HPAT is Over! What Now?
1 hour ago by Chris
For the few weeks leading up to the HPAT in February, it can seem like the entire world revolves around it. Working on full exam HPAT mocks, HPAT guides and the Question Bank becomes your priority! Often you put off worrying about day-to-day issues until after the day of the HPAT.
So, when the test date does roll around, and you walk away from your computer with your head held high, having successfully completed HPAT, the first question that you are likely to ask yourself is, “What am I supposed to do now?”
Here are some tips:
Relax and reward yourself
After sitting such a difficult and intense exam like HPAT, it is important to find a way to reward yourself and relax. For you, maybe this means spending an evening with friends or family. Maybe it means going walking or hiking, or exploring the outside world (hopefully it’s not too cold and windy to do so!) This will give you something to reward yourself, help reset your mind and pop you out of the HPAT bubble.
Avoid hitting ‘replay’
Exam anxiety is a stress reaction that can be experienced not just before an exam, but after it as well. After the HPAT there’s a ‘normal’ level of anxiety where you wonder how you did, and then there’s the level that impedes your ability to get on to the next task, because you’re stuck worrying about the past. Perhaps the HPAT exam knocked your confidence and that’s why you’re replaying the past, wishing that things had been different.
However, once it’s over it is important not to fret over what you did or didn’t do in the two and a half hours HPAT exam, because this will have absolutely no bearing on your outcome. Try to keep that anxiety, your HPAT performance and self-worth separate in your mind. Likewise, avoid getting distracted and caught up in conjecture about what HPAT percentile you are going to achieve. Rather, as preposterous as it may sound, it can often be best to try and forget that you ever sat the HPAT.
Get back to your Leaving Cert
In the longer term, it is important to get back to focusing on your Leaving Cert, as it is important that you are up to date with content to allow you to achieve to the best of your abilities in school assessments. It is always important to remember that HPAT is just one piece (although one of the most pivotal pieces) of your path into Medicine, and that performing well in your Leaving Certificate is also very important.
If you haven’t created a study plan, make a flexible plan that divides your time between subjects. Then divide those subjects into ‘chunks’ for different topics. If necessary, get creative with some flash cards and mind maps! And don’t forget to think of ways to reward and relax as you study for this part of your journey into medicine, too.
So after giving the HPAT your best shot, hopefully this article has helped answer that common question, “What am I supposed to do now?” both in the hours, and weeks after the HPAT.
Written by Anna, who achieved 100th percentile in HPAT and is currently studying medicine.