As you complete more and more practice HPAT exams you may start to notice the following HPAT trend: Easy HPAT questions have obvious and popular answers, whilst hard HPAT questions have unexpected and unpopular answers.
It helps to think of HPAT questions as popularity contests. The answer to an easy question is the most popular choice. The answer to a difficult question is the least popular choice. In other words, popular HPAT answer choices on difficult questions are traps.
If you think about the HPAT for a moment, you’ll realise that questions have to be designed this way. Since a multiple-choice question provides the answer, the only way they can make a HPAT question difficult is to camouflage the correct HPAT answer and make the wrong choices more appealing. Another way to look at the HPAT multi-choice options is whether they are attractive or unattractive. The answer to an easy question will be an attractive choice; that’s why it’s an easy question. The answer to a difficult question is an unattractive choice; that’s why it’s a hard question.
What makes a HPAT choice attractive or popular will depend on the type of HPAT question. On a HPAT problem solving question, any easy numbers that seem to solve the problem will be popular choices. Sometimes a question will have more than one attractive HPAT choice; sometimes it won’t have any. If you’re stuck on an easy HPAT question, remind yourself that the answer should be easy and obvious.
If you’re stuck on a hard question, remind yourself that the answer should be hard and unexpected. And if you’re stuck on a medium question, remind yourself that the answer shouldn’t be too easy or too hard. Knowing the difficulty of the HPAT question you’re working on is a powerful clue for checking your work. If you’ve solved a difficult HPAT question but your solution is an obvious HPAT answer choice—one that would attract other students—you’ve probably made a mistake.
Knowing the difficulty of the HPAT question is also a powerful tool when you’re forced to guess a HPAT answer.
For more helpful HPAT tips and free HPAT preparation resources please see MedEntry HPAT preparation or check out our blog series HPAT test tactics and preparation.