• Livestream AMA: Join SDN as we welcome Dr. John Ligon, a Pediatric Oncologist with the National Cancer Institute on May 11th at 8:00 PM Eastern. Register now!
Jun 12, 2020
14
33
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hey guys! This is my first time posting here so I hope I do an okay job. I took the test July 24th, 2020 and I thought I would share my experience in hopes that I can help some of you out :) (sorry this is so long, I tried to only include what I thought would help but it still ended up being very long lol)

DISCLAIMER: Everyone is different, some people require more time and others require less. I did well in my undergrad courses and felt comfortable with most of the material. I took physics this past year so it was fresh in my mind, and the courses in my degree are very physiology heavy so it made studying for biology more doable. It is easy to compare yourselves to others, but at the end of the day, OAT scores and GPA are not everything, and you have to be proud of yourself no matter what!

First, the breakdown of my practice scores compared to the real OAT. Like everyone else said, the real OAT is MUCH easier than the Kaplan practice (especially physics) so don’t get too stressed about your practice exam scores.

Kaplan1/Kaplan2/Kaplan3/Kaplan5/FreeADA///Real OAT (percentile)
Bio: 390/350/390/360/380///400 (99)
GChem: 360/390/340/370/380///400 (99)
OChem: 310/370/340/370/390///380 (92)
RC: 370/390/380/390/400///400 (99)
Physics: 290/320/350/370/390///400 (99)
QR: 340/370/350/350/390///400 (99)
AA: 340/370/360/370//390///400 (99)
TS: 350/370/(didn’t show)/390/400///400 (99)

Study schedule: I started at the end of April after my final exams. During this time, I took a 6-week spring course so there were a few weeks where I barely studied for the OAT. I studied for a total of 266 hours (I keep track using timers and a journal) with an average of 19 hours per week (14 weeks total).

I hear a lot of people that study for this test (and other exams like the MCAT) “8 hours a day, 40 hours a week,” which I would find extremely exhausting. I have respect for those people but also concern because I would get burnt out by the second week! I recommend taking it day by day while listening to your body so you don’t get burnt out. Some days I would feel motivated to study 6 hours, and some days I would be proud if I snuck in 30 min of studying.

HOW I STUDIED: practice, practice, practice!
-For the first month and a half, I went through the Kaplan big purple book, summarized each chapter, and did the practice questions. It was a great initial review for all of the material, and it came with 2 full-length practice exams (super helpful)
-Next, I bought the Kaplan Qbank + 2 practice exam package, and tried to go through as many questions from the bank as possible. However, I wish I didn’t wait so long to do them, because I had a bunch of questions I never went through
-CHAD: such a lifesaver, especially for organic chemistry. It is a very reasonable price considering he provides such high-quality lessons and practice. I waited until the last month to use this and I wish I watched him from the start! I used his ochem the most, and reviewed his physics and gen chem for the things I had forgotten. I also used his practice OAT exams which were great extra practice
-Kaplan & ADA practice exams: I did them once a week until my test day (started them about a month before my test). It is very important to do full-lengths in the same sort of environment you would be in during test day. Thus, I practiced without water (my least favourite part, the headaches sucked), with a mask (COVID), started at 8 am (like my actual test day), scratch paper and pencil, etc. Make sure you review the tests thoroughly reviewing the questions you get wrong AND the ones you get right. This is the most important part of doing practice exams!
-Diagnostic exam: I didn’t do this for some reason, even though I think it is free. It would probably be helpful, but it won’t be detrimental if you don’t, as long as you have an idea of what you need to work on the most.
-flashcards: I made some the last couple of weeks before the exam just for things I needed to memorize, like physics and gchem formulas, random biology definitions, and some ochem reactions. Very helpful!

DAY BEFORE THE TEST
-did very passive studying (reading my summary sheets), but I mostly focused on getting myself tired (got a massage, went for a hard bike ride) so I would sleep super well the night before. Thankfully it worked and I was knocked out by 9 pm!

ACTUAL TEST

Woke up around 5:45 am, tried to eat as much as possible and got to the centre at 7:15 am (thankfully it was only 10 mins from my house).

Biology: I have a strong biology background so I found this part fairly simple. More plants and ecology than expected but it was straightforward. Basic questions about biomes, evolution, Weinberg, and some physiology. Nothing really stood out to me here.

General Chemistry: Much easier than the practice exams, very few calculations. Understand the basics, like what makes a strong acid or base, stoichiometry, gas law, and easy pH calculations. I didn’t need to do ICE tables or long divisions by hand, and nothing was particularly tricky or stood out to me.

Organic Chemistry: I found this section frustrating because the few things I focused on the least seemed to be emphasized the most - I had 3 NMR questions on the test and I spent maybe 20 min studying the topic! I was also thrown off by some Aldol questions, another thing I didn’t focus on. Lots of reactions, and I struggled because I would often know what the final product would be, but I would not remember whether the product would be syn or anti, cis or trans. Don’t overlook those little things, because the points add up!

Reading comprehension: 3 interesting articles, longer than the ones on Kaplan (my first was 18 paragraphs which threw me off) but I found the questions fairly doable. I skim the texts for about 5 min while taking brief notes then I search and destroy.

BREAK: I ate some fruit and nuts. I wanted to go outside for fresh air but for some reason, it smelled like horses and sewer outside so it was not pleasant or relaxing at all

Physics: WOW this section was such a relief. Mostly very basic kinematics (know those formulas) and dynamics concepts. If you can draw a free body diagram for different situations, then you should be able to breeze through most of it. A few questions on circuits which I always enjoy. Also a few on the base SI units for different constants which you can figure out if you know the formula. A few of these questions seemed very similar to ones on the ADA practice exam.

Math: I had a little breakdown in the middle of this section- it was feeling very tight on time and I thought I was failing it and would have to redo the whole exam… But it ended up being fine! There were a lot more word questions then I saw on the other practice exams, with much less of an emphasis on algebra. Know your related rates, basic trigonometry, and the questions with average speed. Those questions that are like “is value A or value B bigger” and the ones like “statement 1 is sufficient alone, statement 2 is sufficient alone…” I found them to be easier than the practice ones from Kaplan. You have to be willing to skip questions that stump you, because I found the last several questions to be much easier than the first several (which is something that someone else here noted!) The best and only way to prepare for this section is to practice a ton because you have to get comfortable with quick mental math.

After nearly having a heart attack while waiting for my score during the post-test survey, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to get my score back, finding out I got in the 99th percentile! What a dream come true.

Thanks to those who actually read to the end, best of luck with studying and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!!! I love talking about OAT prep and I will be happy to help :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 14 users
Sep 2, 2020
5
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hi, congratulations on your score! I have been reading threads and so many posts about resources to study for OAT and I am a little overwhelmed and don't know from where to study. I'm gonna start studying in about 2 weeks from now and trying to write down a schedule. I have 11 weeks to study for my OAT. How did you go about dividing your schedule into each section and how did you know what is required in each section and how long it will take? To give you a general idea, I don't think I'm particularly strong in any section, as of now, I feel like I'm weak in all of them and need to give them enough attention and practice. Appreciate any advice!
 
Jun 12, 2020
14
33
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hi, congratulations on your score! I have been reading threads and so many posts about resources to study for OAT and I am a little overwhelmed and don't know from where to study. I'm gonna start studying in about 2 weeks from now and trying to write down a schedule. I have 11 weeks to study for my OAT. How did you go about dividing your schedule into each section and how did you know what is required in each section and how long it will take? To give you a general idea, I don't think I'm particularly strong in any section, as of now, I feel like I'm weak in all of them and need to give them enough attention and practice. Appreciate any advice!
Thank you so much!! I am sure you will do great too : )
Since I did the Kaplan book which had 73 chapters, I took about a month and a half doing about 2-3 chapters a day (I took some weekends off or just a day break when I needed one). Each day I would rotate which subjects I worked on.
I had just finished doing my full year of physics so I didn't need a ton of work for that one, and my degree is biology focused so I didn't have to focus on that a ton. I made sure to spend extra time on organic because I finished 1 and 2 in first year (I took the OAT after 3rd year).
But since you feel like you need a lot of review for all of them, I would stagger your subjects evenly. For example, something like this maybe:
Mondays: bio and gen chem
Tuesdays: organic chem and physics
Wednesdays: math and extra reading comp practice
Thursdays: bio and organic chem
Friday: gen chem and physics
Saturday: catch up and review
... of course do it how you want, and switch things up depending on how you feel about the subjects as time goes on.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend, I like Kaplan big book (nicely organized) and their online practice Qs (especially for reading comp, it helped me understand the format)
But if not, Chad's videos are amazing. For pretty cheap you can watch through all his videos and practice Qs. Honestly if I were to do it again, I would have used his resources more, as reading books gets really boring.

Also, include lots practice exams. If you are willing to drop $ on Kaplans, theirs were good and harder than the real thing. I did those on Saturday's within the last month before the exam (I wanted to review all the material before doing them and I knew what I was strong and weak in). But some places do a free diagnostic one which I would recommend for you because it can help you decide what subjects you gotta focus on!!!!!!!

Not sure if this even makes sense or helps haha, please let me know if you have more questions!!!
 
Sep 2, 2020
5
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you so much!! I am sure you will do great too : )
Since I did the Kaplan book which had 73 chapters, I took about a month and a half doing about 2-3 chapters a day (I took some weekends off or just a day break when I needed one). Each day I would rotate which subjects I worked on.
I had just finished doing my full year of physics so I didn't need a ton of work for that one, and my degree is biology focused so I didn't have to focus on that a ton. I made sure to spend extra time on organic because I finished 1 and 2 in first year (I took the OAT after 3rd year).
But since you feel like you need a lot of review for all of them, I would stagger your subjects evenly. For example, something like this maybe:
Mondays: bio and gen chem
Tuesdays: organic chem and physics
Wednesdays: math and extra reading comp practice
Thursdays: bio and organic chem
Friday: gen chem and physics
Saturday: catch up and review
... of course do it how you want, and switch things up depending on how you feel about the subjects as time goes on.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend, I like Kaplan big book (nicely organized) and their online practice Qs (especially for reading comp, it helped me understand the format)
But if not, Chad's videos are amazing. For pretty cheap you can watch through all his videos and practice Qs. Honestly if I were to do it again, I would have used his resources more, as reading books gets really boring.

Also, include lots practice exams. If you are willing to drop $ on Kaplans, theirs were good and harder than the real thing. I did those on Saturday's within the last month before the exam (I wanted to review all the material before doing them and I knew what I was strong and weak in). But some places do a free diagnostic one which I would recommend for you because it can help you decide what subjects you gotta focus on!!!!!!!

Not sure if this even makes sense or helps haha, please let me know if you have more questions!!!
Thank you so so much this helped a lot! I am more of a visual learner (aren't we all lol) and I get distracted/ bored really easily with books. So I think I'm definitely gonna purchase all of Chad's videos and I also really like your break down of subjects per week and as it goes, I will figure out which ones I need to work on more and add more days to that subject!

One more question tho, how did you know that you were covering everything needed on the OAT? Did you follow the study guide on the OAT main website? I just reviewed it and they break down each section and what topics it will cover. I think this would be a good start to make sure I am covering everything needed.
 
About the Ads
Jun 12, 2020
14
33
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you so so much this helped a lot! I am more of a visual learner (aren't we all lol) and I get distracted/ bored really easily with books. So I think I'm definitely gonna purchase all of Chad's videos and I also really like your break down of subjects per week and as it goes, I will figure out which ones I need to work on more and add more days to that subject!

One more question tho, how did you know that you were covering everything needed on the OAT? Did you follow the study guide on the OAT main website? I just reviewed it and they break down each section and what topics it will cover. I think this would be a good start to make sure I am covering everything needed.
Glad it helped! I am the same, it can be really hard to focus for long periods while reading textbooks, and Chad's videos are great and interactive. I used his ochem the most, but his physics and g chem were also amazing!!! He also has practice Qs for biology and math other OAT things (at least he did over the summer) so that is another great resource

Good question. So I really just followed the Kaplan book for knowing the content. But I just checked the study guide on the OAT website and their guide is super good and accurately reflects what was on the OAT too. But a big thing is that when they just say like "dynamics" in the physics section for example, you gotta remember that includes things like work, weight, force, free body diagrams etc etc! But again, Chad's videos has all of that stuff! Also some things in Chad's videos you dont need to know for the OAT, so always refer back to that guide. So I think using the official breakdown is 100% gonna be sufficient for you to know what you need to know!! And that breakdown should be the #1 source for info anyways cause its the official guide, ya know

Again, I am always willing to answer question and help any way I can. Goodluck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Sep 2, 2020
5
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Glad it helped! I am the same, it can be really hard to focus for long periods while reading textbooks, and Chad's videos are great and interactive. I used his ochem the most, but his physics and g chem were also amazing!!! He also has practice Qs for biology and math other OAT things (at least he did over the summer) so that is another great resource

Good question. So I really just followed the Kaplan book for knowing the content. But I just checked the study guide on the OAT website and their guide is super good and accurately reflects what was on the OAT too. But a big thing is that when they just say like "dynamics" in the physics section for example, you gotta remember that includes things like work, weight, force, free body diagrams etc etc! But again, Chad's videos has all of that stuff! Also some things in Chad's videos you dont need to know for the OAT, so always refer back to that guide. So I think using the official breakdown is 100% gonna be sufficient for you to know what you need to know!! And that breakdown should be the #1 source for info anyways cause its the official guide, ya know

Again, I am always willing to answer question and help any way I can. Goodluck!
Thank you so so much! You've been more than helpful. I feel more prepared and organized to start studying :) Good luck for you too on whatever you're working on :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.