Exam Preparation & Study Resources
- To score well on the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or GREs, you will need to possess strong reading comprehension skills. Take a speed reading test. Your verbal SAT scores may be an indicator of your success with the above exams. (Freshman year is not too early to do this).
- There are numerous commercial preparation resources available for study. You can purchase study materials and practice exams without taking a course. Organize a study strategy that will extend over at least four months and include significant study time each week. In addition to content knowledge, you must be familiar with the types of exam questions asked and the time requirements of each segment. When taking a practice test, try to replicate an actual testing environment as closely as possible. Remember: as you set up your study schedule, if you were to take a commercial prep course, you would have around 100 hours of classroom and testing time over three months, not including out-of-class study time.
Begin studying early - fall semester. Don’t wait until one month before the exam.
By taking the pre-requisite courses, you have already been preparing for the exams. Keep your course notes and books. Official test prep materials and practice tests are available from MCAT, DAT, OAT, etc. Your first stop should be the official test prep material from these organizations. (Check their websites, links found under "Study Resources" below.)
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing skills in addition to the examinee's knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in each of the following areas:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Medical college admission committees consider MCAT scores as part of their admission decision process. The test is administered in a computerized format.
From MCAT Essentials
Your preparation for the MCAT exam should begin with a careful review of the MCAT website and in the MCAT Student Manual, also available on the website. Note the reasoning, writing, and problem-solving skills assessed by the MCAT exam and the science topics covered on the test. Particularly in the sciences, you should review relevant course outlines, notes, and textbooks. After you have covered the material online and reviewed course materials, you should take one or more of the official MCAT Practice Tests to help determine which areas you may need further study. When taking a practice test, try to replicate an actual testing environment as closely as possible. Minimize distractions, time yourself, and take the sections in their standard order (Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences).
Official MCAT Practice Tests are comprised of items developed exclusively for the MCAT and are currently available for purchase from the AAMC. Using the provided raw-to-scaled score conversion tables, candidates can estimate their likely MCAT exam score, plus or minus one scaled score. This practice test offers optional interactive feedback that can be turned on/off by the examinee, automated scoring, and a sophisticated diagnostic summary report across content areas. Candidates can only select an entire examination or a section and customize their item selection by content area, type of skill, reading passage, or item difficulty. Web and paper tests are available from MCAT.
Check out the Official Guide to the MCAT.
MCAT Study Resources
- The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam
- The Official MCAT Self-Assessment Bundle Packages
- AAMC Full Length Practice Tests
- Khan Academy MCAT Prep
- Princeton Review
- Study Guide Zone: MCAT
The Dental Admission Test (DAT) consists of multiple-choice items distributed across a battery of four tests: the Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Perceptual Ability Test, Reading Comprehension Test, and Quantitative Reasoning Test. The Test Specifications list the topic areas covered in each of the four tests in the Guide. The test takes 5 hours. See FAQs about the DAT.
ADEA Statement About Preparation for the DAT: "Candidates for the DAT should have completed prerequisite courses in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. Advanced level biology and physics are not required. ADEA strongly encourages applicants to prepare for the DAT by reviewing the examination content, reviewing basic principles of biology and chemistry, and taking practice tests. The DAT Candidate’s Guide, the online tutorial, and the application and preparation materials are available in the DAT section of the ADA website." (Source: ADEA.org)
DAT Study Resources
- ADA DAT Prep
- Princeton Review
- Study Guide Zone
- Chad's Prep
- DAT Achiever
- ADEA: Study Tips for the DAT
- The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. The OAT is sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for applicants seeking admission to an optometry program. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and the University of Waterloo in Canada require the OAT. It consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning. The OAT is a computerized, multiple-choice format.