Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Inside the Yellow File: Reviewing OAT Scores

Here at Pacific, all applications get put into a yellow file folder.  It is one of the ways we identify that the application we are working with is, in fact, for the College of Optometry (and not, for example, the School of Pharmacy or Physical Therapy, who have different colored folders).  So with the series of posts called "Inside the Yellow File", we will be explaining some common areas of confusion caused by the application.

I received three emails yesterday with the same question, so I thought others might be wondering as well.  The question is: "if I have taken the OAT multiple times, do you take the most recent set of scores, or do you take the highest score in each section?"

The truth is, we look at all the scores for each time you took the OAT.  Generally, we tend to give you the benefit of the doubt with the higher score; if, for example, you got a 320 in O Chem the first time you took the OAT, and a 300 the second time, we generally assume you have the knowledge and ability reflected in the 320 score.

As a rule, we do prefer to see scores go up the second (or third) time you've taken the exam.  For example, if you received 280 Total Science the first time, we would like to see at least 300 Total Science the second time. 

And lastly- taking the OAT twice is not a big deal. We understand that sometimes applicants struggle with test anxiety or just had a bad day.  Taking it three times is a little concerning for us.  Four or more times, you are really going to want to prepare to discuss your test-taking abilities with the admissions committee.

And as always, if you aren't sure whether you should retake or not, call me!

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