Meet Justin, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the DAT. I’ve asked Justin to share his DAT experience with us as the featured student of March.
How did you begin preparing for the DAT knowing you only had less than a month to study?
I had 23 days between my first day of studying and the day of my DAT and I knew I would want the day before the DAT to be a sort of break day in which I would just lightly review. I had been doing the Bootcamp daily warmups for the previous two weeks and that told me that I would need to focus on Bio the most with Gen Chem and Orgo following closely, so I decided to start with Bio and just read until I finished. That took about 6 days. I then spent about 1 day each on the bootcamp PAT videos, bootcamp RC videos, and bootcamp QR videos. These are necessary to watch before starting practice exams in order to figure out the best methods to answer questions.
I chose Search and Destroy as my RC method as I am a dinosaur when it comes to reading. Next, I watched all of Mikes Videos on 1.5x speed and took extensive notes on these. I started with Gen Chem and would write down pretty much everything he said that seemed important, and in my notes I would put a star next to everything that he said was important for the DAT. This was key for review because some stuff is simply more important than other info in terms of the DAT. I finished around 6 days before my exam.
I did practice exams as much as I could and would look over the material that I was getting wrong. I did this until 2 days before my exam. At this point I reviewed all of the starred material in my GC and OC notes knowing that this information would give me the most bang for my buck in terms of probability of being on the exam. I also went over only Orgo reactions the day before until I could answer all synthesis questions with ease.
I think the intense chem review the two days prior to the exam was most significant to my studies because it is possible to look over all of the information for these sections which amount to 2/5ths of the DAT whereas Bio has a massive variety of questions and is only 1/5th of the DAT.
How did you manage the stress of studying for the exam in a short period of time?
Stressing over studying is not going change your scores in the end so at some point you just have to accept it and work through it. My favorite quote is from my father – he always told me, “You can’t control the outcome of your DAT, only the effort you put in,” meaning that while studying and on the day of my exam the only thing I can do is my best. So that’s what I did; I would study until I couldn’t, then sleep 9 hours and repeat. I just told myself over and over, that I can only give my best and the scores will come.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
If I could go back and change how I studied, I would change the order of the subjects I studied. Specifically, I would study biology later because I didn’t review it at all after I finished studying it the first time. Also, I wish I would have taken advantage of the Bootcamp PAT generators earlier because those were so helpful, and represent the actual PAT section quite well. I also wish I had started earlier, so that I could have gone through the DAT Destroyer bio questions; however, this would have taken days of extra time and I was quite satisfied with the 22 on Bio I got by only using DAT Bootcamp.