How to apply to the CAO and ACER for medicine

How to apply to the CAO and ACER for medicine

10 months ago by Philippa

To be eligible to study medicine in Ireland there are two key parts to the application process:

  1. applying to the Central Applications Office CAO
  2. applying separately to sit the HPAT through ACER.


Applying to the CAO

Before you can register to sit the HPAT, you need to apply to the CAO and get your CAO number – you will need this for the HPAT registration process. This must be done online. In order to be eligible to apply for an undergraduate Medicine degree you must apply to the CAO within the restricted entry period, which usually ends at the beginning of February of the year you are due to sit the HPAT.

The 2022 CAO application fees are:

Normal application by 1st Feb €45
Online discounted rate by 20th Jan €30

If you have applied to the CAO in a previous year, you cannot use your old number. You must apply again and receive a new number.


Applying to sit the HPAT

Firstly, you need to set up an online account with HPAT-Ireland. When doing this you will need to enter personal details such as your full name and date of birth. It is important that these details match with the form of identification you plan to use on the day of the HPAT.

Secondly, when registration for the HPAT opens (normally early November of the calendar year before the HPAT exam you wish to sit), you will be given the option to register for the HPAT on your online account. This must be done before the registration closing date, which is normally mid to late January (for HPAT 2022 this is 21st January at 5.15pm GMT).

When registering, you need to select the test you want to take (i.e. the HPAT for medicine or the HPAT with the English written paper for MsC courses at UL). You will then need to fill in a registration form and submit payment with a valid credit card. This will give you access to some practice material as well as enable provision of your test results and transfer of these results to the CAO.

During the registration process you will be required to provide an email address. It is important that you use an account that you look at frequently, as this is how ACER will contact you throughout the entire HPAT process (including important details such as accessing your admission ticket and your results). ACER has an information booklet on the HPAT-Ireland website that you must read before registration, which provides further details.

While a late and even an exceptional late HPAT registration period are available at an extra fee, I would recommend not using these except in emergency circumstances.

When you have completed these steps, you have successfully navigated the application process!



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