 minutes maximum), then answered the questions (10 minutes max). I didn’t run out of time.

Materials: KBB, Crack DAT PAT (10-test), TopScore
Well I knew this was going to be a killer. Started out with CDP at a 16, worked my way up to 25 by the end of test 10. CDP was great because it had excellent explanations, and the range of figures/patterns/hole punches were great. Timing is key. But the most important part was practice. Practice, practice, practice. This isn’t something you can “learn” how to do, it is simply practice-driven.

Overall, PAT wasn’t terrible. Keyholes, hole punches, and cube counting were easier than CDP. Angles and TFE were of the same difficulty. Pattern folding was pretty tricky, definitely harder than CDP. The pattern folding on TopScore was more representative of the difficulty of the real DAT though. Actually, TopScore PAT, in general, is quite representative of the actual DAT. Again, Achiever is pretty nuts.

My experience with studying for the DAT has proven to me one thing: with hard work, anything can be achieved. I started my studying on July 5th and concluded it on August 21st. I worked 8am-5pm Monday-Friday during that timeframe, and yet I still managed to study effectively and efficiently. I guarantee you that your hard work will be bountifully rewarded at the conclusion of your studies.

Other DAT Breakdowns

Thanks once again to “SLYgUY2098” for donating his DAT Breakdown! If you have a DAT Breakdown you would like to donate you can contact me via e-mail at

Cliffs AP Biology: The Rave

If you have done any kind of research about what to use for the biology section of the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) then you probably have come across several sources saying to use CliffsAP Biology book. What is the rave all about?

First off, CliffsAP Biology book was not written for the DAT but for high school students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology test for college credit. This means that it is broken down so simply that even a high school student can understand it!

Why use CliffsAP Biology for studying for the DAT? Easy, the book is broken down into 13 subsections which coincidentally mirror the outline of the DAT. It teaches nearly all the material needed for the DAT in less than 254 pages (including practice problems). This may sound like quite a few pages but when you consider the 6 pages of multiple choice questions and essays between each chapter, it is not much at all.

CliffsAP Biology (available here) is by no means a fancy book but it does include some helpful pictures and some easy to memorize charts.

Take a look here at the ADA outline for biology:


The outline of CliffsAP Biology:





You can get a feel for what is covered and what is not covered. One thing that I would have to advise against is strictly using CliffsAP Biology. You might ask, why? The real reason is that Cliffs does not cover EVERYTHING. If yo notice it lacks in some of the physiology areas and possibly a few smaller areas. My recommendation would be to take the ADA Outline and go through Cliffs filling it out. When you finish filling out the ADA Outline, look at what sections are lacking and then go to another resource (Campbell’s, Kaplan, the Internet, etc…) and fill in the missing pieces. I would do this for you but lack the time! However, if anyone has done this and would like to forward it I would be glad to post it for everyone’s benefit.

Remember, Cliffs is short, in outline form, and costs less than $10. Hope this gives you a little better feel for what CliffsAP Biology is all about.