Jul 9, 2015
49
31
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hey guys!

These threads definitely helped me when I was prepping for the OAT, so I thought I'd briefly share my experience & give a word of encouragement, especially to the more average test takers like me (non 90th percentile people)!

Here are my practice scores and then the real thing.

Diagnostic: 250 TS/ 270 AA
Kaplan 1: 280 TS/ 290 AA
Kaplan 2: 280 TS/ 300 AA
Kaplan 3: 290 TS/ 300 AA
Kaplan 4: 280 TS/ 300 AA
Kaplan 5: 330 TS/ 320 AA
Real OAT: 320 TS (70th%)/ 320 AA (66th%)

Before I say anything else, I just want to say that I am really happy with these scores! It's definitely not a 350, but I just want to remind you that Kaplan scores a 350 AA as the 90th percentile, so only about 10% of people will score higher than that. I felt the need to say that because it does seem like a large amount of posters here are within that 10%. So DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED if you don't get a 350! I definitely know that I was, because it seemed everyone posting was scoring around a 360... I wanted to remind you that realistically, that is an insane score & a 320 is definitely in the competitive range for almost all optometry schools! So don't let that voice in your head tell you that you're not good enough, even if you're barely scraping by with a 300 on your practice tests! You ARE good enough.

Prep:
Whatever you do, have a study plan & spend at LEAST the last 1/3 of your study time doing any & all practice tests & questions that you can get your hands on. I studied for 2 months & anywhere from 3-5 hours a day/6 days a week for the first 6 or so weeks. I then upped it to 5-7 hours a day a couple weeks out from the exam. This didn't include the time I put I for the online Kaplan course. I was also taking the 2nd half of physics so that kinda helped keep things fresh. You honestly may not need to study as much as me, but I was so lost that I had to relearn everything from scratch.

As you can probably tell, I used mainly Kaplan. I gave into chads videos in the 2nd month to reinforce some concepts. If you have any questions about what I think about either of those, feel free to message me! I'm trying to keep this as short as possible haha.

Lastly, when you're practicing, don't be afraid to fail! Remember that FAILURE IS A PART OF BEING SUCCESSFUL! Don't get frustrated just because you didn't do well on that orgo or physics section. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn from your failures so that you'll be successful the next time around! Don't be discouraged if your practice scores/section scores are going up and down and all over the place. It's all part of the process! I can't stress how important it is to stay positive!

Day Before Test:
Don't study! If you don't know it by now, you're not going to know it come tomorrow. Relax. Cramming will hurt you more than help you at this point. If you feel the need to do something, spend no more than 45 minutes reviewing flash cards or formulas. I did that and then yoga to keep myself calm haha. If you're like me, you may feel like you're supposed to know anything & everything by now. But let's be real, that's just not logical. You WILL have to guess on some questions, but don't let that psych you out. You studied hard, practiced, & you are absolutely ready at this point. Do something to get your mind off the OAT.

Test Day:
Wake up so that you give yourself at least 20 or so minutes to do some quick review to get your brain going. Breathe, & try to walk in a little early for your appointment.

Check In:
They asked me for 2 forms of ID, one has to have a photo, both have to be signed. I used my driver's license & debit card. Once they check you in, you put your phone/wallet/keys/etc. in a locker & hold on to the key. They then scan you like you're in an airport and ask you to roll up your pant legs & turn your pockets inside out. After that, they gave me 2 fine tip wet erase markers & 2 note boards before escorting me to a cubicle. FYI, there is an individual camera above each cubicle. You get ear muff thingies in case you're that distracted by other people clicking & typing.

Tutorial:
This is pretty similar to the Kaplan ones, & you also get 15 minutes. If you're already familiar with the format of the test (hopefully you should be at this point), skim through it & then give yourself a few minutes to BREATHE & tell yourself that you WILL do well. Be positive!

Bio:
This is pretty random. A lot of random plant, evolution, taxonomy, cell, physiology, reproduction, etc. questions. Best way to study for this is to expose yourself to as much material as possible. Kaplan has a solid blue print of the material covered for this section.

Gen Chem:
I felt this was kinda random too. Be comfortable with your stoichiometry & manipulating the gas laws. Know your types of reactions, decays, half lives, periodic trends, quantum numbers, electrochemistry, and how to deal with pHs, pKAs, rate laws, & solubility products. There were more conceptual questions than calculations. More straightforward than Kaplan, but I still found it difficult. Chad taught these concepts well.

Organic:
Not too bad. Mostly organic 1 stuff. Know SN1, SN2, E1, E2, basic alkane/alkene/alkyne reactions. Know what makes something more acidic, ortho/meta/para directing groups, stereochemistry, nomenclature, and so on. Chads organic reaction sheet was excellent for studying reagents. Some were literally copy & paste on mine, so there are free points right there.

RC:
This is usually my strongest subject & I usually score in the 90th percentile, but I absolutely bombed this part. It was 50 questions, not 40 like Kaplan said it would be. The passages seemed a little longer, but not too difficult. Definitely read fast (but thoroughly) and use Kaplan's mapping strategy.

Physics:
This was a joke if you've been doing Kaplan's physics. Lots of 1-2 step plug and chug formulas, whereas Kaplan was 3-4 step problems. Know your kinematics, tension, lens & magnification equations, resistance/capacitance, vectors, fluids/buoyancy, torque, pulleys, snells law, air resistance, so on. About half conceptual & half calculations for my version anyways.

QR:
This is my worst subject yet I somehow came out with a 320 here. I know people have been saying this is harder than Kaplan's, but I felt it was about the same if not easier. Know your geometry & trig functions, rate problems, probability. They were either really easy or incredibly ridiculous for me. If you can't solve it immediately, click something, mark it, & come back at the end if you have time. Get the easy questions first. You do not have any time to sit & stare at a problem that you don't know how to do. I literally skipped a few word problems because they took too long to READ let alone solve. I ended up not having enough time to come back to them yet I still did decently!

A little about me:
I don't expect to have to retake the OAT, even though my GPA is only a 3.22. But I have about 250 hours of experience as an optician as well as a pre exam technician (Is that what it's called?). I verified prescriptions & then cut & fit the lenses into the frames for patients (including the ones I'm wearing now!) I also put gradients/tinted them for patients who wanted sunglasses. I did all the typical visual acuity tests, eye pressure tests, & patient history during the pre-exam. I also was a resident assistant for 2 years at my university. I founded a brand new campus organization at my university that has grown to 50+ people in the past 2 years. I served as President of the organization for a year & a half. I've played violin for 19 years & was awarded a (almost) full ride to my university. I know my academics aren't that great, but I hope I will stand out in other ways.

Anyways, feel free to let me know if you have any questions! I know I didn't make the highest score, but I would love to help in any way I can. Good luck & no matter where you are in the application/testing process, BE CONFIDENT!