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2020 COVID OAT experience: long and detailed

Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hi everyone! I noticed there were not very many threads of people posting their OAT experiences and how it was impacted by COVID-19 so I thought I would share my experience! I took my OAT on June 20. I know some people had their exams canceled or rescheduled when the testing centers closed for a couple of weeks in March and April. Luckily my exam was not impacted, but they did have new rules in place which you can read about on the Prometric website. (Corona Virus Update | Prometric)

I studied for my Oat for about 3 months, the first two and a half months I was working and doing school at the same time, but sometime into the first month we went into quarantine and I was doing classes online as well working from home. This kind of work in my favor because it gave me more flexibility in being able to study for my OAT. I took the first month and a half to two months to relearn and teach myself the concepts because it had been over 2 years since I had taken them. I used CHADS videos on chadsprep.com I believe it was $50 for a 6-month subscription and it came with worksheets as well as quizzes at the end of each chapter. I will say some of the questions especially for physics are a little more difficult than what you would see on the OAT because they are multistep calculations and require a calculator but nonetheless they were really helpful in reinforcing the material. For subjects that were not on Chad's videos (bio, QR and Reading), I used the Kaplan 2020 OAT Prep Plus book. I bought this book on ebay used for like $20, but I've heard its usually not any different from the previous year's version so it doesn't hurt to get the older versions plus you get two exams with it which are great exposure for what it will literally look like (kaplan content tends to be a lot harder)!

During the last month of my studying, I practiced applying concepts using the 2012 DAT destroyer (the problems are a killer but it was SO HELPFUL). I definitely felt like I didn't know anything at first, but trust me the more you practice the better you will be. I would recommend spending the bulk of your time practicing problems, it's ok to get things wrong because you will learn more as you apply concepts and when you get something wrong you are more likely to remember it! What I would do is a set number of problems a day, as well as reading two passages from the list of weekly readings on the free version of DAT Bootcamp (super helpful to get you familiar with the science lingo used in most papers). In the evenings I would spend an hour or so reviewing flashcards/ quizlets I had made to really nail the basic concepts down and remind myself of what I had learned. During the last week of my exam, I trained myself for test day by doing 5 exams and only taking breaks, and drinking water as you would during the exam. This helped me a lot because I'm a very routine person also because my exam was in the afternoon (12-5) and I'm a huge morning person so I had to get myself accustomed to working up till 5 pm. For practice exams, using the 2006 ADA OAT PDF, 2006 ADA DAT PDF, the free exam on DAT Bootcamp, free DAT/ OAT exams on chadsprep.com, the free Gold Standard OAT prep the Kaplan diagnostic and the two exams that came with my Kaplan book. I administered the digital exams as if I was taking the test at the center ( I treated the PDF's as extra practice problems). I even wore my mask turned my phone to airplane mode, had a scratch paper with me, and didn't drink any water or go to the restroom unless it was my 15-minute break.

On the day before my exam I took the gold standard free OAT exam (it took about an hour), corrected it, and relaxed for the rest of the day. I wouldn't suggest doing any heavy studying so you don't psyche yourself out or start to doubt yourself. What I did was a workout watch some movies, and relaxed in bed. In the evening I did some yoga, a face mask, hair mask, I lasered my legs, exfoliated my body, did my nails, etc and had a full self-care night with some aromatherapy. It really helped me destress and relax so I felt replenished for the next day, I would suggest treating yourself and practicing some self-care / doing whatever sparks joy the day before so you don't go into your exam to stressed.

Now on to test day. The morning of my exam I did some stress relief yoga from a video I found on youtube, had my coffee, some oatmeal to keep me full, and packed some protein bars, water, and hand sanitizer before heading out! This video gives a pretty great overview of what to expect on test day.
Keep in mind that we are in a current pandemic so we must wear a mask to enter the testing center and during the entire duration. I was told if I take it off they would remind me to put it on, but the website does say they can refuse to let you take your test if you don't follow protocol. I just wore a surgical mask nothing fancy. During check-in, I handed my two forms of identification to the person at the front desk and I had to stand a couple of feet away. I was assigned a locker and had to sign some papers to sign in using a borrowed pen that I would hold on to until the end of my exam. I was handed two sheets of paper ( 4 sides total) and told if I needed more during my exam to just raise my paper in the air and they would collect it and replace it. The use of scratch paper is a temporary thing because of COVID. Usually, they hand out whiteboards or laminated paper but as a safety measure, they want to refrain from having people reuse materials. I had to take my mask off for a quick second to have my picture taken then I put it back on and kept it on until my break.


Tutorial
There's an optional 15 minute tutorial at the beginning of the test to teach you how to use the system and mark questions/highlight. If you have done any Kaplan Exams or DAT Bootcamp exams the system looks exactly the same, form marking questions, to highlighting and reviewing. Because of this I was already familiar with the system, but since I was told that taking notes was allowed during the tutorial I did the tutorial anyways. It doesn't take the full 15 minutes, but I let the tutorial run on the computer and I wrote down some notes for gen chem formulas, (pH, Henderson hassle back, etc) as well as for physics. I would highly suggest doing this because if you are anything like me, no matter how well you know something sometimes the nerves just get to you and you might blank out on an equation or two.

Bio:
Biology was a mix of everything. It was very random and jumped around to the point where one question was on genetics and the next on ecosystems. I'm a bio major so I just needed to do some brushing up, the 2020 Kaplan book was pretty helpful for brushing up but I WOULD NOT recommend it as your only source of studying unless you have a broad range of knowledge on the subjects (i have have taken genetics, physio, microbio or other upper-division courses). However, this worked well for me, and I just made sure to make flashcards and come up with mnemonics as I was studying and practicing problems from the DAT destroyer.

Gen Chem
I expected it to be much worse! Not as calculation heavy as the DAT destroyer /Kaplan exams / Chad's OAT exams (they will over-prepare you). It was very conceptual and had a bit of everything, acid-base, pH/pOH / periodic table trends/bond strength/ enthalpy, etc. Nothing to crazy and i def think chads OAT exams were super helpful for this as his explanations are *chefs kiss*. I didn't use the Kaplan book AT ALL for GC, it had been 3 years since I had taken gen-chem so I used chads' videos to reteach myself and they were a SAVER!

O chem
It was very conceptual, only one or two multistep synthesis and simple ones at that, a few predict the products, aromaticity, comparison of electron-withdrawing and deactivating groups, stereochemistry, some IUPAC, and 1 question on NMR. The dreaded organic chemistry. I will admit I didn't do too hot in my first semester of o-chem so I was quite nervous about this one, but again CHAD's Videos were a saver!!! His videos helped me really nail down the concepts. Again the questions on the actual OAT were so much more straightforward than those offered again in KAPLAN / CHAD's OAT prep / DAT destroyer and I would say the ADA OAT / DAT, as well as DAT Bootcamp, were great representations.

Reading and Comprehension
During my practice exams (Kaplan/ DAT Bootcamp) I used the search and destroy method. If the question asked something about the left ventricle, I would "command F" and type in "left ventricle", that usually seemed to work just fine for me and I was getting away with not reading the passages. However, during my OAT the spotlight search did not work!! I panicked because I thought I was doomed, I ended up still doing search and destroy but it took a longer than expected to have to search for keywords in the passage manually. I should have figured the spotlight search was not going to be a thing during the exam.


Break
To my surprise, my break was 30 minutes! I left the testing room had a snack, drank some water, and went to the bathroom I didn't take the entire 30 minutes, I believe when I came back into the room the clock still had 11 minutes left. I would suggest taking this break even if you think you don't need it. Let your eyes rest, get some fresh air, stretch your legs out and take even a 5-minute break.


Physics
I was super scared of physics because it is my weakest subject and I had the least amount of practice with it. There was a little bit of everything, kinematics, lenses, mirrors, forces, coulombic attractions etc. A good mix of conceptual and calculation problems. The problems were so much more simple than they were on any Kaplan Exam I took. For every single physics exam on Kaplan, I ran out of time and never finished and I also believe I never scored higher than a 300. I would say the physics on DAT Bootcamp and the problems on the 2006 ADA exam are most representative of what you will see. Again chad's videos were a saver for this section, as I had to re-teach myself everything from scratch.

Quantitative Reasoning
A good mix of "math-based" problems and reasoning problems. There was some solving for a system of questions, observing graphs, and comparing statements. For this, I would say practice practice practice! The Kaplan book gave pretty good strategies for this however their practice exams were too difficult. Chad's videos were also a bit harder, but the DAT Bootcamp problems and destroyer ones seemed just about right. During my last week of studying, I came across this website meant for GRE prep that had a good number of QR problems and I found really helpful. GRE Math Quantitative Comparisons : Practice tests and explanations





SubjectKaplan DiagnosticKaplan Test 1Kaplan Test 2ADA OAT 2006ADA DAT 2006Actual OAT
Bio310
370
320380380370
Gen Chem300330340340340380
Ochem340270320400400400
Reading340360350360340340
Physics300290310340----320
QR280290290340360350
Total Science320310330370370 (minus physics)370
Academic Average320320320360360 (minus physics)360
 
Last edited:
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Missc9opt

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 17, 2019
36
10
86
USA
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hi everyone! I noticed there were not very many threads of people posting their OAT experiences and how it was impacted by COVID-19 so I thought I would share my experience! I took my OAT on June 20, 2020. I know some people had their exams canceled or rescheduled when the testing centers closed for a couple of weeks in March and April. Luckily my exam was not impacted, but they did have new rules in place which you can read about on the Prometric website. (Corona Virus Update | Prometric)

I studied for my Oat for about 3 months, the first two and a half months I was working and doing school at the same time, but sometime into the first month we went into quarantine and I was doing classes online as well working from home. This kind of work in my favor because it gave me more flexibility in being able to study for my OAT. I took the first month and a half to two months to relearn and teach myself the concepts because it had been over 2 years since I had taken them. I used CHADS videos on chadsprep.com I believe it was $50 for a 6-month subscription and it came with worksheets as well as quizzes at the end of each chapter. I will say some of the questions especially for physics are a little more difficult than what you would see on the OAT because they are multistep calculations and require a calculator but nonetheless they were really helpful in reinforcing the material. For subjects that were not on Chad's videos (bio, QR and Reading), I used the Kaplan 2020 OAT Prep Plus book. I bought this book on ebay used for like $20, but I've heard its usually not any different from the previous year's version so it doesn't hurt to get the older versions plus you get two exams with it which are great exposure for what it will literally look like (kaplan content tends to be a lot harder)!

During the last month of my studying, I practiced applying concepts using the 2012 DAT destroyer (the problems are a killer but it was SO HELPFUL). I definitely felt like I didn't know anything at first, but trust me the more you practice the better you will be. I would recommend spending the bulk of your time practicing problems, it's ok to get things wrong because you will learn more as you apply concepts and when you get something wrong you are more likely to remember it! What I would do is a set number of problems a day, as well as reading two passages from the list of weekly readings on the free version of DAT Bootcamp (super helpful to get you familiar with the science lingo used in most papers). In the evenings I would spend an hour or so reviewing flashcards/ quizlets I had made to really nail the basic concepts down and remind myself of what I had learned. During the last week of my exam, I trained myself for test day by doing 5 exams and only taking breaks, and drinking water as you would during the exam. This helped me a lot because I'm a very routine person also because my exam was in the afternoon (12-5) and I'm a huge morning person so I had to get myself accustomed to working up till 5 pm. For practice exams, using the 2006 ADA OAT PDF, 2006 ADA DAT PDF, the free exam on DAT Bootcamp, free DAT/ OAT exams on chadsprep.com, the free Gold Standard OAT prep the Kaplan diagnostic and the two exams that came with my Kaplan book. I administered the digital exams as if I was taking the test at the center ( I treated the PDF's as extra practice problems). I even wore my mask turned my phone to airplane mode, had a scratch paper with me, and didn't drink any water or go to the restroom unless it was my 15-minute break.

On the day before my exam I took the gold standard free OAT exam (it took about an hour), corrected it, and relaxed for the rest of the day. I wouldn't suggest doing any heavy studying so you don't psyche yourself out or start to doubt yourself. What I did was a workout watch some movies, and relaxed in bed. In the evening I did some yoga, a face mask, hair mask, I lasered my legs, exfoliated my body, did my nails, etc and had a full self-care night with some aromatherapy. It really helped me destress and relax so I felt replenished for the next day, I would suggest treating yourself and practicing some self-care / doing whatever sparks joy the day before so you don't go into your exam to stressed.

Now on to test day. The morning of my exam I did some stress relief yoga from a video I found on youtube, had my coffee, some oatmeal to keep me full, and packed some protein bars, water, and hand sanitizer before heading out! This video gives a pretty great overview of what to expect on test day.
Keep in mind that we are in a current pandemic so we must wear a mask to enter the testing center and during the entire duration. I was told if I take it off they would remind me to put it on, but the website does say they can refuse to let you take your test if you don't follow protocol. I just wore a surgical mask nothing fancy. During check-in, I handed my two forms of identification to the person at the front desk and I had to stand a couple of feet away. I was assigned a locker and had to sign some papers to sign in using a borrowed pen that I would hold on to until the end of my exam. I was handed two sheets of paper ( 4 sides total) and told if I needed more during my exam to just raise my paper in the air and they would collect it and replace it. The use of scratch paper is a temporary thing because of COVID. Usually, they hand out whiteboards or laminated paper but as a safety measure, they want to refrain from having people reuse materials. I had to take my mask off for a quick second to have my picture taken then I put it back on and kept it on until my break.


Tutorial
There's an optional 15 minute tutorial at the beginning of the test to teach you how to use the system and mark questions/highlight. If you have done any Kaplan Exams or DAT Bootcamp exams the system looks exactly the same, form marking questions, to highlighting and reviewing. Because of this I was already familiar with the system, but since I was told that taking notes was allowed during the tutorial I did the tutorial anyways. It doesn't take the full 15 minutes, but I let the tutorial run on the computer and I wrote down some notes for o chem formulas, (pH, Henderson hassle back, etc) as well as for physics. I would highly suggest doing this because if you are anything like me, no matter how well you know something sometimes the nerves just get to you and you might blank out on an equation or two.

Bio:
Biology was a mix of everything. It was very random and jumped around to the point where one question was on genetics and the next on ecosystems. I'm a bio major so I just needed to do some brushing up, the 2020 Kaplan book was pretty helpful for brushing up but I WOULD NOT recommend it as your only source of studying unless you have a broad range of knowledge on the subjects (i have have taken genetics, physio, microbio or other upper-division courses). However, this worked well for me, and I just made sure to make flashcards and come up with mnemonics as I was studying and practicing problems from the DAT destroyer.

Gen Chem
I expected it to be much worse! Not as calculation heavy as the DAT destroyer /Kaplan exams / Chad's OAT exams (they will over-prepare you). It was very conceptual and had a bit of everything, acid-base, pH/pOH / periodic table trends/bond strength/ enthalpy, etc. Nothing to crazy and i def think chads OAT exams were super helpful for this as his explanations are *chefs kiss*. I didn't use the Kaplan book AT ALL for GC, it had been 3 years since I had taken gen-chem so I used chads' videos to reteach myself and they were a SAVER!

O chem
It was very conceptual, only one or two multistep synthesis and simple ones at that, a few predict the products, aromaticity, comparison of electron-withdrawing and deactivating groups, stereochemistry, some IUPAC, and 1 question on NMR. The dreaded organic chemistry. I will admit I didn't do too hot in my first semester of o-chem so I was quite nervous about this one, but again CHAD's Videos were a saver!!! His videos helped me really nail down the concepts. Again the questions on the actual OAT were so much more straightforward than those offered again in KAPLAN / CHAD's OAT prep / DAT destroyer and I would say the ADA OAT / DAT, as well as DAT Bootcamp, were great representations.

Reading and Comprehension
During my practice exams (Kaplan/ DAT Bootcamp) I used the search and destroy method. If the question asked something about the left ventricle, I would "command F" and type in "left ventricle", that usually seemed to work just fine for me and I was getting away with not reading the passages. However, during my OAT the spotlight search did not work!! I panicked because I thought I was doomed, I ended up still doing search and destroy but it took a longer than expected to have to search for keywords in the passage manually. I should have figured the spotlight search was not going to be a thing during the exam.


Break
To my surprise, my break was 30 minutes! I left the testing room had a snack, drank some water, and went to the bathroom I didn't take the entire 30 minutes, I believe when I came back into the room the clock still had 11 minutes left. I would suggest taking this break even if you think you don't need it. Let your eyes rest, get some fresh air, stretch your legs out and take even a 5-minute break.


Physics
I was super scared of physics because it is my weakest subject and I had the least amount of practice with it. There was a little bit of everything, kinematics, lenses, mirrors, forces, coulombic attractions etc. A good mix of conceptual and calculation problems. The problems were so much more simple than they were on any Kaplan Exam I took. For every single physics exam on Kaplan, I ran out of time and never finished and I also believe I never scored higher than a 300. I would say the physics on DAT Bootcamp and the problems on the 2006 ADA exam are most representative of what you will see. Again chad's videos were a saver for this section, as I had to re-teach myself everything from scratch.

Quantitative Reasoning
A good mix of "math-based" problems and reasoning problems. There was some solving for a system of questions, observing graphs, and comparing statements. For this, I would say practice practice practice! The Kaplan book gave pretty good strategies for this however their practice exams were too difficult. Chad's videos were also a bit harder, but the DAT Bootcamp problems and destroyer ones seemed just about right. During my last week of studying, I came across this website meant for GRE prep that had a good number of QR problems and I found really helpful. GRE Math Quantitative Comparisons : Practice tests and explanations





SubjectKaplan DiagnosticKaplan Test 1Kaplan Test 2ADA OAT 2006ADA DAT 2006Actual OAT
Bio310
370
320380380370
Gen Chem300330340340340380
Ochem340270320400400400
Reading340360350360340340
Physics300290310340----320
QR280290290340360350
Total Science320310330370370 (minus physics)370
Academic Average320320320360360 (minus physics)360

Thank you so much for this! Congratulations to you. I’ll be taking it in August, and I'll be looking at the 2006 ADA OAT as well. I appreciate the advice and heads-up!
 
Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you so much for this! Congratulations to you. I’ll be taking it in August, and I'll be looking at the 2006 ADA OAT as well. I appreciate the advice and heads-up!
The DAT exam is super helpful too! The questions are different but the level of difficulty and the format is the same so its a great way to get extra practice! I just ignored the perceptual ability part :)
 
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Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you for this, and congrats on your score! Do you mind giving an example of a conceptual gen chem question? I've heard from many people that it is mainly conceptual and almost no calculations, but it doesn't really give me an idea of how they would word the question.
Hi ! the 2006 ADA OAT and DAT have the best examples of "conceptual" OAT questions and those are the most representative of the actual OAT!
 
Last edited:
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Reactions: 1 user
Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hi! Thank you for this post! How many hours per day did you study and did you study a mixture of topics in one day or did you split them up by weeks? I know different methods work differently for everyone, but just trying figure out the best way to attack this thing :)
Hi! I studied a mixture of topics usually 2-3 every day. One thing i would do every day is read 2 articles from ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news or the free ones from DATBOOTCAMP. While i was in school i was studying about 3-4 hours a day (minus the 15 or so minutes i reserved for article reading) and splitting the time evenly between two topics. One day I would do QR and Bio, another Chem and Physics, and switch that pattern off every other day. Once classes ended and finals were over i did a little of each subject each day. One thing I also did was finish gen Chem before I even started Ochem. I would saying doing a little of everything each day is really helpful and better than sticking to one subject a day :)
 
Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
Congrats! That's an amazing score. Can I ask, what were you averaging on Bootcamp?
Hey! Sorry for the late response, I never scored higher then a 19 on DAT bootcamp. But usually what I would do is get my raw score (for example 27/30) and use the score conversion chart on the ADA practice OAT to see what it would be in OAT terms. I’m not sure what the conversions are off the top of my head but I hope this helps!
 

eyesonOD

New Member
Apr 20, 2020
4
1
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hey! Sorry for the late response, I never scored higher then a 19 on DAT bootcamp. But usually what I would do is get my raw score (for example 27/30) and use the score conversion chart on the ADA practice OAT to see what it would be in OAT terms. I’m not sure what the conversions are off the top of my head but I hope this helps!
Yes, it does. Thank you!
 
Jun 12, 2020
9
10
36
  1. Pre-Optometry
H
Thank you for this thorough review ! It really helps as I am taking my oat in a few days. I had a question regarding the identification for check in. I know it says to bring two forms of ID a primary and secondary but can they both be a primary ID?
hi! I actually brought in a state ID and a debit card so I’m not too sure :(
 

dawg17

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2017
20
10
86
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you for this thorough review ! It really helps as I am taking my oat in a few days. I had a question regarding the identification for check in. I know it says to bring two forms of ID a primary and secondary but can they both be a primary ID?

Hi! I took my OAT on Sept 28th and I brought my license and passport. They didn't have a problem with it :)
 
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