Optometry Admission Test | The Optometry Admission Test

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

Resources and guidance for the exam that optometry education programs use to assess candidates’ potential for success.
About the Optometry Admission Test

The OAT is a comprehensive exam that enables optometry education programs to assess the knowledge and preparedness of program applicants. OAT test results are accepted by all optometry schools in the U.S. and Canada. The four-part test is administered year-round by Prometric Test Centers in the U.S. and its territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Canada.

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is the governing body for the OAT. The test is implemented by the Department of Testing Services (DTS), which is a shared service of the American Dental Association.

For complete information on all aspects of the OAT, refer to the OAT Candidate Guide.

An info graphic for "OAT", The Optometry Admission Test.

OAT Retest Policy Update

  • Candidates must wait 60 days between testing attempts on the OAT, with a maximum of four (4) such administrations permitted during any 12-month period of time.
  • Candidates with three (3) or more attempts on the OAT must apply for permission to test again, providing proof of recent application to optometry school with each subsequent application to test.
  • Subsequent to the candidate’s fifth OAT attempt, the candidate may retest only once per 12-month period.
  • The OAT retest policy is not subject to appeal.
 

OAT questions and answers

Who should take the OAT? When is it offered?

The OAT is offered to all individuals seeking entry to optometry education programs in the U.S. and Canada. Candidates take the exam at Prometric Test Centers in the U.S., its territories and Canada, with testing appointments available year-round.

What is included in the OAT?

The OAT consists of multiple-choice questions presented in English, and includes a battery of four tests:

  • The Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Physics
  • Quantitative Reasoning Tests
How can I apply to take the OAT?

Start by reading the official OAT Guide, which explains:

  • How the exam is constructed and scored
  • How to prepare for the exam
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Fees and waivers
  • How to schedule, reschedule or cancel testing

Once you have read the guide, you will apply for the exam with a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN). After your application has been processed, you will receive an eligibility letter that permits you to schedule your testing appointment.

Get the OAT Guide

Where do I take the OAT?

The OAT is offered year-round at Prometric Test Centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Once you have received your eligibility letter confirming that your test application has been accepted, you must contact Prometric to secure an appointment. We recommend doing this at least 60 to 90 days before your desired test date, since schedules fill up. Visit the Prometric website to see the testing location closest to you, view relevant COVID-19 procedures and schedule your test.

Visit the Prometric site

What happens if I need to reschedule or cancel my exam?

If you must reschedule or cancel a test appointment, contact Prometric at 800.688.5804 or leave a message via the Prometric website. You must contact Prometric more than 24 business hours before your test appointment. Do not contact the local test center, as they cannot reschedule or cancel your appointment.

If you experience an emergency on the day of your scheduled test, you must send a written request for relief to the Department of Testing Services within 5 days of the original test date. Examples of emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden illness on test day. Provide a doctor’s note or hospital records confirming that you were treated on the day of the examination.
  • Death in the family on test day. Provide a copy of an obituary, prayer card, funeral service program or death certificate confirming that the relative passed away or services were held on the day of the examination.

Send your explanation with documentation to: testingproblems@ada.org.

When you cancel or reschedule, you will owe a fee payable directly to Prometric. Please note that any candidate who fails to appear for a scheduled test or presents more than 30 minutes after the scheduled start time and is refused admission will forfeit the full testing fee.

If you reschedule or cancel: Your fee will be:
30 or more days before test date Reschedule on or before 6/30/22: $25
Reschedule on or after 7/1/22: $70*
5-29 days before scheduled test date
Reschedule on or before 6/30/22: $60
Reschedule on or after 7/1/22: $70*
1-4 days before scheduled test date $150 per cancellation/reschedule

Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are NOT business days for purposes of determining the fee for rescheduling or canceling your exam.

*On July 1, 2022, these fees will increase.

Can I apply for a waiver of OAT test fees?

All available fee waivers have been granted for the current year. The application for 2023 fee waivers will be posted in early 2023. Here is an outline of how the waiver program works, offered as background for candidates who may wish to apply for a future waiver.

In documented cases of severe financial hardship, a limited number of partial fee waivers are available to OAT examinees each calendar year. The partial waiver covers 50% of the OAT fee. The waiver does not apply to any charges associated with rescheduling or canceling a test date or score reporting after the time of initial application. Partial fee waivers are granted on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible examinees who have submitted the required documents.

Examinees can request a partial fee waiver if they:

  • Are taking the test for the first time
  • Have not previously received a partial fee waiver
  • Are a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Have demonstrated financial hardship
  • Have received financial aid from their school

When fee waivers are available, there is a form to submit with a copy of the financial aid award letter you received from your school. (The financial aid award letter cannot be older than 18 months.) Alternatively, applicants who have not been enrolled in a college or university in the past 18 months can substitute a copy of their most recent tax return.

The OAT Program will review all fee waiver requests and make the final approval/denial decision. After the request is reviewed, examinees will receive an email notification of the decision and instructions for submitting an OAT application online. Please allow up to 10 business days for review of all partial fee waiver requests.

Do I need a special code or PIN to take the exam?

Yes. Each OAT examinee will need a unique personal identification number (PIN). If you have already applied for the test, a PIN has been assigned to you. You will use this PIN to schedule your test date, request your test scores and perform all other steps related to OAT.

Create or retrieve your PIN

How is my personal information protected?

The Department of Testing Services (DTS) takes extensive steps to protect the privacy and security of all information you provide as an OAT examinee.

View the OAT privacy policy

Are there policies and procedures to support fairness in testing?

Yes. Fairness in testing is of vital importance, and is in fact fundamental to an examination’s validity. Fairness considerations are embedded throughout the OAT program, affecting every aspect of how this examination is constructed, administered, scored, and reported.

What is the OAT User Guide?

The OAT is a battery consisting of the following four individual tests: the Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension Test, Physics Test, and Quantitative Reasoning Test. Detailed information can be found in the User Guide below.

OAT User Guide (PDF)

What is the OAT Examinee Information Report?

The OAT Examinee Information Report provides general demographic information on examinees who have applied to take the OAT. Trend tables are included to identify changes taking place among examinees. This information may be of use to optometry schools as they review their admission procedures.

View the report

What is the OAT Validity Study?

The OAT Validity Study reports the relationship among OAT scores, pre-optometry grade point averages (GPAs) and the academic and clinical achievements of a sample of students during their first and second years in United States optometry schools. Correlation coefficients are used to understand the relationship between admission selection criteria (such as GPAs and OAT scores) and pre-optometry success in students' first two years of optometry education.

View the study

What is the OAT Biology Readiness Survey Report?

The OAT Biology Readiness Survey Report was conducted in 2018 to update and establish the content domain and test specifications for the biology section of the OAT. This report documents results of three surveys developed to identify core knowledge in biology that students must know in order to be prepared for optometry school training.

View the report

Where can I go for more information?

If you have questions that are not covered in the OAT Guide, you can contact the Department of Testing Services for additional information.

Phone: 1-800-232-1694 Email: oatexam@ada.org In writing: American Dental Association, Department of Testing Services, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Learn all about the OAT and get ready to take your exam.
Visit the Prometric website to find the testing facility closest to you.
Explore the test format with this easy-to-follow tutorial from Prometric.

Prepare for success with practice test modules

As you get ready to take the OAT, you may want to utilize the practice tests and test modules that are available for all examinees. These modules feature questions written by actual OAT test constructors to give you a sense of what to expect on the OAT. Questions mirror the test specifications and are formatted as you will find them on the actual test.

OAT practice tests and test modules from Prometric

Full practice test
This test includes the following six modules ($100 for all six):
  1. Biology 201
  2. Organic Chemistry 201
  3. General Chemistry 201
  4. Reading Comprehension 201
  5. Quantitative Reasoning 201
  6. Physics 201

The full practice test has an allotted time of 3 hours and 35 minutes, divided into timed sections to help simulate the time constraints of the actual test. This test does not allow for a break. Once you click “Begin Test,” you must take the practice test in the allotted time. Once you have purchased the test, you will have 24 hours to complete it. When the time expires, the test will end, even if you are taking the test at that time.

The OAT Program does not endorse any test preparation courses and has no data on the content or efficacy of test preparation courses designed to prepare examinees to take the OAT.

The OAT Program urges individuals considering participating in test preparation courses to review carefully the course materials to ensure that they reflect the current content of the OAT.

Purchase the full practice test

Individual test modules

If you prefer not to take the full practice test, you can opt to take one or more test modules for $20 each. These individual modules are identical to the six modules in the full practice test. Each module must be taken within 24 hours of purchase. When the time expires, the test will end even if you are taking the test at that time.

  1. Biology 201 (40 items)
  2. Organic Chemistry 201 (30 items)
  3. General Chemistry 201 (30 items)
  4. Reading Comprehension 201 (25 items)
  5. Quantitative Reasoning 201 (40 items)
  6. Physics 201 (40 items)

Purchase individual test modules

Apply to take the OAT

After you’ve reviewed the OAT Guide, sign up to take your exam.

A computer keyboard with the return key labeled "Appy for the OAT". OAT is an acronym for The Optometry Admission Test.
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Get your OAT scores

View your OAT test results and find information on test audits.

Become a volunteer test constructor

The Department of Testing Services welcomes your volunteer expertise in shaping questions for future OAT exams.

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