Meet Richard Pasquali, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Richard to share his DAT experience with us as the featured student of August.
What changes did you make to your prep that helped you go from a 19 AA to a 21 AA?
The first time I took the DAT, I did not give myself enough time to study and review. I wound up not using most of the studying materials I had in order to meet the deadline I gave myself, and the lack of time had me constantly stressed and worried. I brought that negative energy in with me on test day, and it affected my scores.
This time around, I gave myself more time to study for the exam and made sure that I utilized every resource I used to study to its fullest potential. Give yourself enough time to go over every question, video, and exam of the study tools and resources you use, and schedule your exam when you feel like you’re more ready than you ever can be for the exam. The key to this test is exposing yourself to a lot of the questions you’ll see on the exam. That way, when you sit down on exam day, you’ll be unlikely to come across a problem you don’t already know how to solve. Giving myself enough time to take all of Bootcamp’s tests and watch all of their videos and to review the information I previously learned was what I feel made the biggest difference. It is a big test that holds a lot of weight in the admissions room, so make sure you give yourself ample time to prepare for it.
How did you use DAT Bootcamp to prepare for the DAT?
I used everything DAT Bootcamp offered me, as there is a lot of value in the program. Ari’s Study Schedule was very helpful on organizing my time in a way where I also did not burn myself out from studying. I didn’t even follow the schedule to heart. I made a few changes and added a few extra things to do every day. The schedule, I feel, is most effective to you when you use it as a template and edit it to the learning and studying habits that work most effectively to you.
The practice exams allowed me to learn what areas I needed to focus in as well as test my time management for the actual exam. The Bootcamp exams are useful in that they break down all the subjects that were in the exam as well as how many you got right in each of those sections. I reviewed every answer I got wrong or guessed on, and later spent some time watching videos and reading text on that subject to refresh my mind to the subject matter.
Learning effectively from Bootcamp’s exams involves reviewing the questions you get right, wrong, and have guessed on. Even if you only answered one question incorrectly on a practice exam, review it. Bootcamp is designed to show you where your weaknesses are so you can pan them out. Treat it like an actual military bootcamp, where your commanding officer is not going to pat you on the back if you got a 25 on a test, he’ll ask you to work on what cost you those 5 points.
At first, I placed a lot of weight on my estimated scores. It took me some time to realize though that the scores mean nothing other than how well you did on a practice exam. What matters is the breakdown below the estimated score that tells you the type of questions you had, and how many you had right in each section, not the estimated score. Come test day, your estimated scores will not matter; what you learned from the exams themselves will, though. Remember that while you’re studying.
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
I believe the most important aspect to master the DAT is having a confident and determined mindset. It is really easy to go online and see students on forums and websites who are scoring unbelievable DAT scores. It is even easier to stress yourself out over those scores by comparing them to your practice exam scores. You are just as capable as they are, but great things only come with hard work and solid focus on what you want to get out of this experience.
Staying calm and collected, especially on exam day when the results will matter, is going to be the determining factor in your results. I had questions on this exam that I didn’t have the answer to right away, it’ll happen – the test makers spend day and night coming up with curveballs, and all you can do is be ready for it. The first time I took the DAT, those questions caused me to panic, and I have no doubt it affected my score. This time around, I was able to take a deep breath and come back to it when I had finished the questions I did know. I took deep breaths for probably 8 minutes straight during my section break before continuing, because I knew how important staying calm is.
The DAT is primarily a test of your knowledge and ability to problem solve quickly and efficiently, but it’s also a gauge for how well you do under heat. Don’t neglect practicing time and efficiency in your studies. After all, diamonds are made only under great pressure.
My SDN ID is SaintRichie23 – please feel free to contact me with any questions you have! I’ll be sure to check it as regularly as possible!
- General Chemistry19
- Organic Chemistry22
- Reading Comprehension23
- Perceptual Ability24
- Quantitative Reasoning18
- Academic Average21
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