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Effective Learning in the HPAT

Learning is not just about sitting in front of a text book and hoping the content will diffuse into your mind through osmosis. In order to learn effectively, you must learn actively, not passively. Active learning will allow you to engage with what you are learning and absorb it faster. New study strategies will also be introduced in this article so you can in-corporate them into your HPAT study. This will give your HPAT study sessions a direction and allow you to set goals. 

What is active learning?

Active learning is all about engaging with what you are learning and how you absorb the knowledge. Learning is most effective when you assimilate new knowledge with old knowledge you already have. For example, if you just learnt something new about clouds, you may connect it to what you already know about clouds. Other strategies include converting what you just learnt into pictures or diagrams, or even explaining the new concept to others. These strategies allow you to use the new knowledge, and in turn, absorb it better. 

Passive learners tend to just read the new content and try to remember it without connecting it to anything they already know. They may not even apply the new knowledge to a practice problem. 

A good analogy to represent active learners and passive learners is in learning to use a toaster. An active learner, after purchasing the toaster will use it in their home, they will assimilate the appliance with the appliances they already have at home. A passive learner, on the other hand, will just watch people make toast and assume they know how to make toast. 

The Key to Effective learning in the HPAT: 

Effective learning is being aware of what you know about what you know. To learn effectively, you must learn actively. This may be learning there may be gaps in your knowledge, or knowing what you are good it. 

Instead of just trying to learn skills for the HPAT, you can try a few of these study strategies below to try and enhance what you just learnt. These study strategies allow self-awareness during learning. 

Effective study strategies: 

  • I draw pictures or diagrams to help me understand the HPAT questions.
  • After learning about a new HPAT concept, I like to make up questions and answer them using the new concept.  
  • When I am learning something new in the HPAT, I like to think back to what I already know about it. 
  • I discuss what I am studying in the HPAT with others. 
  • I practice HPAT drills over and over until I know the strategies well.
  • I think about my thinking to check if I understand the ideas.
  • When I don’t understand something in the HPAT, I like to go back over it again.
  • I make a note of things that I didn’t understand very well in a HPAT drill or practice exam, so that I can follow up on them at a later date.
  • When I have finished a HPAT drill or practice exam, I look back to see how well I did.
  • I organize my time to manage my HPAT study.
  • I make plans for how to do a HPAT drill or practice exam.

Plan before you study: 

Before you start a study session, ask yourself the following questions. They will give you an aim to work towards and note down anything important for future learning. 

  • What is your goal for today’s HPAT study session? 
  • What will be the important ideas in today’s study session? 
  • What do you already know about this topic? 

Reflect after you study: 

After a study session, it is always useful to reflect on what you have learnt to help your mind consolidate new knowledge. It also helps in finding questions to ask before your next session. 

  • What can you relate today’s knowledge to? 
  • What will you do to remember the key strategies? 
  • Is there anything about this topic that you don’t understand or are not clear about? 

Final note: 

Using these strategies may make studying for the HPAT more engaging and allow you to learn HPAT concepts better. If you don’t already utilize any of the above techniques, it may be a good idea to start with just a few to see if there is a difference in whether you remember new knowledge better. 



Motivation: without carrots or sticks
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