Meet Grace Huang, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Grace to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of March.
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
Treat the practice tests as the real exam. Take them seriously; you should be preparing and studying for them the same way you would for the real thing. The DAT Bootcamp tests are the best preparation not only for the material you’ll see on test day but also for the testing conditions, so make sure to take advantage of the setup, resources provided, and timer in each section. You should be focused and have a sense of urgency during each practice test; getting used to stress and learning how to handle it during the tests is crucial. Keep track of your scores, and make sure your study habits are leading to improvements in subsequent tests.
Conversely, take the real test with the same calm attitude you would a practice test. By this point, you’ve done all of your preparation and should feel confident in your abilities. Now is the chance to show off how much you’ve learned. Get some rest and relaxation in the days leading up to the exam, and just know that you’ve prepared well and have done all that you can when you go into the exam room.
How did you use DAT Bootcamp to prepare for the DAT?
I began by taking the first test in each section as a diagnostic to see where I stood in each subject. I read all the right and wrong answers as well as the explanations for each question and then made a list of concepts or overall topics I needed to go over. After I reviewed those things and wrote them down to commit them to memory, I would take the next test in that subject and repeat the cycle. I took all of the science tests several times over to make sure that I had internalized the material I’d initially missed.
For me, biology was primarily a matter of reading and memorizing the material, and the main problem in general chemistry was making sure to read the questions carefully to get to the core of what they were asking, be it basics of electrochemistry or manipulating the ideal gas law. DAT Bootcamp probably helped me the most in the organic chemistry section because I hadn’t taken semester II by the time I had to take the DAT. Reading and watching the video explanations taught me the need-to-know reactions and mechanisms and helped me overcome the disadvantage of missing that prerequisite. The PAT generators and tips were also essential to my preparation; the PAT isn’t designed to be impossible to do, but it is almost impossible to do well on without practicing with DAT Bootcamp’s strategies and generators, in my opinion. While I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked to with the RC or QR sections, I think those are the quickest sections to see improvement in, so they shouldn’t be neglected.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
I should have started preparing earlier and been more serious about studying daily. I kept giving myself excuses to put it off, telling myself that I could wait until after my spring semester ended and then after I finished my summer class. Even in the 4 weeks I had remaining after my summer class ended, there were days when I would tell myself that I could skip studying because I had work that day or because it was a friend’s birthday. I got too comfortable with not studying, which resulted in having to settle for not knowing some things going into my test, which was hugely unsettling and unnecessarily stressful. I know that if I had given myself more time to familiarize myself with all of the biology material and to go through all of the PAT practice tests, I could have done better on these sections.
The DAT isn’t a midterm or an essay you can prepare for the morning it’s due; it’s an endurance test covering a huge amount of material, and it requires scheduled, continuous preparation, like the 10-week study guide. It’s really easy to blow off and underestimate the value of a single day’s worth of studying, but it’s about more than just missing the material you’ll cover that one day. It’s like that motivational poster showing 1.01365=37.8 and 0.99365=0.03: a little bit every day can make a huge difference, in both directions, and that’s the kind of mentality you need to have when studying for something like the DAT.
Starting early and sticking to a well-thought-out study schedule will help you build the right study habits for a test like the DAT, and DAT Bootcamp will take you the rest of the way!
- General Chemistry27
- Organic Chemistry30
- Reading Comprehension27
- Perceptual Ability24
- Quantitative Reasoning30
- Academic Average28
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