j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hello everyone! I took my OAT yesterday and it went well. This community (as well as Reddit) has been tremendously helpful so I wanted to share my experience in case anyone needs it.

I, like many people who are applying right now, had my test canceled/pushed back many times. My test was originally supposed to be at the end of March and it got pushed back pretty much 4 months...so the past 7 months have not been fun. I realize my study schedule/time frame may not be super useful to those who are studying right now as it was dragged out superrrrr long, but I can share some insights on how I studied, what materials I used, and what my scores are. I would say I really only needed about 2.5months to study, but my schedule was super erratic because of all the cancellations.

ANYWAY, here are the materials I recommend using and how I used them:
1. DAT Bootcamp (with subscription): this is by far the most comprehensive resource. It has MANY MANY practice questions and practice tests that will not only reinforce concepts but also get you into the testing mindset. I find that it was difficult for me to just stare at my notes (specifically for GC and physics) because at the end of the day it was about identifying what type of question they are going to ask and what equation/concept I need to respond with. I highly recommend this resource (get the OAT version so it comes with physics tests). It links to Chad's videos for physics, which I'm sure a lot of you know are absolutely fantastic. Again, practice is key and I think having enough questions and detailed explanations to every question you do is key to your success. Reading notes only goes so far.​
2. Kaplan (specifically Kaplan practice tests): I didn't use Kaplan to study because I had already gotten the DAT Bootcamp, but I would recommend their online practice tests that come with the book. The tests are similar in format, much more difficult (which will over-prepare you), and also have detailed explanations. I did however briefly went over the physics section and thought the organization was actually pretty good.​
3. Youtube videos (e.g. Organic Chemistry Tutor): LOOK UP AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU DON'T GET! These videos are free and short and most likely will help you in the long run.​
4. OAT destroyer: I bought an older version of the destroyer to use as practice. I did a lot of the OC questions and all of the BIO, QR, and physics questions. Definitely not a must, but if you don't feel like getting the Bootcamp subscription and/or other question banks/practice tests, I would say this is a pretty good substitute. Each question also has really detailed explanations.​
5. ADA OAT: the test that's been floating around...took it two days before my actual exam.​

Here is what I learned while studying for the OAT:
  • You don't have to understand something straight away - practice and it'll stick
  • Review your questions by topic - I noted down every single question I have gotten wrong (or questions I felt were difficult) into sub-categories (e.g. Oxidation/reduction, chemical solutions, nomenclature etc.), which helped me identify which section I was weakest in and also helped me review things quickly by topic
  • Study at your own pace/time - I am a night person, so I would often get up around noon (lol) and if that's you, I assure you that it's fine. Just make sure you're awake on the day of the test lol.
Test day and subject review:
  • Test center: the people that worked at the center I tested at were super chill and nice. I had to put everything away, wasn't allowed to write anything during the tutorial (sadly), but received a 30-minute break where I could eat, drink, and access my phone and notes. Be sure to arrive early in case there's a line - lots of tests are happening.
  • Bio: coming from a biology background, this section was not bad for me. I would say the DAT Bootcamp summary notes are more than enough. I wouldn't try to memorize EVERYTHING because you would be spending way too long and the stuff might not even get tested. Understand the fundamentals, see what themes pop up from practice questions, and you should be fine. E.g. they almost always would ask about some step in meiosis/mitosis, so be sure to understand those.
  • GC: felt pretty similar to DAT Bootcamp questions and the ADA OAT; know how to do simple calculations like moles and limiting reagents
  • OC: this was one of the harder sections for me. I personally didn't really use flashcards but tried to understand what each reagent would do based on their chemistry. E.g. KMnO4 has so many oxygens, it doesn't make sense for it to be reducing something (so it must be oxidizing); practice by recognizing patterns. Know the names of things because a lot of times they may only give you the name of a compound, not its structure, so you'll need to be able to draw things to figure out stereochemistry/hybridization etc.
  • RC: fairly straight forward. I just read through the whole thing, highlighted keywords, and answered. I wouldn't recommend skipping a question and going back because by the time you review it, you may have gone through all three passages and kind of forgot what the first one was about.
  • Physics: my weakest section...I studied really hard for it by doing countless questions and categorizing them. Eventually, you will find that you need to master kinematics, energy and momentum, and know the basic formulas for the rest of the subjects. Knowing which subjects are tested on more will allow you to divide your time more effectively. Also, skip and mark a question if you're taking a long time! This section can be challenging if you're running out of time, so don't stay on anything for too long if you can't figure it out.
  • QR: also a section I didn't study a ton for, but I would recommend really reviewing weaker areas because this section could potentially help you lots in raising your AA.
Scores:
BIOGCOCRCPHYQRAATS
DAT Bootcamp370360370380300380360350
Kaplan diagnostic340360370340270390350330
Kaplan 1390330320390300360350340
Kaplan 2330390340380310330350350
ADA OAT400390370400370400390380
OAT400400400400380400400400
Note: for DAT Bootcamp, I put in scores that represent the average of ~4 tests

Anyway...I know this was a really long post but I hope y'all find it useful. You got this!! Let me know if you have any questions, I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities.
 
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May 10, 2019
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  1. Pre-Optometry
Hey! First of all, congrats! I was wondering if the exam was more similar to the ADA or the Kaplan? Also, was the QR section close to the Kaplan tests or the ADA? Anyways thank you for your advice!
 
Apr 17, 2019
34
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  1. Pre-Optometry
Congratulations on your perfect score! I'm taking mine in less than a month and I'm really nervous. Which ADA OAT Exam did you use? Were you required to wear a mask the entire time while in the testing center? I also sent a PM too.
Thanks!
 
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j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hey! First of all, congrats! I was wondering if the exam was more similar to the ADA or the Kaplan? Also, was the QR section close to the Kaplan tests or the ADA? Anyways thank you for your advice!

Definitely more similar to the ADA! Kaplan practice tests are much harder, but they are useful in really making sure you understand something. The ADA test is also just a pdf so the Kaplan simulated the actual testing conditions better.

For the QR section, I actually think both the ADA and the Kaplan questions are similar to the real test. Hope this helps!
 
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j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Congratulations on your perfect score! I'm taking mine in less than a month and I'm really nervous. Which ADA OAT Exam did you use? Were you required to wear a mask the entire time while in the testing center? I also sent a PM too.
Thanks!

Thank you!! Here is the ADA OAT exam I used. And yes :( unfortunately, you have to wear a mask the entire time, but better to be safe than sorry.
 
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Apr 15, 2020
4
0
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  1. Pre-Optometry
hey! my test is on tuesday (not tomorrow, the one after), and i was wondering how similar the dat physics is to the actual exam? i keep getting 290 on my physics bootcamp practice tests, but sometimes i tell myself "yeah no way would they put this on the exam" when theres like 3 -6 step problems!
 

j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
hey! my test is on tuesday (not tomorrow, the one after), and i was wondering how similar the dat physics is to the actual exam? i keep getting 290 on my physics bootcamp practice tests, but sometimes i tell myself "yeah no way would they put this on the exam" when theres like 3 -6 step problems!

omg good luck!! You got this.

I would say the DAT physics questions are harder than the real test in that the questions are more calculation-heavy and involve more steps. However, I would say the concepts are very similar and they are very useful in testing whether you understand some of the fundamental concepts. Keep at it! Review and learn from the solutions :)
 
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Jul 7, 2020
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How heavy would you say your physics section on the exam was with Kinematic questions? Any insight on what to really focus on or was it pretty scattered based on the material?
 
Apr 17, 2017
59
12
WOW your scores are amazing!!! Congrats!!
For bio, did you use bootcamp's condensed notes or the academy notes? I'm using condensed notes right now and I don't know if it would be enough. Did you think that their notes were enough because you had a strong bio background? Or did they literally have all the info you needed even if you don't come from a strong bio background?

For physics, you just used chads videos and did the questions in bootcamp right? Were the numbers a lot easier to work with on the actual exam since we won't be able to use calculators? Physics is my weakest section, and I am having trouble reviewing the basic concepts like projectile motion, etc. Any advice for this section? Chads videos are easy to understand but when it comes to the practice questions, I find it very difficult to apply the concepts.
 

j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
How heavy would you say your physics section on the exam was with Kinematic questions? Any insight on what to really focus on or was it pretty scattered based on the material?

I would say kinematics is definitely emphasized! I would recommend spending a lot of time understanding the basics of kinematics as well as Newtonian mechanics. The rest are hard to say...but I think if you memorized all the formulas you should be good. What I did it I categorized every question I got wrong into groups and found that in general kinematics and Newtonian mechanics had the most number of questions. Fluid statics, rotational motion, and optics almost always appear too. Things like thermodynamics is harder to predict...But yeah: TLDR - kinematics is important!!
 
Last edited:

j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
WOW your scores are amazing!!! Congrats!!
For bio, did you use bootcamp's condensed notes or the academy notes? I'm using condensed notes right now and I don't know if it would be enough. Did you think that their notes were enough because you had a strong bio background? Or did they literally have all the info you needed even if you don't come from a strong bio background?

For physics, you just used chads videos and did the questions in bootcamp right? Were the numbers a lot easier to work with on the actual exam since we won't be able to use calculators? Physics is my weakest section, and I am having trouble reviewing the basic concepts like projectile motion, etc. Any advice for this section? Chads videos are easy to understand but when it comes to the practice questions, I find it very difficult to apply the concepts.

Thank you!! I used the condensed notes and I found it to be sufficient. I would suggest you start studying with those first, then practice with the question banks and some practice tests to see how you're doing. If you find that you are scoring lower than you expect AND that you have a hard time following the logic of the explanations, then I'd suggest you study with the academy notes (focusing on your weakest topic, ofc)

An example would be if a question asking you about chromosome number in mitosis was given to you and you answered it incorrectly, if you find that you have trouble recalling even the basic steps involved in mitosis, then definitely try to learn the topic in more detail. But if it's just you didn't know the difference between chromosome and chromatids/got them mixed up, I think you can just practice and learn from your mistakes!

For physics yes - I used Chad's videos and did all the questions. The numbers on the exam are much easier to work with. I would say practice is the only way to get better, that and knowing all the formulas by heart. I would also suggest you try to learn patterns eg if they give you horizontal velocity of a projectile motion, that in itself is enough to calculate range.

Sorry for the long answer haha. I hope you find this helpful.
 
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Reactions: 1 user
Apr 17, 2017
59
12
Thank you!! I used the condensed notes and I found it to be sufficient. I would suggest you start studying with those first, then practice with the question banks and some practice tests to see how you're doing. If you find that you are scoring lower than you expect AND that you have a hard time following the logic of the explanations, then I'd suggest you study with the academy notes (focusing on your weakest topic, ofc)

An example would be if a question asking you about chromosome number in mitosis was given to you and you answered it incorrectly, if you find that you have trouble recalling even the basic steps involved in mitosis, then definitely try to learn the topic in more detail. But if it's just you didn't know the difference between chromosome and chromatids/got them mixed up, I think you can just practice and learn from your mistakes!

For physics yes - I used Chad's videos and did all the questions. The numbers on the exam are much easier to work with. I would say practice is the only way to get better, that and knowing all the formulas by heart. I would also suggest you try to learn patterns eg if they give you horizontal velocity of a projectile motion, that in itself is enough to calculate range.

Sorry for the long answer haha. I hope you find this helpful.
Thank you that was very helpful! I have a few more questions, I hope you don't mind answering them.
Did you do all the tests on bootcamp (1-10)? If so, do you think that tests 6-10 most resembles the real OAT? Because I heard that tests 1-5 are fairly easy, but 6-10 are really difficult. For the ADA test that you took, was it the 2007 version? That is the only one I can find, so I was wondering if there were other versions that I can access. Lastly, since you used variety of resources, which one did you find to be most helpful? I only have the bootcamp subscription, and don't plan on getting other resources unless I really need it!
 

j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Thank you that was very helpful! I have a few more questions, I hope you don't mind answering them.
Did you do all the tests on bootcamp (1-10)? If so, do you think that tests 6-10 most resembles the real OAT? Because I heard that tests 1-5 are fairly easy, but 6-10 are really difficult. For the ADA test that you took, was it the 2007 version? That is the only one I can find, so I was wondering if there were other versions that I can access. Lastly, since you used variety of resources, which one did you find to be most helpful? I only have the bootcamp subscription, and don't plan on getting other resources unless I really need it!

Like I said in my original post, the DAT Bootcamp was the most helpful. I wouldn't say there is a significant difference in difficulty between 1-5 and 6-10, but I did end up doing all of them (some as individual modules and others as full tests).

As for the ADA OAT, I'm not entirely sure which version I did, but I think it should be the 2007 version. (I have linked it in a previous comment if you want to check!) Good luck with studying!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Aug 3, 2020
2
0
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  1. Pre-Optometry
Hello everyone! I took my OAT yesterday and it went well. This community (as well as Reddit) has been tremendously helpful so I wanted to share my experience in case anyone needs it.

I, like many people who are applying right now, had my test canceled/pushed back many times. My test was originally supposed to be at the end of March and it got pushed back pretty much 4 months...so the past 7 months have not been fun. I realize my study schedule/time frame may not be super useful to those who are studying right now as it was dragged out superrrrr long, but I can share some insights on how I studied, what materials I used, and what my scores are. I would say I really only needed about 2.5months to study, but my schedule was super erratic because of all the cancellations.

ANYWAY, here are the materials I recommend using and how I used them:
1. DAT Bootcamp (with subscription): this is by far the most comprehensive resource. It has MANY MANY practice questions and practice tests that will not only reinforce concepts but also get you into the testing mindset. I find that it was difficult for me to just stare at my notes (specifically for GC and physics) because at the end of the day it was about identifying what type of question they are going to ask and what equation/concept I need to respond with. I highly recommend this resource (get the OAT version so it comes with physics tests). It links to Chad's videos for physics, which I'm sure a lot of you know are absolutely fantastic. Again, practice is key and I think having enough questions and detailed explanations to every question you do is key to your success. Reading notes only goes so far.​
2. Kaplan (specifically Kaplan practice tests): I didn't use Kaplan to study because I had already gotten the DAT Bootcamp, but I would recommend their online practice tests that come with the book. The tests are similar in format, much more difficult (which will over-prepare you), and also have detailed explanations. I did however briefly went over the physics section and thought the organization was actually pretty good.​
3. Youtube videos (e.g. Organic Chemistry Tutor): LOOK UP AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU DON'T GET! These videos are free and short and most likely will help you in the long run.​
4. OAT destroyer: I bought an older version of the destroyer to use as practice. I did a lot of the OC questions and all of the BIO, QR, and physics questions. Definitely not a must, but if you don't feel like getting the Bootcamp subscription and/or other question banks/practice tests, I would say this is a pretty good substitute. Each question also has really detailed explanations.​
5. ADA OAT: the test that's been floating around...took it two days before my actual exam.​

Here is what I learned while studying for the OAT:
  • You don't have to understand something straight away - practice and it'll stick
  • Review your questions by topic - I noted down every single question I have gotten wrong (or questions I felt were difficult) into sub-categories (e.g. Oxidation/reduction, chemical solutions, nomenclature etc.), which helped me identify which section I was weakest in and also helped me review things quickly by topic
  • Study at your own pace/time - I am a night person, so I would often get up around noon (lol) and if that's you, I assure you that it's fine. Just make sure you're awake on the day of the test lol.
Test day and subject review:
  • Test center: the people that worked at the center I tested at were super chill and nice. I had to put everything away, wasn't allowed to write anything during the tutorial (sadly), but received a 30-minute break where I could eat, drink, and access my phone and notes. Be sure to arrive early in case there's a line - lots of tests are happening.
  • Bio: coming from a biology background, this section was not bad for me. I would say the DAT Bootcamp summary notes are more than enough. I wouldn't try to memorize EVERYTHING because you would be spending way too long and the stuff might not even get tested. Understand the fundamentals, see what themes pop up from practice questions, and you should be fine. E.g. they almost always would ask about some step in meiosis/mitosis, so be sure to understand those.
  • GC: felt pretty similar to DAT Bootcamp questions and the ADA OAT; know how to do simple calculations like moles and limiting reagents
  • OC: this was one of the harder sections for me. I personally didn't really use flashcards but tried to understand what each reagent would do based on their chemistry. E.g. KMnO4 has so many oxygens, it doesn't make sense for it to be reducing something (so it must be oxidizing); practice by recognizing patterns. Know the names of things because a lot of times they may only give you the name of a compound, not its structure, so you'll need to be able to draw things to figure out stereochemistry/hybridization etc.
  • RC: fairly straight forward. I just read through the whole thing, highlighted keywords, and answered. I wouldn't recommend skipping a question and going back because by the time you review it, you may have gone through all three passages and kind of forgot what the first one was about.
  • Physics: my weakest section...I studied really hard for it by doing countless questions and categorizing them. Eventually, you will find that you need to master kinematics, energy and momentum, and know the basic formulas for the rest of the subjects. Knowing which subjects are tested on more will allow you to divide your time more effectively. Also, skip and mark a question if you're taking a long time! This section can be challenging if you're running out of time, so don't stay on anything for too long if you can't figure it out.
  • QR: also a section I didn't study a ton for, but I would recommend really reviewing weaker areas because this section could potentially help you lots in raising your AA.
Scores:
BIOGCOCRCPHYQRAATS
DAT Bootcamp370360370380300380360350
Kaplan diagnostic340360370340270390350330
Kaplan 1390330320390300360350340
Kaplan 2330390340380310330350350
ADA OAT400390370400370400390380
OAT400400400400380400400400
Note: for DAT Bootcamp, I put in scores that represent the average of ~4 tests

Anyway...I know this was a really long post but I hope y'all find it useful. You got this!! Let me know if you have any questions, I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities.
 
Aug 3, 2020
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hello! Congrats on your scores! I was just wondering if you used the DAT Bootcamp GC eqn. list and if you felt like all the equations needed to complete the General Chemistry section was on there?
 

j-s

Jun 17, 2020
14
19
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Hello! Congrats on your scores! I was just wondering if you used the DAT Bootcamp GC eqn. list and if you felt like all the equations needed to complete the General Chemistry section was on there?
Hey! Yeah I did. I think it's pretty comprehensive and you should definitely know them, although the actual test didn't involve too many actual calculations.
 

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