Optometry Admission Test (OAT)


The term Optometry Admission Test refers to an examination used by colleges of optometry as part of their admissions decision making process.  The OAT tests the student's knowledge of natural sciences and physics, reading comprehension, as well as quantitative reasoning.  Test scores range from 200 to 400.


The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is used by the admissions departments of colleges of optometry to identify prospective students.  The test is administered throughout the year in centers located throughout the world.  Applicants are provided with an unofficial score immediately after completing the examination.  Official results are available for online viewing in as little as three to four weeks; reports are delivered by mail to up to five schools in that same timeframe as part of the test fee.  Colleges typically require students to take the OAT in December to be admitted to a program the following fall.

The test consists of four sections and students have approximately four hours and 40 minutes (with a 15 minute break) to complete the entire examination, including:

  • Natural Sciences: includes 100 multiple choice questions that test the student's knowledge of natural sciences such as biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry (90 minutes).
  • Reading Comprehension: includes reading three passages and answering 40 multiple choice questions that test the student's ability to read, comprehend and analyze information (50 minutes).
  • Physics: includes 40 multiple choice questions that test the student's knowledge in areas such as linear kinematics, rotational motion, thermal energy, electric circuits, harmonic motion and optics (50 minutes).
  • Quantitative Reasoning: includes 40 multiple choice questions that test the student's knowledge in areas such as algebra, numeric calculations, probability and statistics, geometry, trigonometry and applied mathematics (45 minutes).

Raw scores are converted to a scale that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 400 points.  Scores are scaled such that 300 would be the national mean score for all test takers.  The exam can be taken every 90 days; however, students that have taken it three times must apply for permission to retake the test.  After the third test, the examination can only be taken once every twelve months.  If taken multiple times, schools are provided with an average of the last four test scores, and the total number of tests taken is included in the report.

Related Terms

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