Here’s a post taken from Student Doctor Dot Net where a successful OAT test-taker outlines her strategy of how she prepared before and even on test day. Realize I have no way to validate this information; I am simply reposting what she self-reported in this online forum.
As a contextual reference for how she performed, she begins by reporting the scores she received on various practice exams along with her actual OAT test scores from her July 2016 test date.
Here is her post:
My Practice Test Scores:
7/17 ADA sample test: TS 340; AA 350; Bio 310; Chem 370; O Chem 340; RC 380; Phys 340; Quant 400
7/24 Kaplan full length 1:TS 320,AA 330; Bio 360; Chem 330; O Chem 330;RC 320; Phys 270; Quant 370
7/30 My Real OAT Test Scores: TS 400; AA 380; Bio 380; Chem 400; O Chem 380; RC 310; Phys 400; Quant 400
The very first thing I want to share with all of you is: all the hard work will be paid off and the real exam is actually easier than Kaplan online full length exams. So keep studying, and you’ll be fine!
I started reviewing for the test from the middle of March, and took the test yesterday(July,30, 2016). I have a full time job in a research lab, so for the very first several months I was only able to study at night ( 2~3 hours per day), and took a month off in July and studied at home for both the OAT as well as TOEFL (My first language is not English).
My study materials and how I used them:
1. The big Kaplan OAT book_2016 version: For overall review
I started my review process from reading the big Kaplan book. I read through every chapter and did all the questions. (March~June) It’s worth reading as a general review, but supplementary learning materials are necessary if you want to nail the test.
2. Chad’s videos: For General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry
Super super helpful! Strongly recommend!!! http://chadsvideos.com/
I took the “Chad’s Organic Chemistry Refresher for the ACS Final Exam” course and the “General Chemistry for the DAT/OAT” course from the above site. I watched the video while taking my own notes and practice the questions over and over again till I’m totally familiar with all the mechanisms for all the reactions.
The “Organic Chemistry for the DAT/OAT” course was removed from the site for some reason by the time I was reviewing O Chem, so I took the “O Chem for ACS” instead. All the basic knowledge is the same for all the tests (MCAT, DAT, OAT, ACS…)
Chad is an amazing teacher, and the courses from the above site are totally FREE! But the General Chemistry for OAT videos have been removed from the course list and currently there are only free practice questions. You can take the “General Chemistry” course instead, which is still free, or you can take the general chemistry for OAT course from his new website for only $10: http://courses.chemistryprep.com/
If you have tight budget, this will be the most worth spending learning material for the chemistry. If you learned it well from Chad’s online course you don’t even need to go through the Chemistry and Organic Chemistry chapters in the big Kaplan book.
3. Foundations of Organic Chemistry
It’s a thin book. I quickly went though it as a supplement for Chad’s videos.
4. The MCAT Physics Book by Dr. Garrett Biehle
I learned from a post from another site that the Kaplan review book does not cover all the aspects for the OAT physics, so I got this book and went through it and made notes. It covers all the things you need to know for the OAT.
5. OAT Destroyer(Bio+Chem+O Chem+QR), Physics, Math
I got the whole package. The destroyer books are tones of questions. I used the math book for timing practice and found it quite useful. Since I’m pretty good at biology so I spent the least time preparing biology and use the destroyer to fill all the gaps which the big Kaplan book failed to cover. And the biology in the destroyer are quite similar as what I saw in the real OAT test.
6. Crack the OAT reading package: 5 tests ( 15 reading passage)
As you can see from my score, reading is my weak spot. I simply read too slow and can’t finish reading the passages and remember all the details. Well I have to say the reading package did not help me much, since the questions in Crack the OAT do not assemble the spirit of the real OAT reading.
7. Time management app
I used a time management application on my iPhone to keep tracking my daily progress. It helped me to form a regular study habit. It doesn’t matter which app you use, you can get any one from the app store.
1 Week before the Test Day:
I studied 8~10 hours, reviewed around 4 chapters for each subject per day and modified my notes.
Took the Kaplan online full length test to have a general idea about the intensity of the test and get familiar with the test mode. Don’t worry if you can’t get high scores. In the Kaplan test, there are much more calculation in Chem and Physics, but in the real test the calculations are all the basics and are much more straight forward. But if your score is below 300, I suggest to postpone your test.
1 Day before the Test Day:
Just reviewed all my notes.
On the Day:
A breakfast is must have. My test was scheduled at 9:00, and as I got there around 8:30 I was able to start my tests early. You need 2 ID for the test. After checking my ID, I was asked to store all my personal stuff in a small locker (It is quite small, only able to keep small stuffs, your keys, cell phone and wallet/purse. So don’t bring your big backpack). And after security check and identity verification, the test center provided me 2 black markers and 2 plastic sealed paper board. I raised my hand for paper exchange during the 15 min break, and asked again by the end of physics before the math section. You don’t have to wait till you full filled the 2 papers to ask for an exchange.
The OAT is not that bad, all you have to do is make a plan to and stick to it.