Samantha Lee | 24 AA
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
The biggest hurdle for retaking the DAT was examining how I studied wrong the first time and how I needed to study right the second time. One of the biggest takeaways I got from this experience is to focus on what I was weakest in. I know this sounds very obvious, but I would constantly find myself studying the subjects I was strongest in, because it was way more fun and relaxing than studying the most difficult subjects. But when I saw my first scores, I knew I had to make a change in studying and honestly, once I started focusing on my more difficult subjects, they actually became my new favorite topics to go over!
Another important part of studying is maintaining a strong work-play balance. Work-play balance is easier said than done but while studying, I would find myself in finals mode. Cramming in all this work, waking up early and falling asleep late. I wouldn’t socialize or work out or do the things I love. And of course that is just a recipe for disaster. I felt burnt out on week 3. To get the best from your studying you have to give yourself a well deserved break too! It isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
The best advice I have is to make a schedule that works best for you! I remember I would obsess over success stories their schedules and try to follow their exact schedule and beat myself up when I couldn’t commit. But no two people are alike so why would study strategies be! One success story stated the student read a whole biology textbook! If anyone knows me, that would not help me in the slightest. Use a schedule as a template and change it to your needs. Once I got out of my head and made my own schedule is when real work began!
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
The most useful Crack the DAT tool for me was the videos. Review was an essential part of my second DAT prep and these videos made it so much easier. For my style of learning and studying, the videos truly made such a difference between my first and second DAT tests. I found watching these videos to be much more enjoyable and faster compared to reading texts by myself. I felt connected with the amazing tutors, and that I wasn’t just copying down notes but I was actually absorbing the information.
The videos were well-organized and concise. On Crack the DAT, I was able to keep track of my work. I could visually see the progress I was making and it kept me motivated and enthusiastic every step of the journey. As the videos were concise, it was easier to stay focused and truly comprehend the material. I also felt confident that Crack the DAT was up to date and was composed of material I had to know with no extra fluff.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
I think my biggest mistake while preparing for the second DAT was putting off practice tests. I wanted to truly understand all the material for all the subjects before I took my first practice test. I thought if I took a practice test without reviewing everything I would easily fail. I thought I was truly maximizing my time. Now looking back, I definitely thought wrong. No matter how much you study, you will never know everything.
Implementing practice tests early is crucial. Taking the first practice test eases the nerves. I became familiar with the settings and types of questions they would ask. Understanding the DAT is truly a whole thing on its own. Taking more practice tests I began to see how the answer choices could help me lead me to the actual answer. I began to see the importance of time on the DAT and found the time per section that best worked for me. These are all things that are personal to each student and that take time and practice. But no matter what, know you are conquering a huge feat and have this amazing resource to guide you!