Any Tips on Boosting the Reading Comprehension Score on the OAT?

This is a question asked on SCCO’s Facebook Group for Pre-optometry Students (http://www.facebook.com/groups/SCCOadmissions/).  Bulleted, you will find answers from both SCCO students and Facebook Group members:

I was wondering if anyone has some tips and advice on boosting up RC score on the OAT. I know this is very important for SCCO and I am absolutely horrible at it…

  • “I practiced every day with an MCAT reading comprehension book and timed myself. After a few days you will have a good idea where you stand and then device strategies that work for you. The best way is to practice and build confidence.”
  • “I wrote about this on the student doctor network a while ago:  I think I may be able to help. I was a typical guy who did well on QR and never well with RC throughout my life (SATs, scores sub-600 for RC and almost perfect 800 for QR). I took the recommendation from Kaplan and it has helped me tremendously. My RC score was 400. I would write the number of the paragraph on the blank sheet given to you and read the paragraph. Next to the paragraph number on the 1st line, I would write the subject of the paragraph (eg. history, location, setting, description of ____). Under that in the second line, I would write down ONLY words that stood out, numbers, names, important keywords, words you don’t see normally. I’d do this for every paragraph. When answering questions, they usually refer to specific words that you have written on your sheet. Refer to the sheet, look for the keyword, find the paragraph and find the answer. “  “Here is the thread that I mentioned:  http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=11810304#post11810304 or struggling with RC on OAT!
  • “I practiced skimming the readings first (for just about 2 minutes or so) just to get oriented about what information was in each paragraph. I didn’t focus on details, just general ideas so I would have an idea of where to look later on. After skimming the article, I went back to find the answers to the questions for that article. I repeated that method for each article, skipping any questions that I couldn’t find the answers to right away. Once I was done with the easier questions, I went back to the more specific/difficult ones and had time to spare (which I used as a mini break). This strategy worked really well for me, and I got a 400 on the RC portion.”
  • “Would you recommend I take Physio, Anatomy & Biochem before the OAT or would a Kaplan/Princeton Review be sufficient preparation for it? On the OAT “Natural Sciences” section it says: biology, gen chem & organic chem questions… However, I have heard there is physio and anatomy on the exam.
    If someone could please let me know what they think I would really appreciate it!  I am just trying to figure out the best way to prepare for the OAT while completing the prerequisites ( If it takes me longer, I am okay with that ☺).”
  • “I took Anatomy & Phys right before the OAT, and I definitely felt confident on 2 or 3 of the questions from the Natural Sciences section because of the class. I also took biochem before the OAT, but didn’t recall any questions containing material that I learned specifically in biochem.”
  • “I took all of those courses before the OAT, and they probably helped me answer 2 or 3 questions correctly that I would not have gotten otherwise, but it had been between 3 and 5 years since I took the general courses. I don’t think it’s necessary to postpone taking the OAT until after taking those classes if you’ve taken the other prerequisites recently enough to feel comfortable. I felt like the types of anatomy/physio/biochem questions on it were mostly covered in my general classes. Also, I think the Kaplan “big book” from the course would be sufficient preparation (if you can get one).”

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