OAT Breakdown: 370 AA/380 TS

Rohana C

New Member
Jul 26, 2023
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Hey y’all! I took the OAT a couple days ago and I’m really happy with the results! I gave myself 3 months to study over the summer while working and taking a couple of classes. Time management was everything!

Study materials I used:
OAT Booster (10/10): This was my main resource! It has everything you need and more. Booster practice exams were a little more difficult which made thing seem a lot easier :)

Chad’s OAT Prep (8/10): I used this for organic chemistry, biology, and physics content review. Chad has videos rather than textbook notes for everything which was a huge plus for me. He also has practice tests for each subject and tons of short quizzes that I found helpful.

Anki (10/10): Spaced repetition is KEY there is so much info that you need to know for the OAT and I think anki is the best tool to use to memorize anything.

Quizlet plus and Booster flashcards (4/10): I used this for taxonomy because I was short on time but I don’t really like the flashcards. It’s ok for memorizing terms but not for memorizing concepts as a whole.

How I prepared:
  • The first two months I studied around 2-4 hours a day and the last month I studied 6-8 hours a day, some days were 8-10 hrs/day when I felt extra motivated and focused.
  • I didn’t use the study guide because 1) I heard a lot of people felt discouraged/unmotivated from falling behind and 2) I didn’t like that it started from the beginning of every subject rather than jumping into the weak areas. I was able to create my own study schedule based on the time I had to allocate to the OAT and what I was having trouble with.
  • I used the first month to do content review, the second month to do content review and practice problems, and the last month to do heavy practice.
  • I started seeing an improvement in my scores when I started learning from my mistakes on practice tests and question banks and not just passively reading them and telling myself I understand it. I’ll go into what this looked like in each individual section :)
  • I have the worst anxiety and would randomly remember topics I didn’t feel confident about/ haven’t reviewed in a while (ex molecular geometry, IR spec values, the lac operon) so I started making flashcards for these and topics I would frequently miss. I reviewed these everyday the 2 weeks leading up to my test.

Biology: 400
This was the subject I put the most time and effort into. I couldn’t get past a 320 the first couple of practice tests but the days leading up to my exam I was scoring between 350-370.
  • I read the notes for every chapter (except taxonomy), made a study guide for them and put my study guide into anki and did anki everyday for 2 months.
    • My study guides were never more than 30 questions and I made sure the questions were broad enough that I would be able to answer using multiple concepts which made understanding and remembering info so much easier (connecting information is important here!) I would also explain everything how I would explain it to my best friend– used very casual language in my answers
  • I did pretty much all the question banks
  • For mistakes/marked q’s on practice exams, I rephrased the question into an open response question and threw it in an anki deck.
  • The biggest game changer for me were the crash courses. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s focused on practice problems (a large chunk of them came up on my real exam, almost word for word) and a quick run through of high yield material. I could talk about this forever so if you have any questions feel free to message me!

General Chemistry: 340
Gen chem is definitely not my friend !
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of memorization that goes into this subject. Treat it like bio. There are so many concepts and details to memorize in addition to all those formulas.
  • For every mathematical question I got wrong, I wrote it down in a notebook and looked at it every couple of days the last 2 weeks. For every conceptual question I got wrong, I threw it in the anki deck along w my bio questions (rephrased these to be open ended answers as well)

Organic Chemistry: 400
I still don’t believe this is real.
  • I used chad’s videos to run through this content which I highly recommend. I watched a couple of Dave’s videos, but I just liked the way Chad explained them better. Also Chad has a worksheet that you can follow along with which was really helpful.
  • I struggled to memorize the reactions until I realized unfortunately knowing the patterns of mechanisms is the best way to memorize them.
  • 2-3 weeks out, I created a worksheet of the reactions using the Booster sheet (uploaded this to notability, whited out the products) and filled this out every day until my exam.
  • I know it's easy to get caught up in memorizing reactions, but make sure to spend quality time with the other material as well like acidity, basicity, stereochemistry, resonance, etc
  • For every reaction question I got wrong, I wrote them down in a notebook and looked at them every couple of days the weeks leading up to my exam. For every non-reaction question I got wrong I made a flashcard covering the topic. I started seeing a lot of improvement when I started actively reviewing my mistakes!!!

Physics: 350
I didn’t really study for this section too much since I took physics 1 last semester and am currently taking physics 2.
  • I was scoring from a 300-330 on practice exams and wasn’t terribly distraught about it because a lot of people seemed to have been scoring the same and getting high scores on the real thing. Still wish I took this section a little more seriously though.
  • I had a tutor for physics that I met with twice a week and we went over my actual course work which covered the same topics on the OAT so killed two birds with one stone.
  • I realize that not everyone has this privilege so I recommend Chad’s prep! I wish I took Chad’s practice tests sooner because they’re a lot more representative of the physics section in my opinion, especially with the conceptual questions. The only problem is that you can only review your practice test once and when you close out of the tab you won’t be able to access that attempt again. I didn’t watch his videos except the optics one which helped a lot.
  • I memorized formulas early on and used these to answer pretty much any conceptual questions. I did the same thing as orgo- made a worksheet and did it everyday for a couple of weeks.
  • I put the questions I got wrong from practice exams in the anki deck.

Reading: 350
I didn’t study for this at all, I only did the ones in the full length tests. I was expecting to score higher since I was scoring 370-390 on the practice exams, but I also had a really bad headache at this point so that could’ve been it.
  • I went through the questions first. I would quickly jot down a word or two from each question to remember what it was asking (this didn’t take longer than 2 minutes) and then would read the passage and highlight anything I remember there was a question on.
  • On Booster, a lot of the answers were in the passage word for word, the real exam will make you actually interpret the passage for some questions so just be aware!

QR: 400
I didn’t really study for this section. I don’t think I’ve scored lower than a 350, I usually got around a 370-400 on this section so I wasn’t worried.
  • The only videos I watched for this section were probability ones and some work problems, I did the question banks for those after watching.
  • Probability scared me so I put the questions I got wrong for only probability in the anki deck.

A couple of more random points:
  • Treat marked questions as a wrong question- review these thoroughly too
  • Really dissect why the right answer is right and why the wrong answers are wrong
  • You DON’T have to memorize everything! Memorize enough to use process of elimination comfortably
  • If you have to take classes while studying, take classes which content overlaps w the OAT (physics, microbiology, human physiology, orgo, etc)
  • I started noticing a pattern especially for bio where 3 of the answer choices will be obviously wrong and you can get down to two. This helps your chances with guessing if it comes down to that!
  • Get a whiteboard! I used mine for practice tests, drawing out concept maps, visualizing processes, etc.
  • If you have ADHD/ADD/anxiety etc I get how hard this entire process is. Feel free to message me with any questions about studying or accommodations!!
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