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8 November, 2023

Strategizing Your OAT Test Date

You’ve spent a long time preparing for the OAT and the big day is quickly approaching. In this article, we will discuss how you can strategize your OAT test date to maximize your scores.
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In preparing for the OAT, all steps complement each other and are equally crucial from start to finish. For the last leg of the journey, it is advantageous to arrive physically and mentally prepared. Planning and knowing what to expect on the test day can lower your stress levels and help your memory recall. Remember, you have already invested numerous hours and energy in the test. Taking the initiative to arrive prepared allows you to seamlessly evoke and hone all the test strategies you have practiced and thus perform at your best.

🚗 Traveling to the Test Site

Around three days before taking the OAT, you will receive an appointment confirmation email, which will include your credentials and the address of the test site. If able, it’s recommended that you personally visit the test site location beforehand. This is important if you are unfamiliar with the test site’s area or reside in another city. By becoming familiar with the test site’s surroundings early, you can systematically arrive at your test site and reduce the risk of being flustered. This situation can similarly be applied to an orator, who is expected to deliver an important speech to a large audience. Suppose the speaker didn’t plan his route to the venue and thus anxiously rushed with bumper-to-bumper traffic and almost arrived late. In this case, his quality of speech and eloquence will probably be subpar to what he had expected to deliver.

Also, if you are driving yourself to the test site, it’s best to plan where you will park the vehicle, especially if the test site is in an unfamiliar neighborhood—for example, bustling downtown with one-way traffic. When you park your car, make sure you also leave ample parking time. Even though the test is four hours and fifty minutes long, it can take an additional thirty minutes or more to check in–especially during the pandemic.

🎒 What Should I Bring?

It’s recommended to bring items that will help you stay comfortable and focused for the test. Just make sure the items also abide by the testing policies. The testing policies change from time to time, so always review the guidelines beforehand.

Here are some suggested items you can bring:

  1. Eye drops: To refresh the eyes before the test and during the thirty-minute break.
  2. Water bottles: Keep yourself hydrated. During the pandemic, the test site will not most likely not provide water.
  3. Light Lunch/Snack: Bring a light lunch or snack–not too filling to avoid food coma.
  4. Hoodie or Sweater: Depending on the proctors, they may blast the air conditioning in the testing room. You can store the hoodie in the locker or cubby hole provided.

Depending on the test site, you may only be provided lockers or a locker and cubby hole. In either case, all electronics will be stored in your locker and will not be accessible throughout the entire duration of the OAT.

⭐ Words of Advice While at the Test Site

It’s recommended you visit the restroom before lining up to check in for the test. If you arrive late, check in first and then calmly ask one of the test proctors if you can visit the restroom before entering the secured testing room. Most likely, the proctors will allow you. Remember, you are only allowed an optional break after the Critical Reading Section, so take the opportunity to visit the restroom beforehand–your bladder will thank you later!

While at the test site, it’s essential to keep your mind calm and collected. Remember that you have already invested your time and energy to prepare for this moment and are there to give your best performance! If others around you are fidgeting, making a lot of noise, or even exclaiming crude comments, ignore them and focus on yourself. You want to avoid becoming annoyed, stressed, or losing your mindfulness of the moment. If various circumstances cause you to become stressed or anxious, a useful method is to give yourself a quick body scan and breathe to relax the tense areas. If your body stays relaxed, it’s easier to shake off any irritation. It’s also good to know that other test testers will be taking other examinations–not everyone will be taking the OAT.

After the Reading Comprehension section, you have an option to take a thirty-minute break. During this break, it’s not permissible to hold small conversations with others or access any electronic devices.

Also, note that every test site has a different structural layout. Unfortunately, some test sites do not provide chairs for students to lounge during the optional break. In these test sites, students either sat on the floor or stood leaning against walls. Therefore, it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected and wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

✏️ Tips While Test-Taking

From my test-taking experience during the pandemic, OAT test takers were provided two sharpened No. 2 pencils and a two-paged orange booklet. As these test materials may change in the future, the following recommendations can also be applied to the changes.

The following strategy utilizes the given scrap paper as a map to relocate the high-yield formulas you will potentially use. To start, during the Guideline Section of the test, draw a line down the middle of the scrap paper. This will help organize the hand-written notes. The Guideline Section is fifteen minutes long, so instead of skipping straight into the Biology section, you can advantageously use this time to write down the high-yield formulas or any concepts you may have difficulty recalling. First, you can write out the physics and quantitative reasoning formulas, followed by any high-yield concepts. The order in which you write out the formulas is not important. It’s crucial to rewrite the formulas in the same order and location every time you attempt a practice test. This way, in the actual OAT, you can easily recall the location of the formulas without having to scramble for time. It’s also best to practice this method before attempting every OAT Booster Practice Test. As you complete more practice tests, you may also customize this strategy to your preference.

The No. 2 pencils can also become dull quickly–depending on how much you write on your scrap paper. It would be helpful to raise your hand beforehand to exchange for new pencils because the proctors might not assist you immediately. The same advice applies to your scrap paper.

🧍 You Know Yourself Best!

Use these listed recommendations to motivate you to come prepared for the OAT. Of course, you know yourself best! Before you start planning for test day, reflect and ask yourself, what will help me concentrate and perform at my best? Listen to yourself and take action. When the test day arrives, you will be able to make great, confident strides to the finish line.

From the OAT Booster Family, we wish you the best of luck! Please reach out to our team if you ever have any questions. 😊