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OAT Test Preparation
Any specialization needs rigorous training. Not all can follow the disciplined and demanding course that is the basic requirement for being specialized. Optometrists also need to be trained in their field in a four-year course. Therefore, it becomes necessary that students willing to join optometry schools are motivated and capable to carry on with the demands of the course.
OAT is an admission test that helps in selecting capable candidates who can pursue the four-year rigorous curriculum of optometry schools. It helps in selecting the few deserving candidates out of millions of applicants for the limited seats. In order to do this, OAT tests students at various levels. It tests their academic achievements in biology, chemistry and physics, besides evaluating their problem solving, logical thinking and mental skills.
OAT is not a pass/fail test. It is how high a score a candidate achieves in it that determines his success. Getting past the OAT is the biggest hurdle between the students and optometry schools. However, it is not impossible. Ever since admission tests have come into being, the fact that has been proven again and again is that it is not the gifted, but the persevering, hard working and resolute who succeed in these tests. This fact should surely encourage many students who become doubtful about their capabilities. Even the highest score in OAT is within the reach of every student willing to prove his worth.
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What does preparation do for the hardworking that luck does not for the gifted?
Luck is a factor that can change its course anytime. It is not something on which triumph can be achieved. Those who depend on factors other than their own abilities are bound to fall flat on their faces since OAT is a very detailed examination. It is not possible that all questions appear easy to some candidates without their having the knowledge of them. Even if their guesswork proves to be correct for the OAT answers, there is a high chance that they go wrong. Such a student, who believes that his destiny, and not merit, is responsible for his entry into Optometry schools would never be successful and will have to learn things the hard way.
On the other hand, students who believe in their hard work choose their own destiny. They make certain the things that are left to chance. With preparation, one is able to map one’s graph of skills, and with practice one can reach to the point where success is inevitable. Preparation gives students the knowledge and confidence of answering the OAT questions correctly, while climbing over the steps towards a high score in OAT. It is with preparation that the following milestones can be reached.
- With preparation it is possible to learn the content asked in OAT. Even if most of the content is the same that students have studied in their undergraduate classes, they need to revise and practice to perfection.
- During preparation, one gets the opportunity to learn maximum about the OAT. Coming prepared to the test center with the knowledge of the test, its format and instructions to be followed makes a huge difference.
- Preparation gives you a chance to assess you skills before the OAT program assesses you. That means you can polish your skills where you are likely to falter during the test and avoid losing marks in the final OAT.
- Studying for OAT prepares you mentally to take the exam. It brings the seriousness that is required to take the exam as well as to follow the course of professional education after the OAT.
Time Required to Prepare for OAT
Students taking the OAT are required to have taken one-year courses in chemistry, biology and physics. Hence, they are already in touch with the subjects asked in OAT. Moreover, those aiming at getting into the OAT are serious about their course work in their high school years. Hence, the content to be learnt is not something new for them. However, OAT requires preparation for its specific format. Hence, about 3 months before the OAT should be devoted to OAT specific study.
However, the preparatory time that a student needs is largely dependent on his preparation level. That is why most of the students prefer to take at least 2 years of undergraduate courses before registering for OAT. Hence, you are the best judge about the time you need to prepare for OAT.
How to make the best out of preparation
It is extremely essential to devise your preparation plan such that it is most beneficial for you. For this you need the following:
- The right kind of OAT study materials
- The right kind of preparation method
- Revision and practice
The Right OAT Study Materials
Two of the tests of OAT are achievement tests. Hence, your knowledge in the test of Survey of Natural Sciences and Physics pays to a great extent. Although the content is taken from the coursework that you have taken, the content should be studied in light of the types of questions asked in OAT. For this purpose, you need to collect study material relevant to the OAT. For the other two sections as well, it is only with the right study material that students can get a complete picture and prepare well.
For preparation to be directed towards scoring high in OAT it is required that the students get hold of the best study materials. Study materials for OAT should be:
Therefore, one needs to research a little to find the best OAT study material. It is best to learn about the test through the official study materials. The OAT Program does not run a preparatory course for students willing to take the OAT. However, students can take the help of Test Preparation Materials and Sample Test available free of cost on the website of ASCO. Moreover, the official website also offers a Tutorial to teach students about the computer testing environment in which the test is conducted. The students can get first-hand experience by taking the Tutorial and understand the instructions to get a hang of the test.
Apart from this, students should be able to decide between OAT books and software as their preferred study material. The medium through which they study bears an impact on their preparation. It is possible to learn your lessons well only if you are able to study and retain the things that you study. In case the student is not able to set off learning through the study material, it will be of no use.
Other forms of OAT study materials available are flashcards, online study materials and notes. One must recognize the type of study material in which one is interested and which is able to support preparation in the best way possible.
The Right Kind of Preparation Method
There are many ways in which OAT students can seek help. Some of the common methods employed for preparation are:
- OAT preparation classes run in coaching institutes.
- OAT online courses run by OAT preparation websites
- OAT tutorials run privately at home with the help of a trained tutor.
One of these methods needs to be employed for preparation. However, before selecting a method, one must decide which the most suitable method is. One should select the method of study according to one’s nature and study habits.
Revision and Practice
While learning your lessons increases your knowledge, it is with revision and practice that this knowledge is made applicable. Revision helps in the following:
- It fixes the knowledge in your mind
- It helps in polishing your skills
- It brings activity in learning
- It makes it possible to recognize the areas lacking in preparation
For OAT, revision holds great importance. The Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning sections can be mastered only with practice. This can be best done with the help of sample test questions and practice tests.
Preparation is a way of believing in yourself. It increases your confidence and cognitive abilities. Hence, when it is time to take the OAT, you should trust your abilities and prepare whole-heartedly for the test.
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