May 3, 2020
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Hi, fellow struggling students! I took my OAT a week ago and I wanted to share my experience with all of you because I found that reading these kinds of posts were really helpful in deciding how to study. I hope some of you struggle a little bit less after reading this post :)

Study Schedule
I spent around 3 months (May-August) preparing, but if I'm being honest only 2 months were spent studying well. I spent the first 5 weeks reviewing notes for each topic, so around a week on each. The following 6 weeks were spent doing pure practice problems using Coursesaver OAT quizzes, OAT Destroyer and Chad's videos problems. The last week I did two OAT full practice tests; 1 from Kaplan (the free one) and one from the ADA website.

That was a very light breakdown of my schedule, I'll dive deeper into my daily routine. I would wake up around 9 AM everyday, but I would procrastinate and start studying after lunch so at 1 pm. I would use the method where I study for 45 minutes, then take a 10 minute break, then repeat. This worked well because taking breaks is suuuuper important to prevent yourself from burning out. I would study until 5 pm, then take about 2h to workout, eat dinner and relax a bit. I would then do very light studying, for about an hour. I'm not a morning or night person (I don't know what I am), so I didn't study during those times because I knew it wouldn't sink in.

Study Material
  • Feralis Biology Notes: I would highly recommend this as your source of notes for biology because it contains everything you would need to know for the OAT. It's super concise and relatively easy to understand. The only downside is that the notes aren't the most beautiful, but if you can get past that then use this.
  • DAT Bootcamp Biology: These notes were much more visually appealing and had pretty good summaries of every topic with good diagrams to illustrate the concepts. However, I found that this alone was not sufficient; it lacked detail in some areas that were covered in others. It's an okay starting point, but I wouldn't rely on these notes alone; read something else (it's usually better to read multiple biology notes so you can fill in the gaps).
  • DAT Bootcamp Practice Tests: You can get 1 free practice test for each module of the OAT, and I found these to be a really good source of practice. They have a lot of practice tests on their website, but I think you need to pay for a membership if you want to get access to them and it seems quite pricy. I only did the free practice test and thought they were useful, so I would highly recommend it. Just to clarify, they call it a practice test but it's not a full test; you only do around 40 questions of a single module at a time.
  • Chad's Videos: Just throw your money at this man. If you need a quick refresher on gen chem, o chem and physics, he is your #1 go to. I think you can get his ultimate bundle for ~$12/month, and it's super worth it. His videos are really easy to understand and comprehensive enough for the OAT. He also has a lot of practice problems that follow most of his videos, so you can test your knowledge on specific concepts that were just covered. Not to mention, he gives you a great formula sheet for O chem and physics with everything you need to know.
  • OAT Destroyer: I found this to be overhyped if I'm being honest. I purchased the OAT Destroyer 2020 (including physics) and like everyone says these questions are much more complex than the real OAT. I completed the entire physics and QR section, about half of gen chem, 200 questions of biology and did not even touch o chem. The only section that I thought was really worth it was the QR section. Physics had multi-step questions that made you think harder (which is good practice, but more than you need), biology just dove into too much detail, gen chem was a tad more difficult as well. If you want the practice, by all means, go ahead and purchase this. But if I were to go back in time, I don't think I would buy this again.
  • Coursesaver: This was my main go-to source of practice. They have a ton of questions for each section (except RC) that are really similar to the OAT in terms of difficulty level. The only section I was a bit disappointed on was biology, which seemed to be missing questions in areas listed under the OAT guide. It's $50/month, so it's more affordable and considering how many questions they offer, I would say it's worth it.
  • Kaplan Practice Tests: I only did the free practice test, and I thought it was extremely good practice. It puts you into a simulated test situation, where you're put on a timer for each section. This is really good to get a grasp of how you're doing in terms of time management for each section. I would say the questions are a little more difficult than the real OAT, so if you score low, don't worry you'll most likely do better on the real thing. If I could go back in time, I would have purchased the other practice tests.
  • ADA Practice Test: Really good because it puts you in a simulation with the actual interface of the real OAT (so you know what your test is going to look like). The questions are also made by the same people who write the OAT, I believe, so it gives you a really good sense of the types of questions you will find on the OAT. It's $100 for the full test, so a little pricy but I thought it was worth it.
  • Youtube: I watched a bunch of practice problem videos from The Organic Chemistry Tutor, and it actually is very good practice. His questions usually just cover the basics of every topic, but that's also what the OAT does so it's pretty comparable in terms of difficulty. I used his videos to study OC, GC, Physics, and QR.

Test Day
  • BIO: I would say this is my weakest area in the sciences. Like most people say, it's pretty random and just has questions from a bunch of random topics. For example, I had a few on animal reproduction and development, a few on molecular genetics, ecology, etc. Don't try to memorize every single detail, because it's probably not going to happen. It's better to cover your bases and know a little bit about everything. When I was writing the test, I thought I was doing really poorly in this section, but it turned out better than I expected. So as a tip when writing the test, don't let yourself be discouraged if you think you're doing poorly because chances are you might do better than you thought!
  • GC: I was always pretty good at chemistry, so a lot of my studying was just review. There were no surprises for this section, so if you study with Chad's Videos you'll be perfectly fine. The questions were mostly theory-based, with the calculations being pretty simple so don't worry about doing crazy multi-step titration calculations!
  • OC: This section was also mostly theory based with only a few questions for reactions. Something I did when studying was trying to memorize all the different reactants, reagents, products, and synthesis steps. This was completely unnecessary; most of the reactions were quite simple and I didn't see any super complex ones. Also, don't worry if you're not good at IR or NMR spectroscopy, I only saw 1 question pertaining to it so don't stress!
  • RC: The passage wasn't hard to understand, it's quite similar in difficulty to the Kaplan and ADA practice tests' RC section. I thought I did pretty well in this section but it turned out to be my worst haha. I regret not doing more practice because I was scrambling a bit for time (I'm a slow reader). If you can find more practice out there, use it. Even just reading every day would probably help you improve your speed.
  • PHY: Again, this was mostly theory-based and the calculations that you needed to do weren't super complex and usually only required a single step. Chad's videos really cover everything you need to know here. This also had a good mix of every topic; so make sure you remember all your equations. If you do enough practice problems, it becomes second nature to remember all the equations so just do practice problems with the formula sheet, and eventually, you won't need it.
  • QR: Nothing surprised me in this section. I was a bit drained by the end of the test so I didn't move as fast as I should have and actually ran out of time for the last 3 questions (I randomly clicked answers). If you do buy the OAT Destroyer, it really helps with this section. I think this section could easily boost your score if you practice it enough because the questions you see on the test are very similar to what you practice.
Results
BIOGCOCRCPHYQRTSAA
Kaplan270 (yikes)340370350370350340340
ADA380370370310340400360360
OAT340400390320380350390360

Good luck to all of you writing the test! Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to help :)
 
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Jan 12, 2020
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Great job on your OAT, you did a fantastic job! I’m scheduled to take mine next month, and I’m currently trying to study for ochem. How would you recommend studying for it? What are the questions like? For example, do they ask you in depth questions about what mechanism is taking place and the steps behind each process (like how carbocations are formed, which is the nucleophile,etc)? Do they give you a reactant and product and ask you what reaction took place? Do you have to predict the products? When taking the OAT, I will only have a few weeks of ochem behind me, so I’ve been trying to learn ochem myself through Chad’s videos. Any info you can give about what I should focus on when studying would be so helpful!
Thank you so much, and once again congratulations on your scores!
 
Sep 6, 2019
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Thanks for sharing! I scored a little below your physics ADA score. I felt like the exerting force on an object type of question on the ADA practice exam was hard. Were there a lot of those on the actual OAT? Do you feel that solely practicing coursesaver's physics quizzes would have been enough to prepare you for the real OAT? For GC, is the theory-based questions covered in Chad's video? I'm currently tight on time. How do Chad's prep practice questions compare with coursesaver? And if you were to pick would you practice Chad's questions over course saver vice versa?
 
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May 3, 2020
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  1. Pre-Optometry
Great job on your OAT, you did a fantastic job! I’m scheduled to take mine next month, and I’m currently trying to study for ochem. How would you recommend studying for it? What are the questions like? For example, do they ask you in depth questions about what mechanism is taking place and the steps behind each process (like how carbocations are formed, which is the nucleophile,etc)? Do they give you a reactant and product and ask you what reaction took place? Do you have to predict the products? When taking the OAT, I will only have a few weeks of ochem behind me, so I’ve been trying to learn ochem myself through Chad’s videos. Any info you can give about what I should focus on when studying would be so helpful!
Thank you so much, and once again congratulations on your scores!
Thank you I'm quite happy with my results! I wouldn't spend so much time memorizing the different steps of a reaction or any of the uncommon reactions since the test probably won't quiz you on anything super detailed. I would say cover your basics, so make sure you can do substitution/elimination type questions, predict products/reagents, stereochemistry, etc. Honestly, Chad's videos covers a lot of what you need so if you understand his videos and can answer the questions you'll be fine. Also, if you want to get a better sense of what type of questions will be on the test, take the ADA practice test. Those will give you a really good idea of what to expect. Good luck with your test, you got this!
 
May 3, 2020
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Thanks for sharing! I scored a little below your physics ADA score. I felt like the exerting force on an object type of question on the ADA practice exam was hard. Were there a lot of those on the actual OAT? Do you feel that solely practicing coursesaver's physics quizzes would have been enough to prepare you for the real OAT? For GC, is the theory-based questions covered in Chad's video? I'm currently tight on time. How do Chad's prep practice questions compare with coursesaver? And if you were to pick would you practice Chad's questions over course saver vice versa?
Thanks for your comment! I'd say the OAT physics section was pretty evenly spread across most of the topics, so you can definitely expect to find a few questions relating to forces. However, it shouldn't be anything you haven't seen in your practice, so if you keep doing these types of problems you'll do great. I think it's best to use as many different resources as you can, just so you can see all the different types of questions out there. Coursesaver is pretty good, and I think you can get away with just studying this, but you'd be better off trying to find more practice. The Organic Chemistry Tutor on youtube has some physics practice problem videos that I ran through, so you could give those a shot as well.

As for GC, Chad's videos covers everything you need to know. The coursesaver questions are pretty much identical to Chad's videos, so if you already have Chad's videos there's no need to buy coursesaver. Since they're both very similar, I'd say either or is perfectly fine.

Good luck on your OAT, I hope you get 400s all across the board :)
 
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Thank you I'm quite happy with my results! I wouldn't spend so much time memorizing the different steps of a reaction or any of the uncommon reactions since the test probably won't quiz you on anything super detailed. I would say cover your basics, so make sure you can do substitution/elimination type questions, predict products/reagents, stereochemistry, etc. Honestly, Chad's videos covers a lot of what you need so if you understand his videos and can answer the questions you'll be fine. Also, if you want to get a better sense of what type of questions will be on the test, take the ADA practice test. Those will give you a really good idea of what to expect. Good luck with your test, you got this!
Thank you so much! I will definitely stop focusing so much on each step of a reaction, and try to just remember the reagents and be able to predict the products. You mentioned to not focus so much on uncommon reactions. With that being said, what are some of the major reactions that you think I should make sure to know?

Also, would you say that Chad’s quizzes for organic chemistry and general chemistry are pretty similar to questions asked on the OAT?
 
May 3, 2020
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Thank you so much! I will definitely stop focusing so much on each step of a reaction, and try to just remember the reagents and be able to predict the products. You mentioned to not focus so much on uncommon reactions. With that being said, what are some of the major reactions that you think I should make sure to know?

Also, would you say that Chad’s quizzes for organic chemistry and general chemistry are pretty similar to questions asked on the OAT?
I'd say substitution/elimination, I got a couple of free radical halogenation, alkene reactions, oxidation/hydration, ortho/meta/para, Grignard reactions, etc. What I meant by uncommon were reactions like Birch reduction or other reactions that you rarely hear about.

Chad's quizzes are pretty similar in difficulty, and he covers all the material you need to know so I'd say it's a great source of practice for GC and OC! Keep in mind it's not going to be worded exactly the same, but the concept behind the questions are very similar. You're in very good hands with Chad don't worry :)
 
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Congrats on your score!! When you say theory-based questions for physics, can you give an example of the question? And for chads videos, are you referring to his coursesaver videos or his regular subscription? Were his quizzes enough practice especially for physics and gen chem? Lastly, where can I get access to the free kaplan practice test?
 
May 3, 2020
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Congrats on your score!! When you say theory-based questions for physics, can you give an example of the question? And for chads videos, are you referring to his coursesaver videos or his regular subscription? Were his quizzes enough practice especially for physics and gen chem? Lastly, where can I get access to the free kaplan practice test?
Hey, thank you I appreciate it! An example would be something like "if an object is placed in front of a convex mirror, the image produced will be..." then they'll list out something like a) real and upright b) real and inverted c) virtual and upright d) virtual and inverted. I used Chad's regular subscription because it was cheaper. I think Chad also offers a free OAT practice when you sign up for an account, but I completely forgot to take it so if you have a chance it would probably be good practice! His quizzes are very good practice for GC, OC and PHY, but I can't say for certain whether one source alone is ever sufficient. You might be able to get away with it, but if you can, it's always best to try and find as much practice from different sources so you can cover your bases. And I'll include the link for the free Kaplan test below (as well as Chad's free practice tests). You gotta sign up for an account with Kaplan, then they'll give you access to it. Keep in mind the Kaplan test is notorious for being a little bit harder than the real OAT (I can confirm this), so if you don't score as high as you were hoping for, don't stress! You'll most likely do much better on the real OAT. I hope I answered all your questions! Good luck with your studies :)
 
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Jul 4, 2020
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You are literally a godsend, thank you for providing all of this detailed information, and bravo on your crazy amazing scores! I'm super nervous for bio since it seems like such a large amount of content to digest. Did you mostly just read bootcamp and feralis notes and do practice problems? Or did you have any other strategies like writing things down or using notecards? Also do you think it'd be smart to do any of Chad's bio or do you think its not worth spending the time on? Thank you so much!!!! :)
 
May 3, 2020
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You are literally a godsend, thank you for providing all of this detailed information, and bravo on your crazy amazing scores! I'm super nervous for bio since it seems like such a large amount of content to digest. Did you mostly just read bootcamp and feralis notes and do practice problems? Or did you have any other strategies like writing things down or using notecards? Also do you think it'd be smart to do any of Chad's bio or do you think its not worth spending the time on? Thank you so much!!!! :)
You're too kind, thank you!! That's exactly what I did for bio. I just read those two and had most my practice from coursesaver, but there's definitely better practice for bio out there. I never used Chad's bio, but I heard that it's not as good as his gc/oc/phy, so I wouldn't invest too much time into it. I think flashcards would be a great idea if it works for you! My problem is that I'm too lazy to write everything on flashcards and I never look at them, so I just read and memorized directly off feralis mostly. Granted, I wouldn't recommend this strategy because it's definitely not the most effective. If I'm being honest, I was surprised to score this high on the real OAT. I definitely thought I did poorly while writing the test :lol: I would say don't try so hard to memorize every single detail. Most of the questions are pretty surface level, so just make sure you understand the general concept behind each topic. I hope this answers everything! Good luck on your test, I'll be cheering you on!!!
 
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