Jeremy Schuetz | 23 AAWhat is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
I took the DAT at the end of my 4th year in college. Due to this, finding time to study in the midst of classes was extremely difficult and so the advice that I have is this: begin studying earlier than you think you need to, set aside time each day to study for the DAT, make flashcards, and study systems and concepts as a whole not as individual facts. My senior year was very busy so starting to study for the DAT as early as I could helped to begin the process of retaining and understanding all the information that I needed to know. In addition, at the start of my studying for the DAT I often thought that I would have enough time at the end of the day to study, but this was often not the case. That is why I advise people to designate a set time each day to study, or take practice exams, of view flashcards. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to get through a topic and begin the process of retaining that information
In addition, make your own notecards. I know that there are plenty of quizlet notecards already made, but I found that making your own was extremely helpful in terms of retention. I also recommend you to bring these notecards everywhere. Use the notecards between classes, while waiting in line, while your making food. While I found that notecards helped me to recognize and learn each term and concept, don’t stop at just knowing each word or concept individually. Connect related terms (i.e.: all terms related to the cardiovascular system) begin to learn the flow of each system and how each term or concept relates to that system and when/where within that system. Lastly, find the small topics, the topics you don’t think will be on the DAT, and study those until you know those as well as everything else. This isn’t just for the natural sciences section, do this for the PAT and quantitative reasoning concepts too.
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
Crack the DAT’s twelve week study plan was how I began to study for the DAT. This plan kept me on track with my studying and provided me with daily tasks that kept me motivated to study for the DAT each day. In addition, the videos on Crack the DAT were incredibly helpful in my preparation for the DAT. O-chem was by far my weakest class while in college and through the use of the videos and the practice exams, I was able to score a 21 in the o-chem portion of the DAT. In addition, the general chemistry and biology videos helped me to understand the finer points of many of the topics. Lastly, the PAT videos. These videos helped me to not only understand the different parts of the PAT portion of the DAT but also how to quickly narrow down the answers.
I used the twelve week study plan, but I finished this plan about six weeks before I took the DAT. I found that in those six weeks that the notecards and note sets provided by Crack the DAT allowed me to continue to quiz myself and fine tune my understanding of systems, mechanisms, processes, etc. within the Natural science section of the DAT. The practice exams were beneficial, but what really helped me to prepare for the DAT was seeing which areas of each of the different sections of the test had the highest number of incorrect answers. For me, the top, front, end was consistently an area that I had missed multiple questions. Seeing the score breakdown allowed me to tailor how I studied to focus on each of these weaker areas and improve my scores in the practice exams.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
If I were to prepare for the DAT again, I would change two things. The first being that I would spend less time taking practice exams and more time reviewing the materials for each section. I did find the practice exams beneficial, but there was a point where me taking practice exams was in replacement of my study and as a result I learned very little. I would change this to taking an exam at the beginning of the week, seeing what needed improvement and then actually studying that material instead of trying to supplement it with more exams.
The second thing that I would change is how I prioritized studying for the DAT. While studying, I set aside time each day to study for the DAT, but that time was typically at the end of the day, after I had already been through classes, assignments, and studying for my college classes. Due to this, my focus waned very quickly into my studying for the DAT. I found it difficult to not only go through videos, notecards, my notes, and practice exams, but I also didn’t retain as much information as I should have. If I could change this, I would designate my mornings, when I’m more awake and alert, as my time to study for the DAT.