OAT 2017: Reading Comprehension Section!

This is Part 3 of a series of breakdown posts that will outline the OAT 2017!

Let’s dive into the Reading Comprehension section, which is the second longest section of the test, both in time and in number of questions!


Reading Comprehension is the second section of the OAT 2017!

There are 3 passages with 50 questions and it’s 60 minutes long.


While this section does not require specific prior scientific knowledge, OAT 2017 is testing how well you can comprehend and analyze the dense scientific information (quickly). The passages are science-based written like articles and all the information needed will be in the passage.


Some student say the reading comp section is the hardest to study for, since you just read the passage and answer questions the day of the exam so how do you prepare? Practice!

These are long and densely scientific passages and being able to read and breakdown them down efficiently is a skill you can hone! Possibly the most difficult part of the reading comp section is the limitation on time so in your preparation utilize time restraints! With the time allotted of 60 minutes, you should be spending about 20 minutes on each passage. But then of course you gotta keep in mind that not all the passage are the same length too!


Remember with OAT Cracker you can take Read Comp timed practice tests along with tests on all the other OAT 2017 sections. Until next breakdown… Practice Practice Practice and I know you can ACE IT! 🙂

Applying to Optometry School: OptomCAS 2018 is OPEN!

As of June 28th the OptomCAS 2018 is officially open!

The time has arrived. So you’ve been working to keep up that GPA, right? Got gleaming OAT scores? How about all that extra stuff like volunteer work, research projects, and extracurriculars? Well now it’s time to lay it all on the line!



The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) uses the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) as the general web-based application to submit applications to the all optometry schools in the U.S. and the application for the 2018 cycle has just opened!


Getting Started…

Firstly you’ll create an OptomCAS 2018 application account here. This is where you will login, save, edit, and eventually submit your application(s). Check out the full OptomCAS 2018 instructions here.

The application is dense and filling it out all the required information is a task not to be taken lightly. Take your time to insure all the detailed information is correct.


$ Cost $

The total application cost truly lies in the number of optometry programs you apply to.

Upon completely the OptomCAS the fee is $170 and it includes submission to one dental school then it’s an additional $70 for each additional school. The application process as a whole can quickly become expensive with the cost of taking the OAT, completely the OptomCAS, then individual schools secondary application fees, traveling to interviews, etc. so you really want to do your research and narrow down the programs you really want to apply to!



Now just because the application is open until March 1st doesn’t mean OptomCAS 2018 goes on the back burner. It is highly suggested by literally everyone (schools, advisors, OAT Cracker, and me) that you get your completed application in during the summer time!

Keep in mind you’ll need to meet specific optometry program deadlines that you are applying to. This means you must not only complete and submit the OptomCAS 2018 by those deadlines but also be sure to get in transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any secondary application fees specific schools may require as well. Some optometry schools offer admittance on a rolling basis so basically apply asap!


Last tip: Check out the blog 🙂

Here at OAT Cracker we like to keep you in the loop and make this process of getting into optometry school as painless as possible. So stay tuned in!

With all the expense and stress of applying to optometry school, save yourself some trouble and check out OAT Cracker for you OAT prep and check out this blog for more topics on the application process like Personal Statement WritingGetting Letters of Recommendations and prepping for The Interview!

That’s all for now!



OAT 2017: Survey of Natural Sciences

This is Part 2 of a series of breakdown posts that will outline the OAT 2017!


Ready? On the menu today: The Survey of Natural Sciences, which is the longest section of the test, both in time and in number of questions!

Survey of Natural Sciences is the first section of the OAT,

there are 100 questions, and you have 90 minutes.


Within the section, there are 3 sciences tested: Biology (40 questions), General Chemistry aka Inorganic Chemistry (30 questions), and Organic Chemistry (30 questions). The content of these questions is limited to the things you learned in your entire first-year course in biology, general/inorganic chemistry course, and the organic chemistry class. Basically this means no upper level concepts beyond what you saw in those courses.


The ASCO gives a fairly detailed list of topics within the subsections so you can really hone in on certain areas when studying. Check out each subsection topic breakdown and a couple ASCO-supplied sample questions below:

Biology, 40 questions

DAT:OAT biology topics

Sample Question: OAT biology sample

General/Inorganic Chemistry, 30 questions

DAT:OAT gen chem topics 1

DAT:OAT gen chem topics 2

Sample Question: OAT gen chem sample

Organic Chemistry, 30 questions

DAT:OAT org chem topics

Sample Question: OAT org chem sample


The Survey of Natural Sciences is first big hump in your OAT day adventure and it’s a doozy. The key is perfecting your time management to keep you calm so you can focus on the questions and not worry about running out of time. Practice and ace it with OAT Cracker, where you can take practice tests in each section with questions that look and feel like the real thing! Stay tuned for further breakdowns!


P.S. Here are the sample question answers:

10. C

47. A

89. D


OAT 2017: Introduction Guide to the Optometry Admission Test!

This is Part 1 of a series of breakdown posts that will outline the OAT 2017!

We’ve actually done a series like this before but the test has gone through some changes and here at OAT Cracker we like to keep you updated to make sure test day is the best day! First of all we’ll focus on the specifics of the OAT itself and then in upcoming posts we will discuss each of the sections in detail individually.

The Optometry Admission Test is designed by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) to assess your readiness for optometry school and is used by all U.S. programs in the application process as a factor in their decision.


The OAT 2017 is a monstrous marathon of an exam with a wide scope of testing topics and clocking in at nearly 5 hours!


What’s an OATPIN?

First thing is first you’ll need an OAT PIN (Personal Identification Number) for authentication for all Optometry Admission Test applications and official score report requests. Before you can even apply to take the OAT, you must obtain a PIN aka an OATPIN. Important: If you have ever taken the OAT before a PIN may have already been assigned to you and you can retrieve it here. If you are a brand new to the OAT entirely you can register for a PIN here.


Applying to take the OAT

With your OATPIN you can now apply to take the OAT here. Note: once you have been approved to take the exam you have a six-month window to do it after which you’ll have to reapply. If you wish to retake the OAT you have to wait at least 90 days and if you feel the need to take it more than three times you have to gain special permission. Plus with each retake you’ll have to reapply to take it and pay the test fee again. Speaking of test fee…


$ Cost of taking the OAT $

Currently the test fee is $450 and that includes sending official score reports to the up to 5 schools you specify on your OAT application. If you want your official OAT scores sent to an additional school you didn’t list on the application it’s $36 each. The $450 fee is non-refundable and non-transferrable so pick a date and stick to it! If you must reschedule, well more fees for you:


*Notice: The test fee changes as of July 1,2017 are now updated in this post!


Scheduling a test date

Once your OAT application is approved you’ll receive email confirmation and only then can you schedule your test with Prometric. You can take the test year-round at Prometric Test Centers in your area. Prometric administers quite a few different computer-based tests like the OAT, GRE, MCAT, etc. and depending on the size of test centers, the day you wish to take the OAT can fill up so schedule ASAP!


What’s on the OAT?

As mentioned earlier, there are four sections to the Optometry Admission Test and we will discuss each in detail in upcoming breakdown posts. There are as followed:

1) Survey of Natural Sciences (100 Questions)

2) Reading Comprehension (50 Questions)

3) Physics (40 Questions)

4) Quantitative Reasoning (40 Questions)


How long is the OAT?

Total test time is around 3.5 hours but there’s an optional 15-minute tutorial (to get you familiar with using the test interface), an optional 15-minute break, and an optional 15-minute survey after the test, so could be closer to 5 hours. Here’s the test schedule:


If you really need an additional break the timer on your test will not stop therefore try your best not! With proper practice practice practice and a goodnight’s sleep you can handle no extra breaks in your OAT 2017 test day no problem.


Can I use scratch paper?

The test center will provide two note boards and two fine tip markers to use during the test. Scratch paper, pencils, or markers that have not been provided by the testing center are prohibited. The note boards cannot be used as measuring devices and cannot be folded, bent, distorted, or mutilated in any way and you can’t touch the monitor during testing with the boards. All items must be returned to the test administrator before leaving the test center.


OAT Scores

We outlined the OAT Scores on the blog before so check it out!

Your scores are based on the number of correct responses, which means you’re not penalized for guessing so that means don’t leave any question blank! You will get an unofficial score as soon as you finish the test and official scores are available about 3 weeks later. OAT scores on made on a scale from 200-400 so there’s no passing or failing. Some schools require a specific score for competitive consideration so be sure to check with them and aim high!


What’s Next?

This breakdown to the OAT is really an outlined introduction the official ASCO OAT Guide that you should definitely check out in full here. Remember practice is key so keep on with OAT Cracker and check out some other pertinent OAT Cracker blog topics; for instance…

OAT Study Tips

OAT Test Day Tips


We will keep you updated and in the loop with any other future OAT 2017 changes. That’s all for now!

Get out there, study up, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

OAT Breakdown: Scores!

This is a BONUS addition to our series breaking down the Optometry Admissions Test.

      Be sure to check out the rest of the series on each section of the OAT in the blog!


A while back in own OAT Breakdown: Introduction Guide to the OAT we briefly talked on the subject of the scoring the OAT but now it gets its very own breakdown post to cover it all!

So let’s get down to it, shall we?


During the test…

Quick Important Reminder: your scores are based on the number of correct responses and you are not penalized for incorrect answers. So…

Do Not Leave A Question Unanswered!

After you’ve exhausted 98% of the time allotted and the questions you do know are doubled checked, it’s time for educated best guesses!


What is a good score?

The OAT is scored on a scale of 200 – 400 thus the 50th percentile is at a score of 300.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a standardized “good” score because in the application process many components are in play along with your OAT scores. Perhaps instead it’s wise to refer to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry’s (ASCO) Profile of the 2015 Optometry Entering Class here in PDF form. You can see the range of scores across the different optometry programs and decide based on all the information what a good score looks like for you specifically; accompanied by things like for example you GPA.


In the case of low scores…

Your OAT scores are only a part of the equation of your application. However according to OptomCAS data, schools consider the “OAT Influence” to be either “Significant” or “Moderate” so nobody’s dismissing scores altogether.


If other portions of your application such as your GPA are very strong you can worry slightly less about not amazing OAT scores. For some perspective, the ASCO folks say the average GPA of the 2015 accepted and entering class of optometry students was 3.43 so if your scores hover around the median 300 I’d most definitely recommend a higher than average GPA.


Apply Early!

The earlier the better when applying with not-so-stellar OAT results. Some optometry programs accept applicants on a rolling basis (as they come in) so get in your apps early everyone and really definitely especially if you got lower scores.


Consider Retaking.

The blog already covered Retaking the OAT so if you’re contemplating a redo read up on what you need to know.


Practice, Practice, Practice!

The endurance and stamina needed just to get through test day is going to take some getting used to. Practice tests like with OAT Cracker are not only helpful with in content tested but also in getting used to computer testing and exposing you to the time needed for your brain to last through the whole exam.


Once you’ve figured out the subjects you need extra help on tackle them! With the OAT Cracker diagnostic tests you can pin point specific areas in each section that you’re weakest in. Then focus on those sections individually as seen below…

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.29.20 PM


There you have it folks. Go forth & PRACTICE!


Should You Retake the OAT?

Maybe you freaked out on test day or did not meet a school’s minimum score requirement.

For whatever reason you may be considering retaking the OAT, deciding to retake really depends on you!


Here are things to consider when faced with decision to retest or not to retest…


The Rules.

First off, you need to know the official word on retesting from the ASCO.
• Required to submit a new application and fee for each retest. Reminder that fee is $330.
• Must wait at least 90 days from their last attempt.
• You can take the OAT three times and after that you have to apply for permission to test again, and from that point forward may retest only once per twelve-month period.


Do you have time?

With deadlines looming and the required 90 days between tests, keep in mind the timeline of receiving your scores. If too close to application due dates, retesting my not even be a feasible option.
Also you need to think about if you can devote the time needed to prep for the OAT in order to pick up your score to where you want it.


Prep Check.

Now that you’ve taken the test once and want to improve here are two important questions to ask yourself and answer honestly:

How did you prepare the first time?
What will you do differently in preparing this time?

Pinpointing the issues and deciding how to move forward in studying for the next time is key. Is it just that you didn’t prepare enough or was it the way you studied? We would suggest that the essential factor in improving you score is PRACTICE. With OAT Cracker practice tests you will get better at testing taking in general while also studying the content tested.


Postponing Instead.

If you having serious concerns before the big test day and are already thinking about retesting, consider postponing your test instead. This is most definitely the cheaper option; check out the different OAT rescheduling fees below. It is quite possible that you may feel like you an extra week or two and rescheduling could be better than having to wait the 3months that the ASCO require you wait between tests.

Rescheduling Fees



Basically the only acceptable answer to

‘Should I retake the OAT?’ is…

it depends.

If you go with retesting, remember with OAT Cracker you build on your test taking skills, time management, accuracy, confidence, and improve you OAT scores!

OAT Breakdown: Quantitative Reasoning!

This is Part 5 of a series breaking down the sections of the Optometry Admissions Test.

In fact this is the final breakdown post in the series so go catch up on the rest!

For our grand finale…drumrollQuantitative Reasoning!

I mean come on the OAT doesn’t have to be complete torture…

OAT Torture

It’s actually pretty fitting that this the final breakdown post since Quantitative Reasoning is the last section you’ll face come OAT day! There will be 40 questions and you have 45 minutes!

In this section you will be given a basic four-function calculator like the one below:

Basic Calculator


The ADA says the Quant Reasoning section “measures the examinee’s ability to reason with numbers, to manipulate numerical relationships, and to deal intelligently with quantitative materials.” What does that mean exactly?

Here are the topics covered in the Quant Reasoning Section:

– Algebra including equations and expressions, inequalities, exponential notation,         absolute value, ratios and proportions, and graphical analysis

– Numeric calculations including fractions and decimals, percentages, approximations, and scientific notation

– Conversions including temperature, time, weight, and distance

– Probability and Statistics

– Geometry

– Trigonometry


Just like the other sections, time is the enemy and although the concepts may seem simple they can get tricky.

Try these two sample questions out:

OAT Quant Samples


Answers: 27) A and 28) B.

Remember in conquering the Optom Admission Test, practice is key and with OAT Cracker you can practice the right way with full-length practice tests that look and feel like the real thing!

Well that’s it for OAT section breakdown posts! Stay tuned for more on all things OAT, applying to optometry school, and other lame optometry jokes I can find!

Happy Practicing!

OAT Breakdown: Reading Comprehension Section!

This is part 4 of a series breaking down the Optometry Admission Test.

Definitely check out the rest of the series here on the blog to get the full lowdown on the OAT and get set up to dominate the exam! On the agenda today: Reading Comprehension, which will be the second section you run into come test day! Oh it’s been a while since we had a bad/awesome joke so before we get into reading comp, here’s the sad hipster…

hipster glasses

As the second section of the day that means you will have just finished the Natural Sciences section, which is the longest section of your test day, and it’s before the scheduled break so you may be feeling slightly spent. Side note: check out the Natural Sciences Breakdown post here.


The official OAT description reads, “The Reading Comprehension Test contains three reading passages on various scientific topics. Prior understanding of the science topics is not a prerequisite to answering the test items. The reading passages require the ability to read, comprehend, and thoroughly analyze basic scientific information.”


The passages are science-based written like articles and all the information needed will be in the passage. Like the description states, the OAT is testing how well you can comprehend and analyze the dense scientific information.


The Reading Comp section will have 3 passages, 40 questions, and is 50 minutes long.


Some student say the reading comp section is the hardest to study for, since you just read the passage and answer questions the day of the exam so how do you prepare? The answer is with practice! These are long and densely scientific passages and being able to read and breakdown them down efficiently is a skill you can hone! Possibly the most difficult part of the reading comp section is the limitation on time so practice with time restraints. With the time allotted of 50 minutes, you should be spending about 15 minutes on each passage. OAT Cracker can give you plenty of practice and psssst… you can get access for $49 instead of the regular $99 right now. You’re welcome.

Stayed tuned for the continuation of the OAT breakdown series plus all things pre-optom!

Happy Practicing!

OAT Breakdown: Physics Section!

This is part 3 of a series breaking down the Optometry Admission Test.
Be sure the check out all the breakdown down post because the OAT isn’t really just one test but a battery of tests/sections of the OAT: Survey of Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning. Stressing out yet? Remember to think about silly T-Rexes (and the OAT Study Tips).


Anyway, let’s talk the Physics section!

This section will be right after your scheduled break so bright side is that you’ll have a little brain break before all the physics and quant reasoning. The Physics section has 40 questions and you have 50 minutes. It’ll fly by so make the time count!


Here are the formulas provided on the test:

OAT Physics Formulas


Has it been a while since you took Physics? Maybe you didn’t do so well? Now is the time to brush up and luckily there are specific and explicit areas to review…

Items to be covered:

  • Units and Vectors
  • Linear Kinematics
  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Rotational Motion
  • Energy and Momentum
  • Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Waves
  • Fluid Statics
  • Thermal Energy and Thermodynamics
  • Electrostatics
  • D.C. Circuits Magnetism
  • Optics
  • Modern Physics


Keep in mind your scores are based on the number of correct responses so work through the section by answering the questions you know/the easy ones first. Then since you’re not penalized for guessing, save the harder questions for the end getting all the points you can!


Sample Question:

Physics Sample Question


Spoiler Alert: the answer is C and notice the not-so-straight-forward answer choices so keep sharp! Having a section specifically for Physics on OAT is actually pretty special among the different health professions admission tests and it’s a doozy. With the right preparation and keeping the motivation up, YOU CAN CONQUER!

OAT Study Tips!

Studying for the Optometry Admission Test can be extra stress inducing, we get that.

So when you’re feeling especially frazzled, just picture a T-Rex trying to put in eye drops. After thinking about a bunch of other funny things that guy would have trouble doing and scouring the pre-opt forums and, here is a carefully selected best of the best compilation of OAT study tips to help with the stress!



Give Yourself 3 months of Preparation

This is a big test to say the very least with an immense mountain of material to get through. This isn’t a test you will be cramming for. Brightside is you’ve already been preparing with all the hard work you’ve sure to have done in your classes. So now is the time to prove it. Now all you have to do is prepare for an extremely long exam that tests on all your classes ever in a highly integrated and all encompassing manner. Yeah, not easy so give yourself like 3 months!


Set Aside Time Everyday To Study

The tried and true saying of “treat it like a class” is not to be taken lightly you need to be setting out time everyday to study. With your real life (school/work/etc.) it’s understandable if you can’t marathon a big block of time of like 8-10 hours of study time everyday but you should be doing something each day. You must make the most of your time and focus, sticking strictly to the 50/10 rule! That’s 50 minutes study time and 10 minute break time.


Take Several Online Practice Exams

Practice, practice, practice. The endurance and stamina needed just to get through test day is going to take some getting used to. Practice tests like with OAT Cracker are not only helpful with in content tested but also in getting used to computer testing and exposing you to the time needed for your brain to last through the whole exam. Just a reminder here’s what OAT day looks like:

Testing Schedule


Make Your Own Study Guide

Through your college life thus far you know how you best work and study so why not create your own study guide. You do you. Stick to what works just do it on a grander OAT sized scale. Whether it’s outlining your notes or whatever specific thing you may do it’ll be better take the opportunity to personalize it for you versus sticking to some rando off the internet’s guide/schedule. So sit down, layout a plan and stick to it. When creating a study schedule make sure to have a review day perhaps once a week or plan a practice test after working on a particular section (with OAT Cracker you can take practice section tests individually).


Try Studying in the Library

Gasp, that awful place? Yes. You want to make your study and practice environment to emulate the test centers. Try finding a place that will have just enough rustling of papers and typing of laptop keys from other students so it not to be too quiet, just like on OAT day! If this tip sounds familiar that’s because we’ve talked about it before in the blog’s OAT Study Motivation post a couple months back, check it out here.


Tutor Subjects Covered On The OAT

Once you’ve figured out the subjects you need extra help on tackle them! With the OAT Cracker diagnostic tests you can pin point specific areas in each section that you’re weakest in. Remember after the scheduled break you’ll have Physics and Quant Reasoning back to back and if these sections aren’t your strong areas… PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!


Well there they are now go forth and conquer! Be sure to stay tuned for more tips and the continuation of our breakdown series of each section. Got any other OAT study tips to add to the list? Share with the class in the comments!


P.S. If you don’t already, go ‘Like’ OAT Cracker on Facebook right here and now.