OAT Breakdown & Advice


New Member
Aug 16, 2023
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OAT Breakdown: AA 380 & TS 380

I wrote my OAT recently, and would like to share my scores and experience, along with my study methods. I am a Human Biology and Psychology major, and even though I have experience from courses such as chemistry and biology, I have minimal knowledge of physics and organic chemistry. I would consider myself to be a strong calculus/functions student. Overall, I have a pretty high GPA (3.95) and am a hard worker. My AA score was 380, and my TS score was 380 as well. I scored 97th percentile.

Study Materials I Used:

Kaplan: 5/10
I started off my studying by using the Kaplan textbook. The Kaplan books go into a lot of detail about all of the sections. I took notes while studying and I realized that it would take a long time to get through the entire book. Overall, it took me 2.5 months to be able to complete all of the chapters with notes and practice questions. I found that the questions at the end of each chapter were not representative of the questions on the real OAT, especially physics. Even sections like chemistry contain some difficult questions that took me a long time to get through, which are so difficult that it would not be given on the real OAT due to the amount of time it takes. However, if you can do these capland questions, it shows that you have knowledge of the concepts. I would not recommend Kaplan for sections like biology because it went into a lot of detail that was not necessary at all for the real OAT. I only had 3 months to study and did not have enough time to go over such detailed notes that I took from Kaplan so I didn't benefit from spending all of this time making notes and answering certain difficult questions.

OAT Booster: 10/10
I purchased a subscription around 2 months before my OAT. However, because I was spending my time going over the Kaplan textbook, I didn't use the OAT Booster until about 1 month before my real OAT, aside from doing a few practice Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning here and there. The OAT Booster has a lot of resources to help you prepare for the real OAT. In fact, you would not need to turn to any other resource if you purchase a subscription and use all of these study materials. They have detailed videos that are very helpful, even to watch a couple days before the real OAT to summarize everything that you have been studying (this is what I did). They also have very thorough notes for each section, as well as well summarized cheat sheets. If you are someone who likes to study by creating cheat sheets, like I do, these cheat sheets are made so well that you wouldn't have to spend time making them yourself. Instead you can spend your time studying them and practicing with the practice tests. The most useful resources from OAT Booster were the Biology Cheat Sheets, Organic Chemistry Reactions Document, and Physics Videos. The subscription comes with 10 timed practice tests for each section, as well as 10 complete practice tests that mimic the real OAT experience (i.e. time, amount of delay between questions, etc.). There were even videos for each question on the practice tests that explain how to find the answer after you are done!

My Scores
Biology (scored 400)
Know the basics of all topics in OAT Booster or Kaplan, but NOT too much detail! The details you need to know are very surface level; do not spend a lot of time memorizing things! Around ¼ of the questions are simple questions from these topics. However, another ¼ of the questions are quite difficult and require you to apply knowledge and think beyond the scope of your studying. A few of these questions will come at the beginning to throw you off, but do not worry or panic. If you are unsure, just choose one and mark it, and come back if you have time.

Chemistry (scored 380)
This section was a good balance of calculation and theory questions. The calculations were quite straightforward, but I did struggle a little bit with the math because there is no calculator for this section. Definitely make use of the whiteboards and markers! I found the theory questions to be a bit more difficult (some, not all). Make sure to know lab techniques and equipment as well! Overall, make sure not to neglect theory even though calculations are a major part of the exam.

Organic Chemistry (scored 370)
I struggled a lot to study for this section because I do not have a big background in organic chemistry (only one course). Again, the OAT Booster’s resources are very helpful here.
The 15-page reaction summary is very useful, but make sure to understand the mechanisms and not just memorize! Theory here is also somewhat important (ex. aromaticity, IMF, etc).

Physics (scored 340)
I also struggle to study for this section because I only took one course of physics as well. Although I would say that the physics questions on the OAT Booster are a bit more difficult than the ones on the real OAT, being able to do these within the limited time provided will ensure that you will perform well on the real OAT. Also make sure to understand the concepts because concepts are just as important, if not even more important than the calculations. Since physics is right after the break, one thing that I did was that I came back early and wrote down as many formulas as I can remember on the whiteboard. This helped me a lot because I can refer back to it instead of having to remember the formulas for each question again and again. I watched the physics videos the day before my test and I found them to be a very useful summary for the important topics, and questions from these videos were quite representative as well.

Reading Comprehension (scored 370)
My strategy for this section was taken from Kaplan, and was as follows; each paragraph is numbered, so I used my whiteboard to jot down the main information provided in each paragraph. Then, I went back and looked at this list to find certain pieces of information. Remember that you have 20 minutes to read an entire passage and answer 16/17 questions. This is not a lot of time! Therefore, it is difficult to remember what information came from each paragraph, so I thought this list would be useful. However, you are only given two whiteboards and I did not have enough space to write down everything I wanted to. I also found that I was wasting a lot of time writing down too much detail. I highly recommend using the highlight function, as this will save a lot of time and you do not need to write anything down. I had a fair mix of search and destroy as well as conceptual questions. The OAT Booster practice tests are very similar to that of the real OAT. I feel that if I use the Highlight function for all three passages instead of wasting time Johnny things down, I may have been able to perform better

Quantitative Reasoning (scored 400)
Although I am a very strong calculus and function student, I have only taken one statistics course in my life. A lot of the questions are statistics based, so if you're not strong in statistics, I would recommend that you do a lot of practice. This section does allow you to use a calculator, but remember that it is on the screen and difficult to use. I would recommend trying to avoid using it where possible. Similar to biology, the first few questions were very challenging, but afterwards it got easier. Again, the OAT Booster practice tests are very similar to the real OAT questions.

Next Time
My only regret is that because I spent a lot of time using Kaplan, I was not able to use all of OAT Booster’s resources. I didn't get to do as many practice tests as I could. If I were to write the OAT again, I would definitely spend a lot less time on theory and spend A LOT more time on practice. Additionally, I would invest in the OAT Booster again and use it as my only resource to study. This would save me a lot of time and energy. Overall, remember that the OAT is not just about knowing all of the concepts, it is also about being able to remember and apply these concepts within a limited time frame. If you can practice in such scenarios, you will do amazing!

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