The purpose of this post is to record what and how I studied for each section of the DAT and allow others to decide if what worked for me on the DAT will work for them.
***I am now in dental school 😉 You will be there soon!!! I have gone back through this post and made comments on some things that I believe may be of value. These comments are marked with the three asterisk (*).
#1–Still Need to Find them
TEST 1- PAT 18-QR 20-BIO 15-G-Chem 16-O-Chem 18-TS 16
TEST 2-AA 17-TS 16-PAT 19-QR 18-RC 20-Bio 15-Gen-Chem 15-O-Chem 19
TEST 3-AA 18-PAT 18-QR 22-RC 20-BIO 14-Gen-Chem 15-O-Chem 18-TS 16
My practice scores varied depending on the test and where I was at in my studies. I felt that “Top Score Pro” best represented the real test. I think the main thing is to practice your timing and get your game plan down, then use what you did on the practice tests on the real test so you have no doubt on what you will be doing throughout the test. Also, use them to find your weaknesses and then WORK on them.
The day leading up to the Test
The day before my test I woke up and traveled 4 hours to where the testing center was. I went in and talked with the Prometric staff and asked any questions that I had. Some good questions to ask may include but is not limited to; (1) May I see the dry erase boards/markers? (2) Are there ear plugs available and if not am I allowed to bring my own?, and (3) Confirm the things you need to bring to the testing center with you on test day. I then went to the hotel relaxed from the long drive, ate some good food and then studied the rest of the afternoon. I shut the books down around nine and retired to bed (Key). Woke up around 7:30 went down to the lobby and ordered a three egg omelet. I then read outlines, note cards, math formulas, etc until about 10:15. I went to the prometric center at about 10:30. This left me plenty of time to find parking, use the restroom, eat a snack, and get comfortable. My appointment was not until 11:30 but I signed in took a few breaths and they had me started by 10:50.
BIO (19)- As you can see my actual score did not resemble any of my practice scores. My main source for this section was Cliffs bio. The questions on the DAT were not that detailed. I had a random taxonomy question but other than that I felt that all the questions were very doable. If you are looking for 18+ cliffs will definitely do it. I felt good about the biology section when I was done. ***If you have the opportunity to take biochemistry before the you take the DAT then I would recommend doing it. The questions on the DAT are not as detailed but it will make any questions (which seems to be a good handful) a lot easier.
Real vs. Practice: Top Score was more representative of the real test but it still had a lot more taxonomy questions than the real test. The DAT also seemed to cover a broader range of topics than any of the practice tests. Not very many questions were in depth but it seems that they are just testing your knowledge of the basics of a lot of the topics. ***Take the both the questions that you get wrong and right on Top Score and know why each answer is either correct or incorrect. If you already know the reasoning then don’t spend time looking it up. However, if you are not sure spend a little time reading and figuring it out. The questions on the test will not be duplicates but will be a similar variation of questions that you have most likely already seen.
Gen Chem(18)- I always struggle more with the conceptual questions on the practice tests. It has been 4-5 years since I had gen chem. During the test I feel like I froze a little in this section and was just blanking on some of the information (formulas and concepts). I watched Chads videos to regain a good foundation of General Chemistry. I did the problems in Destroyer two to three times each and supplemented it with did the ACS general chemistry study guide to solidify certain concepts. Destroyer defiantly covers any of the calculations needed. Be sure to know them all! Also ACS did a good job of really making some of the concepts stick. Overall I think both those sources are good enough to do a 20+. I just felt like I did not perform well.
Sources: Destroyer, ACS general chemistry study guide, Chad’s Videos (Links are posted under the resource tab), Text Book
Real vs Practice: Both the tests seemed to be about even. The third test on Top Score Pro seemed to represent my test very well. There was a good amount of conceptual and calculation formulas.
O-Chem(23)- Not much I can say here. It all seemed very basic. I did not have any IR or NMR which I found very odd. I was prepared to answer them and I would be sure not to skimp on this part despite what my experience was like. There was only one question I thought I was unsure of. I am still happy with a 23 though. I went through Destroyer once about 5 days before my test. Then two days before my test I did the ACS organic chemistry study guide. I will have to note that I completed O-chem part II about two months before I took the DAT. I did well in both parts and thus did not have to put much effort into this section. If you struggled with this in class or it has been a while since you have taken it I would highly recommend spending more time on this section. If you are scoring well on the practice tests and feel like you are getting the answers right because you know the information (not because you got lucky on a few) then I would say that you are set.
PAT(21)- I may have made a mistake in studying for this. I bought Crack Dat Pat at the beginning of the year and went through it several times. It was right on. However, I did not study for it for about two to three months and then about 5 days before the test I took one a day. I did not feel as sharp as I was in the past. They key is to make sure you are at the top of your game on game day. When I finished the test I actually felt like I had gotten at least a 23.
Real vs Practice: Crack Dat Pat was almost exactly like the real thing. I actually felt like I was taking another Crack Dat Pat test. My average practice score for Crack Dat Pat range from about 21-23 with a few 24s and 25s. Key holes=Same, TFE=Same, Angles=Same to slightly harder, Hole punch=Easier, Cubes=A lot easier, Patern Fold= Same with a few harder. Not bad at all. If you can do the practice tests, you will do well on the real deal!
RC(20)- Ok, this was a surprise. I was hoping for an 18 after I finished. Like everyone says there are the questions that say “The statement is true but the reasoning is false, The statement is false but reasoning is true, ect” They are not as bad as everyone says! The answer to the question is all in the same sentence or two sentences. Its not like you have to look in the first paragraph for the statement and the 5th paragraph for the reasoning. There was a lot of tone questions but I just read the question and went with my gut instinct. The key to doing well on this section is to experiment with strategies on the practice tests until you find something that works. Once you find that something practice it several times and then when the test comes use that strategy and stick with it. My strategy was to read the first 2-3 questions and start reading. Once I found the answers I did the next 2-3 questions. If they were in the first paragraphs I read it was easy, if not I just continued reading. By the first 7-10 questions I was almost finished which made the remain questions fairly easy. I also would jot down a key concept of the paragraphs as I read so I could look at it and go straight to that paragraph without skimming.
Sources: Top Score, Dat Achiever, Crack Dat Reading
Real vs Practice: As you can see from my practice scores of 19, 21, 20, 20, 18 all of the practice tests were pretty close to the real thing. Crack Dat Reading was a little more difficult because they had several tone questions. My scores ranged more in the 17-19 range. However Crack Dat Reading is good for practicing your strategies so you dont waste your Top Score and Achiever tests.
QR (17)-Timing is Key! I used Crack Dat Math for practicing my timing. After I could finish the test with 45 minutes I would cut the time to 40 minutes and then 35 minutes. This helped me to be able to look at a problem and know if I need to skip it or if I can do it quickly. I finished the real test with 3-4 minutes to go. I went back and checked a few of my marked questions. I was expecting at LEAST an 18 after I was finished but I must of made some calculation errors. I also used Math Destroyer (not the math section in destroyer which is not Representative). I only did two of the test and the night before I just read the formulas, problems and the solutions.
Practice vs Real: Both Dat Achiever and Top Score were easier than the DAT. I suggest using Crack Dat Math which is more representative. However my averages ranged more in the 18-22 range but it was nice because the solutions are now video which makes it easy to figure out why you missed certain problems. It also has the timing feature which makes it nice. Math Destroyer seemed to be most representative of the DAT. Know the formulas and the short cuts to the problems that are in the solutions.
OVERALL– If you can do well on the practice tests you will do well on the real test. I felt the test was easier than any of the practice tests I took. My results do not show it all the way but I may not have performed to the same level. I was only .1 away from a 20AA. Overall, I am happy with my scores and feel that they should do the trick! ***These scores definitely did the trick! My application was not complete until mid-September. If you have similar scores, a decent GPA, and apply in June you should have NO problem getting interviews.