Ashley recently aced her DAT with a 24 AA and we reached out to her to ask her how she did it! Here's what she had to share:
I’m a junior at UW Madison majoring in Biology and getting a certificate in 2D art. I'm passionate about running, painting, and dentistry. I began studying mid-September (as a junior) knowing I wanted to take the test mid-March to allow time for a retake if necessary in mid-June. Because I was studying on top of a full credit load (although on the lower side: 12-14 credits) and extracurricular involvement, I knew that three months wasn't realistic for me, so I purchased DAT Bootcamp Plus for the 6-month access and extra practice exams. I basically divided Ari's two-month schedule by 3 and followed that diligently. There were usually about three tasks in Ari's schedule a day so I usually did about one a day (ex. read a bio chapter and complete the corresponding question bank). Time-wise this took me about 2 hours a day 6 days a week for a total of 12 hours a week. I think having this schedule to follow is what helped me most to get a great score because it gave me daily goals and when all is said and done consistency is the most important factor in studying for such a large test.
My biggest tip for studying for the DAT is to take every test in Bootcamp available to you, whether you take them as full length tests or as partial tests. These will prepare you most for the actual exam experience! Time was the hardest part for me in most sections, especially so with the PAT section. Another great way to practice time-management for the PAT is to turn on the timer when going through the generators. I highly recommend having the DAT Bootcamp app on your phone so you can access the study material anywhere. Ari's schedule, the practice tests, the phone app, and the explanation videos in the completed tests (especially those in the PAT section) were my favorite aspects of Bootcamp as they give a lot of opportunities to improve your test scores!
My favorite part of Bootcamp was easily the option to take partial practice exams rather than only full length tests. Taking a partial exam a day, six days a week was much more doable with classes than taking a full length test, but still allowed me to effectively prepare for the real DAT. While it's definitely possible to study for and take the DAT during the school year, I highly recommend trying to study for and take it the summer between your sophomore and junior year if possible as I imagine it's a little less stressful! That being said, I also think it's important to have taken at least second semester organic chemistry before taking the DAT. I'd say that Bootcamp is more than sufficient by itself to prepare you for the DAT and that the most important thing is to stay consistent with studying so finding a reasonable time frame each day to study is key!
On each full-length practice test I earned a 21 AA and 19-21 PAT. On the actual exam I earned a 24 AA and 21 PAT. I found that during the actual exam each section (aside from the PAT) felt a little bit easier. The PAT seemed equally difficult compared to the BC exams. Luckily, I only had a couple rock keyholes, but they did show up so do try your best to prepare for them! For section breakdowns I found that my Bio score was about 2 points higher than my average on BC, my GC, OC, and PAT scores were the same, my RC score was about 3 points higher than my average on BC, and my QR ended up being about 9 points higher than my average on BC. Overall, each section seemed quite comparable to my prep, except QR which I found a bit easier on the actual exam.
Huge thank you to everyone at DAT Bootcamp for creating such a supportive and all-encompassing program. It is everything you need to prepare for and crush the DAT!