How Tammy Aced her DAT Despite Graduating from College 10 Years Ago

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"I went from knowing nothing to crushing the DAT in a matter of eight months. Bootcamp made attaining this goal possible. The questions were spot-on with the DAT!"
Tammy Hatcher
22 AA

Tammy is a non-traditional student who recently aced her DAT. We reached out to her to ask her how she did it and here is what she shared with us:

Calling all non-traditional students who need encouragement and inspiration!!

I’m in my forties, and I’d been out of college for ten years before deciding to return for dental school. I first decided to return to school last February (2021), and I wanted to be ready to apply to dental school this spring. My academic plan leading up to the DAT included the following timeline:

Summer 2021 – General Chemistry I and II

Fall 2021 – Organic Chemistry I and General Biology I

September 2021 – Purchase a 3-month subscription to DAT Bootcamp

December 2021 – Take the DAT

As you can see, I went from knowing nothing to crushing the DAT in a matter of eight months. Bootcamp made attaining this goal possible. It gave me a way to organize my studying; the videos talked me through content I had not yet learned; and the practice tests and questions were spot-on with the DAT!

QR: I had not taken a college math class since 2005, and even then it was just College Algebra. Math isn’t a strength I possess. Reviewing Bootcamp’s bitesize math videos allowed me to grasp the best way to approach problems in the math section of the DAT. The videos taught me important time-saving shortcuts as well. Tip: Every day in the month leading up to your DAT, focus on mastering a different type of problem that you struggle with; once you master that one type of question, practice it daily so you remember for Game Day! I found the math questions on the DAT were actually easier than Bootcamp.

PAT: Start early with PAT practice; give yourself generous time to master this new language! It is actually fun and you absolutely can train your brain to differentiate angles with three degree variations. Eight months before taking the DAT (as soon as I decided to return to school), I invested in a cheap monthly subscription to PAT Booster, which is a useful and affordable PAT practice module. While Booster allowed me affordable, early access to PAT content, I still struggled with Top-Front-End problems. I dropped that subscription when I bought access to Bootcamp, which has a really strong PAT section! The videos share strategies and clarify questions/limitations for each sub-category. The type of problems in this section were extremely representative of the actual DAT, and I earned a 28 in this section.

RC: I am a fairly slow reader. The Bootcamp videos taught me a variety of strategies that I tried out on the practice exams. In the end I found the “vanilla” approach worked well for me. My initial scores on the practice tests hovered in the 12-14 range, but I continued to practice my strategy over three months until I consistently scored in the 20’s. I did think some of the passages in Bootcamp were tedious, and I found the passages on the DAT equally challenging.

GC: By the time I purchased Bootcamp in September, I had only just finished my General Chemistry courses from the summer, so much of this material was still fresh on my mind. I selectively reviewed weak areas using Mike’s videos. The questions in this section of the DAT were easier than Bootcamp’s practice test.

OC: I chose to take the DAT before having yet taken Organic Chemistry II. Using Mike’s videos I pre-learned much of the material that I had not yet seen in the classroom. Memorizing reactions was overwhelming, so I strategically focused on Orgo I concepts, spectroscopy, and a few select reactions whose reaction patterns I could easily recognize (Grignard Reagent, Jones Oxidation, etc). I know I could have scored several points higher in the Organic Chemistry section if I would have only waited until the spring to take the DAT, but taking it early was worth my ability to retest without delaying my dental school application. I found the organic chemistry questions on the DAT easier than Bootcamp.

BIO: The only biology class I had taken in the past ten years was the one I was currently in, Gen Bio I. I knew this subject would be the toughest for me, as I didn’t even know where to start. Bootcamp’s videos are in a logical sequence, and I started at the beginning. I watched every video (on double speed), took notes, and made flashcards with schematic drawings, flowcharts, and bullet points. I took those flashcards with me everywhere for two months. I looked at them while sitting at stoplights, before exiting my car, while waiting in lines, even between patients when shadowing or working. I never drove anywhere without listening to a bio video in my car. I consistently scored in in the 15-17 range on the practice exams, and I nearly rescheduled my DAT over this one subject. Since there was an endless amount of information, I changed up my strategy. I decided to pick and choose what to focus on. The subjects I found to be painfully dry and confusing (like genetics) I left alone and focused on learning the content that I found interesting and made more sense to me. I found the DAT to be a little easier (the questions were relatively simple and short), and thanks to Bootcamp, biology ended up being my top academic section on the DAT.

Every person is unique, as is his/her individual struggles regarding the studying process. DAT Bootcamp is a tool that provides returns to the extent that a person is willing to put in the hard work. Tools don’t do the work for you, but they can make a task possible. I want to give a big shoutout to Ari and his team at Bootcamp!! I will continue to recommend your content to pre-DAT students! Good luck to Everyone reading this; if I can do it, anyone can!

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Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student