5 Common Myths about the HPAT: BUSTED

5 Common Myths about the HPAT: BUSTED

1 month ago by Tom

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about HPAT that can stand in the way of effective HPAT preparation and performance. In this blog we’ll describe five common myths and explain why they are inaccurate, and what you can do about them.


Myth #1: The HPAT is an aptitude test so you can’t prepare for it

This is absolutely incorrect. While HPAT may be considered an ‘aptitude’ test, in that it assesses certain thinking skills, you certainly can prepare for it. In fact, quality HPAT preparation is vitally important, given it is such a difficult, time-pressured and important exam. 

Preparation for the HPAT is key. Not only is it extremely important to complete HPAT practice exams and HPAT style questions, it is also vital to learn key HPAT strategies to help you develop the necessary mind-set and techniques to tackle the HPAT. You wouldn’t walk into a Leaving Cert exam with no study done so why should you walk into the HPAT without any preparation?


Myth #2: You can cram for the HPAT

This is a serious no-no. Cramming in the week before the HPAT is the last thing anyone should do. In fact, you should do nothing HPAT related for at least the last 24 hours before the HPAT exam. You should really be paring back all HPAT preparation in the last week before HPAT. Doing so will only leave you tired, stressed and burnt out. 

Keep one HPAT exam for the weekend before HPAT so you feel comfortable with the style of paper, and practice some HPAT questions during the week to keep your brain in HPAT mode, but don’t go mad trying to do loads – it will only overwhelm and stress you and take away from the HPAT skills you have already developed.


Myth #3: You have to finish the HPAT

The HPAT is two and a half hours long with 110 questions. The questions in HPAT are extremely difficult and time-consuming. You won’t be able to answer every single question on each HPAT section but that’s the whole point.

ACER, the organisation that creates and administers HPAT, purposely add some ridiculously long and outlandish questions as time wasters. It’s important that you recognise these HPAT questions and teach yourself to move on when you’re spending too long on a particular HPAT question. This way you’ll be able to complete as many HPAT questions as possible.

You’ll find that bar those few very difficult HPAT questions it’s really not impossible to finish the HPAT exam to the best of your abilities if you stick to a timing strategy.


Myth #4: You’ll always have a bad HPAT section

I went into HPAT prep with the preconception that I was going to be bad at HPAT section 3. While yes, I found that I scored lowest on this HPAT section in my first few practice tests, this didn’t make it “my bad section”. I knew I needed to work on my abstract reasoning so I paid some extra attention to this skill from the start.

By the time my HPAT results arrived I had scored almost as high in section 3 as I had in HPAT section 2, what I had initially thought was “my good section.” So, it’s not true, you are not necessarily condemned to have a bad HPAT section. Yes, you might struggle with one HPAT section more than the others, but with the right HPAT practice you can make great improvements.


Myth #5: You will sit the HPAT at a test centre near you

Since 2021, HPAT has run online and not at a test centre. The online HPAT is conducted via remote proctoring which means that you sit the test under live supervision using your own computer at a place that has stable internet (such as your home). You can also use two pieces of A4 paper (plus a pencil and eraser) or an erasable whiteboard and pen, to make notes, as you will not be able to make notes on the ACER HPAT platform.

The ACER HPAT platform is quite different to a paper and pen test that you will be used to from Leaving Cert. Therefore, it is important to practice using a simulated platform so you can get used to the functionality and appearance. MedEntry’s platform exactly replicates the ACER HPAT platform, so you will not have any surprises on test day! You can take a sneak peak in the MedEntry free trial.


Written by Anna, who achieved 100th percentile in HPAT and is currently studying medicine.


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