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 DATBootcamp.com, 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.