The basic sciences overall section contains 100 total questions, broken down into 40 biology, 30 chemistry and 30 organic chemistry. You will receive a separate score for each category and have 90 minutes to complete the entire section. It is important to move through the test quickly and answer all questions. There is no penalty for guessing on questions, therefore it is advantageous not to leave any questions unanswered. The questions are independent of each other and there are no multiple answers. Answer the questions you know immediately and mark the ones you do not.
Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)
The PAT section tests your spatial ability and reasoning. The questions are like mini mind games, so practice is essential. You will have 60 minutes to answer 90 questions in six areas including angle discrimination, cube counting, view recognition, apertures, 3D form development and paper folding.
Do a practice run and test yourself in each section. On test day, complete the easiest questions first. You are mostly like to get those questions right. Mark the harder questions and revisit them if need be. Repetition is a must for this section. The more exposure you get to the perceptual ability section, the more comfortable you become with the material. Schools place emphasis on different areas of the DAT. Although admissions committees evaluate your PAT score, it is less indicative of academic abilities or future performance on national board exams, but may be used to gauge some clinical skills.
This is a great section to gain some ground and boost your academic average. When scores are reported, you receive three separate scores for the sciences. These three scores are also averaged with reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning to form your academic average. Therefore, you will have two major scores: academic average and spatial ability.
Reading comprehension covers three passages with 50 questions to answer in 60 minutes. The passages cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from science to economics. While you cannot study the content that will appear in the passages beforehand, practice is essential. The questions are factual, coming from the passages given to you. There are no inferences to be made because all the answers are found directly within the passages. To master in this section, consider using a prep book. A prep book contains tips on how to skim and outline the sections to best utilize your time. Avoid spending too much time hunting for one answer, and like before, answer as many questions as possible.
A basic four-function calculator is available on the computer screen for this section only. You will see 40 questions in 40 minutes covering algebra, word problems, basic math, geometry and simple trigonometry. Most often, there is a simple twist to the calculation. Practicing the various types of quantitative reasoning questions can help bolster your score. The more questions you do, the more repetition you see in the way the questions are asked. As with other sections, timing is everything. Work quickly and avoid lingering on a question.
The QR section of the DAT will be changing in 2015. In an effort to enhance the test, questions about numerical calculations, conversions, geometry and trigonometry are being removed. They will be replaced by questions about understanding data analysis, quantitative comparison and probability and statistics.