My OAT Study Guide Timeline & Process


Applied to school: December
Studied for OAT Exam: Jan 1 – March 15
Took OAT Exam: March 15
Accepted into Schools: early April


Step #1: I spent hours and hours researching OAT test prep material

A quick google search for OAT study guide, OAT practice test, or OAT test prep yielded less results than I would have expected. Not as many people take the OAT test as the MCAT, so big companies don’t seem to care as much about the OAT test. I could do Kaplan OAT (starting $1300 for the most basic version, going up to $5000+ for the most advanced – yikes! 😨 ) or Mometrix (which looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 1990’s). I ended up stumbling upon, a test prep site for the Dental Admissions Test. The DAT and the OAT test are exactly the same (both administered by the ADA) except that the OAT test has a Physics section in place of one of the DAT sections.

I was a little hesitant, but Bootcamp had really solid reviews. Also it was the only online subscription based service I found with exam-like practice questions and solutions (that wasn’t $1300 or ancient looking). My favorite part was that it had a detailed 10-week study guide, with what to do every day, day by day. THIS was the structure that I needed.

So I ended buying a Bootcamp subscription, along with OAT Destroyer + Physics Destroyer and the ~$40 Kaplan OAT book.

Step #2: I stuck to to the study schedule

From January to the beginning of March, I did nearly EXACTLY what the Bootcamp study schedule told me to do. It was great. I didn’t have to do any of the thinking (besides about the sciences, of course 🙂 ). I took every Sunday off from studying.

I spent about 5 hours a day studying. 2-3 hours in the morning, and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I made it a            priority to take breaks throughout the day and exercise in the evening.

For Physics, anywhere there was the DAT extra section, I studied Physics instead. The Kaplan OAT book               was pretty good for reviewing physics.

About a week before the test, I took the official ADA OAT practice test. It costs $100, but I’d definitely recommend using it.

Step #3: The Day Before the OAT Test

I didn’t do any studying the day before the OAT test. I exercised, got a massage, and did a little light reading. I think this is super important. You’ve learned pretty much everything you’re going to learn at this point. Cramming the last day will make you stressed and probably do way worse on your test. Take a deep breath, relax, and just have fun the day before your test.

Step #4: The Day of the OAT Test

Ah, it’s here! I didn’t sleep as well as I’d have liked, because I was nervous. But I ate a big breakfast (OAT-meal :)) and drove over to the test site at around 8am (my test started at 9am). My main recommendation is to bring food for lunch, because it’s a long day of testing. Make sure you have all your information (ID, etc.). It’s a bit surreal once you actually start taking the test. Because of all the practice tests I did, I almost went into autopilot. Don’t go on your phone during lunch (I don’t think you’re even allowed to) but try to relax and decompress as much as possible. You’ve still got a big portion of the test after lunch, so pace yourself.

Step #5: Immediately After the OAT Test

My brain is absolutely fried. Your unofficial scores pop-up right when you’re done taking the test, so I knew I did well. I was in a blissful delirium. I was planning to go to the gym, but I took a hardcore nap and ordered Dominoes instead. It felt like I had earned it.

2019-06-02T12:12:40-07:00OAT Test Prep|

Should I Self-Study or Take an OAT Prep Course?

This is one of the first questions people ask themselves when they begin to study for the OAT is “should I self-study or take an OAT prep course?” It depends on your studying style. There are students who are successful both ways.

One of the advantages of a commercial OAT prep course, like Kaplan OAT, is that it’s all preset and designed ready to go, so there is no work on your side to research what to do and what to study.

The downsides are

  1. Price Tag – It can be quite costly at $1300+
  2. Stale Material – Big companies tend to reuse the same material year after year, and not improve their product much over time

The advantages of self-study are:

  1. More Affordable – It’s significantly more affordable and provides better OAT prep course materials.
  2. Score Better – Most importantly, I think students that self-study score better because they motivate themselves to study, and thus take ownership of their study experience.

The downside is that you can get off course if you don’t have a good plan, so you’ll have to spend time designing your own study plan.

To overcome this, you could use a site like DAT Bootcamp (I’ve linked this to the OAT Version). You can use our 10 Week Study Schedule that tells you exactly what to do every day, but is much more affordable than a typical commercial OAT prep course.  Use code OAT2020 for 10% off your subscription.

2019-05-30T17:44:26-07:00OAT Test Prep|

OAT Prep Courses

Knowing which OAT test prep courses are right for you is half the battle. Here are the main resources I’ve either used or heard of, ranked in order.

1) OAT Version of DAT Bootcamp 

The DAT (Dental Admissions Test) and OAT are both administered by the ADA, and are nearly identical. The only difference is that the OAT has a Physics section in place of one of the DAT sections.

Bootcamp was exactly what I needed. What I liked about Bootcamp::

  • There are tons of exam-like practice questions and solutions for you to learn from.
  • Built in 10 week OAT Study Schedule
  • Bootcamp is founded and run by students, for students, so they truly care about how YOU do on the test.

You can go here to try the OAT Version of DAT Bootcamp for free! When you create an account, you can access a portion of the material for free.  To upgrade, it costs $497 for a 90 day subscription You can get 10% off your subscription if you use this code: OAT2020

Here’s a score report from a recent student I saw who used the OAT version of DAT Bootcamp, Theresa:



Other people love Bootcamp too. You can also see other reviews of DAT Bootcamp here:

2) Chad’s Videos

Chad’s videos are generally very liked by all students I have talked to, and have been directly recommended to me by admissions officers. The best part … they are free! (well, there is a small fee if you want his quizzes included). I don’t think they constitute a full OAT test prep resource, but I’ve heard of lots of people using them to supplement their other resources.

3) Kaplan OAT Book

The Kaplan OAT book is pretty good. I used the Kaplan OAT book as a supplement to help me study for the OAT. The book comes with 2 OAT practice tests, which are pretty realistic. The OAT practice tests alone are worth $40. Even with the OAT practice tests, the book in itself is not really enough to do well on the OAT unless you are a genius or really want to go super low-budget.

The Kaplan OAT test prep courses start at $1300 and goes up to $5000+. I don’t think this is a wise investment when there are other solutions that are equally good if not much better for way less.

4) OAT Destroyer

The OAT Destroyer is a popular print-only set of questions for all OAT topics. OAT Destroyer + OAT Physics will run you about $315. If I had to go back again, I don’t think I would use Destroyer because the questions are much harder than most you’ll see on the actual OAT. It’s not like you’re wasting your time, but your your time could be better spent doing more realistic problems and getting them down solid. In the end, I think this would be more beneficial for your score (and your sanity).

2019-09-08T06:18:30-07:00OAT Test Prep|