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How to Improve DAT Scores

How to Improve DAT Scores

Preparing for the DAT is a challenging task and most students find it difficult to improve their scores.
In this article, we will discuss the best ways to improve your DAT scores.

As we progress through our DAT studies, certain subjects will naturally be tougher to grasp relative to others. Here, I will go through each section of the DAT and discuss strategies on how to improve your scores!

🧬 Biology

The biology section contains a lot of material and can be overwhelming. Most people will find at least one topic difficult to understand or commit to memory. The two strategies I recommend using to improve your Biology score are Anki flashcards and focused extra practice problems after reading the relevant chapters and watching the relevant video lectures.

Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard software application that will help facilitate long-term learning. With Anki, you can create flashcards personally tailored to the information you are struggling with. Fortunately, DATBooster has pre-made anki cards that are tagged by subject. Download these cards and search for the topic you are struggling with! Here is an article on how to use DATBooster’s Anki cards to prepare for the DAT.

In addition to Anki, completing extra practice problems will help solidify any material you are struggling with. DATBooster has a section for extra questions that are divided by subject. Go to the specific topic you are struggling with and begin completing those practice problems. Remember, these questions on DATBooster have in depth explanations on why each answer is correct or incorrect as well as other pertinent information. These explanations are great for making new anki flashcards! Check out our article on how to create Anki cards from practice problems you have completed!

⚗️ Organic Chemistry

With Organic Chemistry improvement, the name of the game is repetition. You are going to want to draw and re-draw all of the chemical reactions tens to hundreds of times over. However, your goal is not to simply memorize each reaction, but rather to understand why certain reagents lead to certain products. Once you gain a solid understanding of why certain molecules react and produce certain problems, the ability to regurgitate and draw reactions will be exponentially easier.

The DAT Destroyer book is a great resource for this kind of practice. In the Organic Chemistry section, there are reaction roadmaps that outline every reaction pathway tested on the DAT. To learn these roadmaps, I would start by reading and understanding the “why” behind each step. If there is a reaction you are unsure about, look up the corresponding video in DATBooster. Then, take out a small piece of paper and block out certain steps and see if you can recall the answer. Once you have a good grasp with this blocking method, try and write the entire reaction map from memory. Once you can reproduce these reaction maps from memory, you know you have mastered the material. You can also supplement this with Anki by taking a picture of the roadmaps and using the Image Occlusion feature. See this article on Image Occlusion and Anki.

While the above advice is great for reactions, there is still a considerable amount of conceptual information. For the conceptual material, anki and practice problems will be your best friend. Make anki cards of the concepts you do not fully understand and do those cards every day. Also, completing the extra practice problems on the DATBooster website that corresponds with the material you are struggling with. Be sure to read and understand the explanations and again make anki cards on anything you have not yet committed to memory. I also advice redoing these problems multiple times after you get them correct to ensure mastery.

🧪 General Chemistry

Strengthening your General Chemistry score truly comes down to concept mastery. While there are some calculations, the entirety of this section is testing your ability to apply specific concepts, sometimes multiple concepts in one question. Therefore, practice problems and anki will again be the main strategies to improve. DATBooster has great analytical tools to identify weak subjects. Use these tools to identify the exact concepts that you are struggling with. Go back and re-watch those lecture and make flashcards. Then, complete the DATBooster extra practice problems that correspond to the sections you reviewed, again making flashcards as needed. DAT Destroyer also have hundreds of extra problems for practice. Do as many of these as possible and continue to make flashcards for material you need to learn/commit to memory.

🎲 Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)

Just with the science sections, PAT improvement will involve many more practice problems. First, identify which PAT problem types that are difficult through DATBooster analytics. Then, identify why you are missing these problems. Are you running out of time? Do you have trouble visualizing the problem? Do you lack a systematic approach? Once you have identified the problem, the next step is to re-watch the DATBooster PAT videos and take note of the different strategies offered. Now, use the appropriate generator for your targeted PAT section to test a variety of strategies. The PAT is a unique section in that the optimal strategy for you may change once you gain some familiarity with the questions. Therefore, if you are struggling, it is worth trying out various strategies until you are scoring in a competitive range. In addition, play around with starting the PAT test on different sections. For my test, I was able to save 10 minutes of time by starting on the angle ranking rather than on question 1. A word of caution, you do not want to be changing strategies days before your test. At minimum, have three weeks of timed practiced with your intended PAT strategy. This way you are completely prepared on test day.

📚 Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension section is probably the most difficult section improve since quickly raising your reading level is difficult. Therefore, improvement should be focused on strategy. First, review the reading comprehension video lectures and review all the recommended strategies for tackling the reading section. Then, just like the PAT, try out different strategies until you find one that you are comfortable with and that increases your score. There are plenty of practice articles and questions on the DATBooster site to implement these strategies, so make sure to take advantage of them all! Also, for long term improvement, read one scientific article every day. You can find articles on the DATBooster site and on popular science outlets like Scientific American.

📐 Quantitative Reasoning

Improving math will be like the science section. The first step is to identify what kind of problems you are struggling with DATBooster analytics. Then, review the relevant video lectures about those problem types. If you pay attention, you will see patterns in how to solve each problem type. Take note of these patterns and then apply them to untimed practice problem on DATBooster. Once you can confidently and consistently solve these problems untimed, start timing yourself to get up to speed. Again, just as with science, repetition of practice problems is key. Unfortunately, anki is not as powerful for math since you need to work through the problems yourself; however, still make cards when there is an important concept to commit to memory.

Written by Davied Sanchez
UNC School of Dentistry

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