Group vs Individual Study for HPAT
1 month ago by Chris
Should I prepare for the HPAT with friends or alone?
It’s a question many students ask themselves leading up to a major exam, including the HPAT. Although the answer will vary depending on personal preference, this article will endeavour to discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of both group and individual preparation. For most, the answer lies somewhere between the two – ideal preparation involves a combination of both individual and group work.
Learning to think for yourself
Tackling practice questions on your own is an essential part of preparation. In the HPAT exam, you won’t have a group of friends with which to discuss HPAT question and each of the answers. As a result, you need to learn to think for yourself when trying to find the correct answer, without other people to bounce ideas off. This skill cannot be learnt unless you actually do HPAT questions at some stage without any guidance from others. However, this should also ideally be balanced with group study.
In the earlier stages of HPAT preparation, it can be quite useful to tackle HPAT questions as a group. This allows each student to share their strategies and thus, each member is exposed to a wide range of methods, strategies and approaches to tackle HPAT questions. You can then pick what is most suitable for your own way of thinking. Furthermore, explaining your thinking when approaching HPAT questions can help clarify your thought processes. Having HPAT study buddies is particularly useful in preparing for skill-based test such as HPAT.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses
In addition, working as a group can help you ascertain whether the HPAT question you thought was hard, is in fact difficult for most people. During the HPAT, it is very likely that you will not be able to answer every HPAT question, and you need to learn which questions to skip, so that you do not miss out on the easy marks. This can also help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses relative to the general cohort, which is a benefit of group HPAT study. The percentage of students choosing each option is also available when you attempt the HPAT practice exams on the MedEntry online learning platform.
Time management and efficiency
Time management is also an important factor when considering whether to study alone or in a group. You may find that you get through more HPAT questions if you’re working alone, and this may seem more efficient. If you’re working in a group, you might spend more time on each HPAT question, but this is often valuable time spent on in-depth discussion. You might be someone who just wants to get on with it and not discuss things, but that leads me to my next point – group preparation develops teamwork.
Developing teamwork skills
We can all be quite competitive at times but is medicine for lone rangers? There’s a great saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Yes, you want to get a good HPAT score and achieve a top HPAT score, but working in a group has some great benefits in terms of developing teamwork skills. So put the rivalry away, put the competition away, practice in groups, practice together, show each other support and trust and you will go further than you could on your own.
Simulation and motivation
Although sitting a 2.5-hour HPAT practice exam is best done alone, however, if you know that your friends are motivated (and you are less so), setting a goal of completing a particular HPAT practice exam can encourage you to remain on task. This will help motivate you to commence or continue your HPAT prep.
A final word
Keep in mind that these guidelines should be tweaked to match each individual’s needs, and each student will need to strike their own balance between productivity and healthy discussion when it comes to HPAT. Some people work better alone, others need more group support. Regardless of whether you prefer studying individually or in a group, it does not hurt to have friends who can support and motivate you throughout your HPAT exam preparation!