I finally took my DAT on Saturday. I went in feeling fairly confident, a bit nervous for sure but definitely more excited than anything to get it over with. After prometric had me sign in and wait in the room before all the body checks and whatnot I finally sat in my chair with the computer, took a deep breath and started the exam. The first part was biology and I was a bit annoyed that I couldn’t jump from one section to the next as easily as I had hoped. Usually I would have started the chemistry first, orgo, then biology last. It wasn’t a big deal since during the practice tests I had ended up with 24 min remaining for the science section comprised of 100 questions from these three topics. During the biology section there seemed to be a lot of material that I had not expected and thus had not formally covered which kind of surprised me…fortunately I knew biology well enough to make well-educated guesses based on my resulting score…there was surprisingly a lot of stuff about bugs on the exam…lucky me because I’ve been a bug-lover my whole life, so apparently to be a dentist it’s important to know about grasshopper’s malipighian tubules. Then for the general chemistry and organic chemistry, I literally felt like I was taking a different test. All the practice tests and questions seemed to have prepared me for a test that was more heavily empirical than conceptual. The test I took seemed to be majority conceptual rather than number plugging and formulas. I was definitely unprepared for this and felt that I was just “guessing” and was unsure of my answers throughout the general chemistry section. The organic chemistry ended up not being as bad as I felt gen chem was although my scores told otherwise. Last was the perceptual, then reading, and math section. Finally after the exam was a quick survey I had to take before seeing my scores. Admittedly I hardly read any of the survey questions as I could feel my heart beating out of my chest as I was about to see the scores that could determine the next 4-5 years of my life.
- Perceptual ability: 22
- Quantitative Reasoning: 24 (😭😀)
- Reading Comprehension: 20
- Biology: 21
- General Chemistry: 21
- Organic Chemistry: 18 😩
Total Science: 20
Academic Average: 21
So anything above a 19 is considered good/competitive. Generally schools look at the academic average and the perceptual ability before looking at the other scores. So I did pretty well since most of my scores are in the 20s. That orgo score did make me panic though. When I took the 2007 and 2009 practice tests I had scored in the mid to high 20s!! I really felt that I took a different exam. 18 isn’t horrible but if anything it really bothers me that I wish I had known the differences between the new DAT 2015 which they had apparently changed but since it’s such a new test a lot of the test prep knew of the changes but didn’t exactly have the best idea of how to replicate the exam. If I had taken the DAT back in 2014…anyways I got my scores and I can definitely move on to the next step and apply this term. I’m also surprised I got the score I did in gen chem as I felt so confused and unsure throughout this section and at least moreso than orgo. I was also quite happy about my perceptual ability score 🙂 the average for most schools is a 20 or 21. As for the average for most schools for AA is a 19 or 20. So I am a little above the average which I’m happy about. I talked to my friend Judy who is a D1 this year and she said she knows many students who have that one score in the high teens but it obviously did not prevent them from gaining acceptance. And getting above 20 AA should put me 2 std dev above the mean (17) if I’m not mistaken.
The DAT was definitely my biggest obstacle at this point and I am happy to be disciplined enough to dedicate time to self-study and to overcome this test. Looking back on my study habits and attitude during my undergrad years, I have learned so much within just this past year. My attitude has changed in that I felt more confident and scoring well actually seemed like a possibility.
Anyways I am relieved to be done with the exam although admittedly I miss studying long term for something but I’m sure I will have many such opportunities in the future 😛