How Megan Scored 6 Points Higher on Biology than her Average Practice Test Scores

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"Overall, practice tests are your best friend! Do all 10 on Bootcamp."
Megan DuMond
23 AA

Hi! My name is Megan DuMond, and I recently took the DAT on MAY 2 and received my unofficial scores of a 23AA, 22TS, and 23PAT. I am a full-time student and military member at the United States Air Force Academy. While studying for my test I was concurrently taking 15.25 credit hours and performing my military duties. I studied from the beginning of January (Jan 6) to the day of my test (May 2). My recorded hours of studying came to about 240 hours.

My study schedule was kind of all over the place, as I had to be flexible to manage school and the military. I would not say I had an average number of hours a day, but if I wasn’t doing schoolwork, I was typically studying. I used Bootcamp, Booster, and a small amount of ANKI to study.

BIO (26)

This section is very daunting. I would say I spent a lot of my time studying for this section simply because there was so much material. I am a super visual learner, so Bootcamp’s bio videos were super useful to help me really picture and absorb the material when I was trying to learn it. I thought the bio bites were useful as well, but the practice tests were the true key to my success. I took every test and made sure I knew the reasoning behind each answer. Bootcamp and booster practice tests were good representations of the actual test. I was averaging around a 20-21 on the practice tests and got a 26 on my actual DAT.

GC (23)

I have a good background in gen chem, so I was surprised when I struggled with this section in practice. Again, I loved Dr. Mike’s videos and then used the practice tests to see where I was struggling. I would look at the type of questions I missed the most and would do practice questions in the banks based on those.

OC (19)

I struggled in orgo in college, so I knew this section would be tough for me. The videos were helpful, and I was averaging around a 20 on my practice tests, I just felt I had a difficult orgo section. If I could study for this section again, I would make flashcards of all the reactions in different forms so I wouldn’t be surprised by any questions.

RC (22)

I was hoping for a slightly higher score in this section, as I was averaging around a 23 on my practice tests. My method of choice was to read every question in a section, then start reading through the passage and highlighting as I went, returning to answer the questions I saw in the passage. On my real DAT, the transition between questions lagged quite a bit, up to like 5ish seconds, so if you choose this method I would say plan for a little less time. Overall, find a method that works for you, and perfect it.

QR (24)

I was really proud of this section. I struggled on the ACT and SAT in math, so I knew I would have to put a little extra work into this section. Doing practice problems, and learning how to do problems with the shortcuts that Bootcamp teaches is crucial to finishing this section on time. I would highly recommend doing the practice question banks on problems that you struggle with.

PAT (23)

My scores on this section would bounce back-in-forth from a 19-20 to a 24 in this section. Same as RC, find a rhythm that works for you, and stick with it. I personally jumped to Angle Ranking, Hole punching, Cube counting, and pattern folding, and then jumped back to TFE, and then Keyholes. Do practice problems, and then actively see if you just guessed, or actually got your reasoning right by checking the explanation that Bootcamp gives you. It is a very useful tool.

Overall, Practice Tests are your best friend! Do all 10 on Bootcamp, and If you can, do all 10 on Booster as well. If you can master the best way for you to take the full-length tests, and then you can replicate it on the actual DAT, It will be much less scary and you’ll be more prepared. If possible, take relevant courses in school that will give you a solid foundation to study on. I thought Physiology, genetics, Cell biology, microbial diversity, gen chem 1 and 2, and orgo were very important to helping me relearn rather than learn a lot of the material in the sciences sections. Last but not least, Believe in yourself. In my months of studying, I didn’t start to feel confident in myself until about 2 weeks before my test. Trust the process, put the work in, and you got this!

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Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student