Fionna Lee | 26 AAWhat is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
First, I would like to stress that there is no one size fits all kind of study strategy to doing well on the DAT. You need to be mindful of how you personally work best and take advantage of your strengths to be the most productive version of yourself. For example, my work style is not suited to the rigid time intervals of the Pomodoro Technique since I need to have closure by finishing each section. Thus, I divided my day into intervals focused on each specific section: PAT first thing in the morning, Bio until lunch, GC and OC after lunch, and QR in the evening (I felt confident enough in RC to not need to practice daily). Instead of timing myself, I worked until I felt satisfied. I also did not deny myself breaks to clear my mind, such as watching movies in small segments and taking walks outside. In this way, I was attuned to my individual learning ability while remaining mindful of my own limitations. Study schedules offer frameworks for how best to organize your time, but it’s important to remain flexible because everyone works differently.
Next, take advantage of practice tests! It is important to build up the stamina necessary to concentrate for hours at a time. Maintaining focus by training your testing mindset is as important as knowing the material. You can build confidence for your actual test by conquering many practice tests.
The DAT is an exam on which any student can succeed with enough practice and dedication. You can do this!
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
I found the Crack DAT PAT Perceptual app especially helpful in developing my perceptual ability skills. One unique feature of their platform is the PAT Crash Course Videos module specific to each section of the PAT: Keyhole, TFE, Angle Ranking, Hole Punching, Pattern Folding, and Cube Counting. I learned strategies for effectively and efficiently mastering each type of problem. The instructors are experienced and motivational. Their methods save us the time of developing our own strategies; I felt like I was standing on the shoulders of giants when approaching each type of PAT problem.
The app not only includes specific videos of tips, tricks, and strategies, but also an effective PAT Generator complete with video guide walkthroughs for each and every question. The convenient and accessible format makes practicing everyday into an enjoyable habit. Lastly, included in the app were 10 full length tests with thorough explanations, which helped me gain experience in pacing myself as well as exposure to the experience of test-taking. For me, the PAT section was one of the most challenging on the DAT, but Crack the DAT’s PAT app provided all of the resources necessary to succeed.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
I would stop comparing my study schedule and my performance with those of others since and believe more in myself. Of course, reading others’ success stories is inspiring and asking for advice is valuable. But I would try to avoid feeling discouraged or putting myself down when my scores fell short of theirs.
It is important to understand that learning is often a non-linear process that is best facilitated by positive reinforcement. I would try to be more gentle and generous with myself. I think test-takers should be proud not only of their scores, but of their growth and hard work.