Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Paul Meany from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

Paul Meany

School Principal

Department of Education and Skills

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Paul Meany

Need to have a belief about the value of the sort of education provided by the school to which you are applying.

Need to be able to cope with ambivalence - being leader in the school is not a black and white thing.

Need to believe in people, whether it is staff or students.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Studying Medicine

Studying Medicine in Ireland

Undergraduate entry to medicine in Ireland for 2017 will be based on:

  • Attaining a minimum of 480 CAO points and
  • Having sat the HPAT-Ireland admissions test within a one year period prior to admission to the undergraduate medical programme. 
"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.

HPAT – Ireland

HPAT is a 2½ hour multiple-choice test developed and used specifically to assist with the selection of medical students at undergraduate level. 

The test is divided into three sections and is designed to assess your logical reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as non-verbal reasoning and the ability to understand the thoughts, behaviour and/or intentions of people. 

The test has a strong focus on general skills and personal abilities that have been identified as important for a competent health professional. 

HPAT – Ireland is designed to complement academic achievement; it does not test academic knowledge and it does not require special understanding of any academic discipline.

Entry to medical programmes in Ireland is now based on a combination of CAO points and the HPAT score.

The current entry system effectively reduces the advantage of having more than 550 CAO points, as students are only awarded one point for every five above 550 as follows:

Table: Moderated Leaving Cert Points after 550 (New 2017)

Students then add their HPAT score to their CAO points in order to compete for a place on a medical degree programme. 

A student can gain a maximum score of 865 based on:

Maximum of 300 HPAT points


565  maximum score in the Leaving Certificate exam (after adjustment as per table above).

To calculate your total points:

Total points = Leaving Certificate (adjusted) + HPAT score

Up to 550 LC points: no adjustment

More than 550 LC points: every 5 points = 1 adjusted point

Maximum LC score of 621-625 = 565 adjusted points

Example : If your LC points are 565, and HPAT score is 190:

Adjusted LC points become 553 (See table above)

Total points are 553+190=743 

In 2016, applicants receiving an offer achieved LCE scores ranging from 535 to 625 and HPAT-Ireland scores ranging from 160 to 222.

~ The HPAT scores of successful applicants typically ranges between 160 to 228 ~

Click here to explore our Medicine Entry Calculator based on Leaving Cert and HPAT Points combinations.

In 2016, entrants needed upwards of 723 points to get into medicine:

Minimum entry level points: 723 points (in NUI Galway)

Maximum: 730 points (in UCD and TCD) - not everyone on these points got in.

To view more information on the HPAT Test and deadlines click here.    

The HPAT Ireland test will take place on Saturday 25th February 2017.

  • Registration for HPAT Ireland 2017 will open in early November 2016 and close on 20th January 2017 at 5.15pm GMT.
  • Late registrations will be accepted until 1st February 2017 5.15pm GMT on payment of a late fee.
  • An exceptional late registration is available until 3rd February 2017 at 5.15pm GMT.
  • The exceptional late registration is available only to candidates who have submitted their application to CAO by 1st February 2017 at 5.15pm GMT.
  • No applications for registration will be accepted after 3rd February 2017 at 5.15pm GMT under any circumstances.

Click image to download HPAT - Ireland 2017 Information Leaflet

For more information on studying medicine at undergraduate level click here 

There are free HPAT Practice Tools available from sites such as KAPTEST Global.

Studying Medicine in the UK or Europe

Undergraduate medical schools in the UK are accessible through the UCAS application system. As in Ireland, they HPat-type assessments, alongside high academic results, which means that in many ways it is as difficult for Irish students to secure places in UK colleges as in Irish ones.

Popular in recent years has been the option of studying medicine in eastern Europe. Medical schools have had their degrees fully accepted and recognised by the Irish Medical Council under the reciprocal arrangements that operate within the EU. 

Unfortunately, many of the medicine and veterinary programmes in EU universities are more expensive, at about €10,000 (though this can vary from country to country).