Jul 13, 2020
4
8
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
I recently took my OAT exam a week ago and found these forums really helpful and told myself if I did well, I'd post about my experience to help out a fellow anxious test taker who is looking at these at 2 a.m. (aka me!)

First off, I am a rising senior biology major so I have a decent science background, so much of the material was just a review for me. I did have to review orgo and physics quite a bit though, but those have always been harder subjects for me. I plan on applying this cycle so my application is half done as I'm typing this!

Preparation
Onto how I prepared! I studied for about 2 months, pretty much since school ended until July 18th. I would study about 5-6 hours a day (6 days a week) depending on the subject since I was following the Kaplan prep book as my guide. It can be so overwhelming at first, but just be consistent with it! I went through 3 or so chapters a day depending on the subject and actively took notes and made flashcards. I took 4 practice Kaplan exams and the sample ADA OAT test that has been floating around during this time to track my progress. I also recommend taking the ADA exam as your last practice exam since it really is such a confidence booster! I made the mistake of taking my last Kaplan test the week of my exam and didn't do as well as I hoped so I felt a little discouraged. I also had the question bank from Kaplan to get some more practice with questions. It was good in some aspects like bio, but for physics it was really discouraging at times since Kaplan physics problems are pretty tough. A source I wish I knew about sooner was Chad's videos. He really broke down all the concepts that I was really struggling with in Orgo and Physics. Towards the end, I started running out of time when it came to watching the orgo videos, but even looking at his orgo reaction summary worksheet and the DAT boot camp reaction summary sheet really helped me nail a couple extra questions on the exam. I started to get very anxious the week leading up to the test, so I tried to take it easy and review concepts I was still struggling with. The day before the test, I really just tried to relax, so I went and got my nails done, ran errands, and went for a run. A lot of people suggested this on the forums and it definitely helped! I was a big believer in taking breaks or stopped studying when I felt like my brain had had enough. Towards the end, I started to feel a little burned out, so just make sure you know when you're effectively studying. For example, if I was tired of looking at orgo reactions, I would go and review some bio since I knew that subject better and it didn't take as much effort for me to reinforce it. It really is trial and error for what works for you. Be honest with yourself and reevaluate your studying strategies! I definitely feel like this taught me to be very disciplined with studying and honest with myself on what was working and what wasn't.

Test Day

Test day was pretty straight forward for me. I found it helpful that people mentioned their testing experience during COVID since it helped me prepare for the testing environment. First big thing is is that you need to wear a mask during your entire test. This freaked me out a bit when I read this, so I took a full-length practice exam with my mask on just to get used to it. On test day I barely even noticed it was there. I would suggest bringing an extra mask if you have one of the disposable surgical masks since the strap on mine broke when I came back from my break! The test proctor was really nice and gave me another mask, but just a heads up if they don't have extras! Check in was pretty straight forward as well. I recommend taking time and reading the instructions at the beginning of the exam just as another way to calm yourself down before you start. Someone suggested that on here and it really helped! I won't go too much into detail about the questions, but a strategy that helped me was skipping a question if I didn't know it. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but it really did. I was able to answer all the questions with enough time. I think it really helped that I knew how to pace myself after taking all those practice exams. The calculations in GC, Physics, and QR were not as hard as the Kaplan questions and I was pleasantly surprised. A lot more questions on standard deviation than what I had anticipated, so if anything practice with those more! Honestly if you understand the concepts you will be fine! Believe in yourself that you've put in the work and it will pay off!

Practice Tests/ Test Results

I found that looking at how others did on their practice exams and actual test reassured me that I could score just as well. I wanted to score in the range of 320-340, but honestly I was happy with anything over a 300. Many of the schools that I visited said because of my GPA (3.53) I would be able to get an interview with a 300 (these were on open house tours and based just on my GPA and OAT scores so do not take this as the marker for every school or for each individual!). I ended up getting a 330 (72nd percentile) which I know is not the best, but it still is fairly competitive for most schools. I found that not as many people post about these "middle scores" since I usually saw a lot of 99th percentile scores or really low scores that people said they needed to retake. More power to them, but I knew I wasn't going to be a top scorer, but knew I could do pretty well! Just wanted to give another point of view! The first test I took was without any practice hence the 270, but this was my baseline. I took this the first day I started studying. Then about a month or so after I took the second test and got a 290. Another week or so passed and I took the 3rd test and got a 300. Then I took the ADA test a week later and scored a 340 which really boosted my confidence. I took the last test the week of and got a 290 which freaked me out. I did so poorly in sections I usually performed well in! Overall I was really happy with my actual score since I scored a 310 or above on all my sections which was great! The Kaplan tests really try to over-prepare you so do not be discouraged by lower scores. You really do end up scoring 20-40 points higher on the actual exam. Others have suggested that if you score at least a 300 on a kaplan test then you should be okay for the actual test, and I agree that that's a fair benchmark. The ADA was a bit easier, but the questions were fairly similar to the actual test compared to Kaplan.

Remember every person is different when it comes to taking/ preparing for this test! This is what worked for me and I hope it can help someone who is anxious about the OAT! Feel free to ask me questions! I wish you all the best on your OAT, you've got this!!

BioGCOrgoRCPhysicsMathTSAA
Kap 1
310​
230​
210​
340​
250​
270​
250​
270​
kap 2
320​
300​
300​
280​
270​
270​
290​
290​
kap 3
310​
320​
290​
310​
280​
290​
300​
300​
ADA
340​
340​
300​
400​
300​
360​
320​
340​
kap 4
290​
260​
300​
330​
280​
290​
280​
290​
Actual
330​
330​
310​
330​
310​
370​
320​
330​
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
Jul 4, 2020
20
14
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Congrats! Thank you so much for sharing. I relate to you a lot and it’s helpful to see the experiences of people not just getting perfect scores or having to retake it. What schools are you applying to? :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads
Jul 13, 2020
4
8
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Congrats! Thank you so much for sharing. I relate to you a lot and it’s helpful to see the experiences of people not just getting perfect scores or having to retake it. What schools are you applying to? :)
Thanks! And I'm applying to SUNY, NECO, Salus, ICO, Huston, and Ohio State. I'd really like to get into SUNY but I'm happy with any school :)
 
Jun 3, 2020
23
2
Great job! Where did you obtain 4 practice exams from, I have the Kaplan book which has two Practice exams and then I know the ADA one is out there. I wanted to begin with a practice exam as a diagnosis to see where Im at but dont want to waste my resources since I only have 2 not including the ADA. Also how close to your exam did you take the ADA one?
 
Jul 13, 2020
4
8
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Optometry
Great job! Where did you obtain 4 practice exams from, I have the Kaplan book which has two Practice exams and then I know the ADA one is out there. I wanted to begin with a practice exam as a diagnosis to see where Im at but dont want to waste my resources since I only have 2 not including the ADA. Also how close to your exam did you take the ADA one?
Thank you! And I purchased the two additional Kaplan practice tests that you can get through their website. I felt like those were worth it since it was a full length test/ the format is very similar to the actual exam. There is also a Kaplan diagnostic test on their website as well, but I did not take that personally, but I know others on here have. I recommend taking the ADA exam a week before you take your test/ have it be the last test you take. Hope this helps!
 
  • 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.