2024 Edition

OAT Guide

OAT Summary
What: The Optometry Admissions Test is required by all optometry programs.
Who: All prospective optometry students must take this exam.
Where: Tests are offered at Prometric Test Centers in the US, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
When: Tests are offered year-round. Candidates should schedule 60-90 days before they wish to take the exam.
How: The test is offered on a computer.
Type: The entire exam is multiple choice.
Why: The exam is required by all optometry schools and helps admissions teams evaluate a candidate’s eligibility.
Time: The exam lasts just under four hours.
Language: English
Preparation: Practice tests and study guides are available for purchase.
Cost: The test fee is $213.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com

The Optometry Admissions Test, or OAT, helps admissions officers at optometry schools evaluate a student's general academic ability and scientific comprehension. Exam scores are used in conjunction with grade point average and other admissions criteria to help with evaluation. The OAT exam was created by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and the Optometry Admission Testing Program and is required by every optometry school in the nation and in Canada.

The OAT may be taken following completion of the freshman year of college, though prospective students are encouraged to wait until completion of at least the sophomore year before attempting the exam. College students are advised to plan to take the exam in advance of applying to optometry school in case retesting is necessary. 

The test is comprised of four sections that ask a total of 220 questions:

  • Natural Sciences - Includes 40 questions in biology, 30 in chemistry and 30 in organic chemistry
  • Reading Comprehension - Includes 40 questions that cover three separate reading passages
  • Physics - Includes 40 questions
  • Quantitative Reasoning - Includes 40 questions

Students are given 275 minutes for the exam. This time includes a 15-minute optional tutorial prior to the exam, a 15-minute break and a 15-minute optional post-test survey. The entire test is multiple choice and given on a computer.


Test takers have 90 minutes to complete the natural science section, 50 minutes for reading comprehension, 50 minutes for physics and 45 minutes for quantitative reasoning. The 15-minute break is offered between the reading comprehension and physics sections.


The OAT is administered at Prometric Test Centers. Candidates may apply to take the exam at www.opted.org. A registration fee is required. Once an application has been approved, candidates will receive instructions via email or mail on how to register with the test center. Test candidates are not able to register with Prometric until they have a valid OAT authorization letter. Test takers can find their closest Prometric Test Center at prometric.com.


Immediately following completion of the exam, test takers will receive an unofficial score report from the testing center. Scores are based on correct responses; there is no penalty for incorrect answers. OAT scores range from 200 to 400. Once confirmed, scores are then sent to up to five optometry schools that are specified on the test taker's application. Test takers are advised to save their unofficial score reports, as additional official copies cost $25 and are only available by request.


Test takers who are unhappy with their scores may take the test again, but must wait 90 days before attempting a second test. Each score becomes a part of the test taker's record. Schools receiving score reports will receive copies of the four most-recent test scores.


For information on preparation for the Optometry Admission Test, take a look at Tests.com's OAT Directory.


Source: Optometry Admission Testing Program, opted.org