OAT Physics Overview

The OAT, or Optometry Admission Test, is required for all those who are applying to Optometry school. Part of the process of your acceptance to such schools will be based on your scores to the OAT. The OAT is designed to test your abilities in four relevant areas of study: Survey of Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning. Each area is tested separately; however, the test is taken is as a whole. You cannot take just one portion of it, you must take them all.

Acceleration and Gravity

Acceleration and Gravity
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Who Is Eligible?

To successfully complete the OAT program, it is recommended that you have finished at least two years of college education before taking the test. This is because a good understanding of biology, as well as general and organic chemistry, is required for the test. It is suggested that you take the OAT well before you begin to apply for admission to any optometry school. This will allow enough time for your OAT scores to be recorded and sent.

Before you can apply to take the test, you will be required to get a Personal Identification Number (PIN). To get this you will need to register for one at ADA.org/OAT. Once you receive this PIN, you must apply for the test at the same website. A $435 fee will be charged at this time and cannot be waived for any reason. This fee includes reporting to all schools listed on your application.

How to Schedule?

Once your application has been processed and approved, you will be sent information to schedule your testing session at one of the many testing centers available in U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

It is important to note that once your application has been approved you will only have six months to schedule and take the OAT. If you are not able to within that time, you will have to apply to take the test again and pay another fee.

If you need to reschedule/cancel, you can anytime up to the last 24 hours before your scheduled test. However, there will be a fee to do so based on the amount of notice given.

  • 1-5 days and at least 24 hours before test $100
  • 6-30 days before $60
  • 31 or more days before $25

If you do not pass the test, you must wait a full 90 days before retaking it. At that time, you will have to re-apply and pay another fee. After three failed attempts, you will have to provide extra evidence of your qualifications and testing will be limited.

What To Bring?

You must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. If you show up late, you will not be allowed to take the test and will forfeit any fees paid.

Two current forms of ID, one primary and one secondary, are required at the testing center. Acceptable primary IDs are a driver’s license, a passport, or a passport card. These must have a photo and a signature on them. Acceptable secondary IDs are a debit/credit card or a library card. These must have your signature on them.

No personal items are allowed within the testing area. Any personal belongings will be kept in a designated locker separate from the testing area and the contents may be inspected. Unacceptable personal items include but are not limited to:

  • Bags or purses
  • Any electronic devices
  • Food or beverages
  • Outwear such as hats and jackets
  • Jewelry and watches (except for wedding/engagement rings)
  • Any materials for test use such as notebooks, books, or pencils/pens

Calculators will be provided on your computer screen as needed, therefore you may not bring one with you.

What Is Covered?

You will be given 4 hours and 50 minutes to complete the test. This time includes a short tutorial, a 15-minute scheduled break, and a survey. The physics portion of the test is given 50 of those minutes to complete. The topics covered in this section are the following:

  • Units/vectors
  • Linear kinematics
  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Rotational motion
  • Energy/momentum
  • Simple harmonic motion
  • Waves
  • Thermal energy/thermodynamics
  • Fluid statics
  • D.C. circuits
  • Electrostatics
  • Optics

There is a total of 40 multiple choice questions in this section. Both the metric system and the U.S. customary system of units may be used during this section.

How Is It Scored?

At the end of your testing session, you will receive an unofficial score report. Your official scores will be sent to all optometry schools noted on your OAT application. If you choose to have other schools and/or recipients receive your OAT scores, an additional fee of $36 per report/school will apply.

How to Best Prepare?

Here at Mometrix, we have put together the perfect study guide that will allow you to see just what the physics section of the OAT entails, as well as what kind of questions will be asked of you. Check out both our flash cards and study guide for the ultimate OAT Physics test preparation.

Upgrade your studying with our OAT study guide and flashcards:
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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: January 1, 2022