DATCrusher PAT Breakdown:

This section takes an activity that most of us as kids actually partook in. Take a piece of paper, fold it many times and use a hole-puncher to punch some holes. Then unwrap and stare at the perforated paper in awe of the magic that just took place. Which kid didn’t like that? Well this section puts a little spin on this familiar childhood activity by asking students to guess what the paper will look like once it has been unfolded! To really understand how this section works, you must first understand the grid system and the types of possible folds.


The grid system used for the placement of the hole-punches can best be described as 4×4. This means that no matter how the paper is folded and punched, once it is unfolded, only 16 locations have the potential to be punched. This grid system makes things simple as it essentially keeps the hole-punches confined to a little 1×1 box (shown in red).

As for the types of possible folds, they can be broken down into the following three categories:

  1. Vertical fold ( half-cell vertical folds are also possible)
  2. Horizontal fold (half-cell horizontal folds are also possible)
  3. Diagonal fold


Sweeping Folds

be wary of sweeping folds! In some instances, a portion of paper is folded in a way such that it overlays the grid in a position where no paper previously existed. In other words, no other layers are present underneath the portion of folded paper and so any hole-punches made in this area will move once the paper is unfolded. These folds are usually restricted to the last fold but may appear earlier. This will be best understood by analyzing the red-colored portions in the graphic below. Hole-punches placed on these areas will be abscent from the area once the paper is unfolded.

Half-hole punches

Half-hole punches will always unfold to become a full hole-punch so mark them on the grid as if they are complete.


1. Draw a 4×4 grid

This can be done on the scrap piece of paper that is provided.

2. Mark location of hole-punch on grid

Except if a sweeping fold has been made

Remember! Half hole punches will unfold to reveal full hole punches so do not be intimidated by them! Mark it down on your grid as a full circle

3. Undo the last fold and mark the location of new holes if applicable

In this example, this step is where the half fold revealed itself as a full circle

4. Repeat step #3 until paper is fully unfolded

5. Answer the question

At this point, you can simply match your hand-drawn grid to the option choices and select the correct answer!

Keep in mind that this approach is simply a technique to help you visualize and keep track of how the paper unfolds with the corresponding hole-punch. Some students are able to do this mentally and in turn, save valuable exam time. However, it is much easier to make a mistake with the mental route than with the hand-dawn approach outlined above.  And remember, every student learns and performs differently so feel free to customize the approach to better fit your abilities.

With that said, we have reached the conclusion of the Hole-Punching Guide. Now that you are familiar with the approach, it’s time to start using it and building up your speed. Hole-punching is definitely one of the sections of the DAT that can be easily aced with efficient and proper practice so click below to try some questions out for yourself using our exclusive Hole-Punching Generator.

Hole-Punch Generator