Meet Nazgol, a happy DAT Bootcamp customer who recently conquered the cDAT. I’ve asked Nazgol to share her cDAT experience with us as the Featured Student of May.
Taking the cDAT while also pursuing a Masters in Public Health must have been difficult. What words of advice do you have for other non-traditional students taking the cDAT?
The best advice I can give to students would be to plan everything in advance. Staying hyper-organized left little room for confusion as I was studying. What I did that helped me immensely was making a spreadsheet. I took all the projects and commitments from my master’s courses, as well as all the deadlines from Ari’s study schedule, and put them into my spreadsheet with columns for the due date, class, assignment name, and whether it had been completed yet. This allowed me to know exactly what was due and when it should get done by. That being said, don’t overload yourself and definitely take the rest days! Listen to yourself and focus on areas that you are not very familiar with for longer before continuing. Don’t move on for the sake of the schedule if things are still unclear. Although I had the spreadsheet, I was flexible and changed it a few times to accommodate my study process. If reading the chapter wasn’t helpful, seek out other sources. I read chapters, listened to podcasts, and watched videos to facilitate my learning. If anyone is interested, I can share the spreadsheet so you can get an idea of what worked for me!
What were some challenges you faced preparing for the cDAT, and how did you overcome them?
One challenge that I faced early on was navigating studying during the pandemic. I live in Vancouver, so practically all libraries and coffee shops had closed their study spaces. Studying at home can be difficult, communicating with your family or roommates about your study schedule and assigning designated quiet times will really help you stay focused. Also investing in a good pair of ear plugs / noise cancelling headphones helps!
Another challenge for me was balancing my master’s courses, work, and cDAT studying. I would recommend taking time off from work (if possible) at least 2 weeks before your test date. This not only gives you more time to study your weak points (going over the “learning” and “reviewing” practice questions), but it also puts you in the test-taking mindset. The day before the exam I spent flipping through notes and looking at figures, don’t overwhelm yourself. You know all the content, the last day is for resting and mentally preparing yourself.
What would you do differently to prepare for the cDAT? Is there any feature of DAT Bootcamp that you wish you took advantage of more?
Looking back, I think that I neglected the areas that I thought I was stronger in. Reading comprehension was one of my strongest sections in subject tests, but not reading enough scientific articles and practicing different reading strategies was my downfall.
Additionally, underestimating the fatigue that comes after writing 2 other sections is a mistake. I would recommend taking practice tests as close to real-life test conditions as possible. That means waking up at the same time, eating the same thing, and of course wearing your mask for the entire duration of the test. Something that is unique to the cDAT is that the test is written, not online. So, printing out tests and practicing using a scantron will benefit you greatly, these can be a time sink!
The Bio Bites are a feature that recently got added to DAT Bootcamp, and I wish I had a chance to use them more! They are a great way to test recall as you get familiar with the information.
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