Meet Catalina Escobar, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Catalina to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of November.
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
The most important thing I would recommend is to begin testing at least 1 month before taking the exam and test often. It is very important to know where you stand because it very easy to make the mistake of focusing on the wrong subject. In my case I thought my strongest subjects were Biology and Math because these are the topics I enjoyed most in school, while Gen Chem and Orgo were my least favorite. As it turned out I needed very little practice in the chemistry sections and a ton of practice and review in the biology and math sections – biology because of the sheer volume of information, and math because I hadn’t seen the topics tested in years. My point is, you may not know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and make the mistake of putting your efforts in the wrong direction. If I hadn’t used the practice tests with DAT Bootcamp I am certain I would not be happy with my scores.
How did you use DAT Bootcamp to prepare for the DAT?
I began using DAT Bootcamp about 4 weeks before taking the exam. At this point I had reviewed most of the Biology and Chemistry material in my classes, had gone through most of the AP Bio book and the videos Ari recommended. I started by taking an exam in each section to see where I stood. Naturally, I was not happy with some of my scores. I made a spreadsheet with each topic on the DAT and kept track of my scores. As I noticed a trend in the mistakes I was making I wrote them down and went back to the books and videos to learn, re-learn, or make sure I understood the material. For example, after a few QR practice tests I realized I needed to review trigonometry and statistics a bit more, and make sure to memorize some formulas I had forgotten. In the biology section I noticed I consistently made mistakes in hormonal regulation so I went back to my favorite anatomy book and re-learned the endocrine system… and so on.
The most valuable thing for me was the exposure to multiple topics in each section which is very different from learning from a book one chapter at a time. After taking each test, I went through all the questions including the ones I got the correct answer and made flashcards with any information I wasn’t confident on. I made a lot of flashcards! Learning from the explanations for the right AND the wrong answer choices was the most valuable learning technique for me. I used DAT Bootcamp almost exclusively during this last month because I thought the detailed explanations contained the most comprehensive overview of the material.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
In hindsight it would have been a good idea to spend less time on the AP Bio book, and to begin taking the DAT Bio practice exams sooner. While the AP book is a very good learning tool it doesn’t put sufficient focus on mammalian anatomy and physiology and in the end I had a lot of catching up to do in this section.
One last piece of advice: there is no one right way or wrong way to study. It is really important to find out what works for you and stick with it. I started trying to do a little from each section every day, and quickly realized that doesn’t work for me. I know from studying for my classes that I do much better if stick with one or two subjects per day. In the end I scheduled a bio day, a chem day, a math day, etc. I am definitely not suggesting this is a good technique for studying, but this is what works for me, and I’m glad I stuck with it. If you figure out what works for you, work really hard, and don’t get overwhelmed you will do great. Hope to see some of you around campus next year!
- General Chemistry23
- Organic Chemistry29
- Reading Comprehension23
- Perceptual Ability23
- Quantitative Reasoning22
- Academic Average24
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