Laith Yousif | 23 AA
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
The most important thing about the DAT is practice. There really is no good substitute for doing as many practice problems you can especially in the perceptual ability section. I think what works best is doing a little bit every day. As long as you have the dedication and commitment to work every day you will do great. I tried to do 15 minutes of all the PAT generators as well as the keyhole and TFE questions every day. Often times it was frustrating as i did not seem to notice much progress from day to day however the practice problems were much harder than the real exam so when I took the actual DAT I felt very confident.
When it comes to the science section, each subject requires a slightly different approach. In biology due to the amount of material covered simply reading/reviewing as much as you can and doing as many practice problems as you can. In chemistry, understanding theory is key. A good base of the chemistry going on is often enough to answer questions with out doing any math. Know the rule of thumb tips and tricks and it will take you a long way. Organic chemistry requires a good understanding of stability and mechanisms. If you don’t know what a reaction does understanding how a mechanism might work is a good way to make an educated guess.
Reading is different for everyone. The best approach is to practice reading scientific articles as often as possible and try out a number of different methods to see which strategy works best for you. In math, practice. There are only so many types of problems. Do enough practice and it will become second nature.
As long as you are willing to put in the hours and work you will do great! They are not trying to trick you with any questions. Study hard and trust the work you put in and you will do great!
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
I used Crack the DAT as my main study source for preparing for the DAT. I did the 12 week study program and even ended up studying a bit more after I got through the program because my exam was postponed due to COVID-19. In the beginning I simply stuck to the schedule provided for me every day in order to practice. The most difficult part was staying motivated. Crack the DAT provides questions that were much harder than the actual DAT. Working hard and understanding those problems made it so when I took the DAT I was much more prepared and felt much more confident moving through it. The videos provided were all extremely helpful and when I felt like I needed more of an explanation I watched additional online videos to supplement my studying.
As I got further into my study material I noticed I would recognize topics that I had previously learned through Crack the DAT but forgotten. I started to go back and review old practice exams and questions periodically in subjects that I struggled with (mainly the biology section for me). By doing this I continued to solidify old information into my head while still taking in new information. I found it was helpful to go back and retake old exams as a warm-up (I could often do it much faster as I remembered reviewing that test) in order to improve my scores in sections. By reviewing an old biology test it would remind me of topics that I struggled in and so when I encountered those problems later that day as I studied I would be more likely to get the correct answer. The repetition of material also helped solidify the knowledge in my head for the test.
Finally, the PAT guide only had me doing the 15 minutes of generators every other day. I did them every day and recorded how I did in an excel sheet. This allowed me to track the slow progress and gave me more confident as I started to slow down toward the end of my studying. I continued to do the PAT game only when suggested as an extra practice. Even if I was retaking old PAT exams and I remembered what the correct answer was I would walk though the thought process of how to reach the correct answer as practice for the mind set needed to do well.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
For the most part I am happy with how I prepared. I wish I would have spent less time making flashcards for the biology section as I did not use them a whole lot. I spent a lot of time making flashcards that sat unused. My time would have been better spent reviewing all problems or even going back through readings. Also reading other biology texts as opposed to only the one provided would have helped. They all explain the same stuff differently so using other texts could have helped me understand topics I did not understand well originally. Reviewing old problems was the most helpful though as I could imagine how the question would change to make the other answer options correct and it would help me understand the topics.