The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized exam used in the United States and Canada as part of the admissions process for optometry schools. It is designed to evaluate applicants to optometry schools’ academic and scientific knowledge as well as their perceptual and cognitive ability.
It is administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). An essential part of the application process for prospective optometrists is the OAT.
Here are things you need to know about OAT:
The OAT consists of four main sections, each designed to assess specific knowledge and skills:
This section assesses your understanding of organic chemistry, general chemistry, and biology. It assesses your comprehension of basic ideas in various fields, including genetics, cell biology, chemical reactions, and organic substances. Scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills may be required.
You will come across challenging reading passages on both non-scientific and scientific subjects in this section. You must demonstrate your ability to grasp, analyze, and form conclusions from these writings. It helps to be familiar with a variety of topics because the passages frequently cover a wide range of subjects.
This section evaluates your knowledge of physics topics and principles. Topics including optics, thermodynamics, electricity, and mechanics may be covered in the questions. You’ll have to use your knowledge to solve multiple-choice questions and physics-related problems.
You will be tested on your mathematical and problem-solving abilities in this section. There are some questions in this part that call for data interpretation, mathematics, and pattern analysis. It assesses how well you can use quantitative reasoning in a variety of contexts.
The OAT has a mean score of about 300 and is scored on a range of 200 to 400. The overall score is the sum of the scores from each individual segment. Each section assesses your performance differently. It’s vital to check the entrance requirements of the institutions you intend to apply to as optometry schools may have particular score requirements for admission.
Every segment has a designated amount of time:
- Natural Sciences: 90 minutes
- Reading Comprehension: 60 minutes
- Physics: 50 minutes
- Quantitative Reasoning: 45 minutes
With an optional 15-minute guide, a 30-minute optional scheduled break, and a 15-minute optional post-test survey, the OAT takes five hours and five minutes to complete. An unofficial score report will be given to you at the test center after the exam is over. For on-time reporting, make sure you take your test four weeks prior to the deadline for applications.
The OAT Exam is given in computer format at designated Prometric test centers. All of the questions are multiple-choice. Using the computer interface, you’ll click on the appropriate response for each question.
The OAT’s content is intended to evaluate the academic and scientific knowledge required for success in optometry school. It covers a broad range of scientific subjects, including physics, chemistry, and biology. It also evaluates your aptitude for quantitative reasoning and reading comprehension. The exam material is in line with the fundamental know-how and abilities required for a career in optometry.
Registration and Fees
The test is available at Prometric centers all year round. If you want to take this exam, you have to apply 60–90 days in advance of the test date. ASCO PINs are needed in order to register. The OAT exam fee costs $515. If the exam fee is out of your price range, there are a few partial fee waivers available. Half of the OAT fee is covered by the waiver.
There are cancellation or rescheduling fees that are determined by how long it is till the test date. The cost of OAT testing will vary from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. It is advised that students who want to take the OAT after June 2024 check the OAT website’s price rate revisions.
Just as we said earlier, OAT exam dates are typically offered throughout the year. So, you can apply whenever you’re ready. However, it’s crucial to inquire about the OAT score submission deadlines from the optometry school you’re interested in.
Effective preparation for the OAT typically involves studying relevant subject matter, reviewing science and math concepts, and practicing with sample questions and full-length practice tests. There are numerous resources available to help with test preparation, such as books, study guides, online courses, and practice exams. If you want to do well on the OAT and improve your chances of getting into an optometry program, you must commit enough time to your preparation.
One crucial step in the application process for optometry schools is the OAT. Optometry programs will evaluate your OAT scores, as well as other variables such as your academic record, letters of recommendation, and personal statement when making admissions decisions. It’s important to find out the precise admission standards and preferences of the colleges you intend to apply to, as each one could have different requirements. A high OAT score can improve your application and increase your competitiveness as a candidate.