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!



Applying to Optometry School: OptomCAS 2016 is OPEN!

As of July 1st the 2015 – 2016 cycle of the OptomCAS is officially open!

The time has come to put all your hard work and preparation to “paper” (really to the online application)! 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. Keep in mind decision on admission comes completely from the schools and programs you are applying to and not from OptomCAS; they are only a service you submit your applications and transcripts through.



Although the OptomCAS cycle is open from now until June 2016 remember 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 by those deadlines but also be sure to get in transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any secondary applications specific schools may require as well.


First you’ll to create an account with OptomCAS here. You’ll use you’re the username and password you create to login, save, edit, and submit your application(s). Be sure to read all instructions carefully and to proofread everything you are submitting because this is surely not a task to take lightly!


Completely the OptomCAS costs $160 and that includes submitting your application to one school. Then it is an additional $60 for each school you choose to send your application to after that. So to add that up it’ll look like this…

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 2.01.35 PM


In addition, specific schools may include secondary applications resulting in secondary application fees. Plus considering possible expenses for traveling to different schools for visits and interviews, the whole application process can really add up so you’ll want to really do your research to narrow down the programs you want to apply to!


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 stay tuned to the blog for more topics on the application process like Personal Statement Writing just to name one awesome example!

That’s all for now folks!

Happy Applying!

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?

Applying to Optometry School: The Interview

The admissions process is long, stressful, and at times it feels like a lot of waiting and uncertainty. During this trying time there’s one clear sign in the process before a rejection or a congratulations letter that your doing well… getting the call or email about setting up an interview!

Reaching this point in the admissions process is exciting and promising but don’t blow it now!

You’re not in yet!

You look good enough on paper to make it this far but are you really what optom schools want?…

prove it


So let’s talk about the interview and how to ace it!


Professional Basics

You know these things but they are important enough to drill into your head some more now…



Projecting “FOMO”

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out and you basically need to instill in a admissions committee the fear of missing out on what an awesome prospect you are! The interview is a two-way conversation and you not only what to be prepared to answer their questions, you want to be engaging and have questions of your own. You are interviewing them as a potential school as much as they are interviewing you as a potential student and you gotta make them want you. This may be your top choice school… but hey, you’re a catch and half and got other options too so you want them to win YOU over too. Note that this kind of confidence isn’t cocky but reflects a genuine and avid interest in what the program has to offer. You are evaluating the school as much as they are evaluating you.


Be Honest

Besides your Personal Statement, the interview is the only place to speak of yourself in your own words. The school is trying to further get to know YOU and understand your motivations towards optometry. Be prepared for pitfalls and flaws in your application, like a less than stellar GPA or OAT score, to come up in the interview. This is your chance to shine and reassure them of any doubts and reservations they may have about you as a candidate. Speaking openly and honestly in the interview is always to way to go.


Be “On” At All Times

Each optom program’s admission interview is unique. Some schools do one-on-one interview while others opt for a committee-style set up. Most include all day visits with tours of the school, meeting professors, etc. and it’s important to understand that the entire you’re there is essentially your interview. While you’re on campus act as if you’re always being watched and examined by the admissions committee because you basically are. Making a good impression all day can lead to another professor mentioning something to the committee for instance like, “hey that candidate seemed great and asked really interesting questions on the tour earlier”; keep in mind that this works vise-versa too! So you gotta be on at all times!


With these things in mind you can have a winning interview and be one step closer the congratulations acceptance letter! Until then you can work on getting a winning OAT score to get you to the interview step with OAT Cracker. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or advice to add on interviews!


Happy Practicing!

Applying to Optometry School: Letters of Recommendation!

Applying to optometry school is a long, trying process and while the OptomCAS for the Fall 2016 cycle won’t even open until around July, it’s time to start thinking about your application!

Summertime and these applications may seem like a ways away but…

RIGHT NOW is the time to be making the connections and developing relationships with future letters of recommendation writers!


You can’t just go around asking like this, “I’m great! Write about it!” *self-five*



Anyway here’s the lowdown letters of rec:


Who to Ask?

Professors are bombarded with students asking for letters so the key is to ask the people who know you best in order to get the best letters. This is the time to be making nice with future potential letter writers and develop the kind relationships that make for compelling letters.

Basically you are recruiting for your optom school application team, so choose them wisely!

Schools sometimes ask for specific letter writers (like one from a professor, one from an employer, etc.) so research your potential optometry schools’ requirements and plan accordingly.


Ask In Person.

Everyone really harps on this, as they should! You can set up an initial meeting through email to discuss the possibly of them writing a letter for you but you shouldn’t ask outright over the internet; that’s an in person question! Plus what’s that saying, “it’s harder to say no to someone in person”, right?


Ask Early.

As mentioned before professors are getting flooded with requests and you want a good letter not a rushed one! The absolute least amount of time is three weeks to ask for a good letter.


Go Asking Prepared.

This last tip will really set you apart from what could be many letter of recommendation a professor has to write. Go to your letter writers with all the materials they may need when writing a beautiful letter about you. These things can include your resume, CV, and at least a draft or bullet points from your personal statement. You want to set them up and make it easy for them to write a great letter so they can get a feel for exactly what you’re going for your application.


With these things in mind go forth and prosper setting yourself up for the best letters of recommendation possible. P.S. If you’re stressing about the OAT fast approaching, practice and ace it with OAT Cracker of course and stay tuned for more of our OAT Breakdown series!

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 Test Day Tips!

Your Optometry Admission Test day may be coming up soon (or maybe not depending on when you scheduled yours but it will come) and it’s a big day! After scouring the Pre-Opt forums and pulling from first-hand experience, here is a carefully selected best of the best compilation of OAT day tips!


Set Yourself Up The Night Before

Have all you’re the stuff you need ready to go. This could be a thing like laying out your clothes, breakfast, ID cards, etc. Do as much for yourself the night before just in case something happens and you’re running late or something. Just follow the Boy Scout’s motto: be prepared.


Light Layers

Every single testing room I’ve ever heard of was cold. Dress accordingly. Who knows you could end up in the rare hot room so close-toed shoes and light layers seem the best way to go. Also someone suggested using your long sleeve as a better eraser for the dry-erase board because the one they got had seen better days.


Sleep Routine

Everyone says get a good night’s sleep, that’s a given. But if your test time is early in the morning you should really get into habit for waking up at the same time as test day. Prepare by setting your alarm for test day and using it at least 4 days prior to the real day. This can ease some of your concerns you may have about not waking up that morning or missing your alarm(s). Speaking of which, you should probably set two alarms and make them different devices if you can just to be extra safe.



No Cramming!

It’s too stressful. The morning of is no time for last minute learning/cram session but rather light reviewing to wake your brain up. Look over some equations you may have trouble remembering and doing a few problems just to ‘get you in the mood’. Some students suggested even taking the day before off from studying too and just lightly review to clear your head.


The Tricky Tutorial Trick

FYI there’s a tutorial trick out there on the interweb that’s a bit controversial. As you know Prometric testing centers will provide you a small dry-erase board and marker to be used as scratch paper during the test. Some students have reported being able to use the tutorial time before the start of test for jotting down notes and/or equations for later use so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. Apparently it depends on the specific place you test, some might be very lenient or very strict on what you can and can’t do during the tutorial. Don’t just risk it. ASK a test proctor before you sit down and be sure it’s allowed. Realize you run the risk of being reported and not allowed to test before you even get past the tutorial!


Use Your Break

This is marathon exam and even if you think you’re feeling pretty good after the Reading Comp section take the rest time. Even if it’s just to walk out of the room to ‘shake it out’, you should break up the monotonous screen time your eyes are getting and the seating position your body is in. Popular snack choices for break time seem to be a banana or a candy bar. Plus a quick bite to eat could give your brain a great jolt for the next half of the exam!



While in front of the mirror washing up on the big day, give yourself a boost of brilliant self-confidence. A smile and an affirmation or two that it’s time for all your hard work to shine. For inspiration see below:


Don’t be so nervous and please don’t stress too much. Trust in your training and relax. You got this. Keep these things in mind and check out the official Prometric OAT checklist for explicit items you need (proper identification, etc.) here. GOOD LUCK, may the force be with you and practice practice practice! Nailing time management will definitely help come test day so practice! Stayed tuned because next week we’ll be back to the breakdown series!

OAT Study Motivation!

Hey! How’s studying for the OAT going? Great? Just all right? Let’s take a minute to talk about motivation. The Optometry Admission Test is no easy feat and the many (necessary) hours preparing for it can be grueling. The feeling of burning out is a common occurrence for many and can really throw you off track of your path to OAT domination. When test day arrives, it basically comes down to which Stark you want to be: Tony Stark aka Iron Man aka the badass that walks away from the explosion without looking OR Jon Snow aka the Stark bastard from Game of Thrones aka the guy that knows nothing.

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option One: Tony Stark

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow

Let’s get down to business…to defeat the Huns? No. No. The OAT! So when motivation wanes, what can you do? (Besides listen to awesome motivation songs like that one!)

Here are a few strategies for motivation and keeping yourself on track:

Stop & Take a Practice Test: If you’re in the middle of a studying block and suddenly hit a brick wall: Take full timed practice test. Your score just might give you the kick in the rear to knock you back into focus. With OAT Cracker you’ll even pin point exact weak spots in your preparation thus far.

Change it up: A swift change in the subject you’re studying or change in normal study location can revive your spirits and give you boost in motivation! But don’t change too often be sure you’re sticking to the 50/10 rule…

Be strict with yourself: The 50/10 rule of studying really does work! That’s 50minutes of straight focus studying then a 10minute break to refresh your brain! Do it. Discipline. “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.”

Turn off everything: Echoing the last tip, be hard on yourself and put all things you don’t need to study away, really. It may seem harmless to leave open Facebook open in a tab or have your phone lying there beside you but come test time these things won’t be there. You want to your studying environment to emulate that of the test day. So put away all distractions and save them for your breaks!

So study study study and practice practice practice (3x for emphasis) because when test day comes, you’re definitely going to need the confidence of Tony Stark not Jon Snow.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.