Retake Success: Don’t Forget to Study the Questions You Got Right

Meet Ashley Padavonia, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered her DAT retake. I’ve asked Angela to share her DAT retake experience with us.

What did you change while studying for the DAT a second time that led to an improvement in your score?

The first time I took the DAT I did not give myself enough preparation time (only 3 weeks), nor did I use many materials. I used Kaplan, which I did not feel represented the real DAT at all. Kaplan was much much easier than the DAT and on test day I felt severely unprepared, and as a result I got an 18 AA. This time around I used DAT Bootcamp along with other prep materials mentioned in Ari’s Study Guide. Together I used DAT Bootcamp, Mike’s videos for Gen Chem and Orgo, Chad’s videos for Gen Chem and Orgo, Cliff’s AP BIO, Feralis’ Bio Notes, and textbooks from undergrad courses. DAT Bootcamp has the most realistic practice exams in my opinion and is comparable to the difficulty of the DAT. The PAT generators were very helpful to my understanding / ability to visualize problems in 3D. I also made sure I kept a strict study schedule over 3 months and set goals for what I wanted to finish every week. I started w/ Ari’s 10 week schedule and made modifications based on my strengths and weaknesses.

What challenges did you face while preparing for your retake, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenges for me were Bio and PAT, my two lowest scores. I made sure I read through Cliff’s AP Bio AND Feralis’ Bio Notes together and made flash cards for each bio topic and went through them all at least once a week. For PAT I kept using all the generators and took all the DAT Bootcamp practice exams. The key to my success in these areas this time around was to look at what questions I got right IN ADDITION to those I got wrong. This way you make sure you fully understand every question and didn’t just get them right by chance. This is useful to do with every section and every practice test so you don’t get thrown any surprises.

What advice do you have for other students currently studying to retake the DAT?

Definitely give yourself enough time. Set up a DIY prep course for yourself like I did and make sure you do not fall behind. For the Bio section, pay close attention to Feralis’ bio notes and the footnotes. Also if you don’t feel ready for your exam as the date gets closer, pay the fee and reschedule your test. It’s much better to push it off for a few weeks than testing and having to pay to take the exam yet again. Lastly, don’t succumb to self doubt. It can be discouraging when you look at your previous scores, or if your practice scores aren’t as high as you would like them to be. However, if you stay motivated while studying, and give it your all on test day, you will get the scores you hope to achieve.

  • Biology23
  • General Chemistry21
  • Organic Chemistry22
  • Reading Comprehension22
  • Perceptual Ability21
  • Quantitative Reasoning19
  • Academic Average21

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