I would recommend writing out everything you plan on doing each day sort of like a to-do list. Then, once you finish it, cross it off. Also, don’t spend too much time on topics that you already know but rather focus on your weaknesses.
Hello all! My name is Spencer Vlasak. I just finished my third year of undergrad and am getting ready to apply for dental school. I took the DAT in March of 2023 and was able to score a 26 AA. My only source of studying was Bootcamp and all of the material that comes with it. Bootcamp was recommended to me by my peers and now I am the one telling others how great of a study tool it truly is.
I started studying three months before my test date. For the first month, I followed Ari’s study schedule, doing exactly what it said to. However, after that, my classes started up in January and I had to adjust to the change in my schedule. Thankfully, Ari’s schedule set a solid foundation for me on how to study. My new schedule was to do a new chapter of biology and general chemistry notes as well as the question banks every day. I would also alternate between doing a reading comprehension section and a quantitative reading section every day. Along with that, I did an hour of PAT practice using the question banks and generators every day. Once I completed all of the general chemistry, I swapped it out by doing a chapter on organic chemistry. Overall, I was putting in about four to six hours a day. I did this Monday through Friday and then took a practice test on Saturday mornings and Sunday were my off days. Since I was doing close to a chapter a day for each subject, I was able to complete all of the chapters almost a month before my test. For the remaining time, I would go back and redo the question banks for topics I did not feel comfortable with. It was very helpful having the option to go to each subject and only look at the questions that I was reviewing and still learning. The biggest thing for me during this last month was seeing as many questions as possible. I tried mastering as many questions as I could but making sure that I truly understood why each answer was correct and not just memorizing them. During the final week before my test, I retook every single practice test for every subject. This was one of the most important things I did as I saw nearly identical questions on my actual DAT.
What I Did While Studying
Although it may be difficult to take some time off while studying, you need to make sure you are not overworking yourself too much. Sometimes studying for too long does more damage than good. What I found best for me was setting timers for every hour or so to remind myself to take a break. While I studied I made sure to continue working out and spending time with my friends. I was even able to pick up new hobbies such as playing guitar. I was also serving as a vice president of my fraternity, so I had to balance that with studying and schoolwork. Even though I found myself pretty much locked up in my room or the library all day, I reminded myself that I need to do things other than study. While it can take up a lot of your day, as long as you are organized and have a good routine, then you will be able to find time to continue doing other things that you like.
Favorite Feature on Bootcamp
My favorite feature would have to be Dr. Mike’s videos. I think he does a great job explaining general and organic chemistry in an effective and fun way. He also makes sure to tell you exactly what you do and don’t need to know. He also keeps it simple so that you are not confused by things that are not important. Another one of my favorite features was the practice test. They are SPOT ON of what the actual test looks like. I think taking the practice test multiple times is really what help me get the score that I did.
I think the BioBites are a great tool to get a general understanding of each chapter after you watch the videos and take notes. Then once you know them you can move on to the question banks. My biology score on the actual test was higher than what I had been scoring on the practice test. I think this is because I took all the practice tests so I saw a lot of very similar questions that were on the actual DAT.
My general chemistry score was about the same of what I had been scoring on the practice tests.
Dr. Mike's videos have great tips on how to do some of the tricky math without a calculator. They also do an amazing job helping you fully understand the conceptual questions.
My organic chemistry score was much higher than what I had been getting on the practice test. While studying, o-chem was my lowest score so that forced me to study it more than the others so when it came to test day, it was one of my strongest subjects. The reaction bites are an easy and quick way to practice all the different types of reactions which is a huge part of this section.
When it comes to PAT, practicing is what will help you the most. I remember trying each type of question for the first time and being so confused about how to even approach each one. However, with daily practice, I started to get better and better. The generators are a great way to practice your speed and accuracy. I made sure to do around an hour each day of these and it helped me improve my score from what I had been scoring on the practices.
I have always been very strong in my math classes, but QR definitely takes some practice to get comfortable with the types of questions. The practice tests helped me the most with this section and I made sure to complete each one multiple times as well as using the reviewing feature to see all the questions I had marked as review.
The RC part of the test took me a little bit of time to figure out what strategy worked best for me. I ended up using mostly the seek and destroy method because it help me find each answer one by one, but try the different ones in order to see what works best for you.
While studying for the DAT can be very stressful and daunting, if you take the appropriate approach to how you spend your time it will make it that much easier. I would recommend writing out everything you plan on doing each day sort of like a to-do list. Then, once you finish it, cross it off. Also, don’t spend too much time on topics that you already know but rather focus on your weaknesses. Other than that, just make sure to stay consistent and get as much information out of Bootcamp as you can!
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