Delaney Houston | 22 AA
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
For those preparing to take the DAT, I would stress the importance of making a schedule for studying. Some people take 3 months to study, others three weeks. Get a feel for how confident you are with the material, so you can determine how long you feel like you need to brush up. The earlier you start looking at material the better. This makes it easier to address how long you are going to need to make the score you want to. The key is to be realistic with yourself, and how much time you actually have to commit to studying. I really liked taking in the summer, when I could focus exclusively on the exam instead of work/classes/extracurriculars.
I would also recommend using a prep course (like CrackDAT!). Taking practice exams and completing practice problems during studying is so essential to progress. This allows you to determine how you are progressing, and what areas you need to spend the most time polishing. Practice is particularly essential for the PAT section, which really requires a feel for the types of questions asked. Watching PAT explanatory videos is really helpful for preparing for that section! Additionally, I would say not to overwhelm yourself while studying. Make sure to take meaningful breaks (like going to the gym, walking the dog, spending time with friends, reading a book, baking, etc.). Good breaks make the process a whole lot less stressful. They also let your brain recharge to tackle the next block of studying more efficiently.
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
Crack the DAT was helpful in exposing me to the types of questions that showed up on the real DAT. I liked taking the practice exams so that I could practice my time management in answering the questions. The analysis reports were also really useful in helping me track my progress. They allowed me to focus my studying and spend more time on the topics that needed the most work. Overall, the abundance of questions that the Crack the DAT program provided gave me confidence on test day because I was not blind sided by the difficulty of any of the actual DAT questions.
I also watched a lot of the Crack the DAT videos. These were great at explaining tricky concepts. They also clarified the topics that showed up commonly on the real DAT, and how best to approach these topics. These videos were especially constructive for the PAT section. I struggled with these questions, and appreciated the way that Crack the DAT taught you how to approach these questions visually.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
If I were to do anything differently when preparing for the DAT, I would have given myself an extra week in my study schedule. I was very happy with my score, but I think I would have been under less stress if I had given myself another week to study. I also think that in the last week I would have spent more time just studying the areas that I was most uncomfortable with, instead of trying to keep all of the knowledge fresh in my mind. By the end of my studying, the information I was confident with probably did not need much more refreshing. I should have just targeted the areas of weakness.
Finally, I would have started looking at PAT problems sooner. I think the thought process necessary to answer the perceptual questions with accuracy takes more time to set in because it is more foreign as a concept. I think looking at these questions earlier and practicing regularly is an easy way to get ahead in committing that process into an instinct. It also would have helped me answer the PAT questions faster on test day. I felt the most rushed in that section, and I think if I was more confident with the material I would have been able to get through the exam quicker.