For those students planning to study medicine this year, the HPAT-Ireland admissions test is coming around shortly. The test will be held on Saturday 25th February 2017. (There is there is no alternative test date). The following article includes tips and advice on preparing for HPAT, and some useful links including HPAT Practice Tests.
Advice to help with your preparation
Undergraduate entry to medicine in Ireland for 2017 will be based on:
- Attaining a minimum of 480 CAO points and
- Meeting the minimum entry requirements for the programme and
- Having sat the HPAT-Ireland admissions test within a one year period prior to admission to the undergraduate medical programme.
Top Tip from HPAT Ireland
"Do not register for HPAT – Ireland 2017 unless you are planning to apply for a course commencing in 2017 AND you meet the eligibility criteria specified in the HPAT" HPAT Ireland Information Booklet.
Format of the HPAT Test
The HPAT-Ireland test is a 2.5 hour paper-based test, consisting of three modules or sections:
(i) Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving
(ii) Interpersonal Understanding
(iii) Non-Verbal Reasoning
All questions are in multiple choice format with 4 or 5 possible responses, from which the candidate is asked to choose the most appropriate response. There is only one correct response.
Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving
There are a number of ways of preparing for this section:
- Process of elimination: for every question there are four answers, one of which is correct. Before you try to work out the correct answer, look at the options given. A lot of the time you can immediately eliminate two of the answers. It is then a matter of looking carefully at, and deciding between your two remaining answers.
- Trial and error: this involves putting the answers into the question to see if they work. A simple maths example is: 3x = 12. Rather than work out the value for x, substitute in each answer to see which one works, for example: 3(1) is not = 12, 3(2) is not = 12, 3(3) is not = 12, but 3(4) = 12.
- Mental arithmetic: the ability to do mental arithmetic without a calculator is crucial for this test. The maths in HPAT is not difficult, but under time pressure and without a calculator it can be challenging. Practising basic maths such as long division, fractions, percentages, and being able to move between ratios and fractions will save you a lot of time in the exam.
- Familiarise yourself with medical terminology: work on interpreting medical graphs and reading medical journals - there are many resources on the internet for this. It will help you to become familiar with new medical words and conditions you may not have come across.
The most important aspect for the second section, interpersonal understanding, is vocabulary.
- Build up your vocabulary by keeping a word journal, or use an online flash-card programme.
- Practise speed reading - there are a lot of online resources to help with this.
- Read emotive passages to try to get into the habit of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes.
The third section is on nonverbal reasoning. This section can be improved the most, but that will only come with practice. Section three involves:
- Mapping objects: separating moving objects, which makes it easier to follow the pattern they have taken. For example, if a square contains a black ball and a white ball, separate the balls into two squares. One square follows the path of the white ball, while the other follows the path of the black ball.
- The three-two rule: this is useful in the pick-the-middle sequences. If within five objects, three seem to have one similarity and the remaining two have another similarity, the answer will always be within the group of three, so you can immediately eliminate two answers.
- Become aware of rotating angles: learn to quickly follow an arrow 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 120 degrees etc.
- Learn the different types of movements between shapes. Are they consistent (moving one step at a time) or are they progressive (moving one step, then two steps, then three steps)?
The exam is 2.5 hours (150 minutes). Think about the timing for each section:
Section 1 has 44 questions in 65 minutes, or 1 minute 28 seconds per question
Section 2 has 36 questions 45 minutes, or 1 minute 15 seconds per question
Section 3 has 30 questions 40 minutes, or 1 minute 22 seconds per question
- Don’t let any one question take up too much time. If a question is taking too much time … Drop It!
- Fill in every question as you go. If you want to, you can come back to a question later - rather than leave a blank, make a guess - it can always be erased later if you have time.
- Don't leave blanks - there is no negative marking in HPAT, so in the event that you are running out of time and have a few answers left, you have nothing to lose by filling in a guess for each of them.
Useful Links and Practice Tools
- Further details regarding the test, including the approximate number of questions in each section, can be found at HPAT Ireland.
- A website has been set-up to assist students to prepare and register for the HPAT test. Practice tests can be purchased from this site - see HPAT - Ireland.
- There are also free HPAT Practice Tools available from sites such as KAPTEST Global.
|More on HPAT and Entry Pathways to Medicine here
General HPAT Test Information
Admission Ticket: This will tell you exactly where, and at what time, to report on the day of the test. Notification will be sent to your registered email address when the Admission Ticket is available through your online account, approximately two weeks before the test date. Candidates should note that there may be more than one examination room at the venue. It is important to check the ticket carefully so that you know exactly where you should be. No latecomers will be admitted once the test has started. If you present without an Admission Ticket you will be refused entry.
Arrival at the Test Centre: Reporting time is indicated on the Admission Ticket and the test will commence as soon as the check-in process is complete. Please ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to check in and find your desk before the test begins. Keep in mind that at large Test Centres it may take some time before all IDs and Admission Tickets are checked and candidates are seated.
Identification: On the day of the test you will be required to present an original photo-bearing identification document. Candidates should note that the name on the identification document must match the name on your CAO and HPAT applications. The only acceptable identification documents are:
- a valid passport, or b. a current driver’s licence (if this includes an embedded photograph), or
- a Current EU/EEA National Identity Card, or
- a certified letter of identification. This letter must be on official institution (school or workplace) letterhead and contain your name, date of birth, a passport photo glued to the letter with the institution stamp overlapping and the signature, printed name and title of the official verifying the identification as well as your signature. Examples of the appropriate ID can be found on the HPAT-Ireland website.
- If you do not present one of the above approved identification documents, in addition to your Admission Ticket, you will not be able to sit HPAT-Ireland and will be turned away from the Test Centre.
Duration of the test: The duration of the test is 2.5 hours. However, candidates should note when making transport arrangements that they will be in the Test Centre until approximately 13.30. Candidates may not leave the Test Centre before the test has finished.
Dress comfortably: Some Test Centres are warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week. Consider dressing in layers, so you will be comfortable irrespective of the room conditions.
Food: As you will be in the Test Centre for a number of hours it is important that you are aware that food is not permitted in the test room (unless permission has been granted by the HPAT-Ireland Office prior to the test e.g. in the case of diabetes, etc.). All students are permitted to take bottled water into the test room.
Further information is available from HPATIreland
Read: Studying Medicine in Ireland
The CareersPortal Team