Featured Student of September

Meet Joelle Moussi, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Joelle to share her DAT experience with us as the featured student of September.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?

The best advice that I followed was to make sure you are getting as full of a scope as you can when studying each subject. My goal was to do consistently well in every subject, rather than doing extremely well in a few subjects to make up for my not-so-familiar subjects. To do this, I made the DAT Program Guidebook’s “Scope of the Test” section into my own personal checklist, and I only checked off topics that I felt I had mastered. It is a good way to remind yourself of what you need to know and what you already know; plus, it is super satisfying to look at all of the checkboxes completed the night before your exam– it was a definite confidence booster for me.

Also, don’t take the DAT unless you know that you are ready to take it. If you feel shaky in some subjects and your test is right around the corner, then it is perfectly okay to postpone your test date a few weeks – it is better to postpone than having to retake the whole exam. Plus, admissions committees will not be able to see that you rescheduled your test! When I was first studying for the DAT, I’ll admit that I mainly was just memorizing facts without understanding the big picture concepts. As my test date approached, I realized that I was going to do worse than my full potential if I didn’t feel ready for the test and was just taking it to get it over with. I ended up postponing my DAT about a month, and it let me solidify a bunch of the information I felt shaky about, and I realized that the once daunting information now felt like a breeze! That’s when I knew that I was ready.

Fun Fact: I assumed that you see your scores when it gets printed out by the proctor, but your DAT scores actually pop up on your computer screen right after you submit your answers for the very last section (QR). So be prepared to see the numbers pop up in your face without any notice!

How did you use DAT Bootcamp to prepare for the DAT?

I used DAT Bootcamp as my primary study source for the DAT in all subjects. Here is my breakdown for how I studied for each subject with Bootcamp:

Biology: I would take the test, and then go back and read through the solutions. Then I would make a notecard for each question, and then make potential notecards for all of the options. Then, I’d go through the rest of the explanations under the questions and make more questions out of those little details. Then, I quizzed myself on all of my notecards! Anki was my best friend for this.

General Chemistry: I would take the test, then go back and read through all of the solutions. Then, even if I got a question right, I would write out the steps on how to do it in a notebook.

Organic Chemistry: I already felt like I had a solid background in OChem (4.0’s university setting), and I was scoring at least 22 in all the practice tests I would take. So for this subject, I would just take the test and read through the solutions briefly and remind myself of the concepts I was a bit rusty on.

Perceptual Ability: There is no way to “get lucky” – this subject can only be mastered through practice and patience! After getting 16’s on the first 5 practice tests, I was really frustrated, and I finally decided to watch Ari’s practice videos and strategies video; it only took a few minutes per section to watch, but it finally made everything click in my head; with the remaining 5 practice tests and about 30 minutes of practice with the simulators everyday for 2 weeks, I ended up going from a 16 to 22! I breezed through the real test with 15 minutes to spare.

Reading Comprehension: I pretty much just tried to make a mini-outline as I read the story, writing down the paragraph numbers to the main terms/topics in the paragraph so that I would have a map that I could refer to in the questions. I didn’t use any outside reading sources; I just went through the 5 practice tests given.

Quantitative Reasoning: I took the first 5 tests and got about 18 on each, but I knew that I could hit at least a 20. So, I applied my GenChem strategy this this subject and started writing out the steps on how to do each specific problem, even the ones I got correct. My practice test scores increased by at least 4 points.

What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?

I only started using Anki about 2 weeks before my DAT, and I wish I had started making electronic notecards sooner; they really helped me out. They are very easy to make, and just typing them out was a very effective way to solidify and categorize information.

I also wish that I had worked more on my long-term endurance. I only took 2 tests as full lengths, and used the other 3 full lengths as subject quizzes, so I was not actually prepared to take such a long test. After the break, I was totally burned out and I could feel myself shutting down, and I wish that I had taken more full lengths rather than just taking them as quizzes. On my real DAT, I still had 6 questions left with 1 minute to spare in the QR section because my brain was just getting overwhelmed and exhausted, so I just had to choose random answers without even getting a chance to read the questions. Also, I was consistently getting 25’s on the reading practice sections, but on the real DAT I only got a 22, probably because I was losing focus. You guys should take all 5 practice tests as full lengths, and not make the same mistake that I did!

Overall, I encourage you guys to use all of the resources offered in DAT Bootcamp – it is VERY realistic to the DAT. I felt like I was just taking another practice exam, and my eyes were already used to the way the computer looked and the questions were worded. It made taking the real DAT very comfortable, and it was by far the most realistic and helpful way to study for the DAT.

  • Biology21
  • General Chemistry26
  • Organic Chemistry22
  • Reading Comprehension22
  • Perceptual Ability22
  • Quantitative Reasoning21
  • Academic Average22

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