OAT Study Schedule : How to Create One?

The OAT Study Schedule is a systematic plan designed to assist students in properly studying for the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The OAT is an official test that assesses the educational knowledge and analytical skills of students seeking to work in optometry. 

A well-developed study schedule is essential for improving preparation time and getting optimal outcomes due to the large range of materials included with the test.

When Should You Start Your OAT Study Schedule?

Preparing for the OAT calls for a well-planned and comprehensive study strategy. As a result, figuring out the best time to begin your OAT preparation will have a substantial impact on your exam achievement.

It is advised that you begin your OAT Study Schedule once you have fulfilled almost all of your optometry school prerequisite subjects. By accomplishing the bulk of them, you will have the essential understanding required to excel on the OAT. 

Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid taking any unnecessary courses and classes while studying for the OAT. Juggling a number of academic duties can divert your attention and make it difficult to devote enough time and attention to your OAT preparation. 

Without a doubt, removing any interruption from other activities creates an ideal condition for focused learning. You will be able to become familiar with OAT-specific subjects, practice questions, and evaluation sessions as a result of this. Essentially, a focused effort is necessary to successfully achieve your OAT score target.

While the OAT demands consistent and committed effort, taking breaks to engage in something else can provide mental energy and minimize boredom. Plus, these brief moments let your mind relax and recover, which increases your attention span and efficiency throughout OAT study sessions.

You need to know that setting up a fruitful OAT study schedule entails careful planning of study time, personal duties, and caring for oneself. Find a balance, and you’ll be able to avoid exhaustion while also improving your concentration, which will ultimately allow you to approach the exam with a refreshed and unbothered mind.

How Much Time Should I Spend Preparing for the OAT?

Your knowledge level, study pattern, and available time will dictate how much time you need to prepare for the OAT. However, it is typically recommended to set aside at least 2 to 4 months for extensive preparation. The specified period allows for sufficient exploration of the entire topic as well as effective exercises.

Experts typically recommend devoting roughly 200 hours to OAT preparation, which equates to approximately 3 study hours each day if you study for two months. This estimate takes into account the time spent learning basic topics, examining materials, doing sample questions, and participating in review sessions.

It helps to spread out your study time equally across your preparation time to avoid squeezing too many hours and allow for ongoing retention and understanding. However, breaking down the study time into manageable times may help you stay on your study track and keep burnout at bay.

Note that each OAT exam taker has their own set of skills, challenges, and learning styles. It is crucial to look at where you are in terms of knowledge, set reasonable goals, and tailor your study schedule accordingly. 

A Practical Guide to Prepare for the OAT

Splitting up your OAT study time into specific portions can be a useful strategy. When you have a three-month time frame and five study days in a week, the easiest way for setting up your study schedule is to allocate at least three hours per day.

Take five days of the week and dedicate a few hours in them to studying. Try to choose days that work best for you, in which you can continuously dedicate yourself to learning without interruptions or completing other duties.

Always remember to not forget self-care and leave time in your study schedule for rest days. Taking good care of both your physical and emotional health can help you focus, concentrate, and perform even better on the exam.

On top of that, doing practice exams allows you to be familiar with actual testing circumstances and analyze your knowledge and skills. Take enough practice tests, and you should be able to assess your performance and discover areas of shortcomings and strengths. 

As you take practice tests and see how much you improve, you are likely to develop more confidence in yourself. You may not realize it, but feeling confident and psychologically prepared for the exam plays a huge influence in reducing test anxiety.

Choosing your OAT Prep Resources

Choosing the right OAT prep resources is a crucial step in your preparation journey. Several options are available, including self-study materials, OAT test prep companies like Kaplan, private tutors, and live online classes. 

When choosing your OAT prep resources, it’s essential to consider factors such as your preferred learning style, budget, time commitment, and areas of improvement. Some students may benefit from a combination of resources, such as self-study materials supplemented by live online classes or occasional tutoring sessions. 

It’s also advisable to read reviews, seek recommendations, and take advantage of free trial offers to assess the quality and suitability of the resources before making a final decision.

Remember, regardless of the resources you choose, consistent practice, active engagement, and maintaining a structured study schedule are key to maximizing your OAT preparation and achieving your desired score.

  • Self-Study Materials

Self-study materials are a popular choice for students who prefer a flexible and independent approach to OAT preparation. These resources typically include textbooks, study guides, online question banks, and practice tests. 

Self-study allows you to set your own pace, focus on specific areas of weakness, and tailor your study plan to your individual needs, but it requires self-discipline to stay on track. It’s important to ensure that the self-study materials you choose are comprehensive, up-to-date, and aligned with the OAT content and format.

  • OAT Test Prep Companies e.g. OAT Booster or Kaplan

OAT test prep companies such as OAT Booster or Kaplan offer comprehensive OAT study programs that provide structured guidance and support. These programs often include a range of resources such as study materials, practice tests, and access to online platforms. They are designed to cover all sections of the OAT and provide targeted strategies for each subject area. You can also check OAT Bootcamp.

The advantage of using a test prep company is the expertise and experience they bring, as well as the availability of resources tailored specifically to the OAT. 

  • Private Tutoring

Private tutoring offers personalized attention and tailored instruction to meet your specific learning needs. A private tutor can provide one-on-one guidance, help identify areas of weakness, and offer targeted strategies for improvement. 

Tutors can adapt the curriculum to your learning style and pace, providing a customized study plan. This option is particularly beneficial if you prefer individualized support or have specific challenges that require focused attention. Private tutoring can be more expensive compared to other options, but the personalized approach may yield significant benefits for your OAT preparation.

  • Live Online Classes

Live online classes provide an interactive learning experience, combining the advantages of traditional classroom instruction with the convenience of online access. These classes are led by expert instructors who guide students through the OAT content, provide instruction, and facilitate discussion. 

Live classes offer the benefit of real-time interaction with instructors and peers, allowing for questions, clarification, and collaborative learning. Additionally, many live online class providers offer recordings of sessions for later review. However, it’s important to consider the scheduled class times and ensure they align with your availability.

How to Design an OAT Study Schedule?

Designing an OAT study schedule can be approached in various ways, but breaking it down into two parts, with each section lasting at least a month, can provide a structured framework. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to design your OAT study schedule using this approach:

  1. Assess Your Available Time: Start by evaluating your available time for studying. Consider your other commitments such as work, classes, and personal obligations. Determine how many hours you can dedicate to OAT preparation each day and how many days per week you can commit to studying.
  2. Divide Content Into Two Sections: Identify the content areas covered in the OAT, which include biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and reading comprehension. Divide these content areas into two sections, ensuring that each section has a reasonably equal amount of material to cover. This division allows you to focus on mastering one set of topics before moving on to the next.
  3. Allocate Study Time for Each Section: Assign a specific time frame for each section based on the amount of material to be covered. Ideally, allocate at least a month for each section to allow ample time for thorough understanding and practice. Adjust the duration based on your personal study pace and the difficulty level of each content area.
  4. Set Weekly Goals: Break down each section into weekly goals. Identify the subtopics or chapters within each content area and allocate specific study goals for each week. This will help you stay organized and track your progress effectively.
  5. Plan Study Sessions: Determine the number of study sessions you will have each week and their duration. Allocate dedicated study time for each content area based on its importance and your level of understanding. Aim for regular and consistent study sessions to maintain momentum and retention.
  6. Incorporate Review and Practice: Integrate regular review sessions and practice questions into your study schedule. Set aside time each week to review previously covered topics and reinforce your understanding. Practice questions and sample tests are crucial for assessing your progress and familiarizing yourself with the exam format.
  7. Allow for Flexibility: Recognize that not all content areas will require the same amount of time or effort. Be flexible and adjust your schedule as needed. If you find a particular topic challenging, allocate additional study time to ensure thorough comprehension.
  8. Take Breaks and Rest Days: It’s essential to include breaks and rest days in your study schedule to prevent burnout and maintain mental well-being. Allow yourself time for relaxation, hobbies, and activities that rejuvenate you. This will help you stay motivated and refreshed throughout your study period.
  9. Track your Progress: Regularly assess your progress and evaluate your understanding of the material. Keep track of your performance on practice tests and adjust your study plan accordingly. Identify areas that require additional focus and allocate more time for review if needed.
  10. Stay Consistent and Adapt: Stick to your study schedule as closely as possible, but be open to adapting it based on your evolving needs. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your study plan and make adjustments as necessary to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency.

Remember that designing an effective OAT study schedule is a dynamic process. Stay disciplined, remain motivated, and be willing to make changes along the way to optimize your preparation.

Mentally Prepare Yourself for the OAT

Mental preparation is a crucial aspect of performing well on the OAT. Giving yourself about two weeks before the exam to focus on mental readiness can significantly contribute to your confidence and overall performance. Here are some key steps to mentally prepare yourself for Test Day:

  1. Reflect on Your Progress: Take some time to reflect on your OAT preparation journey. Recognize your strengths and areas of improvement, and remind yourself that you are well-prepared for the exam.
  2. Visualize Success: Visualization is a powerful technique that can help boost confidence and alleviate test anxiety. Spend some time visualizing yourself entering the testing center, feeling calm and focused. Picture yourself answering questions accurately and confidently. Visualize the entire test-taking process going smoothly and successfully.
  3. Review Exam Logistics: Familiarize yourself with the logistical details of the exam day. Review the test center location, parking arrangements, and any specific instructions provided by the testing agency. Knowing these details in advance can help alleviate stress and ensure a smooth start to your test day.
  4. Establish a Relaxation Routine: Develop a relaxation routine that works for you. This can include activities such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that help you unwind. Implement this routine regularly during the two weeks leading up to the exam to promote a sense of calm and reduce anxiety.
  5. Practice Time Management: Use the remaining time before the exam to reinforce your time management skills. Take timed practice tests to practice pacing yourself within the allocated time for each section. 
  6. Build Confidence Through Review: Spend time reviewing your study materials and key concepts. Focus on the topics and areas that you feel less confident about. Engage in targeted review sessions, solve practice questions, and revisit challenging areas to reinforce your understanding and build confidence.
  7. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Prioritize self-care during this period. Get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious meals, and carry out physical activities. This will help you improve your mental state and cognitive performance.
  8. Avoid Last-Minute Cramming: While it’s important to review, avoid excessive studying or cramming in the final days before the exam. Instead, use this time to consolidate your knowledge, focus on mental preparedness, and ensure you are well-rested and relaxed for Test Day.
  9. Stay Positive and Believe in Yourself: Maintain a positive mindset and believe in your abilities. Remind yourself of the hard work you have put in and trust in your preparation. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations, and approach the exam with confidence and optimism.
  10. Trust Your Preparation: Finally, have faith in the preparation you have done. Trust that you have the knowledge and skills to tackle the OAT successfully. Approach the exam with a calm and focused mindset, knowing that you have done everything possible to prepare yourself for this moment.

Have an OAT Test Day Plan

Having a well-organized plan for your OAT Test Day can help reduce stress, ensure a smooth experience, and optimize your performance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you create an effective Test Day plan:

  1. Familiarize Yourself with Test Day Logistics: You can do this by reviewing the test center location and planning your route. Consider traffic and any potential delays. Check the test center’s rules and regulations regarding allowed items, electronic devices, and identification requirements. Confirm the reporting time and plan to arrive early to allow for any unexpected delays.
  2. Prepare Your Test Day Essentials: Gather all necessary documents, including your identification (e.g., driver’s license, passport) and the admission ticket provided by the testing agency. Prepare a clear, transparent plastic bag or pouch to hold your identification and other allowed items. Pack necessary supplies such as pencils, erasers, and a calculator (if permitted). Ensure they meet the testing agency’s guidelines.
  3. Arrive Early at the Test Center: Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before the designated reporting time to account for check-in procedures. This extra time will help you settle in, familiarize yourself with the surroundings, and reduce any last-minute rush or anxiety.
  4. Follow Instructions Carefully: Listen attentively to the proctor’s instructions and read all written instructions provided. Clarify any doubts or questions before the test begins.
  5. Pace Yourself During the Exam: Read and understand each question carefully before selecting your answer. Pace yourself according to the allotted time for each section, ensuring you have sufficient time for all questions. Avoid spending too much time on difficult questions; flag them and come back to them later if time permits.

FAQs about the OAT Study Schedule

  • How long should I study for the OAT?

It is generally recommended to give yourself 2-4 months to prepare for the OAT. 

  • How many hours should I study each day for the OAT?

A common recommendation is to dedicate around 3-4 hours of study per day to the OAT. However, the ideal study duration can vary based on individual preferences and commitments. It’s important to find a study schedule that works best for you and allows for consistent and focused preparation.

  • Can I study for the OAT while taking college courses?

It is possible to study for the OAT while taking college courses, but it can be challenging to balance both commitments. If you have a heavy course load, it may be beneficial to focus on your college courses and then dedicate a specific period after completing your prerequisites to solely focus on OAT preparation. However, if you have lighter course requirements, you may be able to incorporate OAT study alongside your regular coursework.

  • Should I follow a study schedule or study at my own pace?

Having a study schedule can help provide structure and ensure consistent progress. Some individuals may prefer a more flexible approach and study at their own pace, while others may benefit from a structured schedule. 

  • When should I start studying for the OAT?

The ideal time to start studying for the OAT is after you have completed the majority of your optometry school prerequisites. This ensures you have a solid foundation of knowledge in the relevant subjects. 

  • How can I stay motivated throughout my OAT study schedule?

Staying motivated during your OAT study schedule can be challenging. Here are a few strategies to help you stay on track:

  • Set specific goals and break them down into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Create a study plan that includes regular breaks and rewards for meeting milestones.
  • Find a study group or study partner to keep each other accountable.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or mentors who can encourage you.
  • Remember your long-term goals and the importance of the OAT in achieving them.


  • Should I take practice exams as part of my study schedule?

Absolutely! Taking practice exams is an essential component of OAT preparation. Practice exams simulate the actual test environment and help you become familiar with the format and timing. 

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