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OAT Experience 9/8/18

TrillB

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Hey everyone, I decided I would write about my experience to hopefully help somebody out. I definitely got some good information from these threads so I hope I can pass some of that along. I took this test twice so I will start with my first attempt.

First OAT Test (6/1/18)

Preperation:

I took off work for a month to dedicate to studying. The only resource I had was a 2015 Kaplan OAT book from a friend. I read through all of the biology and chemistry sections. I completely ignored physics and organic chemistry because I figured I would just review the material I was already good at (I had not taken O chem or physics in a realllllly long time so I chose to ignore those sections). I took a total of 5 practice tests (4 kaplan tests and the test from the OAT website). I averaged around 300-310 AA on the kaplan tests and around a 330 AA on the test from the OAT website. For this test basically all I did to study was read through the kaplan book and work problems from the book.

Test:
So in college my method of studying was to study as intensely as I could all the way up until the night of the test. I decided I would do that for the OAT, I mean why not? BAD IDEA. I crammed all day long the day before the test, and when I went to go to bed I basically just had an OH **** I AM NOT PREPARED moment and panicked. From that moment on sleep was hopeless, I stayed up literally all night long because my mind was racing. When I got to the testing center I was a zombie. I don't know how I made it through the test but I manged to crank out a 300 AA. My first test results were:

AA: 300
TS: 290
BIO:320
GC: 300
OC: 250
RC: 310
PH: 280
QR: 350

Second OAT Test (9/8/17)

Preperation:
I couldn't take off work for a month this time around but I was able to take off random days that we weren't busy and I got off the entire week leading up to the test. I started studying in the last week of July. I discovered SDN and read through some of the threads before studying this time around. The best advice I got was to use Chads Videos. In my opinion, it made studying sooo much more enjoyable and I felt like I was accomplishing something each study session. I went through all of the general chemistry sections and about half of the physics sections. I also worked through the coursesaver quizzes the week before the test (this helped a lot with getting fast at the problems). I worked through all of the biology quizzes, and did some of the gen chem/ QR/ O-chem quizzes. Once again I decided to basically ignore O-chem because I felt like it was hopeless to relearn all of that material. I studied O chem for maybe 4-5 hours and I ended up getting really lucky because all the material I studied for O chem ended up on the actual test. Another resource that I didn't use much but thought was really cool was DefeatTheDAT. It offers free GC/OC/QR practice tests which seemed like a good degree of difficulty. For biology I used the kaplan OAT book and my friend gave me his flashcards that he got with the Kaplan OAT package. If I were going to do it again, I would find some other resources to study for biology. I didn't feel like the kaplan book prepared me very well for this section. The flash cards were good but I think you have to pay for the complete OAT package to get those which is like $1500. Not 100% sure on that though.

This time around I retook 2 of the kaplan practice tests and retook the test from the OAT website. I got ~340 AA on all three tests, but I felt like I was cheating because I had already taken all of the tests before.


Test:
This time around I was not going to let sleep deprivation get in my way! The week leading up to the test I made myself wake up at 6 a.m. and start studying so that I would be use to waking up early. I literally did nothing but study Monday-Thursday. I eliminated all distractions that I thought my tempt me to not study (Even had my roommate take away my video games from me lol). Friday I didn't drink any coffee or anything and I only studied for about an hour. I mainly just relaxed and watched TV and went on a bike ride. I made sure to get to bed at a good time and get my full 8 hours of sleep. I felt a million times better going into this test compared to the first time.

AA: 340
TS: 330
BIO: 320
GC: 390
OC: 350
RC: 330
QR: 380


Biology: I felt like even if I had studied for another week I wouldn't have done much better on biology. There was a lot of questions about developmental biology that I had not seen before on kaplan tests. Overall I felt like I was decently prepared but I was not a huge fan of using the kaplan book to study BIO.

Gen Chem: I felt very confident on this section. Chads videos will prepare you very well for this section. There weren't any tough calculations regarding pH or ideal gas law like there is on some of the kaplan tests.

Organic Chem: Oh boy was I surprised with my score on this section. I got several questions about aromaticity, acid/base, names of reactions, SN1 vs SN2, and NMR. Luckily those were the few topics I studied. I think I mainly got lucky on this section, but if you know the reactions and the basics this section should be a breeze.

Reading Comp: I generally scored >350 on this section on my practice tests so I was surprised with my score on this section. Both times I took this test there was 1 passage that was very dense and hard to read through. I had a very abstract passage on this test that killed me.

Physics: This section surprised me the most. I studied a lot of physics in preparation for this test but I didn't do very good. I got several momentum questions I was not prepared for. It was more conceptual than calculation based which I think tripped me up

Quantitative Reasoning: I felt like course saver and the practice tests prepared me for this. No surprises and I felt like it was a lot easier than the kaplan tests.

Summary
I ramble a lot when I type so just read this if you want the highlights. Chads videos, coursesaver, defeat the dat, and kaplan OAT book are good resources. Make sure to relax and get good rest the night before the test! Don't kill yourself over this test, in the end it is just a test and life will move on if you don't get the score you want. Best of luck to anyone taking this test and feel free to ask me any questions.
 
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mahi_mb

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Thanks for posting about your retake experience and how you accomplished better scores; really helpful!!
Did you find the retake more challengin than the first time?! because on their website I read that retake scores are usually slightly lower the second time and no more explanation!! what do you think?!
That made me so worried since my retake is coming up :(
 

TrillB

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Thanks for posting about your retake experience and how you accomplished better scores; really helpful!!
Did you find the retake more challengin than the first time?! because on their website I read that retake scores are usually slightly lower the second time and no more explanation!! what do you think?!
That made me so worried since my retake is coming up :(

I felt that it was actually easier the second time around! I changed my studying methods from the first test and I think that was a big reason that I did better on the second test. Don't worry, I am sure you will do better this time around! :)
 
D

deleted936320

I felt that it was actually easier the second time around! I changed my studying methods from the first test and I think that was a big reason that I did better on the second test. Don't worry, I am sure you will do better this time around! :)

what did you change?
 

TrillB

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Any offers yet?

I am still waiting on my transcript to finish on OptomCAS. :( But I have had 2 schools tell me that as soon as my transcript goes through I will have an interview set up. I have a pretty strong application with a 3.7 GPA and 1000+ hours as an ophthalmic technician so I hope I will hear back as soon as my transcript gets finished!
 

TrillB

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what did you change?

The biggest change was the change in my studying resources. Using chad's videos and coursesaver was a significant reason I did better in my opinion. These resources allowed me to work A LOT more practice problems than I did the first time around. The first time around I read through the Kaplan OAT book and then figured I knew the material. Unfortunately on the test you can't wait around until that material comes back to you, you have to know how to do problems quickly. I think actually doing as many practice problems as you can will make it second nature to do the problems so you don't have to think as much about it. Also the second time around I was a lot more relaxed about the test. Getting good sleep is very underrated for these types of tests that require 4+ hours of mental focus. Make sure and get in a good sleep routine several days before your test and try not to stress out too much.
 
D

deleted936320

The biggest change was the change in my studying resources. Using chad's videos and coursesaver was a significant reason I did better in my opinion. These resources allowed me to work A LOT more practice problems than I did the first time around. The first time around I read through the Kaplan OAT book and then figured I knew the material. Unfortunately on the test you can't wait around until that material comes back to you, you have to know how to do problems quickly. I think actually doing as many practice problems as you can will make it second nature to do the problems so you don't have to think as much about it. Also the second time around I was a lot more relaxed about the test. Getting good sleep is very underrated for these types of tests that require 4+ hours of mental focus. Make sure and get in a good sleep routine several days before your test and try not to stress out too much.

im using kaplan to study for bio... and then should i use chad to study for gen chem and orgo? I feel like he focuses a lot on calculations but I know the OAT is more conceptual
 

mahi_mb

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The biggest change was the change in my studying resources. Using chad's videos and coursesaver was a significant reason I did better in my opinion. These resources allowed me to work A LOT more practice problems than I did the first time around. The first time around I read through the Kaplan OAT book and then figured I knew the material. Unfortunately on the test you can't wait around until that material comes back to you, you have to know how to do problems quickly. I think actually doing as many practice problems as you can will make it second nature to do the problems so you don't have to think as much about it. Also the second time around I was a lot more relaxed about the test. Getting good sleep is very underrated for these types of tests that require 4+ hours of mental focus. Make sure and get in a good sleep routine several days before your test and try not to stress out too much.
can i ask which practice tests you did instead of chads quizzes?!
 

TrillB

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im using kaplan to study for bio... and then should i use chad to study for gen chem and orgo? I feel like he focuses a lot on calculations but I know the OAT is more conceptual

For organic I mainly used coursesaver quizzes. For gen chem, Chad prepares you perfectly for the oat. Bio wise, it was honestly a crap shoot on my 2 tests.
 

mar2018

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For the orgo section, for the reactions, were their questions in regards to if it adds anti/syn. Or did you just need to know what goes into it/ the reagents/ the product
 
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