OAT prep while taking Pre-Req's


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10+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2009
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Hello all and thanks in advance for your help...

I've just recently decided to seek Optometry school. I have 15 years in the business as an Optician, ABOC. My business major GPA is 3.58. I haven't been in school in a long time and did not finish my business degree, but I'm close. I have to take MOST all of the science prerequisites in order to apply to optometry school. My current science GPA is 4.0, but that's only 2 classes.

To get my feet wet I'm taking Pre-Calculus and Basic Chemistry this semester. But that's another story. I have my 'plan' all laid out as to what I have to take when and where (2yr / 4yr). I'm meeting with Admissions at ICO next week, to have them help with my planning.

Knowing I will be taking the OAT in about a year
and a half, I figured it would be sensible to get my hands on some OAT prep materials now. My ideas is to go through the OAT prep material for the coursework I am currently studying to be sure I am getting everything I really need from that course. I'd also be able to better plan my education schedule so that I can take the OATs twice if necessary before deadlines. Once as soon as I complete the last class on OAT subjects and then again 90 days later, but still taking the other pre-req's. I'm sure you all have this concept down already.

BTW I am on the fast track here. I'm not young, I have a family (3 elementary school age kids), I work close to full-time (up to optometry school acceptance) and need to to pay for school . I have a locally based optometry school here (ICO) and I have every intention of getting into that school. My family says they will relocate for me to pursue this career change, but as a mother I am not willing to do that to them.

Needless to say, I'll be striving for the highest science GPA I can achieve and of course the highest OAT score. I know that all of you taking this path are doing the same. However, most of you are young and can afford a slip up here or there. I've never had this type of drive before. It's in my heart and when I'm nervous about this endeavor, in the pit of my stomach. I'm not giving my self the slack to 'retake' classes or take on too much of a load and have to drop classes. I don't want to sabotage my efforts or slow down the process, so I'm doing my research now.

So is studying OAT materials advisable while taking the related subject in coursework or am I overthinking?

Ok, I'm off to work now. TIA again and I'll check back tonight.

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I know there will be mixed opinions on the subject, but it is probably better to just concentrate on the courses and studying what it takes to pass the test for that specific course.
In general the OAT is very broad, and if you are successful in the courses, you have the knowledge base to pass the OAT with 350+ across the board. With the Bio, math, and RC sections, they are so random, I don't think that any one class will be able to help you with those sections.
With the OC, GC and Phys it may be beneficial towards the end of the year to kind of look over practice questions and be able to ask the professors (or TAs) how to work through the problems in a quick manner.

If it were me, I think I would just complete the courses and try to get the best grades possible, then worry about the OATs later, like the summer before you are going to apply. Good Luck!
Honestly, I think you would be overdoing it. I think studying is more effective when you've already learned the subject as opposed to blindly reviewing things. I would just focus on your pre-req classes, that way you will truly understand the material.
If you want to review the materials, the subject matters certainly correlate with the science pre-req courses.
However, like the other posters have said, the OAT is extremely generalized. If you end up doing well in your courses, the test should be fairly easy to study for. Concentrate on the classes first, the OAT won't test on anything new.

And I know that you're under a lot of pressure, but I do believe that mistakes/slip outs would be tolerated by the admissions committee.
With optometry schools, I do feel that they treat applicants as people, not just numbers (I went to a large undergrad), so they will understand your unique situation.
Best of luck
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Yea, don't stress yourself out too much! We're all people, and I've learned nothing goes as planned, just have a general ideal of what you need to do and you should be fine. Good luck!
I definitely agree that you should focus on doing well on your pre-reqs before you concentrate on studying for the OAT. You currently have a feasible plan, so execute it. Don't worry too much about the OAT, it won't be too difficult if you've performed well on your pre-reqs. As a non-traditional applicant, I know how difficult it is to manage work with school and kids. As long as you have a daily manageable routine, you'll be fine. Good luck.