I am a rising senior at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where I am studying Biomedical Sciences and a member of the cheerleading team! I also work at my school in the Pre-Health Professions office with the College of Sciences. I enjoy playing the piano, going on walks, cheerleading, and spending time with my family and friends!
First and Second DAT Attempt
The first time I took the DAT, I studied for about one and a half months, and during that time I was able to complete all of the content review from Ari’s study schedule down to the T. At about two months into my studying, I contracted COVID, so I decided to give myself a break to allow myself to get better. I finally recovered, but the fall semester had begun, which led me to neglect studying for the DAT. As my test date got closer, I began doing light content reviews over all subjects and took one practice test in which I scored an 18 AA, and on my actual DAT I also earned an 18 AA.
The second time I took my DAT, I began studying a week after my spring semester ended and I repeated Ari’s schedule once again, but altered it to focus more on my weaknesses- I began watching the QR academy videos from day 1 of my studies and practiced about 15 questions a day from each respective chapter. I also began reviewing the OC Reactions Cheat Sheet from day 1 to allow myself to start becoming familiar with what each reagents job was. After completing the content review, I completed all 10 of the practice tests, taking exams 6-10 first, and then going back to complete exams 1-5. Reviewing the exams and watching ALL of the explanation videos the days after I took each exam is something I also found extremely helpful, and I realized that I was retaining more information than what I thought. During these review days, I would also utilize the Bio Academy videos and Quizlets for the chapters that were marked as red on my exams. I took two days of rest before my exam day—one as a light review and one with no review at all—and come test day, I earned a score of 22 AA.
How Olivia Utilized DAT Bootcamp
Overall, I believe that my actual DAT was a bit simpler compared to the Bootcamp practice exams, especially the math section. I feel that Bootcamp's QR tests and practice questions were more of a challenge and I appreciated this come test day--I felt prepared as I was going through each QR question. On my practice exams, I would score in the range 18-20. As far as biology goes, I utilized the Bootcamp High-Yield Bio Notes, Bio Bites, Question Banks, as well as the Quizlet flashcards for supplementary review, and this I feel prepared me well enough; Bootcamp's biology compared to my actual DAT's biology section felt almost exactly the same. My bio practice exam scores ranged from around a 19-24. For General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, I feel that my questions on my actual DAT were not as hard as they were on Bootcamp, but they were a close second. My practice test scores for GC and OC were in the 18-22 field. Finally, I felt good about Reading Comprehension and PAT from the review material listed on Ari's Schedule alone--there was nothing on my actual exam that I did not already know. These practice scores were also about 18-24. Studying this time around, I realized that Bootcamp provides more challenging questions that will cover every possible way that a question can be asked on your actual DAT, which trains your brain to think differently. Bootcamp covers all of the bases.
My favorite feature on Bootcamp were the Mastery Reviews for each respective section. I appreciated these banks because they list all of the questions that you have tagged, and you are able to give another go at the ones that you have gotten wrong. Every day, I would utilize the GC, OC, and QR Mastery Reviews and complete about 15 questions per day, and I would work the questions out and watch each explanation video. Incorporating this practice into my schedule definitely enhanced my understanding in each of these subjects.
A big tip that I have been giving peers of mine is to simply practice. The Mastery Reviews were of most help to me as they cover content from all of the chapters from each section, kind of how the actual test does--it's a mix of questions. For me, this would add about 30 minutes to an hour to my study day, but it was worth it. A second tip that I have is for the RC section: reading comprehension has always been one of my strengths, but I noticed this time around that while using the "Search and Destroy" method, I was finishing my RC section with around 1-3 minutes left, which gave me little to no time to go back and review. One of my peers had suggested I tried reading the passage to its entirety and then begin to answer questions; I began using this strategy, and was finishing my RC section with at least 7 minutes left each time, and this is the strategy I used test day as well. I would suggest to anyone who is having trouble with "Search and Destroy" to try reading the whole passage--I know it may seem intimidating, but it actually saved a bit of time for myself, and I believe it could do the same for others as well. Finally, I would say that having a support system is of utmost importance!! Call someone to share how your studying or practice exam went that day, whether it be a parent, grandparent, best friend, or coworker. I found that their belief in me aided me to keep pushing through my studies and helped me to believe in myself as well.