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Going back to school may feel like months away but the summer break provides a great opportunity to hone vital skills to ensure you are best prepared for the HPAT exam. The 3 sections in the HPAT must be prepared for differently as each are designed to measure a specific skill. Whereas Sections 1 and 3 test your abilities in logical and non-verbal reasoning respectively - Section 2 will assess your capacity to understand and think about people. Emotional intelligence is therefore key to scoring highly on this section of the HPAT. Below are a list of reading materials I highly recommend looking at over the summer to improve not only your HPAT Section 2 score but, in conjunction, your emotional intelligence - which will prove useful upon entry into a medicine programme and beyond.
The MedEntry Guides are an invaluable resource for all 3 sections of the HPAT - use Them! The Section 2 guides include a large emotional vocabulary list that covers most of the verbs and adjectives you will encounter in your HPAT exam. By equipping yourself with knowledge of this vocabulary you will be better able to ascertain the correct answer option to a HPAT question. It can be extremely frustrating in a practise exam (or even in the HPAT itself!) when you are unable to rule out an answer option simply because you are not sure of a word’s meaning. Reading these guides over the summer break will be immensely beneficial to getting ahead in your HPAT preparations.
Reading books during the final school year could add unnecessary stress to your already full schedule which is why the summer break is a great time to do so. Psychologist Daniel Coleman gives amazing insights on the topic of emotional intelligence in his fascinating book ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Brilliant in presenting key concepts of emotional intelligence in a concise and entertaining way, I believe this book to be an excellent supplement to the MedEntry guides and will be beneficial to your HPAT preparation in Section 2. ‘Emotional Intelligence’ also tackles areas of neuroscience which will certainly grab the attention of the medically inclined.
This classic by Abraham Lincoln fanatic Dale Carneige teaches communication skills that will be helpful for medical interviews as you progress through your career as a Physician. Although not strictly a book about emotional intelligence, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ offers a wealth of knowledge on how we communicate with everyone around us. This book will also get you into the mindset of dissecting conversations, which is great practise for Section 2 questions. Although I would prioritise the reading materials above, this book is definitely a recommended read for any aspiring Doctor.
Written by Deon, a past MedEntry student and current medical student who achieved 99th percentile in the HPAT