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.

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  1. thank you SOOO much!

    ive been stressing about the bio section a lot.
    i think your advice will be very helpful. thank you so much once again and PLEASE keep up the good work. =]

  2. Hi.
    I really appreciate your post. Thank you very much. I am taking the DAT in one month. I am doing average on every other section except the Quantitative reasoning (I am taking kaplan- all of these scores are based on my kaplan scores). I dont understand because I am a very good student, got an A in calculus and understand arithmetic/algebra etc. fairly well. I am getting literally 14′s every time. I seriously need help. Is there anything you can advise me on? Any tutors (maybe kaplan?) Time is as issue, but even when I take the tests untimed I still can only answer half of the questions. I’m freaking out because i’ve been studying for a month already and stil havent gone up. Do you think a month is going to be enough time? Thank you so much- i’m desperate.

    • Thank you so much for your information on the DAT Test Prep. I still have a ways to go. I am working on my bachelors right now but am leaning toward practicing and getting those kinda problems in my head. Ive never been that great of a TEST taker… 19ACT composite. So not sure how the ACT will go although I am an A student in college… so we will just have to see.

      But thanks for the great leads on information. I will keep in touch with you.



  3. For QR, instead of keep taking practice tests, you need to identify your weakness and focus on that. For myself, although I have been solid with math all my life, when I was taking the QR I felt a bit weak in probability. So I study a little bit on that and was able to get near perfect on the QR section. Once you have mastered each topics covered in QR, then you should take lots of practice tests and problems to speed up problem solving.

  4. Thanks for posting this advice. It surely helped. Although, I have a question regarding the Bio section. You mentioned that 99% of questions were covered in Barron’s AP bio. My question is, do you think we need to read other books in order to understand the concepts of bio or Barron’s book is enough for this section? I am not talking about practice coz that I can do by getting Top score. But there are so many bio books out there and I do not want to waste too much time after studying the same facts. Please help me out with this. I’ll appreciate your quick reply. Thanks.

  5. Based on my DAT test, if you know the Barron’s AP bio book cold, you will do a very solid job. Even the questions I missed on the test, I knew they were covered there. The barrons book is very comprehensive and the level of bio section is tantamount to the level of AP bio, imo. If I were to study for the DAT bio again, I would only study Barron’s AP book, princeton review bio, and a textbook for difficult concepts I may have trouble with.

  6. Thank you very much. I did not expect you’d reply this fast. Appreciate a lot! It’s still fascinating how bio in DAT is at the level of AP bio! One more question, barron’s bio does not include a deep review for anatomy and physiology and kingdom system. Do you think I will need to go through the textbooks for that? I was just planning to read Barron’s and Cliffs AP bio books.
    Oh yeah, for g. chem, I was thinking for Barron’s AP chem book, is it enough for g. chem review?
    I am just so scared coz people read lots of books and I am not a big reader. I figured that all books contain same concepts it’s just better to stick with one book and practice a lot of questions instead of reading too much of the same concepts. That’s why I am being picky for choosing a book so I don’t miss out anything that is necessary.

  7. honestly, you dont need to go over every single book that is available. Just get the ones that I recommended and study off those. That should be plenty.

  8. Thanks man, I appreciate your advice. I’m actually still doing my undergrad for a BS in Biology so I won’t be taking the test for the next few years. I was thinking about just getting a head start, and start casually reading through the review books. My only concern is do you know if they change the criteria on the tests and the material in the editions of the review books? Then maybe it might not be worth spending all the money at this point.

  9. hey, i am planning to go into dental school. i am a college student and i am little bit worried about my majors and passing the dat . i am not sure about my majors yet . i think i should do nursing and then apply for dental schools. is dat really hard or what . how much do you have to study for it and which books should i start reading to prepare before hand .plz answer me .

  10. Mike, i think it’s never too early to start studying for some of the sections like PAT, reading comprehension, and QR. These sections can take a little bit time to master so it wouldn’t be too bad if you start earlier. Regarding the materials, I highly doubt it will change significantly over years because it hasn’t changed much since I started studying. Hope it helps

  11. md,
    Like I said before, for some of the sections, it is never too early to start studying. For science sections, if you had a solid background then a good 4-5 months should be sufficient.

  12. acedat thanx for replying . i wante dto ask one more question .. can you please tell me which books should i refer to..that will be gr8 to know.

  13. never mind.

  14. hey, what score did you end up getting on the DAT?

  15. My academic average was 24

  16. hey everybody,
    i have a problem and i wana ask u all about it .. i am planning to do nursing as my majors and then dental school but i am quite worried about my sensitivity problem i can’t inject someone i guess… is it something that ican deal with i don’t know should i change my major and my career as well.plaz recommend me something or should i stick with it..

  17. is it very hard to get into dental school?

  18. i dont think it’s hard if you try.

  19. Hi!
    Thanks for your post on the DAT.
    i have a question on DAT bio, are the materials covered in bio MCAT the same as DAT?


  20. if your talking about the princeton review MCAT book, then the answer is no. However, alot of topics overlap, so the book is helpful the DAT.

  21. I was wondering if you thought that the Barron’s AP Biology Flash cards helped. I take the DAT in January and will have only taken intro bio and genetics college level.. I’ve heard that they ask you anything and everything about biology lower and upper division (this was a friend that took the MCAT, not DAT).

  22. Hi I have a DAT test on Feb 5th. But I just can’t study 10 hours a day…How many hours did you study each day for how many months? I have read MCAT bio, chem and Kaplan bio and chem section so far…I’m planning to read them as many times as possible..and when you studied MCAT bioology, did you memorize everything there? I mean..MCAT bio has way more detailed information than kaplan blue book. I read them many times but still can’t memorize everything.. and did you go to kaplan class to get online sources? sorry to ask you tons of questions…I would appreciate a lot if you could answer all the questions…thanks!

  23. Patrick,
    - the amount of studying you have to do really depends on how much you already know. Obviously, if you know your stuff pretty well already, you will not need to spend so much time on the studying.
    - Yes, princeton review MCAT bio maybe a bit more detailed than the real DAT test. However, since it seems to explain many concepts better than the kaplan book, I recommend reading it and know all the concepts that are covered on the DAT. Plus, it will help you in dental school!
    - YES, get the kaplan online resources. There are a few errors, however, still a good practice and measurement of how well you know your stuff.
    good luck with your test!

  24. Hey acedat, a lot of ppl r talking “DAT destroyer” is a great one to study for DAT but I dont see it in ur recommended books.

    What do u think about “DAT destroyer”? Its about $150. Is the price worth it?

  25. yeah, its a good product. I personally didnt use them, but i heard only good things about them. Def try them out.

  26. Thanks for all your recommendations acedat! I was wondering if it would be possible to know your score in this section? :) thanks!

  27. 22

  28. hi m student 4m india,,i had alrady study 2 years in indian college,,2years in biology,physics,chemistry,,,what are the requirements for taking giving DAT entrance,
    m going to USA in this month,,
    is physics needed for DAT,,pls reply soon,,m vry worried,,about DAT,,

  29. You don’t need Physics for DAT, just bio, chem, organic chem, math, and there is a section on perceptual ability. Some colleges want you to have a Bachelors degree…you should look into that when you come over here or you can also do some search in or

  30. hey so how much kingdom and diff domains, etc do we need to know and how much plant stuff (like the sclarachema, etc. stuff)? thanks.

  31. Thank you very much for this helpful blog. Is cliff AP bio book a good source to polish the bio material ? thanks!

  32. I didn’t use the book myself but I have seen alot of people use it. If you have the money and time, def. use it.

  33. Just know the basic plant stuff, don’t go into details. Not worth the time.

  34. Thank you very much acedat . I hope I could get something like 20+ on the DAT , I have looked everywhere specially on SDN to check the best prep books and what you wrote in your blog is the Best except for couple of things like why havnt you include destroyer or examkrackers 1001 ? The second thing is about the The Princeton review book , only a few people have used it so do you think this book will be a better prep book than Schaum to review the Biology section? Because am planning to get Barrons and The Princeton review book for Biology just like what you recommended . For Chemistry am planning to get Kaplan BB and the Princeton review also just like what you recommended but I have read that there is a Schaum G chem & O chem do you think its a good source or just a waste of time ?


  35. ok thanks. also how detailed do we need to know photosynthesis and glycolosis/krebs? like each step, enzyme, or end products of each major cycle? ie how many NADH, FADH2, ATP made/used etc. thanks a lot.

  36. roody,
    do not read shaum’s. that book is more dense and difficult to read than other books. mcat princeton review is def. recommended because it explains difficult concepts very clearly.

  37. chirag,
    i wouldnt waste time memorizing each little step. instead, know the important steps (eg. the irrerversible step in glycolysis, where the glucose is split into two 3 carbon atoms, etc). those types of information are more useful to memorize than some random less important steps of the process

  38. thank you very much acedat. Have you ever tried Science questions of Cracker? Do you recommend it?
    I did all TopScore ‘s Bio section and I got 19, 21 and 17, for Kaplans 17, 17. I am really confuse and think that I really need more practice on Biology section.

  39. I used DAT DESTROYER. It was very good prep for my test.

    • Thank you Beth, is it cover every thing or it is like Kaplan blue book?

  40. PAT – 21
    QR – 16
    RC – 17
    GC – 21
    Bio – 20
    OC – 27
    TS – 22
    AA – 20

    s/cGPA: 3.7

    i want to go to a cali school, which if any do you think i have a shot at? thanks.

    • your QR and RC is a bit weak, but I think you have a solid shot at any school in california assuming your other stats are solid (ECs, research, etc..). If you don’t mind particular location in cali, my list would be:
      1. UCLA
      2. UCSF
      3. UOP
      4. USC
      I don’t really know about loma linda and the western dental school. i suggest you follow that list esp. if you want to get into specialty program later.

      Good job btw.

      • thanks, i gave you a shoutout on sdn in my thread…try to get some more peeps to visit the site. and yea i really dont care where i get in as long as its in cali. i might rank loma linda over usc b/c i dont know if i can afford usc (altho i still applied). if i can get into ucla or ucsf i would surely be the happiest person in the world that day.

  41. Thanks for the shoutout.

    Anyway, I totally agree about what you said. Looks like you are from california like me. definately, stay in california if you can. I currently go to one of the ivys, i think cali is better than where i am at in every aspect.

    i feel the same way about ucla and ucsf. if i had gotten into either of them, i would’ve gone there in a heartbeat.

  42. Wow, listening to all this makes a bbit nervous, but mostly anxious. I am not one that has always had the highest g.p.a. but I pick up on things fairly well and test well. If I can manage to pull a 3.5 and do well on the DAT with several hours of shadowing and community service along with good recommendations what do you think my chances are of getting into a dental school and later specialty? Mind you I really want this and I am one of those types that works hard for what I want, I am my biggest critic!

    • Just relax a little bit man. No need to stress about it too much. If you are not taking the DAT any time soon, just make sure you have your GPAs up. That way, you will have a solid GPA and be more prepared for the DAT so you don’t have to study as much. If you have the passion, you will get into a dental school somehow.

  43. Hey, read all your suggestions. felt really helpful and thanks~ I have a question, you mentioned study orgo use kaplan blue book. Is there a big difference between the kaplan blue book and white? i got both and don’t know if i should waste time on the blue book since some people said the white book covers more stuff then the blue book. also, i am planning to study using the white book, use barron for bio as you suggested, and dat destroyer for more practice. do you think it is enough to cover everything and get me prepared? Thanks a bunch!

  44. for ochem, if you have the white book, i dont think you need to bother with the blue book. just make sure to take the practice tests at the end of the blue book. for bio, the resources you mentioned should be sufficient. i think bio is the hardest to improve on for the amount of time you spent because they can test you on so many random stuff. if i were to take the test again, i will really try to master other subjects first before i try to master bio

  45. I have not had a strong background in biology for a long while. I am a R.D.H. and have been practicing for eight years and now have decided to continue my education for the last two years. However, I have a large family and have to really organize my time in studying. So these are the best materials that you mentioned for me to study? I have two months to take the DAT and I am very nervous to study because I am scared I don’t have enough time to succeed in making a good score. I just don’t know where to start. My heart has always been to become a dentist that is why I went to dental hygiene school. I have gone through a lot in these past years but my passion to keep trying and moving forward is still going. I am 35 yrs old and I am worried that my age and GPA of 3.30 will be a problem.

  46. Hey~
    Your all the posts are very helpful.
    I was wondering how DAT grading system is…if you know since you took it.
    some ppl say that it is overall all ppl who took DAT,and they calculate percentile. and some ppl say that I am competing only ppl who take with me in the same test center at the same time schedule.
    Do you know any about this?

  47. I really appreciate your post. Thank you very much

  48. would you recommend the examkcracker bio book..for the bio section? along with the examkracker 1001 ochem book for the ochem section?

  49. for the plant and ecology/evolution stuff…i have kapland and cliffs ap bio book..

  50. What book or CD-rom was the most helpful? Do you think it would be Kaplan DAT, Topscore, or Princeton Review? Or do you recommend getting all of them? Thanks!

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