Everything you need to know about the HPAT

Everything you need to know about the HPAT

4 months ago by Tom

Do you want to study medicine in 2024? If so, you will need to sit the HPAT 2024. This blog describes everything you need to know about the HPAT 2023.


What is the HPAT?

HPAT stands for Health Professions Admission Test. It is a test developed by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research). HPAT is used to help select students into medicine in Ireland. The HPAT takes a total of 2 ½ hours.

The HPAT is in multiple-choice format and consists of questions in three sections: HPAT Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving, HPAT Understanding People and HPAT Non-Verbal Reasoning.


What courses require the HPAT?

The following courses require students to sit the HPAT: 



Trinity College Dublin

Undergraduate Medicine

University College Dublin

Undergraduate Medicine

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Undergraduate Medicine

University College Cork

Undergraduate Medicine

National University of Ireland, Galway

Undergraduate Medicine

University of Limerick

MSc Occupational Therapy

MSc Speech and Language Therapy


Undergraduate medicine is offered by five universities in Ireland, and all of these universities require students to sit and succeed in HPAT in order to gain entry.


When will the HPAT be held?

The HPAT will take place in late February 2024 (dates to be confirmed).


How will the HPAT be administered?

HPAT is traditionally undertaken in paper and pencil format. However, in 2021, 2022 and 2023 HPAT was administered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ACER is yet to release details of how HPAT will be administered in 2024.


Where can I sit the HPAT?

The paper and pencil version of HPAT is conducted at various universities and other locations across Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and some other towns.

The online version of HPAT is conducted via remote proctoring. This involves sitting the test under live supervision in a quiet and private location that has an internet connection, using your own computer.


How do I register to sit the HPAT?

Registrations for the HPAT open in early November and close in mid-January each year. You can register for the HPAT by visiting https://hpat-ireland.acer.org

Note that enrolment in MedEntry does not mean you are registered to sit the HPAT.


What is the cost to sit the HPAT?

In 2023, it cost €152.80 to sit HPAT. There was an additional fee of €6.00 for all UL applicants who are also required to complete the Written English component. There is an additional late fee (for late registrations to sit HPAT) of €70.00


When can I sit HPAT?

You can apply to sit the HPAT if you are in your final year of schooling (6th year), and any year thereafter.


How often can I sit HPAT?

HPAT is administered once per year. You can sit HPAT as many times as you like, as long as you are in your final year of schooling or thereafter.


What is being tested in the HPAT?

The HPAT test measures a candidate’s 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 HPAT consists of three separately timed sections:

  • Section 1 (Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving): tests how fast you can interpret information, think critically and utilise problem solving skills
  • Section 2 (Interpersonal Understanding): tests your ability to empathise and understand what people may be thinking or feeling using passages or scenarios
  • Section 3 (Non-Verbal Reasoning): tests your ability to think non-verbally, by solving problems using patterns and pictures
  • Section 4 (Written English): UL applicants only


What is the structure and timing of the HPAT?

The three HPAT sections are separately timed, and each contains several questions. There are 110 multiple choice questions in HPAT distributed as follows:


Number of questions

Time in minutes

Percentage weighting

Section 1




Section 2




Section 3






2hrs 30mins


For UL applicants only:
Written English



Marked Separately



What HPAT score do I need to get into medicine?

The minimum points required to get into medicine varies from year to year and between universities, but a total of at least 730 points is usually required.

This is the addition of:

  • Your adjusted Leaving Certificate points
  • Your HPAT overall score

Students who obtain higher than 550 points in the Leaving Certificate will have their points adjusted so that each additional 5 points achieved over 550 is adjusted to 1 point.

The maximum score that can be achieved in HPAT is theoretically 300, but anyone who gets more than 200 has done exceptionally well and is in the top 1% of candidates sitting HPAT.


When and how will I receive my HPAT score?

HPAT results are released to candidates in late June (UL applicants and mature candidates will receive their HPAT scores in April). You will receive an email to advise you when your HPAT results are available (accessible via your online ACER account). ACER will then provide your HPAT results to the CAO and universities.

Note that your HPAT score can only be used for admission to a course in the same year that the course is due to commence, i.e., 2024 HPAT scores are used for courses that begin in 2024.


What is the HPAT scored out of?

When you receive your HPAT results, you will receive:

  1. A score for each of the three sections and an overall HPAT score

The HPAT scaled score for the three sections of the test are added and weighted to obtain an overall HPAT score. Sections 1 and 2 are each weighted at 40% and section 3 is weighted at 20%. Section scores may range from 0 – 20, to 100. In theory, the maximum possible HPAT score is 300, but in reality, few students score over 200. The individual section scores given are not raw scores (the number or percentage of questions you got right). ACER does not release publicly how they calculate scaled scores, but information on scoring is provided in MedEntry HPAT courses.


  1. An overall percentile rank

An overall percentile rank for HPAT is also given. This indicates how well a student has performed in relation to other HPAT candidates. For example, a HPAT percentile of 70 means that you have performed better than 70% of HPAT candidates, and 30% of HPAT candidates have performed better than you. Depending on your leaving certificate performance, a HPAT percentile of at least 85 is normally required to gain admission into medicine in Ireland. This may seem achievable, but remember that everyone sitting HPAT is aiming for medicine (and therefore are smart and motivated) so being in the top 15% of this cohort is not easy.


How long are HPAT scores valid?

HPAT scores are valid for one year and used for admission to a course in the same year in which the course is due to begin.


Is the HPAT important?

Yes! HPAT is as important (and can be more important) than your Leaving Cert score in determining whether or not you will get into medicine. Even those with perfect Leaving Cert points of 625 have missed out on medicine due to poor HPAT scores.

This is due to the adjustment of leaving certificate points when applying for medicine. Scoring over 550 in the Leaving Cert does not confer significant advantage when applying for medicine, and HPAT scores become more important.


Is the HPAT hard?

Yes! Many practicing doctors believe that the HPAT was the hardest and most important test they ever sat. The questions are completely different to those you will have encountered at school or university, and there is a strict time limit which means that the vast majority of students do not finish the exam. It is a 2 ½ hour long test requiring extreme concentration.

The good news? It is possible to prepare for and do well in HPAT.


How can I prepare for the HPAT?

Successful preparation for the HPAT can be summarised in five key steps:

  1. Understand the importance of HPAT
  1. Familiarise yourself with HPAT-style questions
  1. Learn strategies for tackling each type of HPAT question
  1. Attempt full length HPAT practice exams under timed conditions
  1. Identify your HPAT weaknesses and work on them

MedEntry makes this easy with our comprehensive HPAT courses.


Where can I get more information?

You can find more information about HPAT from the following sources:

  • By following MedEntry on social media



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