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!


Career Spotlight: Pediatric Optometry!

Hello all pre-optomers. We are bringing in the New Year with a new segment here on the blog, called Career Spotlight, where we showcase and explore different specializations, career settings, technological advances, and more in the exciting world of optometry!


With your four years of optometry school you are crowned the title of an OD or Doctor of Optometry then beyond that you can do some residency time or even more school in order to specialize and hone your skills and knowledge in specifically the area of optometry you desire.


For our first trick let’s talk… Pediatric Optometry!




I thought this would be a good place to start with specializations since it’s still a broad population of patients you will see: children. Even though pediatric optometry refers to the treatment of the “pediatric population”, this actually covers a broad age range with widely varying needs, including all those between birth and 18 years of age.


  • The early years of a child’s life is a critical time for vision development and monitoring. Despite the younger infant and toddler patients communication skills not fully developed testing and treatment are still possible through means like eye muscle movements, visual behavior, and dilation of the eyes.


  • Vision problems can have a profound effect on how children learn and often parents don’t notice vision problems in children until after a child exhibits problems reading the board at school. Annual vision testing starting at 6months old is widely recommended to best diagnose and treat vision problems and eye diseases.


  • If the pediatric optometry department sounds like a place for you check out the American Optometric Association’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination here to learn more about the scope and practices of working with this very special population.


So there you have it a small beginners look to the specialization of pediatrics!

Stay tuned for more of OAT Cracker’s exploration into the nooks and crannies of the optometry world!



The Benefits of Joining a Pre-Optometry Organization!

You may have seen a Pre-Optometry table at a student organization fair and thought something along the lines of…

“Hey I know all about applying for optometry school and I got a pretty good handle on the OAT so I don’t need those meetings and membership fees”

…but let’s take a closer look, shall we?


Gaining Relevant Experience

Simply putting down on your resume that you were a part of a pre-optometry society isn’t much help but there are plenty of ways to get involved in events and programs put on by the organization. Pre-optometry clubs offer a wide range of opportunities to be proactive in bettering yourself through things like for instance mentoring programs or gaining experience volunteering in the world of eye-health.


Leadership Opportunities

Within the ranks of the organization you can lead peers and drive the club to success.

Taking on a leadership role can be challenging but you gain the very valuable skills for a future in optometry in communication,negotiating, and problem solving just name a few. Besides leadership positions always look great on a resume.


Access to Resources

These organizations have resources you may not even be aware exist and in order to take advantage of them you have to be in the know! An example of one of the many perks of a pre-optom organization is that school representatives from the different optometry programs will schedule more visits should they anticipate an audience of pre-optometry students. That means many clubs will host these representatives to come and talk to the group and answer any specific questions or even host a whole panel of representatives to speak!


Figure Out Exactly What You’re Doing

Optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians OH MY!

So what exactly is the difference and what exactly do you really want to do? Student orgs may bring in a wide range of people in the optometry profession to talk on what they do and offer advice and help you discover exactly what you’d like to do someday!


Misery Loves Company

You’ll meet other pre-optom hopefuls to share the woes of preparing for optometry school!

With everything from the OptomCAS, the OAT, letters of recommendation, etc making connections with fellow students that know exactly what you’re going through can be both comforting and helpful! Chances are at least a few of the people will be in the same classes as you so you can study together share the wisdom! You can even share your wisdom about how great OAT Cracker is! 🙂


Check out your school’s pre-optometry society/club/organization here.

If there isn’t one on your campus, why not start one? Find out how here.


In review, pre-optom clubs both spread awareness of the optometry profession as well as help members stay on the track and offer things like college panels and mentoring programs! So why would you want to join? The better question is why not?