The HPAT is a multiple choice test, lasting two and a half hours. The exam is split into three sections.
Number of questions: 42
Time in Minutes: 60
Section 1 assesses logical reasoning and problem solving. The questions will ask you to examine a piece of text or a graph, and they are designed to test your ability to interpret data, draw logical conclusions and evaluate relevant information.
Number of questions: 42
Time in Minutes: 50
Section 2 assesses interpersonal understanding through multiple choice questions. These involve a scenario testing your ability to identify, understand and empathise with the emotions and behaviour of others.
Number of questions: 30
Time in Minutes: 40
Section 3 tests non-verbal reasoning and, unlike the first two sections, relies on visual material such as patterns and shapes. This is designed to test your ability to problem-solve in an abstract context.
Number of questions: 2
Time in Minutes: 65
Applicants who are applying applying to the MSc Occupational Therapy (Professional Qualification) and the MSc Speech and Language Therapy (Professional Qualification) at the University of Limerick are required to sit a 1 hour Written English component.
You’ll need to take the HPAT if you’re applying to study Medicine at any of the following universities in Ireland:
Firstly, if you’re looking to study Medicine in Ireland, you need to register with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and get your CAO number, because you won’t be able to sit the exam without it.
Registration for the HPAT usually opens in November and closes in January, so make sure you don’t miss the deadline! The exam is typically held in February each year – and late registrations are typically accepted until then.
Once you have your CAO number, you’ll need to create an account with HPAT. You can do this on their website. Use an email address that you check regularly, because all HPAT information will be emailed to that account.
When you’re creating your account, make sure your name and date of birth are correct, as they’ll need to match the ID that you present on the day of the exam.
You’ll be able to register for the test via your online HPAT account when registrations are open. You need to choose where you would like to sit the test. Test centres are located in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford, but the test for 2022 is taking place online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
When you’ve registered, you’ll receive an email with your payment confirmation and another with your registration confirmation. Make sure you’ve received these confirmation emails – if you haven’t, it could mean there’s a problem with your email address.
For 2024, the HPAT costs €156.80 (approx. £134.25) to register, with an additional fee of €10 (approx. £8.5) for all UL applicants who are also required to complete the Written English component.
If you register late, you’ll need to pay an extra fee. Late fee will be applied to any bookings made after 5:15 pm GMT, 19 January 2024, costing €75 (approx. £64). There is also an Exceptionally Late fee of €110 (approx. £94), applied to any bookings made after 5:15 pm GMT, 29 January 2024.
In case of a no-show, you’ll have to pay €90 (approx. £77).
Unlike your school exams, the HPAT doesn’t draw on any specific knowledge that you can revise. Therefore the best way to prepare for the test is to try example questions and past papers, so you can familiarise yourself with the format and the type of questions that have come up before. There are also several HPAT courses available to help students prepare for the test.
Questions can take a variety of formats. In Section 1, you might have a short passage from a news article and a set of multiple choice answers relating to the content of the text.
In Section 2, you might be presented with a scenario where a patient comes to you with a problem and you need to choose the most appropriate course of action.
In Section 3, you might be asked to identify which pattern block should follow in a sequence.
Your registration fee for the HPAT includes a copy of the Practice Test e-book, which includes practice questions and example answers. Answering practice questions in timed conditions will help you to prepare for the time limits of the exam and get to grips with the structure and possible topics.
HPAT - Ireland results will be released to UL applicants and mature test takers in mid to late April. All the other test takers will receive their results in late June 2024. Note: test takers are considered mature if they are 23 years old on or before 1st January 2024 (i.e. born on or before 1st January 2001).
You will be able to access the digital version of your results through your ACER account.
The overall HPAT - Ireland score is calculated using the following formula:
Overall Score = [(2 × Section 1 + 2 × Section 2 + 1 × Section 3) ÷ 5] × 3
The maximum score a test taker can achieve is 300.
The definition of a good score changes every year based on the average result of all students taking the test.
For instance, in 2023 those students that received an offer achieved LCE points ranging from 542–625 (an alternative to three UK GCE A levels) and HPAT - Ireland scores ranging from 164–235.
As a rule of thumb, you should be looking to receive 160+ points in HPAT, but remember that your application will be assessed as a whole, including your final grades and interview performance.
Is the HPAT required for international students?
International or non-EU students may be exempt rom taking HPAT - Ireland. For more details on that, contact the CAO or your chosen universities directly.
Do you need the HPAT for dentistry?
The HPAT is a typical requirement to study Medicine in Ireland and is usually not used for dentistry. However, be sure to double-check that with your chosen universities!
How long is the HPAT exam?
HPAT-Ireland is a 2.5 hour test.
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