Knowing what is on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is the first step to preparing for it. This article will be an overview of the Optometry Admission Test intended to help you prepare and know what to expect.

Optometry Admission Test Format

The OAT entirely consists of multiple-choice questions. Questions have between 4 and 5 different answers to choose from.

You do not have to answer all questions right away. Each section is timed so if you’re stuck on a question, it can be marked and returned to later.

There are no written long answer questions, no essays, and no in-person questioning or interview.

You may be used to taking multiple-choice exams by filling in circles on a Scantron sheet (or the like) while flipping through a stack of paper containing the exam questions. This will not be the case for the OAT. The OAT is done at a computer terminal at specified Prometric testing locations.

Optometry Admission Test Format

What Is On The Optometry Admission Test

Here is the OAT breakdown:

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences – 100 Questions

    • Biology -40 QuestionsOptometry Admission Test Biology

      • Cell and Molecular Biology
      • Diversity of Life
      • Structure and Function on Systems
      • Developmental Biology
      • Genetics
      • Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
    • General Chemistry -30 QuestionsOptometry Admission Test General Chemistry

      • Stoichiometry and General Concepts
      • Gases
      • Liquids and Solids
      • Solutions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Chemical Equilibria
      • Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry
      • Chemical Kinetics
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
      • Atomic and Molecular Structure
      • Periodic Properties
      • Nuclear Reactions
      • Laboratory
    • Organic Chemistry – 30 QuestionsOptometry Admission Test Organic Chemistry

      • Mechanisms
      • Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules
      • Stereochemistry (structure evaluation)
      • Nomenclature
      • Individual Reactions of the Major Functional Groups and Combinations of Reactions to Synthesize Compounds
      • Acid-Base Chemistry
      • Aromatics and Bonding
  • Reading Comprehension – 50 Questions

This section consists of reading 3 different passages related to various scientific subjects. For each passage, you must answer questions about its content. The passages are approximately 1000 words each, and they are randomized for every examinee (not everyone taking the test will get the same passages).

You do not have to memorize the details of the passages. You can scroll through the text as you answer the questions.

Tip: Do not assume this section will easy and not worthy of preparing for. This section is generally believed to be the hardest by many of those who have taken the OAT.

  • Physics – 40 QuestionsOptometry Admission Test Physics

    • 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
    • Optics
  • Quantitative Reasoning (Math) – 40 Questions

    • Mathematical ProblemsOptometry Admission Test Quantitative Reasoning

      • Algebra (equations and expressions, inequalities, exponential notation, absolute
        value, ratios and proportions, and graphical analysis)
      • Data Analysis
      • Interpretation
      • Sufficiency
      • Quantitative Comparison
      • Probability and Statistics
    • Applied Mathematics (Word) Problem

Note: You allowed an on-screen basic calculator during this section.

How Long Is The Optometry Admission Test?

The total length of the OAT is 5 hours and 5 minutes. However, realistically, you will want to get there early and get your results at the end. You should plan to be at the testing center for approximately 6 hours altogether to be safe.

Time Left For Optometry Admission Test

Here is a breakdown in the time schedule:

  • Opening Tutorial – 15 minutes

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences – 90 minutes

  • Reading Comprehension – 60 minutes

  • Break – 30 minutes

  • Physics – 50 minutes

  • Quantitative Reasoning (Math) – 45 minutes

  • Post Test Survey – 15 minutes

Optometry Admission Test Results

Your test results will automatically be generated and presented to you when the test is done. Your score will be a number between 200 and 400. A score of 300 is the average score. If you score below 300, that is not good. In order for your optometry school application to be competitive, you will want a score that is considerably higher than 300.

Optometry Admission Test Location

The OAT is administered by the company Prometric. Prometric has testing locations all over Canada and the United States. To find the location that is most convenient, you can use their online testing center locator.

Optometry Admission Test Prep

In addition to your years of schooling, it can be quite helpful to pick up a study guide tailored specifically to the Optometry Admission Test. There are many OAT test prep materials out there for you to acquire ranging from study material, OAT sample questions, entire OAT sample tests, time management strategies, etc.

My Optometry Admission Test Experience

Jason Woo Optometrist
Jason Woo, Optometrist

What I did

I was 22 and in my last year of undergraduate studies when I took the Optometry Admission Test. Due to some poor planning on my part, I ended up taking the OAT in the middle of my final exams, so leading up to it I was juggling studying for tons of different things. Do not do this to yourself.

What I learned

I learned that you should schedule your Optometry Admission Test during a time where you can focus solely on preparing for it.

What I did

The test itself was not unlike many of the practice tests I had done. Going through OAT practice exams is extremely helpful in that regard. However, while doing practice tests I had never timed myself. That was a big mistake because the fear of running out of time was always top of mind making it very difficult to concentrate on the questions themselves.

What I learned

I learned that you should time yourself while doing a practice OAT test to get used to the feeling of being under time pressure.

What I did

I was so focused on learning the science material that I hardly practiced the reading comprehension component. That turned out to be the most difficult part for me and it was also the section I received the lowest mark on. Talking to my classmates in optometry school confirmed that I was not the only one. Nearly everybody scored the worst on that section.

What I learned

I learned that you should practice that section or at the very least devise a strategy for it. I.e., Read through all the questions first so that you know when to pay particular attention while reading through the passage.

What About You?

Are you planning to take the Optometry Admission Test? Have you taken it already? If so please share your experience with the test in the comments section.


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