Study Resources

General Exam Preparation Information
MCAT
DAT
OAT
Study Resources for MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT

Exam Preparation & Study Resources

  • To score well on the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or GRE exams, 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. Go to the MCAT web site and take a timed verbal reasoning practice test. (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 a period of at least four months and include significant study time each week. In addition to content knowledge, it is essential that you are 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 a period of 3 months, not including out of class study time. Student feedback on study/test prep resources can also be found at Student Doctor Network (keep in mind the information on this site is the opinion of the various contributers and not of professional advisors).
  • Click here to see the American Association of Medical Colleges' position on commercial review courses.

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 web sites, links found under "Study Resources" below.)

MCAT

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: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences. Medical college admission committees consider MCAT scores as part of their admission decision process.  The test is administered in computerized format. Significant changes are scheduled for the 2015 MCAT. Read more here.

From MCAT Essentials

Your preparation for the MCAT exam should begin with a careful review of the information on 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 in order to help determine the areas in which 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 that were 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. A free online practice test is available online at www.e-mcat.com. This practice test provides optional interactive feedback that can be turned on/off by the examinee, automated scoring, and a sophisticated diagnostic summary report across content areas. It also permits candidates to select an entire examination or a section only, and to customize their item selection by content area, type of skill, type of reading passage, or item difficulty. Web and paper tests are available from MCAT.

Check out “Top 10 FAQs About MCAT Practice Tests...” and the Official Guide to the MCAT.

MCAT Study Resources

DAT

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 and are located in the Guide.  The test takes 5 hours.  See FAQs about the DAT.

A web-based DAT Practice Test  2009 edition is available for $37 per single purchase.

To purchase the print format DAT Practice Test, complete the PDF form below and submit the appropriate fee with a money order or certified check.

A DAT tutorial is available that will familiarize the DAT candidate with the mechanics of taking the DAT on computer. The tutorial does NOT include sample DAT content, but it does provide the opportunity to become familiar with the basic steps involved in proceeding through the test.

Another resource for students to practice perceptual ability testing is use a textbook such as Mechanical Aptitude and Spatial Relations Tests, 3rd Ed. 1996, by Joan U. Levy, Ph.D. and Normal Levy, Ph.D., published by ARCO, a division of Simon and Shuster obtained through Macmillan General Reference; A Simon and Shuster Macmillan Company; 1633 Broadway; New York, NY 10019-6785. ISBN # 0-02-860600-0.

ADEA Statement About Preparation for th 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 content of the examination, 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

Advice from the ADEA about preparing 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 content of the examination, 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."

OAT

  • 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, 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. See the OAT Candidate Guide and the OAT Electronic Application.

Study Resource for the OAT and PCAT