Planning Time for HPAT Preparation

Planning Time for HPAT Preparation

5 months ago by Christopher

A very common question asked by aspiring medical students is “How do you balance your school work and HPAT practice?” Given that the HPAT can be equally or even more important than your leaving cert in the medical school selection process, it is crucial that students devote sufficient time in preparing for the HPAT, without neglecting their 6th year studies.


Dedicated time or spare time?

The key to finding this balance is planning your time. Many students attempt to fit in HPAT study in their ‘spare time’, which is hard to find in 6th year. It is more productive to set aside blocks of time which are specifically devoted to HPAT. Doing this will help you focus on one task, be more efficient, and avoid neglecting HPAT. Monthly or yearly planners can be helpful to visualise how you plan large blocks of time.

This blog will detail one method of planning time for HPAT preparation, using MedEntry’s resources on the online learning platform. It can be likened to an analogy of putting the big rocks into a jar first, and then pouring in the sand after to get the most into the jar. The big rocks are your HPAT practice exams, and the sand is QBank practice.


The larger stones: add the exams

Decide how many HPAT practice exams you would like to complete. Spread these out in the time between when you start your HPAT preparation, and roughly 1-2 weeks before the day of your HPAT testing date. One way of doing so would be to increase the frequency of the exams you complete as you approach the live HPAT. Remember also that you will have more time during the holidays, without the stress of internal assessments at school.

It will take two and a half hours to complete each exam, as well as several hours to review the exam – do not underestimate this part of the process, as it is very important to helping you improve. Therefore, it may be more convenient to plan time for full HPAT practice exams on weekends.

Keep in mind that study plans should be flexible. Other commitments will arise, and it is important to accommodate them. If you miss a HPAT practice exam, ensure that you catch up before the next.


The sand: QBank practice

Question banks (as well as skills trainers and drills) can be accessed when you have smaller intervals of spare time. They are especially useful to target problem areas in your HPAT practice. For example, when you are doing HPAT practice exams, you may notice specific HPAT question types which you find particularly difficult, and you can use the QBank to work on these. Furthermore, in the days leading up to the live HPAT, short HPAT practice sessions can be less stressful and taxing than full length HPAT practice exams.


Individualise your plan

Ultimately, the required amount of time for HPAT practice will vary for each student. In addition, it is rare that a student will feel 100% prepared for HPAT or will be able to answer every question on the HPAT exam, no matter how prepared they are. Even people who achieve the highest HPAT scores usually do not answer every HPAT question correctly. However, time management and planning will increase your likelihood of committing to HPAT practice, enabling you to approach the exam well equipped and with confidence.

This is one method of planning time for HPAT preparation.  However, which ever way you choose, remember that it is crucial to devote sufficient time in preparing for the HPAT, without neglecting your 6th year studies.



Facebook Instagram