Posted by: acedat | April 27, 2009

Quantitative Reasoning Part 1

Here, I am sitting down on my computer unable to watch the Lakers game since I don’t have damn cable.  (Yes, I started yesterday). So I am going to write my first real post regarding how to do well on DAT. This post will go over how I studied for the QR section of the DAT. I am going over this section first because I got the best score out of all the sections. I believe I only got one question wrong since I got a 29. But before I go into any detail, I would like to talk about one important tip on studying for the DAT. Some of you may know but I am sure there are people who do not know it but should know it. If you go to the DAT website, there’s a study guide made by the DAT people. If you are lazy to find it on your own, here is the link, http://www.ada.org/prof/ed/testing/dat/dat_examinee_guide_2008.pdf. Most of the stuff in the pdf file are pretty much useless in preparing for the DAT except the test specification section (page 18-19).  This is what I used to figure out what to study for each section. If you conquer all the topics listed in that section, I guarantee you will do well on your test.

So going back to quantitative reasoning, the guide lists the topics that must be studied. 

Algebra – equations and expressions, inequalities, exponential notation, absolute
value, ratios and proportions, and graphical analysis;

Numerical calculations – fractions and decimals,
percentages, approximations and scientific notation;

Conversions – temperature, time, weight, and distance;

Probability and Statistics;

Geometry;

Trigonometry;

Applied Mathematics (word) Problems.

 Those are the topics that you must be familiar with before going into the testing center. Do not overestimate any of the topics. For example, you must know the conversion for time, distance, temperature, and weight. I know one of my friends had a question on temperature conversion and I had a question that required a distance conversion.

Honestly, I have to say that if you know your high school math, you should do well. However, I do believe the difficulty of QR section lies in the limited amount of time rather than the difficulty of each problem. My best advice for you is to brush up on all the topics and PRACTICE. But before you do mass practice, let’s go over each topic.

Algebra – really basic. If you don’t know basic algebra, there are tons of resources on the internet that you can probably use. On my test, I saw quite a few basic algebra equation problems, but I don’t remember seeing any graphical analysis or inequalities. Still, I recommend you should still know them.

Numerical calculation – Don’t really have much to say about this section although I saw a few of these. Just practice if you are slow.

Conversions – Yes, these are on the test. If you want to get a 20+, you better know your conversions. I don’t think it’s necessary to know every single conversion in the world, but if you know the major ones you should be fine. For example, celsius to farenheit, miles to km, inches to cm, lbs to kg, and so on. Don’t worry about all the obscure ones, just know the ones you have seen in your life many times.

Probability and Statistics – Probably the hardest section for most people and for me. I had about four of these problems and I did not know how to do two of them. Fortunately, I had some extra time to do one of them manually without using any formula. Anyway, learn to do these types of problems. Know permutations and combinations for sure.

Ok, I am tired of writing, I will continue next time.

 

 

Posted by: acedat | April 15, 2009

Angle Ranking Part 2

Every once in a while, I find these great threads about student’s personal techniques for a particular sections. Unfortunately, as the new threads are posted, these great threads are pushed back and sort of disappear without specifically searching for them on sdn. Thus, with permission, I decided to post those technique here so you guys can see them without having to search for them. ORLO, one of the contributors on sdn, was generous enough to allow me to share his “Hill” technique for angle ranking. Angle ranking is by far the hardest section in PAT for most people and I hope this helps some of you guys.

“Hill” technique

“Pretend that one side of the angle is the ground.(This may require you to mentally rotate the angle slightly, or just tilt your head, depending on how the angle is rotated on the screen.) Next, imagine that the other side of the angle is a hill. Finally, imagine that you are looking at this hill and trying to decide if it would be safe to ride your bike down it. For all acute angles (less than 90 degrees), the safest hill to ride down would the smallest angle. This is because the slope is not as steep. However, a steep slope (larger angle) would be scarier to ride down. Make sure you are riding down the outside part of acute angles and not on the inside, which would require you to be upside down on your bike!

For obtuse angles (greater than 90 degrees), ride down the hill on the inside of the angle. This time, the safest hill to ride down will correlate to the largest angle.This would be the closest to 180 degrees, or the closest to having no slope at all. The scariest hill to ride down would be the one with the steepest slope. For obtuse angles, the steepest hill correlates to the smallest angle. At worst (think of a 91 degree angle), this would be like riding your bike down a near-vertical slope.

Looking at the angles this way, (IMO) it becomes much easier to differentiate between them. This method absolutely worked for me on the DAT. If this still seems abstract, draw out two acute angles and follow my instructions. Repeat for two obtuse angles. You’ll get the hang of it very quickly.”

Also the “Laptop” technique

“Note: This technique works best for obtuse angles.

After practicing several hundred angle ranking problems, I noticed that it was very difficult to distinguish between two obtuse angles that had different on-screen rotations, even if their angle sizes were as much as 10 degrees apart! To conquer this type of problem, simply imagine the obtuse angles as being laptop computers. Mentally picture the laptops as having one side flat on a table and the other side extending outward. Now simply determine which laptop is opened wider. That is the larger angle.

Although this sounds too good to be true, I suggest that you try it. You might be surprised at how well it works.”

Posted by: acedat | June 28, 2008

Biology Part 1

Finally, I am not lazy enough to write a new post. Sorry for not making any updates for a while. Anyway, I am going to go over the bio section of the DAT. Alot of people think this is the most important section and thus spend the most time preparing for it. My best advice for this section is NOT TO OVERSTUDY. This section requires a really broad knowledge that you can study all summer just for this section and not get a perfect score. If you want a really high score on this section, you really should already have a solid biology background. That being said, I am gonna go over what and how I studied and talk about a few questions/trends I remember from the real DAT.

Like other people, I spent studying for bio as much as the other sections combined. I first started reading the blue kaplan DAT review book. After reading it, I didn’t remember much. So I read it again one more time. But this time, I wrote out the whole bio section word for word almost. Writing it out helped me to retain alot of the stuff I read. Even after reading the blue kaplan book twice, I didn’t feel it prepared me sufficient enough. Then I moved on to the Princeton Review MCAT hyper learning book. This book explain difficult concepts really well; even the ones I didn’t grasp completely during my bio classes. Like how I did for the kaplan blue book, I wrote princeton review book out.  I was literally a manual printing machine. Anyway, this book gave me a clear understanding of all the major concepts. After this, I think I took the topscore test to see where I was. I think I was getting 20-23 on bio section for topscore.  From topscore, I felt I didn’t go over a few sections as well as I wanted to. So I got the Barron’s AP bio book and my undergrad intro bio textbook study guide. The study guide has tons of practice multiple choice questions and I did all of those. 

When I felt that I was ready for the DAT, I went to take it. Questions were really basic and straightforward. It was either you know it or you don’t.  One question was “what is (a blood disease, I wont mention the specific name)?” or ”what transports water in the plants?”. Pretty easy if you know your stuff. No tricks or anything. I am also pretty sure that 99% of the questions that were on the test were covered in the Barron’s AP Bio book. So I highly recommend it.

One last thing I forgot to mention is that, if you don’t understand a cycle or concept, look at the figures or find and watch video clips of it. It helps alot.

Recommended books:
The Princeton Review Hyperlearning MCAT Biological Sciences Review 2009 Edition

Barron’s AP Biology 2010 (Barron’s How to Prepare for the Ap Biology Advanced Placement Examination)

Kaplan DAT 2008-2009 Edition (with CD-ROM) (Kaplan Dat (Dental Admission Test))

Biology According to many people, this is the best bio textbook for the DAT. Easy read.
 
Dental Admission Test (DAT) Computerized Sample Tests and Guide, TopScore Pro for the DAT

That’s all folks. Hope this post was helpful.

Posted by: acedat | May 28, 2008

Organic Chemistry Part 1

Based on my test, it seems like they like to know if you have a good understanding of the funamental mechanisms such as SN1, SN2, E1, E2, etc.. ALOT of problems dealt with those mechanisms. Additionally, there were several problems on individual reactions. You should cover the major ones that were covered in your ochem lectures. Don’t need to know any difficult ones as well as the obscure reactions. The key in this section is fundamental. Now, I was horrible with ochem; I was barely pulling Bs in them. However, on the real test, I was able to get a 22. 

How I studied for ochem

1. Read both Kaplan DAT Blue Book  and Kaplan DAT White Book a couple of times.  Wrote out the funamental mechanisms and important/major reactions.

2. If I didn’t understand something I went to The Princeton Review Hyperlearning MCAT Biological Sciences Review . This book is awesome because it explains things really well.

I did not use any other review books besdies the ones I mentioned above. I think these books are all you really need along with the practice test softwares.  If you do as what I say, you should be fine with this section. Good luck.

Posted by: acedat | May 24, 2008

General Chemistry Part 1

For this section, it seems like some people get alot of concept questions whereas other people got alot of calculation problems. In my case, I had many basic calculation problems on the general concepts. I saw problems dealing with empirical formula, Hess Law, and molarity questions to name a few.  Alot of questions were similiar to the ones I saw on topscore and DAT achiever. I would say the level of difficulty is comparable to that of chemistry AP in high school and it is definately easily than the undergraduate chemistry. 

The Ideal Way to Prepare for this Section

1. Print out the test specification for the General Chemistry Section.

2. Gather all the resources.

My Recommendations:

a. Kaplan DAT 2008-2009 Edition (with CD-ROM) (Kaplan Dat (Dental Admission Test))
b. Hyperlearning MCAT Physical Sciences Review. From princeton review. Explains the concepts that I had trouble with REALLY WELL. I am planning on keeping this book for future use.
c. Your Chemistry Textbook (or supplementary study guide) for practice problems. If you don’t have one, you should borrow someone’s or buy one. If you wanna buy one, I suggest you buy the one by Zumdahl.

3. Go over each topics listed in the specification. First, use the princeton review mcat book since it explains the best. It has most of the topics, if not all, that are coverd by the DAT. If you don’t understand a topic, try the kaplan book. If you still don’t understand it, get your textbook out and figure them out somehow. But I doubt you will have to use the textbook besdies for practice problems.

4. When you think you have finished going over a topic, do some relevant practice problems on kaplan and your textbook to make sure you know the topic cold.

5. Repeat for all topics.

6. Now you are ready for this section.

7. Once you have finished the other sections, start taking full length practice tests. Topscore is good, so is DAT achiever. Also the ones in the kaplan book.

Posted by: acedat | May 19, 2008

Hole Punching

For the hole punching section, I really didn’t come up with any innovative method. The only thing I did was to go over the ones I missed during the practice tests. The most difficult part of hole punching is probably the half hole punching. If you don’t get how these holes would turn out when they are unfolded, just get some paper and try them on your own. Other than that, you should not have too much problem with this section. One thing to note is, though, you must speed through this section without losing accuracy to leave more time for the other sections.

Recommended product: Crack DAT PAT below

Posted by: acedat | May 16, 2008

Crack DAT PAT

For those of you that needs more practice besides Topscore, Achiever, and Kaplan, this product is excellent for you guys. Although I have not used it personally for my DAT (because I never knew about it), I think it provides great practice problems and probably the best investment you can make to improve your PAT section. Not only it comes with 10 Full Length PAT practice tests, it has 2500 Angle Ranking Questions, 4500 Cube Counting Questions, & 2500 Hole Punching Questions. You can read more about it in the amazon.com description

“With Crack DAT PAT, our overarching goal is to help students achieve & fulfill their dream score on the Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) of the Dental Admission Test. DAT scores are becoming more & more competitive each year; some dental schools filter out students based off of PAT scores. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you conduct computerized based examinations under actual testing conditions. Crack DAT PAT mimics the testing interface that you would see at the Prometric Testing Center. Crack DAT PAT yields wonderful benefits. Our Royal Flush package is equipped with 10 Full Length Perceptual Ability Tests (900 PAT Questions coupled with 2D & 3D user-interactive explanations for each question). Moreover, in the Royal Flush Edition, you can tackle an arsenal of 2500 Angle Ranking Questions, 4500 Cube Counting Questions, & 2500 Hole Punching Questions. In addition, you will have the ability to generate “Random Tests” so that no one test is the same. No wonder we call this the Royal Flush Edition: you will have a bank of 10,000 Perceptual Ability Test Questions!!! What’s even better is that the software never expires. And if we release a new version, you can update your software for free! You can even take tests as many times as you wish! We have an awesome guarantee: If you score less than 15 on the PAT, send us your score report & we’ll refund your order. Many of our clients have maximized their score on the DAT exam by successfully integrating our service into their DAT preparation regimen. Start using Crack DAT PAT and give yourself the advantage you deserve.
Crack DAT PAT is delivered electronically and is compatible with both PC and MAC computers. You will receive the software within 24 hours. No shipping costs & you can start your preparation right away. You will also be given a permanent account on our website which will give you the luxury to download the software and new versions at anytime. “

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Posted by: acedat | May 16, 2008

Cube Counting

Continuing on from the last post, I will go over the cube counting section. Going straight to the point, I will show you exactly what I did for this section.

1. Make a table like the below.

2. Go through each cube and determine how many sides are visible.

3. Once you have finished going through all the cubes, do the questions.

The most important thing is NOT to make mistakes when you are transcribing on the table and counting how many cubes have x number of visible sides.

Before I go over cube counting and hole punching, I would like to go over one important aspect of PAT section: time management. Although you are given 60 minutes for the whole section, you should not (or must not) spend an equal amount of time for each problem. Regardless of difficulty of the each subsection, there are a few subsections that you need to spend much less time than others. These are angle ranking, cube counting, and hole punching. You must speed through the angle ranking section because although it is difficult, spending more time on this section won’t give you a better answer. Like I said in the previous post, look at the angles closely and carefully and pick your best answer and move on. Also, you need not spend much time on cube counting and hole punching because they are the easiest part of PAT.  Using this guideline and your assessment/aptitude of each subsection of PAT, you need to distribute your 60 minutes appropriately.   

Going back to cube counting and hole punching, they are perhaps the two easiest section on the real PAT section. They are right on par with topscore in terms of difficulty. Perhaps, there were 1 or 2 half-hole punching on the real one (if I remember correctly) like the ones on DAT Achiever but the rest were really simple to do. If you are already good with these sections, don’t bother reading this post. It probably won’t help you much.

Cube Counting:

I used this simple method that I made to do all the cube counting problems.

I will continue next time.

Posted by: acedat | May 9, 2008

PAT: Angle Ranking

This section of PAT may be the easiest section on the practice tests. On the real test, however, it is the hardest. Why? Because on the real test, the angles differ by very few degrees. So don’t be fooled by the practice tests that this section is easy.  For this section, basically, there is really only one thing you could do to do well.  It is really simple, yet overlooked. It is to look really closely. I have read some people suggesting to look from far. To me, this makes no sense. Two really similiar angles should look more similiar and similiar as you view it farther and farther. So when you are having trouble deciding which angle is bigger/smaller, look at one angle really closely and then look at the other one. Then based on your best judgement, decide which angle is bigger and smaller. I think this is the only legitimate thing to do for this section.

Recommended Books

1. DAT Achiever. Their angle ranking problems are harder than the other practice tests.

2. Barron’s How to Prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (Dat) Another decent DAT book that has good angle ranking problems although not as good as DAT Achiever’s

3. *** STRONGLY RECOMMENDED*** Crack DAT PAT for the Dental Admission Test . Never tried it myself because I never knew this product existed at the time I was preparing for my DAT. But I have heard alot of good things about this product. So give it a try!

EDIT: PEOPLE HAVE BEEN COMMENTING THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST PRACTICE FOR THE PAT SECTION. IT’S A MUST FOR PEOPLE WHO WANTS TO ACE THE PAT SECTION.

4. Kaplan DAT 2008-2009 Edition (with CD-ROM) (Kaplan Dat (Dental Admission Test)). Their angle ranking problems are way easier than the real ones. You should be getting perfect on these. At least 14/15.

If you still need extra problems, you can make some of your own. Have someone make you some angle ranking problems using a protractor.

Time spent: 40 Minutes

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