Jul 25, 2016
1
4
Status
Pre-Optometry
I read several of these while prepping for my OAT exam and figured I'd pay the community back with my experience and hopefully it could help at least one fellow pre-optometry student out there!

Just finished taking the OAT earlier today and studied for about a month? I basically hardcore studied 1 week (10-12 hours a day) leading up to the exam (this is just my personalized and efficient way of studying for everything I do; do what works best for you).

Test materials used:
Kaplan OAT 2016 book
Chad's Videos
+ some old notes from classes

I believe that Chad's videos were most helpful to me. I used the subscription for about three weeks (however for one week I was out of town so I couldn't study) and basically watched all the videos except for those in the biology section. I studied one subject at a time and I had completed all the subjects 6 days before my exam. In the remaining days I just reviewed material and my note guides to solidify formulas and concepts in my head and every day I did practice quiz problems on each of the subjects to make sure I don't forget.

Day of OAT:
Bring 2 different forms of ID to the testing center. Nothing allowed on wrists and nothing allowed in the testing room. I was given two laminated papers that were gridded and two black markers. We are not allowed to erase and had to ask for another replacement paper if you run out of space. Keep in mind that they take away your paper so you will lose your scratch work for reference.

15 minute tutorial proceeded with the test and a 15 minute break in between Reading and Physics. In that break I was allowed to access my locker and you can eat/use the bathroom during that time. Don't take too long because they have to check you in before entering the room and the test starts immediately at the end of the 15 minutes.

Overall nothing was too challenging on the test. It mostly tested to make sure you have a solid foundation on the general concepts and can apply them. A lot of variable manipulation and seeing the relationships between them so make sure you can do that (ex. if pressure was decreased by half what effect does that have on volume, etc.). I recommend just doing A LOT of practice problems so that you build up your endurance and speed. Again, Chad's videos provides a lot of practice problems (+1000) so that's a great resource. Physics is significantly easier than the Kaplan tests, or so that I found. It is mostly concepts and understanding them rather than lots of calculations. So know the ins and out of how you would set up and approach a problem and the reasoning behind it.

ADA's test scores were most representative of my actual test scores, which is consistent with what most people say. The problems, in terms of layout and complexity, look like those found on the ADA test. So don't get too discouraged from your Kaplan, possibly other test results (I heard OAT Achiever and others are even more difficult) because they want to prepare you and so most likely make their tests harder than the real one to challenge you.

Here are my scores from Kaplan 1/Kaplan 2/ADA/OAT:

QRT 300/340/400/370
RC 350/350/360/360
BIO 330/310/330/360
GC 310/350/380/370
OC 300/320/370/400
PHY 250/320/330/360

TS 300/330/360/380
AA 310/330/360/370

My timeline of studying is pretty confusing so I hope this helps -
I took Kaplan 1 before I studied for PHY and QRT, which explains my low scores and also I experienced fatigue when I got to those sections and basically gave up mentally. This was 19 days before my exam.

I took one week off to travel for a program. I felt previous nervous during that time since I knew when I got back I had to lock down and raise my poor scores.

When I came back I had around 1 week left before the test. I finished up studying for PHY and QRT in 3 days and then took Kaplan 2; 6 days before my exam.

I took the ADA sample test 3 days before my exam.

I guess the main point is don't lose faith! Be determined, do as many practice problems as possible and conduct the practice tests in test-like conditions. Knowing the information is only part of the challenge in taking the OAT - you also have to be quick and have the endurance to last toward the end so push yourself during your study sessions and it will pay off when test day comes. Keep it cool and be confident - you prepared better than you may think.

Try your best and it'll come through! Good luck :) and others feel free to comment about your experiences or ask questions.