For some people sitting HPAT, those nerves may not hit until the day of or the night before HPAT. We get butterflies in the stomach and perhaps even the need to vomit. These feelings are natural and can even help us to do better. But, for those of us who have difficulty handling the nerves, there are a few simple things to do to minimise them.
Make sure you have everything that you need in advance
A few days before the HPAT, read through the admission ticket and instructions and make sure that you have everything you need. Print out your admission ticket and fill out the relevant details, make sure you have your ID prepared and you have enough pencils, erasers etc. Put all of these essentials in one spot, so that when you leave for HPAT, you can just grab them and go and be happy in the knowledge that you have not forgotten anything.
If you are in the morning sitting of HPAT, you may have to arrive at the venue quite early and, in the rush, it is easy to forget to eat. You will have to be at the venue for quite a long time, and it can be tough to get through without eating. You will be surprised how much eating a simple meal can lift your spirits and help to take away some of the HPAT nerves. You may even be able to convince your parents to cook you your favourite breakfast. If you are in the afternoon session, make sure you eat a good lunch before you go to the venue.
Arrive on time
It may seem so simple, but there is no need to add any unnecessary stress by being rushed for time. Allow plenty of time for travel, especially if you are in the morning, as you will be in rush hour traffic.
Bring water and a snack
You are allowed to bring a bottle of water to the venue. Being well hydrated will help you face HPAT nerves. You can eat a snack in the line before you go into the HPAT testing centre for a final boost of energy before the exam.
What to do if nerves hit mid-HPAT!
Sometimes, you can feel completely fine heading into the HPAT, and then those pesky nerves may hit you after a tough question in the middle of the exam. You may start to panic or feel anxious. A lot of people try to push through this panic and keep going in their anxious state. This can cloud your judgement and your answers may be affected. A helpful way to get through this is to simply take a minute, go to the bathroom and splash some water on your face. Us humans have this thing called the mammalian dive reflex, which causes our heart rate to drop and blood pressure to fall when we are underwater. Surprisingly, splashing water on your face has the same effect and in this case this will help you to calm down a little bit and you will be able to think a little clearer, the result will be that you will be able to answer better. If you feel like you may not have time to go to the bathroom, simply closing your eyes and taking a few long, slow, deep breaths can help calm your nerves.
Don’t be afraid of not finishing the exam
You may find yourself with half an hour left to go in the HPAT with quite a few questions left. This is not a reason to stress! Many people do not finish the entire exam and still finish with a high percentile. You do not need to hurry through to finish the HPAT, simply finish as many of the remaining questions as you can, to the best of your ability, and then spend the final minute filling in the bubbles for the questions you miss. Completing as many questions as you can to the best of your ability, rather than rushing and not being completely sure of them, will be more beneficial to your chances.