How Jeff Scored a 26 in Biology without Taking Biology in Ten Years

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Jeff Vincent
26 AA

Meet Jeff Vincent, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. Jeff is a non-traditional student – he was out of school for 6 years, hadn’t taken biology in 10 years, and still scored a 26 AA. I’ve asked Jeff to share his DAT experience with us as the featured student of April.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?

Prioritize: an exceptional score on this test takes an exceptional effort. This is why dental schools place such an emphasis on the score. If you are looking for advice on “How to score well in 30 days or less,” you’ve come to the wrong breakdown. My wife and I added up the number of review questions that I did, and realized that excluding PAT practice, I did no less than 10,000 review questions. For me to score like I did, I said “no” to literally everything. No trips, no weekend plans, no Netflix binges, no Social Media.

What words of advice do you have for other non-traditional students who haven’t studied the sciences in a while?

When I decided that I wanted to go to dental school, I had been out of school for 5 years. The last time I took a science class was 8 years ago and I got a low B. Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed. The best advice I could give is to plan. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to dental school.” It’s a totally different thing to manage a full-time job, responsibilities at home, personal health, while changing your career. Trust me, there is nothing glamorous about working until 5 and then driving straight to an O Chem class + lab that you won’t get out of until midnight. I planned out my entire week every Sunday night. A mistake that I’ve made in the past is believing, “If I follow this guide, then I will succeed at xyz.” There is some truth to that, but I think set me apart in this process was my ability to honestly re-evaluate my progress on a weekly basis and progress on a time-line that meant I was actually absorbing material effectively. I recommend buying a notebook and listing out everything you have going on that week (eg. Do you need to go to the grocery store – put it on the list, Do you need to clean your apartment – put it on the list). The moral of the story is, take ownership of this process, make a plan, stick to your plan, re-evaluate your plan (repeat).

What was your favorite part of DAT Bootcamp?

Best part of Bootcamp: robust resources and test format familiarization. I’ve always been intimidated by standardized tests. I knew that for me to succeed, I would have to overcome this fear. Because of Bootcamp, by the time I took my actual DAT, the test was second nature to me. My testing experience was an exercise in muscle memory. I was so used to being timed, managing my time, and strategizing that the entire test felt too easy. Also, unlike other resources, DAT Bootcamp encourages students to use other resources. Ari’s Study Guide is the most robust study guide available. Students that master that study guide will destroy the DAT.

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Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student