The Optometry Admission Test, or OAT, is a standardized examination required for admission to Doctor of Optometry (O. D.) programs that are part of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). There are 16 schools in the United States, one in Puerto Rico, and two in Canada that require the OAT. The OAT measures general academic skills as well as specific knowledge of areas of science that are deemed important for success in optometry schools. The test is normally taken after at least 2 years of undergraduate work, since coursework in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics including laboratory are pre-requisites. The Doctor of Optometry is a 4 year degree usually undertaken after completion of an undergraduate degree.
The OAT is a computerized test and all questions are of the multiple choice variety. Administration of the OAT can take up to 5 hours. In addition to the 4 main sections of test described below, there can be a tutorial, unscored pretest questions, an optional break, and a post-testing survey.
The first scored portion of the test, a Survey of Natural Sciences, is to be completed in 90 minutes and is divided into three subsections. The subsections and number of questions in each are Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry (40, 30, and 30 questions respectively). Prior knowledge in these areas, generally a first year course in each, is mandatory.
Next there is a section on Reading Comprehension, where short passages of a scientific nature are presented. The candidate is asked to extract and interpret information included in the passages. A total of 40 questions to be completed in 50 minutes are included.
The OAT's third section is Physics, consisting of 40 items to be completed in 50 minutes. Two semesters of undergraduate physics are generally required for success on this section.
The last scored portion of the Optometry Admission Test is the Quantitative Reasoning part. You are to pick out the best multiple choice answers to 40 questions in 45 minutes. The range of problems require knowledge of basic numerical calculations, algebra, probability and statistics, geometry, and trigonometry, as well as the ability to apply mathematics to word problems. For each section, the candidates' raw score is based on the number of correct answers only. Those are then converted to 8 standard scores based on group statistics. Each standard score ranges from 200 to 400 with a mean of approximately 300. The three sections within Natural Sciences are initially scored separately, so there are 6 scores. An arithmetic average of these is 6 is also reported, the Academic Average, and a composite score of all science sections is also calculated (Natural Sciences and Physics).
The OAT can be taken as frequently as once every 90 days. The cost is $189. A candidate can register either online with a credit card at https://www.ada.org/oat/register.asp or with a paper application that can be obtained by calling 1-800-232-2159. The latter requires a certified check or money order for payment. Shortly thereafter, you will be contacted online with an 800 number to contact Thompson Prometric, the company which actually administers the test, to schedule your test at one of their many test sites (see www.Prometric.com). Tests can be taken between 48 hours and 12 months after confirmation. At the time of the test, you will be given your own score report. Official score reports will be sent within a three week time period to up to 5 optometry schools of your choice plus your pre-optometry advisor. More information about the OAT can also be found at https://www.ada.org/oat/index.html.
Last Updated: 09/11/2012
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