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Does the thought of HPAT day make you cringe and consider hiding in your room?
That's how I felt in the weeks that led up to HPAT.
Being a student in my final year of high school I had rarely been in a position where I was sitting an exam which was so important for determining my future career pathway.
Sure I had been through many school exams and academic competitions, but I felt that no test or assignment I had previously completed could compare to the importance of the HPAT.
In my fresh teenage eyes the HPAT was the be all and end all. I had to pass it. Failure was not an option. If I couldn't do well in the HPAT, my life as I knew it would end.
This melodramatic view motivated me. I became obsessed with working hard to improve my chances. By allocating an hour each day, I eventually completed all the MedEntry practice questions and exams.
However, the down side of using fear as a motivator was that I felt very stressed and scared much of the time. In my quest for HPAT perfection, I had become consumed by doubt and anxiety. I kept thinking about the worst case scenarios. What if I couldn't answer any questions? What if I ran out of time? What if I needed to go to the bathroom halfway through? I became stuck in a cycle of negativity.
I ended up excelling in HPAT. However, in hindsight, I have learnt that the most important element to bring to every HPAT preparation session is a positive attitude. The HPAT is not designed to scare you away from your dream career, it is a hurdle that you need to jump to get closer to it. It is easier to focus on your weaknesses but it is just as important to acknowledge your strengths and be confident in yourself. Know that every time you log into MedEntry, you are going to improve. If others can do well in the HPAT, you can too!
Instead of using fear to motivate you, imagine where you want to be in 10 years' time. Will you be saving lives? Helping patients? Researching the human body? Most importantly, do you look happy? Remind yourself that all the hard work you are putting in now is helping you get closer and closer to this goal.
What have you got to lose? After the HPAT date, whether you do well or not, your life will continue. If you do well, good job! You are one step closer to entering the university course you desire. If you don't perform as well as you thought, you are still closer to success! Learn from your experience, brainstorm different ways to improve your performance and give yourself an advantage over next year's HPAT newbies!
The next time you start doubting yourself, remind yourself that you can do well. Your hard work is not going to waste. Every single practice question you attempt is leading you closer and closer to HPAT success!