How To Get Into Optometry School?


How To Get Into Optometry School
How to Apply – Optometrists must obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree and be licensed in order to practice. Optometry schools are highly competitive; most applicants earn a bachelor’s degree before applying. Most OD schools take four years to complete.

Some students choose to go on to a one-year residency program to get advanced training in a specialized area. Although you can select any undergraduate major, most optometry schools require that you take specific pre-requisite courses to be eligible to apply. The recommended courses are different depending upon the school you apply to.

Here is a list of recommended courses you can take at Michigan Tech. Research the specific admissions requirements for the schools you want to apply to. Students can use this resource to check on admissions requirements for specific optometry schools. But also need to check directly with each school: OptomCAS School & College Prerequisites.

  1. Optometry schools highly consider your cumulative GPA as well as your prerequisite science GPA, so it’s important for you to maintain a competitive GPA.
  2. Most programs require a minimum 3.0 GPA but the average accepted cumulative and science GPA for accepted students is a 3.5.
  3. Apart from your pre-requisites and OAT Score, most optometry schools require letters of recommendation, a written personal statement or essay, and if selected, an in-person interview.

Most optometry schools want applicants to have clinical shadowing and/or volunteer experience. Clinical experience is a big factor that weighs heavily in admissions decisions. Explore more information on the applicant/student profile and pre-requisites for optometry students.
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What major is best for optometry school?

Overview of the Profession Course Requirements View the School-Specific Prerequisites of all Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) member schools and colleges. To see which UCLA courses satisfy the most common course requirements, refer to the UCLA Pre-Health Requirements Worksheet, found here,

  • Meet with an academic advisor at UCLA for advice on course planning for optometry school.
  • Do I have to be a specific major to apply to optometry school? A: NO.
  • However, a major in biology or chemistry is often recommended for students interested in optometry careers.
  • Centralized Application System OptomCAS is the Optometry Centralized Application Service.

Through this service applicants may file one application and send it to multiple optometry programs. The schools and colleges of optometry will be able to process applications more efficiently. All schools and colleges of optometry participate in OptomCAS.
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What is a good OAT score?

Biology – Optometry Admission Test (OAT) All 20 schools and colleges of optometry in the U.S. and Puerto Rico require that you take the OAT. The test is conducted by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and is offered at Prometric Testing Centers around the country (but not in Bowling Green).

In 2006, all OAT administrations became computer based (CBT). It is suggested that students take the test in summer of the year prior to seeking admission (e.g. summer 2011 for fall 2012 admission). Taking the test in the fall may not give the student the best opportunity to gain acceptance, as by the time official scores are reported (approx.3 weeks later) application deadlines are imminent and optometry school classes have already begun to fill.

There is a $213 examination fee that includes copies of the report for the student, his/her pre-optometry advisor, and up to 5 optometry schools. It is important that the student prepare adequately for the test. While taking OAT preparatory courses may or may not be helpful to you, it is important that you have finished your physics (2 semesters), chemistry (four semesters) and biology ( as much as you have time for) courses before taking the OAT.

  1. Students will find courses in cell/molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology very helpful.
  2. The test is exclusively multiple choice and is composed of four sections: 1) Survey of Natural Sciences (40 biology, 30 general chemistry, and 30 organic chemistry questions, lasting 90 minutes; 2) Reading Comprehension, usually 3 reading passages followed by 15-17 questions per passage, lasting 50 minutes; 3) Physics, 40 questions lasting 50 minutes; and 4) Quantitative Reasoning, 45 minutes (calculators not permitted).

There is a scheduled 15 minute rest between the 2nd and 3rd section. The OAT is scored based on the number of correct answers, therefore candidates are not penalized for guessing. The score ranges from 200 to 400 with a median score of 300 and a standard deviation of 40.

  1. A 320 is a very good score and a 350 is an excellent score representing approx.90% ile.
  2. An important note about OAT scores: In May 2009, scores were renormalized so that the mean was 300.
  3. In recent years the mean score on the test had risen to above 320.
  4. The renormalization makes it difficult to compare scores from before 2009 with those since.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view. : Biology – Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
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How much do optometrists make at Boots UK?

How much does an Optometrist make at Boots in the United Kingdom? Average Boots Optometrist yearly pay in the United Kingdom is approximately £61,857, which is 18% above the national average.
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How many years does it take to become an ophthalmologist in UK?

How to become an ophthalmologist – After medical school, you’ll join the paid two-year foundation programme where you’ll work in six placements in different settings. After your foundation programme, you can apply for paid specialty training to become an ophthalmologist, which will take a minimum of seven years.
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Which subject is best for optometrist?

Admissions in BSc. Optometry Course. Students who apply for the admission need: 50% marks at 10+2 levels with subjects of physics, chemistry, biology, and math.
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What is on the OAT exam?

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) Resources and guidance for the exam that optometry education programs use to assess candidates’ potential for success. 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. How To Get Into Optometry School

  • 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.
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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. 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

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. 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.

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.

  • 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:, 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. All OAT fee waivers for 2023 have been granted. The following is provided for informational purposes only.

  1. In documented cases of severe financial hardship, a limited number of partial fee waivers are available to OAT examinees each calendar year.
  2. The partial waiver covers 50% of the OAT fee.
  3. 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 financial information form to complete and email to 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.

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.

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

  1. This information may be of use to optometry schools as they review their admission procedures.
  2. 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. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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: In writing: American Dental Association, Department of Testing Services, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 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.

  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.

  • 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.
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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)

The Department of Testing Services welcomes your volunteer expertise in shaping questions for future OAT exams. How To Get Into Optometry School : The Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
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What is the highest degree for ophthalmologist?

Doctor of Medicine in Ophthalmology A doctor of Medicine is the highest degree awarded in the field of ophthalmology.
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Is 300 a good OAT score?

How is the OAT scored? Each subject is scored on a standardized scale from 200 to 400 points. A score of 300 equates to the 50th percentile in that section. A good OAT score for acceptance is around 320, but students with lower scores also get accepted all the time! The OAT (Optometry Admissions Test) grades you on 6 different subjects:

Biology (BIO)General Chemistry (GC)Organic Chemistry (OC)Physics (P)Reading Comprehension (RC)Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

Here’s how your performance is broken down by score range: Each subject is scored on a standardized scale out of 400 points. A score of 300 equates to the 50th percentile in that section. There are no deductions for incorrect answers. Thus, you should always fill out every answer option – it doesn’t hurt you to guess! In addition to the 6 individual scores you’ll receive above, you’ll get an Academic Average (AA) score, which is the most important number. : How is the OAT scored?
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Can I study for the OAT in 2 weeks?

Quick Summary –

The recommended OAT study period is 2-4 months, or rather, a total of 200-250 study hours. While creating a study schedule, it is recommended that you study for at least 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. The best OAT study schedule should ideally account for at least 8 weeks of studying. Your choice of study materials will largely dictate how your structure your study schedule.

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Is there a lot of physics on the OAT?

What Topics Are Included in the Physics Test? – The Physics sections of the OAT will account for 40 of the 230 multiple-choice questions on the test. Those 40 questions will cover some of the most fundamental concepts in physics including:

Units and VectorsLinear KinematicsStaticsDynamicsRotational MotionEnergy and MomentumSimple Harmonic MotionWavesFluid StaticsThermal Energy and ThermodynamicsElectrostaticsD.C. CircuitsOptics

Keep in mind that the questions on the test may use either imperial or metric measurements and sometimes require you to convert between the two so if you are more comfortable with one than the other, take the time to become equally familiar with both systems.
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What is the lowest OAT score you can get?

OAT scores range from 200 to 400, and are reported in 10 point increments. Each educational program makes its own determination as to what constitutes an acceptable score on the exam. As such, there is not an official passing score for this examination.
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How long does it take to study for OAT?

HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU SPEND STUDYING FOR THE OAT? – Your personal study plan for studying for the OAT will need to be based around your commitments, your personal prep needs, and your time to Test Day. The total amount of time you spend studying each week will depend on your schedule, your starting content and critical thinking mastery, and your test date, but it is recommended that you spend somewhere in the range of 150-250 hours preparing before taking the official OAT.

One way you could break this down is to study for three hours per day, five days per week, for three months. But this is just one approach. You might choose to study six days per week (though be sure to give yourself at least one day off each week) or for more than three hours per day. You might study over a longer period of time if you don’t have as much time to study each week.

Or you might find that you need more or fewer hours based on your personal performance and goal scores. No matter what your plan is, ensure you complete enough practice to feel completely comfortable with the OAT and its content. A good sign you’re ready for Test Day is when you begin to earn your goal score consistently in practice.

  1. Building a Calendar The best time to create a study plan is at the beginning of your OAT prep.
  2. This will likely take an hour or more; take the time to thoroughly build your study calendar as it will be a fantastic tool to keep you organized and on track to be fully prepared by your OAT Test Day.
  3. You can use a planner, keep track using an interactive online calendar, or use a calendar app on your phone/computer.

Once you have your calendar, write in all your school, extracurricular, and work obligations: classes you’re taking, work, meetings, etc. Then add in personal obligations: appointments, lunch dates, family and social time, etc. As part of your personal obligations, be sure to schedule in specific time for family and friends, working out, or other hobbies and extracurricular activities.

Making an appointment in your calendar for downtime or hanging with friends may seem strange at first, but planning social activities in advance will help you cope with your busy schedule and help you strike a happy balance that allows you to be more focused and productive when it comes time to study.

Plus, our brains need some rest to process all of the learning they do. Once you have established your calendar’s framework, add in study blocks around your obligations, keeping your study schedule as consistent as possible across days and across weeks.

Next, add in full-length practice tests. For each practice test scheduled, set aside five hours to take the test and then another five hours the next day to thoroughly review the test. You should plan to take at least three full-length practice tests over the course of your OAT prep. (You get two online practice tests with the purchase of OAT Prep Plus 2019-2020 and seven practice tests if you take a Kaplan OAT class,) Plan to take your first practice test at the beginning of your prep.

Kaplan offers a free, realistic practice test for the OAT that will also give you a detailed score analysis. You can use your results to establish a baseline for comparison and to determine which areas to focus on right away. Study Blocks To make studying as efficient as possible, block out short, frequent periods of study time throughout the week.

  1. From a learning perspective, studying one hour per day for six days per week is much more valuable than studying for six hours all at once one day per week (studying binges are typically not effective).
  2. Spacing out your prep allows your brain time to consolidate its new memories, and seeing the material repeatedly over a longer period of time makes recalling information on Test Day easier and faster.
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We recommend studying for no longer than three hours in one sitting. In fact, three hours is an ideal length of time to study: It’s long enough to build up your stamina for the five-hour OAT, but not so long that you become overwhelmed with too much information.

  • Within those three-hour blocks, also plan to take 10-minute breaks every hour.
  • Use these breaks to get up from your seat, do some quick stretches, get a snack and a drink, and clear your mind.
  • These breaks will allow you to deal with distractions and rest your brain so that, during the 50-minute study blocks, you can remain completely focused.

Taking breaks more often than this, however, can be detrimental; research shows that becoming fully engaged in a mentally-taxing activity generally takes ten minutes, so if you stop to check your email or social media, talk with your roommates, or grab yet another snack every ten minutes while studying, you will never be completely engaged and will not be using your time effectively.

If you would like to study for more than three hours in one day, space out your studying with a significant break in the middle. For example, you might study for three hours in the morning, take a two-hour break to have lunch with friends, then study for another two hours in the afternoon. If you are unable to study for a full three hours in one sitting, shorter amounts of time can work as well, but you’ll get the most benefit from studying if you immerse yourself in the material uninterrupted for at least one hour.

Goal Setting The OAT covers a large amount of material, so studying can initially seem daunting. To put studying more into your control, break the content down into specific goals for each day and each week instead of attempting to approach the test as a whole.

  • A goal of “I want to increase my cumulative score by thirty points” is too big, abstract, and difficult to measure on a small scale.
  • A more reasonable goal is “I will be able to recite all of the digestive enzymes by Friday.” Goals like this are much less overwhelming and help break studying into manageable pieces.

Once you’ve established your short-term goals, you will want to achieve them as efficiently and effectively as possible, which means making the most of your study time. Always take notes when reading and practicing. Whether you are studying on your own or with an expert teacher or tutor, practice active learning: jot down important ideas, draw diagrams, and make charts.

  • Highlighting can be an excellent tool but use it sparingly.
  • Active participation increases your retention and makes rereading your notes at a later date a great way to refresh your memory.
  • Focus on Areas of Greatest Opportunity If you are limited by only having a minimal amount of time to study before your OAT test date, focus on your biggest areas of opportunity first.

Areas of opportunity are topic areas that are highly tested and that you have not yet mastered. You can use your results from your practice tests to determine which areas are your biggest opportunities and seek those out. Practice, Review, and Tracking Leave time to review your practice tests, questions from practice sets, and your notes throughout your studying.

  • You may be tempted to push ahead and cover new material as quickly as possible, but failing to schedule ample time for review will actually throw away your greatest opportunity to improve your performance.
  • The brain rarely remembers anything it sees or does only once.
  • When you build a connection in the brain and then don’t follow up on it, that knowledge may still be in your memory somewhere but not in the accessible way you need it to be on Test Day.

When you carefully review notes you’ve taken or problems you’ve solved (and the explanations for them), the process of retrieving that information reopens and reinforces the connections you’ve built in your brain. This builds long-term retention and repeatable skill sets—exactly what you need to beat the OAT.

  1. While reviewing, take notes about the specific reasons why you missed questions you got wrong or had to guess on.
  2. You can do this by hand, or create a spreadsheet.
  3. Eep adding to the sheet as you complete more practice, and periodically review it to identify any patterns you see, such as consistently missing questions in certain content areas or falling for the same test-maker traps.

Here’s an example of an error log:

Section Q# Topic/Type Wrong Answer Chosen Why I Missed It
Chemistry 42 Nuclear Chem. Opposite Confused electron absorption and emission
Reading Comp 2 Detail Opposite Didn’t read “not” in answer choice; slow down.

In the end, you want to:

Personalize your studying to be as effective as possible for you individually Follow a specific calendar that contains your study blocks and breaks Make the most of those study blocks by focusing on your areas of opportunity

In this way, you’ll learn more and at a faster rate than you could otherwise. Sticking with your efficient plan leads to effectively learning the material you need to ace the OAT—this way, you can do well the first time and not need to study for the test again. Being committed now will definitely pay off in the end.
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Is a 360 on the OAT good?

By the numbers: –

Students ENTERING (not applying) optometry schools average approximately 3.3 to 3.7 depending on the program. Some programs have strict minimum GPA requirements and others will consider all applicants In general, students around 3.0 can be competitive applicants to optometry school provided they have strong OAT scores, strong letters of recommendation, extensive experience (volunteering) with the profession, good verbal/written communication skills, and a good math/science GPA The average OAT scores for students range from approximately 320 to 360 on a scale that ranges from 200 to 400. To be competitive at the best optometry schools, such as SUNY, your GPA should be APPROIMATELY 3.5 or above and your OAT score should be APPROXIMATELY 360 or higher

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Is Waterloo optometry hard to get into?

Waterloo is one of only two schools in Canada that offer an OD program. The school is also a member of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). The program has a highly competitive admissions process.
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