Applying to the College
• WHAT IS THE OAT?
The Optometry Admission Test, commonly referred to as the OAT, is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) sponsors the OAT for applicants seeking admission to an optometry program. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States, and the University of Waterloo, Canada require the OAT. (See practice test links below.)
• WHAT SUBJECTS DOES THE OAT COVER?
The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning.
• WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE OAT?
At least two years of college education, which should include courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics, is required prior to taking the OAT. Most students, however, elect to complete three or more years of college prior to taking the exam. You will need to take the OAT prior to February 1st to have scores submitted to the Centralized Application Service center prior to admission deadline of February 15th but since we have a rolling admission process, the class may have reached its capacity prior to receiving these scores.
• DOES THE OAT EXPIRE?
Our faculty consider scores older than three years (at application date) expired and a new set of scores will be needed.
• WHEN IS THE OAT EXAMINATION ADMINISTERED?
The OAT exam is now administered on-line and almost "anytime" at the testing centers.
• ARE THERE MINIMUMS WHICH ARE PREFERRED SO THAT I MIGHT GET AN INTERVIEW?
Yes. The better your scores are, the faster you will be asked for an interview. If you would like some guidelines, a score above 270 on most sections, with a 300 in the overall average, reading comprehension and general chemistry will help your application.
However, please note that receiving all of your scores at minimum level will likely not result in an interview. We recommend that rather than consider the minimum needed, seek the highest possible score you can in each section to insure a great outcome!
• MAY I RETAKE THE OAT IF I DIDN'T DO WELL THE FIRST TIME?
Yes. However, we do not combine tests. We do not recommend taking the test more than two times. It may affect your ability to get an interview.
• WHERE CAN I OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE OAT?
You can submit your application for the OAT examination and request additional copies of score reports online. You can view the Optometry Admission Testing Program-Online Candidate Guide, by pointing your browser to www.opted.org. Only the printed edition of the OAT Candidate Guide contains samples of the four tests used in the Optometry Admission Testing Program. (See below)
• HOW DO I REGISTER FOR THE OAT?
Write to: Optometry Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
Call: (800) 232-2159
• SHOULD I RETAKE THE OAT?
Candidates who score at least 330 overall and at least 330 on the science section receive the most favorable consideration.
• IS THERE TEST PREPARATION MATERIAL AVAILABLE FOR THE OAT?
You can request a free OAT candidate guide information booklet and a test application form by contacting the Optometric Admission Testing Program at the above listed number. Also, the UMSL Pre-Optometry club sponsors a practice exam each September. Please check out the club's website for more details at Pre-Optometry Club.
The Optometry Admission Test is required for consideration before an interview will be offered. The OAT is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA). Information about the test itself is found on-line at https://www.ada.org/oat/index.html. On this secured website, you will find information about what is tested, and what information you will be expected to know before taking the admission test. It is a standardized test, much as the ACT from high school to college is structured, and as the first National Board Exam which is required to be a licensed optometrist. This is the only site endorsed by this College of Optometry and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry for preparation for the OAT examination.
Some students have asked about additional information to prepare for the OAT examination. While nothing takes the place of reviewing the material which will be tested, some students have found a practice OAT site helpful.
OAT Test Preparation Website (Please note: this site is not endorsed by this or any university, this or any college of optometry, nor by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)
Several students have found some student materials to be helpful in their preparation. These can be located on Amazon.com and elsewhere. Once again, providing these resources which other students have found helpful does not constitute endorsement or evaluation of the products. No claims regarding their beneficial nature should be inferred.
Student Comments on the Practice Test Sites: (the sites were evaluated by a current optometry student)
www.opted.org: "This practice OAT is pretty much just like the real OAT. The only problems I seemed to have with it is that the biology section seemed a little easy to me. You should take this opinion with a grain of salt though. In my opinion the biology and life sciences section is so large and general that any practice test will not be able to really give a complete assessment of everything that a person knows in only 40 questions. I liked this practice test though because it is in the same format as the real OAT and may actually be an old OAT. It therefore is nice for somebody wanting to know what they are getting into, but should not be looked at as containing everything that one is required to know."
http://www.testprepreview.com/oat_practice.htm : "This practice OAT is a nice quick review and estimation of one's weaknesses, but I wouldn't be discouraged if I was an undergrad and found myself struggling with some of the sections. I think that many of the questions (especially in the life sciences) would be a better review for a first year optometry student than an undergrad preparing for the OAT. It is also nice because it quickly grades your scores for you whereas paper tests you must grade by hand."
http://www.oatprofessor.com/ "This site has some example questions that their program offers. It is nice because it calculates your score for you in exam mode and gives instructions for missed questions in instructional mode. Being able to apply the material to multiple choice questions is something you will have to be able to do for the OAT, however you shouldn't use all of your time taking practice quizzes for it. The OAT professor website looks useful, but I would be concerned about whether or not it is as complete of a review guide as something like the Kaplan course, or just going back over your notes of the classes that you've taken in preparation for it. It claims to have full lessons over each topic covered on the OAT, but I guess you wouldn't know unless you actually made the purchase. The other nice thing about it is that it is online, a similar environment to how the OAT is administered now. "
Kaplan OAT Preparation: "There are many ways to study for the OAT. The Kaplan course is probably the best one that I know of because it has all of the material that you will need to know, includes useful mnemonics, has sample multiple choice questions at the end of chapters, and puts things into tables for you. Also, if you choose to go to the lectures they can be helpful too. I personally bought the study materials from a student who had taken the course and already taken his OAT."
Other assistance to help you prepare, again, no claims are made about the accuracy of these materials. The * behind are the ratings from current students (10 students who rated these; perfect is 5-stars):
OAT : Optometry Admission Test Sample Exams : TopScore Pro for the OAT *****
by ScholarWare.com (CD-ROM - November 2000)
OAT Secrets Study Guide: OAT Exam Review for the Optometry Admission Test (no reviews yet available) by OAT Exam Secrets Test Prep Team (Paperback - 2008) (has a section for organizing your study time, overcoming test anxiety, and others)
Kaplan OAT (Kaplan Oat) ***
by Kaplan (Paperback - June 14, 2005)
OAT: Complete Preparation for the Optometry Admission Test,** 2001 Edition, The Science of Review (Paperback) by Aftab S. Hassan (Author), Lippincott (Author), L.E. Williams (Author)
AudioLearn: OAT (Bio, Chem, Org Chem, Physics)- 1st Ed ****
by Shahrad Yazdani (Audio Cassette - August 1, 2002)
Some students who needed to improve or enhance their reading comprehension scores, or do a more in depth review of materials found the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) review materials helpful. These can be found at any major bookstore and on-line at Amazon.com. The MCAT review materials got a *****.