Alekhya Thota | 23 AA
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
I would only take this exam after having taken statistics, general chemistry 1&2, organic chemistry 1&2, a full year of introductory biology, and mammalian physiology. You can definitely achieve a good score without having taken one or more of those classes, but being able to review the information instead of learn it for the first time is an incredible advantage. You also will probably have a deeper understanding after having taken the labs and projects associated with these courses. Do not rush taking this exam before you take these “pre-reqs” if you do not have to.
Also, I’ve realized that the reading comprehension, quantitative comparison, and perceptual ability section are more about speed than anything else. Do not be discouraged if you do poorly in these sections at first, as with more practice your speed will definitely pick up. I would set time limits for myself within each section; for each RC article, I spent 8 minutes on reading and 12 minutes on answering questions, for each QR question I spent one minute and moved on, and I spent about 10 minutes per each section type on PAT.
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
Practice questions are your most important resource while studying for the DAT! I probably learned more from the practice questions than from doing content review. I recommend doing as many as you can, and repeat them to ensure understanding if you have time later on. I took notes on the practice questions I got wrong, so towards the end of my studying, instead of going over broad notes, I reviewed problem areas I had in the past.
The videos I used were also awesome to step back from all the reading typically involved in studying. The videos were presented in a clear and concise way that made it easy to understand and easy to take notes on. I am a visual learner so these videos also made it easier for me to remember information while doing practice questions. Make sure you use these unique resources, along with the trainer games and review apps Crack the DAT provides, to your advantage.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
If I were to have a re-do, I would make time for other activities during my summer of studying. I’m one of those people that feels guilty doing anything besides studying if I have an exam as big as the DAT coming up, but at some point, I’ve realized that too much studying is counterproductive. I was forgetting things I learned at the beginning of my studying and I wasn’t retaining information as well as when I first started out.
So, instead, I would set a stricter schedule of exactly what I would get done everyday, and give myself time to relax more and practice my other hobbies. You’ll never know every little detail of the content needed for this exam, there simply is too much, and sometimes you’ll just get thrown an oddball question you’ve never seen before. Be confident in your studying and don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself!