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Took the OAT Dec 1

Discussion in 'OAT Discussions' started by mathcod, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. mathcod

    5+ Year Member

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    Hi, first time poster. I took the OAT today and was pretty amazed at how well I did.

    Quantitative Reasoning 390
    Reading Comprehension 380
    Biology 380
    General Chemistry 370
    Organic Chemistry 380
    Physics 380
    Total Science 400
    Academic Average 380

    Wow! The only study material I went out of my way to pursue was the Kaplan Optometry Admission Test 2009-2010 edition for $30. I highly valued this book, but its only practice tests and no content review. For content review, I used old textbooks. For me, practice tests were essential, especially for math, to be able to do quick calculations without using a calculator. I forgot the formula for calculating annual interest and other compounding interest problems, but i think i was able to look at the answers and pick out which ones were clearly wrong. About 10% of the quantitative reasoning questions were way too difficult to calculate and were probably only realistically solvable for eliminating obviously wrong answers.

    I studied for ~15 hours on ochem
    I studied for ~8 hours for physics
    I studied for ~2 hours for biology
    I practiced for ~6 hours for Quantitative Reasoning (probably the most beneficial practice I got after ochem)
    I did 7 practice reading comprehension passages and redid a couple of them several times to get within the time limit.
    I only studied electrochemistry and quantum for general chemistry for ~4 hours

    I'm a senior biochemistry major with a science GPA of 3.2. I hope my test score makes up for my unappealing GPA.
     
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  3. fkajoshaj

    2+ Year Member

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    hey congrats on your amazing score! You should have no problem getting into a school with those scores! I take the OAT (second time) dec 31. I was wondering if you have any efficient or down to the point techniques and advice that would save me a lot of study time (trying to go over everything i can material-wise) and get the USEFUL information. I have a bunch of oat materials: oat destroyer, oat achiever, practice problems i purchased from websites and all my mcat books, college text books. if you can advise any tips or recommend an efficient way of studying, i would really appreciate it. Thank you!!
     
  4. mathcod

    5+ Year Member

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    For my experience, quantitative reasoning was a subject that I already knew pretty well because it was mostly just algebra and basic trig. The only hard part was the time limit. If we had unlimited time on this exam, I'd bet most of us would get most correct. I had to practice working quickly by learning how to quickly reduce large numbers in to more managable quantities. For example, what is 3,600,00 times 109,000,000? I'd break it into scientific notation and just quickly calculate the product. I also had to practice estimating. It's a good idea to remember what root 2, root 3, and root 5 are equal to. I didn't really need to study for QR (except i didn't know the formula to calculate compounding interest in the back of my head), I just needed to practice working quickly.

    Reading Comprehension was a subject I didn't really benefit from by doing practice tests. All I learned was that I needed to work faster, but unlike math, it's hard to become a better reader. Before the exam, I debated whether I should read the passage entirely or view questions first. I read the first passage on the OAT entirely and it took half of my time to answer its 17 questions. The latter two I viewed the questions first and scanned for the answers. I preferred that technique and was able to finish JUST IN TIME.

    Being a Biochemistry major and taking general chemistry and physical chemistry, the general chemistry portion wasn't that bad for me and I didn't study that much for it. I had a crappy first year of college and really didn't try in general chemistry, and as a result I didn't learn much. My last two years were amazing and I really found the drive to succeed, and when I took physical chemistry, it was like "this makes so much sense." All I had to do to study for the OAT was study the topics in gen chem that weren't in p.chem, which were electrochemistry and quanta.

    So in my experience, RC, QR, and GChem were subjects that I pretty much knew. Practice tests only told me that I needed to hurry up (I was always running out of time) and helped identify which topics I was fuzzy in (for gen chem).

    I tried to study for biology, but in the end, all I did was study embryology and endocrinology. Biology was pretty much everything in the lower division biology classes I took in college. I knew the cell biology/metabolism like the back of my hand because of my major and my general interest in it. I'm not very interested in plant biology and zoology, and to be honest, I walked in the OAT without studying for these. Luckily the questions I got for these topics were quite easy in my opinion (EX: name of the structure that makes pollen?) (EX: what are the five kingdoms?).

    I knew classical physics pretty well. I just needed to refresh on circuits, pressure, and optics. Once again, P.chem helped me with thermodynamics and energy. I didn't know much quantum mechanics, but none was on my OAT.

    Ochem was my biggest hurdle. I really forgot almost everything I learned from college. To review for this, I just opened my textbook and skimmed it. Ochem really made a lot of sense after taking pchem, as now i saw things in terms of energy feasibility, spatial constraints, and chemical properties. Sn1, Sn2, E1, E2, properties of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cyclohexanes, etc, all made much much more sense after pchem. My background in biochemstry also made ochem a bit easier, for topics like acids/bases. At this point, i just memorized the names of popular reactions (Diels Alder, Wittigs, etc) and associated their names with the chapters I found them in.

    In the end, I really don't have many tips because a bulk of the OAT was material that I really knew well because of my major. If I didn't take pchem this quarter, I think I would've done a lot worse. I have to thank my professor for that class!

    To answer your question about efficient ways to study, I can only say that you should understand what you're learning and not just memorizing. I was strong in the science sections because they were mostly quantitative, and when you understand the laws of physics and thermodynamics, it makes qunatitative science so much easier to understand. As for the qualitative parts, I just got lucky that I was familiar enough with those topics. I honestly tried to study for more qualitative topics, but I just found them too hard to digest in a short amount of time. Only through taking an entire class on them did I really learn.

    When I took my OAT, I had plenty of time for natural sciences. I ran out of time in physics and QC, and I finished barely in time in RC. I found that for some questions, eliminating wrong answers really helped. There was question about finding the volume of a dodecahedron given the length of one side was L. If this wasn't MPC, I'd take a lot of time. The correct answer was to look at the units of the possible answers, and only then would you realize that only one answer had units of volume (m^3). For physics and QR, this was especially true: sometimes the only answers to hard questions was only by realizing that 4 of the other choices didn't make any sense.
     

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