I studied the DAT for an entire summer (almost 16 weeks), treating the task if it were a full time job. Here are my scores:
Looking back, the ideal amount of studying time (assuming you study the DAT full-time) is about 6-12 weeks. Any longer, and you may start to forget the earlier material learned (as I have).
Below are the resources I have used and a note on how to best use each one. I present the items in order of increasing usefulness based on my personal experiences.
1. Kaplan Prep Course ($1000+):
This is a very expensive course. It is most useful for students who have not been in school for some time, who might want an classroom based learning experience, or who find it difficult to stay motivated working alone. If this is you, consider purchasing a Kaplan in-person course. If you do, don't make the mistake of skipping class. Go to every session! Take good notes, do the homework, and squeeze the knowledge out of your instructor!
They also provide a plethora of full-length online practice exams (along with answers and explanations) which replicate the on-screen format of the actual DAT exam. To fully utilize this expensive resource, do most, if not all, of the practice exams. However, note that Kaplan's PAT preparation is only good for learning the utmost basics. To maximize your PAT scores, other resources are needed.
*Kaplan also offers an online version of this course.
2. Cliffs AP Biology ($10-30):
This is an easy read that summarizes biology. Reading from cover to cover is generally not
necessary, so use it as a reference guide to look up topics that are the most confusing for you.
3. DAT Destroyer(~$200):
This is a book that has hundreds of questions in Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Math. Answers shown in the back of the book are very detailed. A new edition comes out every year, but you may be able to get away with purchasing older versions since the content doesn't generally change THAT drastically. The Destroyer is known for its preparation "overkill", meaning you will find the actual DAT easier than the questions of this book.
This is a good thing, so go through all the hundreds of questions in here. You will answer incorrectly most of them in the first try, so most students will go through the questions at least 3-4 times. Make flashcards about concepts or trivial facts you miss on the first try.
*Math Destroyer ($99.95): This book is a supplement to the previous, and is intended for students who need additional practice in the math section. Memorizing the equations from this book certainly helped me!
4. Chad's Videos (coursesaver.com):
This is an online subscription to watch video lectures for Chemistry and Organic chemistry. Take copious amounts of notes yourself as if you were in class. At the end of each video, take the provided quizzes again and again until you know them down cold.
*If unable to afford Chad, try: http://www.freelance-teacher.com/videos.htm
5. DAT BOOTCAMP:
Online subscription. A critical resource to study with, in my opinion.
Tons of organized practice for each and all sections without having to take entire full lengths all at once. The quizzes and tests are a good representation of the difficulty of the actual test and are purposely designed to be just a bit more difficult. The explanations are detailed but concise. No downloads necessary. Make sure to engage the questions from the PAT generators daily. Subscribe to DAT question of the day and answer them first thing in the morning.
There are many other DAT prep resources I have not personally tried. If you know friends who have taken the DAT, ask them for their recommendations. However, at the end of the day, it isn't just about purchasing the best product to study with. Your success will be largely dependent on how much quality time and effort you put into the resources.
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