2022 OAT Breakdown (350 AA/360 TS)

bryman917

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Hello everyone! I finished on 11/15/2022, and I’d like to share my experience preparing for this exam. My experience studying for this exam might be peculiar compared to others, but nevertheless here it goes!


Used resources

OATBooster 10/10: I’ve heard so many good things about this resource, and it definitely did not fail to help me prepare properly for the exam. The videos and study guides were strong supplements for content reviewing, and the practice tests in particular were pretty much representative of what I saw on the real exam. I personally didn’t use everything that OATBooster offered but I feel that there’s enough material on there to cover all the things you need to know for the actual OAT.

Kaplan 6/10: I briefly went through the 2018-2019 MCAT Kaplan books to catch up on content, but I feel that these books were only helpful for certain content at times. Especially since the books are geared for the MCAT, there is a substantial amount of specific content that wouldn’t be covered on the OAT. I didn’t really retain a lot of knowledge till I used OATBooster to fill up those content gaps.


Timeline

So before we get into the whole process, I just want to say that I do NOT have good time management skills. There were some periods of time where I didn’t study at all because I straight up didn’t want to. Some days I studied more than usual, and other days I would just sit back and relax. I pretty much followed the OATBooster 8-week schedule, but I didn’t do each checklist religiously. When I got to stage 2 of the study guide however, I started ramping up the studying and did the majority of the extra practice questions alongside the practice exam questions in OATBooster (which helped the most in my opinion). From the beginning of stage 2 to test day, I just primarily focused on doing the practice exams since I feel that practice > content review at this stage onwards.


Biology - OATBooster average: 330-350 // OAT actual: 360

Biology is a hefty amount of information to cover, and it’s probably the only section that tests mainly on memorization due to the huge diversity of topics. That being said, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed after I took the real exam. The majority of my biology questions were covered in the cheat sheets provided by OATBooster, and there were even some questions based on the new content added to the OAT in April 2022. Along with the cheat sheets, there were detailed study notes that significantly covered that new content, so that was helpful for sure. Additionally, I used OATBooster’s Anki flashcards for quick content review if I’m outside my place (although I didn’t go through all the cards). As long as you have a general idea of each topic in this section you’ll be fine for the most part, but it doesn’t hurt to learn more if you can!


General Chemistry - OATBooster average: 350-370 // OAT actual: 380

I’ve had a pretty decent background in general chemistry throughout college, so I didn’t actually prepare as much for this section. I did a couple of OATBooster’s practice exams and they were pretty much representative of the actual exam questions. My advice would be to keep doing practice tests/questions rather than focusing on content review. Almost all the topics you can learn from general chemistry were covered on my actual OAT, so definitely get a feel for all of them. This section’s a lot more conceptual so as long as you get used to formulazing your way to the solution you’ll be good.


Organic Chemistry - OATBooster average: 320-340 // OAT actual: 330

The last time I took organic chemistry in college was about 4 years ago, so I did not remember anything about orgo at the beginning of study. I mainly focused on just trying to memorize the reactions and did all the practice tests on OATBooster. If you took any course in biochemistry before, there are some specific topics such as cooperativity and lab techniques (SDS-PAGE, blots, PCR, chromatography, etc.) that are sometimes covered in this section - I had some lab technique questions on the actual test. I used a mix of Anki flashcards and the reactions sheet provided by OATBooster to memorize the reactions. Looking back on studying for orgo, I think learning the patterns of how certain reactions go about is probably the best way to answer any reaction question on the exam, rather than trying to memorize all the reactions (which I kinda regret doing).


Reading Comprehension - OATBooster average: 330-370 // OAT actual: 350

I’ve always felt this section was a bit of a gamble of getting either comprehensible or puzzling passages based on my experience with practice tests. The actual test was straightforward and standard of what you would expect to see. For my exam I had just one passage that took some effort to decipher, but the rest were definitely easier to go through. I would say to keep doing practice tests to get used to pacing and find a strategy that works best for you. In my case, I mainly used search and destroy which saved me some time to look back on questions I was unsure of.


Physics - OATBooster average: 290-320 // OAT actual: 340

The questions on the actual exam were much easier than the OATBooster practice questions. However, I think the harder OATBooster physics questions helped me prepare for this section. Whereas OATBooster had questions that involved multiple steps and/or were niche of a certain topic, the actual OAT questions were much more straightforward and simple. I mainly studied for this section by just doing the practice tests on OATBooster and memorizing the equation sheet offered. If you still find physics to be tough, I heard Chad’s Prep had useful videos and extra practice questions that would assuredly be of use.


Quantitative Reasoning - OATBooster average: 340-370 // OAT actual: 340

I thought that the QR section was fair with the questions and had a blend of all the topics. I was somewhat exhausted mentally at this point of the exam and felt that I spent way too much time on certain questions, which contributed to my actual score. I didn’t prepare for this section as much as the rest, so I would certainly recommend doing a bunch of practice tests/questions and getting comfortable with finding shortcuts and solving distinct question types.


To finish off with some final advice, the OAT may seem like a huge marathon with knee-deep trenches of knowledge, but it actually feels like a mile long run covered by an inch of information. As long as you learn how to pace yourself and briefly understand the concepts within each section, you will perform well. Although I probably spent about a month and a half on actual studying, I would highly recommend dedicating at least 2-3 months to preparation for the exam to give yourself some much needed time for breaks. If you don’t like eating a lot in the morning like myself, eat lots of carbs the night before the real exam - it’ll give you enough energy to get through exam day (bringing extra snacks doesn’t hurt!). Feel free to send me a message if you have any other questions, and best wishes on your exam!

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