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So you’re in 5th year of secondary school and thinking about pursuing a career in medicine. You’ve got great grades as well as the people skills to become a doctor, so there should be no problem getting in. Then you find out about the HPAT. You hear that it is a major obstruction to your journey, and only a select few are able to succeed in it. You hear about all the people who have done poorly despite studying so hard. You may even hear about the people who passed that didn’t do much work.
It’s very easy to fall into the hysteria of the HPAT, but with this guide you’ll have enough balanced information to start your HPAT journey.
The HPAT (Health Professions Admission Test) is a test written by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research), the results of which can be used by Universities to determine a student’s accessibility to a certain course. For most medicine courses, HPAT results will be used in conjunction with your LCE. If these two scores are high enough you will be offered a place. Only after overcoming these challenges will you score yourself a career in medicine. It can be very difficult to achieve a high LCE score and a high HPAT score, and many of the skills you need to succeed in both HPAT and interviews need to be developed over a period of time. So it is best to start in Year 5!
The best time to start your preparation is right after the previous HPAT test has been completed. You should try to do some research about what questions were present in the test. The most recent HPAT exam is the best indicator for next year’s exam, and this information can help you focus your preparation.
Next you should find some resources to study from. There are a lot of HPAT preparation companies that offer study materials. Your challenge is to find the one that is best suited to you and most accurately simulates the HPAT. Ask past students which course was the best and why in preparing them for the HPAT. You can also compare their free sample questions with the sample questions released by ACER in their HPAT information booklet.
MedEntry fit me best because the materials were online and could be accessed anywhere. Their section 3 (Non-Verbal Reasoning) questions were harder than in the HPAT so I was very well prepared. And their section 2 (Understanding People) questions were very accurate in style of the HPAT. If you’re also thinking of using MedEntry check out their freebies, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve found your company, it’s time to start studying!
When you’re in 5th year it’s important to prioritise. Take time to do your assignments and study for school subjects, but leave some time for HPAT. At least once a week set aside an hour for HPAT preparation. If you’re using MedEntry, try out the drills - you can repeat them as many times as you want! Especially for section 3, this really helped me learn all the possible algorithms for the real HPAT. You can study alone or with friends but remember quality is better than quantity: 1 hour of pure study is better than 3 hours of distractions and breaks!
One hour of study a week, or even more will give you the edge over other students who only start preparing in 6th year whilst they are juggling all of their other subjects! Good luck!