Test Preparation Overview
When deciding which test to take to apply to optometry school, you will want to check with individual schools. Some schools require the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), while others will accept the OAT, GRE, DAT, or MCAT.
What content does the OAT contain?
The OAT is broken down into four sections:
- Survey of Natural Sciences
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning
How is the OAT scored?
On the OAT, scores range from 200 to 400 and are reported in increments of 10.
What Classes Should I Complete Before Taking the OAT?
BIO 180, BIO 181, CHEM 105, CHEM 106, CHEM 351, ENG 301, MATH 109 (or MATH 110x and MATH 111), and MATH 112 or 119 are all foundational courses to prepare you for the OAT.
What are the costs associated with taking the OAT?
The OAT costs $465. There may be other fees for extra score reports or rescheduling fees.
The costs for study materials, travel, and the exam can be between $500-$2500, depending on if you choose to self-study or purchase programs and materials.
There is a fee assistance program. You can find information about waiver requirements at ADA.org.
A limited number of partial fee waivers are available to OAT examinees each calendar year (January - December). The partial fee waiver covers 50% of the OAT fee. The partial fee waiver does not apply to any charges associated with rescheduling/canceling a test date or score reporting after the time of initial application. Partial fee waivers are granted on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible examinees who have submitted the required documents. An examinee is eligible to request a partial fee waiver if each of the following criteria is met:
- First-time examinee
- U.S. citizen or resident alien
- Has demonstrated financial hardship
- Received financial aid from their school
How do I register for the OAT?
Before you can apply to take the OAT or apply for admission to an optometry school, you must obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can register for a PIN at ADA.org/OAT/PIN. If you have tested or applied before August 1, 2014, a PIN has already been assigned to you. The OAT Program uses the PIN for identification of individuals and for the confidential and secure reporting, transmission, and tracking of test scores. Once you have a PIN, you may submit an OAT application at ADA.org/OAT. A new application must be submitted each time you wish to take the OAT.
Where do I take the OAT?
After your application is processed, you will receive an email with scheduling instructions. You may then call 800.688.5804 or visit Prometric.com to schedule your appointment to take the OAT. After your application is processed, Prometric will receive notification of your eligibility for OAT administration. To allow adequate time for Prometric to receive your eligibility information, please wait 24 hours after receipt of your eligibility email before attempting to schedule a testing appointment.
How do I Prepare for the OAT?
Give yourself at least two to four months to study for the OAT. Many sources recommend 200–250 hours. For example, you could plan on three hours per day, five days per week, for 3-4 months. It can help to find an OAT study buddy who can help you stay motivated and on task. Additional ideas to help:
- Take two or three real-time simulated practice tests—this is the best way to most accurately replicate the conditions you will experience on test day.
- Focus on fundamental concepts.
- Study efficiently by creating a study calendar and focusing extra time on subjects you find difficult.
- Study one subject at a time. By focusing on one subject, you will be able to digest the material quickly and effectively.
- Get into a routine and ensure you continue to sleep and eat well.
- Visit the ASCO test preparation website for practice test, OAT guide, and other helpful resources.
There are multiple test prep courses available. When deciding between the courses, consider the following:
- Cost: compare what resources will be available through each test prep course for the expense
- Location: some test preps are only available online while other test preps will have in-person classes or tutoring available
- Teaching Style and Structure: Compare the length of the programs, the teaching style, and how the programs are structured.