HPAT is the Health Professions Admission Test used in order to assist with the selection of students into medicine and health professions degrees in Ireland. This test is compulsory, because admission to the universities which offer medicine in Ireland requires students to submit their HPAT score as part of their application process. On application, apart from HPAT score students will also need their Leaving Certificate results.
A good HPAT scores can open doors to a rewarding career. Your ability to confront HPAT comes from preparation and mindset. The key to success is knowing what you are up against and how you will tackle it.
Whatever the circumstance, it is possible to improve your HPAT score if you put your mind to it. HPAT consists of a battery of three tests and has been developed specifically to assist in the selection of students for health professional courses. It comprises questions designed to assess a range of non-academic personal qualities, recognised as important in a health professional, both during study and in practice. The test aims to see how well candidates can comprehend, think about and solve problems under pressure. Obviously, you need to have some logical reasoning, problem solving and emotional skills, but that is only part of the equation. You must be able to work quickly, confidently and accurately so that you can finish all sections of the test to the best of your ability. Managing your time, practising HPAT-style questions and understanding the mechanics and time limits of the HPAT will help to improve your performance; adding to your final percentile placing. HPAT is no simple test. Preparation is a must!
The very first time you are eligible to sit the HPAT is during your final year of school. You may sit HPAT as many times as you like, as long as you are a bona-fide applicant. HPAT is held only once a year, usually around the 3rd week of February, this means you will sit the exam roughly mid-way through the 6th Year of your Leaving Certificate. However, you can sit HPAT after completing your schooling as well. Regardless, whether you are repeating the HPAT, or decided that you wish to apply for undergraduate medicine at a later date. This also means that students who already finished school, and maybe even completed a different undergraduate degree, are still eligible to sit the HPAT.
Many students underestimate the HPAT and consider that it is just another academic assessment along the way to achieving their dream career in health sector. HPAT is not your typical high school or university exam. Research has shown that academic excellence does not necessarily equate to an outstanding HPAT result.
During the HPAT, students will undergo a highly controlled and specific 2.5 hour assessment made up of 110 Multiple Choice Questions and three specific constructs that assess a range of non-knowledge based skills and personal qualities.
HPAT Section 1 ‘Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving’ questions covers a broad spectrum of logical and verbal reasoning, including understanding, critical thinking, thought content and organisation of thoughts. There are also a number of analytical reasoning type questions in this construct. Questions are in the written form but some questions may contain additional visual cues, e.g. a graph, table or figure.
Attempt sample HPAT Section 1 questions to gain a better understanding of this section entails.
HPAT Section 2 ‘Interpersonal Understanding’ questions made up of short conversational and situational scenarios between a range of characters. You will be asked to choose, from the four options provided, the one statement or word that best describes the feelings or actions of a character from the scenario. Some questions might be visual/picture format. This construct requires an intuitive understanding of the differences between emotions and feelings, the depths to how they can be depicted within the written form and an excellent understanding of the differences and definitions of key emotional words.
Attempt sample HPAT Section 2 questions.
HPAT Section 3 the ‘Non-verbal Reasoning’ questions simply ask you to complete a sequence of patterns or a diagram with the most logical option from the five choices offered. The type and style of these questions is virtually unlimited. Some questions though will also ask that you place a set of patterns firstly into their most logical order before selecting the required answer. This construct is divided into three styles of questions, known as, Next in Series, Missing Segment, and Middle of the Sequence.
Attempt sample HPAT Section 3 questions.
HPAT is conducted by an organisation known as ACER, Australian Council for Education Research. There is only one way to register for the HPAT, which is via the ACER HPAT website. You will need to read HPAT Information Booklet before registering for the exam. This guide usually published during September.