Jesnour's Three Tips To Ace the DAT

Author image
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
Star icon
"I absolutely loved using Bootcamp, everyone was so supportive and responsive, the interface is user friendly, and it was perfect for learning and refreshing old / new topics."
Jesnour Kaur
21 AA

Hi everybody! I took my DAT about two weeks ago, and after some well needed rest, I wanted to post my experience in this group. I found these breakdowns were so helpful and encouraging throughout my own studying process, so it was my time to give back. I want to preface by saying I absolutely loved using Bootcamp, everyone was so supportive and responsive, the interface is user friendly, and it was perfect for learning and refreshing old/new topics. I am a visual learner, so having videos to explain content, as well as explain answers to practice questions helped me understand concepts much better than if I would’ve had to read a book for content.

For some background, I solely used Bootcamp for my studying, and even though I had gotten the 90-day subscription, I mainly cracked down on studying full time within the last 45 days to my exam. I tried to use Ari’s schedule but ended up creating my own by trying to focus on certain subjects at a time. I went through all the videos and some questions that correlated to each section. I have found Anki to be helpful in the past, but with it being only weeks until my exam, I didn’t feel I would’ve had adequate time to use it, so I relied on practice questions for my active learning. In total, I took 7 full length practice exams and one “half” length exam. I posted my full practice test schedule as well as my practice scores, but generally I would take a practice exam one day, review the entire exam the next day, take another exam the following day, review, and so on. I started about two weeks before my exam and did this schedule until the day before my exam. It was hectic and stressful, looking back I’m not sure how I did it, but it was the push I needed to get my scores up in a short amount of time leading up to my exam date.

Biology (23): The vast amount of content in this section makes it one of the more difficult sections but is it important to remember that at the end of the day, you won’t be able to remember every detail, there is only 40 questions on this section so there’s only so much they can test you over. I watched all the Bootcamp videos for this section but the best way I learned was from practice questions and tests. If I got a question wrong or even guessed on it, I would take a sheet of paper and write down small notes about the concepts behind what was asked and what the right/wrong answers meant. I would review these papers every day to really solidify this information. This was my main strategy with learning content in the last few weeks.

Chemistry (22): Chemistry was probably the subject I was least excited to study for, but the videos break down each concept and make it much simpler to understand and grasp. I worked on practice problems and wrote concepts I would get wrong on paper (like biology) to review constantly. The key for this section was forcing myself to do practice questions on my weak points. I would work through the question banks until I felt comfortable then I would move on to the next topic. Having a good grasp on concepts made my exam feel much simpler than my practice exams.

Organic Chemistry (20): This was probably the hardest section to increase my score. I initially studied for this section by watching all the videos and taking detailed notes on the reaction’s mechanisms so I would understand why and how something is reacting. These detailed notes are what I would refer to if I had any reaction-based questions. I would be more than happy to share those notes if anybody is interested. I had a good understanding of concepts for this section, so it really came down to nailing the reactions. Again, I made notes of concepts from questions I didn’t fully get and refer to them through my last few weeks of studying.

PAT (23): Honestly, this was one of my favorite and least favorite sections in the exam. I had a consistent 20 for all my practice tests and never got around to using the generators because the banks felt like enough practice. I did about 20 practice questions a day throughout my entire studying process so even if it was a Bio focused day, I would still do some PAT. My issue for this section was timing. Angles was my biggest struggle in this section, even with all the practice questions, so I just focused on making the other question types more accurate. My best piece of advice is do not second guess your answer choices. Once you picked it, unless you could prove it was wrong, don’t change the answer.

RC (20): Overall, my practice test scores were higher than my actual exam date, but I felt as if I just got some hard passages test day. My main strategy is to read until I can answer the question I’m on, and then move on. I generally saved all my conceptual questions for the end because by the time I finished the fact-based questions I would’ve read the entire passage. My main source of preparing for this section was practice exams.

QR (21): Timing, timing, timing. The main thing for this section that helped me was if I had a lengthy or difficult question, I’d skip it and go back at the end, so I knew I got all my easy points in. After doing all the practice exams and watching the BC videos, I felt good about this section. Like PAT, I made sure to incorporate 20 QR questions in my practice every single day for my practice.

Few Final Tips: 1- Do not compare yourself to anybody else, it is really easy to look around and get discouraged but focus on yourself and your studying and you will kill it. 2- Take rest!! Allow yourself to have rest days so you don’t burnout near the end of your studying. 3- Everybody studies differently. I used to sit on this Facebook page and read people’s breakdown and feel like I need to be doing 100 different things to study, but you don’t. You know how you study best, take people’s advice, and incorporate your own studying style to it.

The DAT is a hard exam, but anything is achievable, it can be discouraging to get certain scores, but you have to remember that getting it wrong in practice will only help you retain it better for the actual exam!! Good luck to everybody I hope I was somewhat helpful and feel free to reach out anytime at all!

Score Report
Save 100+ hours of your life studying with

Get everything you need in one place. Start studying today for free.

Start Studying for Free
Hannah Brein, DAT Bootcamp Student