Scoring of OAT Test
There is great importance of a method of evaluation when a number of students need to be compared together. The need to evaluate arises when there are too many applicants for limited seats. For admissions into the optometry schools and colleges, the number of seats available is very less compared to the number of applicants. Hence, an evaluation admission test like OAT is customary.
The importance of OAT lies in the way it scores the performance of students on a single scale. Without this test's score, the admission process would become extremely vague and unjust since there would not be any common scale to judge each candidate. Considering only the GPA would also not give a peep into the capabilities of the candidates required for optometry schools, specifically in science subjects, since many other factors are responsible for your GPA.
Scores of OAT are an indication of the level of academic abilities possessed by students. The scores also indicate how capable a student is to interpret scientific information. This suggests if they have a scientific bent of mind and if they are capable of carrying on with the difficult curriculum of optometry schools as well as the demanding job conditions of an optometrist.
Optometry schools are not easy schools to get into. It requires an impressive application with high scores in OAT and also a good GPA to support it. Generally, schools look into your score in OAT as well as your GPA. However, if the GPA happens to be a little low, the score in OAT must cover it up in order to be considered by optometry schools. So OAT is your one chance, if you do not have an exceptional GPA, to improve your admission prospects.
OAT Score Report
- Since OAT is a computer based test, the unofficial score report is generated immediately after the test is taken. This unofficial score report is the only copy that is given to the students.
- The unofficial score report is audited by the OAT Program in which the responses are confirmed to formulate an accurate official score report. This score report is sent to optometry schools selected by the candidates at the time of registration in about 4 weeks.
- The OAT score report is sent to up to 5 schools as mentioned by the students. In order to send the score report to any more schools, the students need to inform the test program and pay an extra fee of $25 for each school.
- The score report sent to schools contains the scores of 4 most recent attempts at the test. Moreover, the score report also mentions the total number of attempts for schools to view, which may put a wrong impression about a careless attitude towards a serious profession. Therefore, it is suggested that you take the test once, with complete preparation and score well in it so that the chances of retaking it do not arise.
Interpreting OAT Scores
Scoring in OAT is done according to a predefined format. In order to score the performance, points are given to each correct response. No score is awarded or deducted for an un-attempted or wrongly attempted question. The number of points earned in the process generates a raw score.
The raw score is converted into a standard score by the process of equating. The standard score ranges from 200 to 400 and is reported in 10-point increments. This helps to compare the performances of students. The score report mentions this standard score along with the percentile ranks. There is no passing score in this test.
The OAT reports a total of 8 standard scores. These are in the following areas:
- Quantitative reasoning
- Reading comprehension
- Biology (Survey of Natural Science)
- General chemistry (Survey of Natural Science)
- Organic chemistry (Survey of Natural Science)
- Total science score (comprising Survey of Natural Science and Physics)
- Academic Average
The Academic Average in the test is an arithmetic average of the standard scores of the six tests, which are – quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics.
Good OAT Score
On an average, students score between 300 and 360. Hence, a score within this bracket might not be outstanding. One needs a really good score to prove his competitive nature. To have a good chance of getting into a good optometry school, it is mandatory that your score exceeds 360. It would be in your benefit if your score is around 375 and close to 95th percentile since nearly all optometry schools are open to accept such candidates.
OAT Tips Based on the Scoring Process
- The scoring process of OAT leaves room for guesswork. Hence, if you are not sure of the answer option, you must take your chances and make educated guesses, which might earn you a point.
- The score report of OAT gives a detailed report of your performance. It mentions separate scores for your attempt in the three subparts of the Survey of Natural Sciences as well. Hence, you cannot ignore any subject because it will reflect in your score report. Good scores in all parts of the score report depict consistent performance in the test. On the other hand, if you are not able to score well even in a single part, it gets highlighted as your weakness.
- All questions in the test carry equal marks, no matter if they are easy or difficult. Spending too long on a difficult question thus is not profitable since you might run out of time for answering the test completely. In turn, you might miss out on questions that are easy and could be answered by you.
- Good preparation is the best strategy for scoring well in the test. One has to polish one’s skills really well in order to put up a good show. While there is scope of guessing the answer, the need of guessing should not arise because it suggests lack of preparation. Don’t leave your score to chances and prepare for it from all sides.
- It should also be noted that if a student appears for only a part of the test and does not complete the test, he is not able to cancel his scores. This calls for taking the test seriously with full preparation since your score report would reflect the incomplete attempt, which might alarm the admission authorities.
If your goal is to get enrolled into a good optometry school, a good score in OAT is the only way to fulfill your dream. It is therefore in your hands to fulfill your goal with complete preparation and advance for a bright career.