HPAT 2021 and COVID-19: Your Questions Answered

HPAT 2021 and COVID-19: Your Questions Answered

1 year ago by Philippa

There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on HPAT 2021. You may be wondering, will HPAT go ahead? When will HPAT take place? What should I be doing now in terms of my HPAT preparation? This blog answers some common questions.

Will HPAT 2021 be going ahead?

Yes! HPAT 2021 will be proceeding. HPAT was introduced over a decade ago in Ireland as a tool to assess students’ suitability to study medicine. It has not been eliminated as a requirement for entry into medicine. If you wish to apply to study medicine in 2021, you will need to sit HPAT.

When will HPAT 2021 take place?

HPAT normally takes place on a Saturday morning in late February each year. It is possible that testing will take place later than originally planned, although it is more likely that HPAT will take place in late February as usual, given ACER has had several months to consider how to deliver HPAT 2021.

Will HPAT 2021 be delivered as usual this year?

The short answer is, no.

HPAT is normally a pencil and paper based test which takes place in person. It is held in large testing centres in major cities in Ireland. Testing centres often have hundreds of students sitting the test in a single room (usually a university hall), and often these rooms have poor ventilation. Students in smaller towns often need to travel to larger cities in order to sit HPAT. All of these factors mean that sitting HPAT Ireland in the traditional manner poses a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Given COVID-19 cases still remain relatively high in Ireland, and lockdown measures are likely to be in place for the coming months, it is unsafe and not possible for HPAT 2021 to take place in the usual manner.

So how will HPAT 2021 be delivered?

It is very possible that HPAT 2021 will take place on a computer, which is great news for MedEntry students who have been practicing their HPAT skills on the online learning platform!

There are a couple of different ways that HPAT 2021 could be delivered.

HPAT-Ulster is also administered by ACER and is used to select students into allied health courses at Ulster university. HPAT-Ulster will be held online for the first time this year, via remote proctoring. Remote proctoring involves sitting a test under live supervision using your own computer in a suitable location with internet access (for example, at home).

GAMSAT and ISAT, which are also administered by ACER, will be delivered as a digital test at multiple testing locations over a two week period. The testing locations are normally rooms with about a dozen desktop computers, with in-person supervisors.

It is likely that HPAT 2021 will be delivered in one of the above ways. The exact manner in which HPAT 2021 will be delivered is yet to be determined.

Should I prepare for HPAT 2021?

Yes! It is important that you prepare for HPAT 2021. Remember, HPAT is a very difficult test and it is a vitally important criterion for entry into medicine in Ireland. Therefore, quality HPAT preparation is essential. You should continue preparing for HPAT in the usual manner, with the expectation that HPAT testing will take place in late February. 

What else should I do?

This year is already a challenging and difficult one, without the added stress of a worldwide pandemic. It is very important that you look after your physical, mental and emotional health.

This includes minimising your chances of contracting COVID-19 by:

  • Keeping your distance from others
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Seeking advice if you become unwell or have come in contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19

It also includes:

  • Staying in touch with friends and family (via virtual means if necessary)
  • Eating well, sleeping well and exercising safely and regularly
  • Speaking to someone if you are feeling down or overwhelmed

Where can I find more information?

Make sure you follow MedEntry on social media and sign up to our newsletter for updates on HPAT 2021 and COVID-19. MedEntry will also be providing important updates to all of our students.


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