Coping with HPAT stress and HPAT nerves prior to the HPAT exam:
We all know that sick feeling in the bottom of our stomachs just prior to walking into a big exam; we’re jittery, shaking and generally thinking that we’d rather be anywhere else but here. Nerves can be debilitating in the most terrible way for even the brightest of students. Thus, it is crucially important that your learn to overcome these HPAT nerves before the actual day of the HPAT test so that you can perform at your peak and ultimately succeed in the HPAT.
How do I know if I'm nervous for the HPAT exam?
Nervousness is generally marked by or having a feeling of unease or apprehension. It may appear on the day of, or before, the HPAT exam but for many students nerves start to build up much earlier than this and continue to increase more and more as the HPAT exam date approaches. A good indication of how nervous you may be for the HPAT exam will be your preparation and general state of mind prior to the HPAT exam. If you have not been preparing and studying sufficiently for the HPAT it is very likely that your nerves will far surpass those of your well-prepared peers.
Aren’t nerves normal? and how nervous is too nervous?
Firstly, it is important to remember that nerves are normal; not even Usain Bolt looked calm and happy on the start-line for London 2012. Feeling a small amount of anxiety will not be harmful to your performance. However, if you’re consistently having trouble sleeping and studying because of HPAT anxiety and HPAT nerves, then you need to address these issues surrounding your HPAT stress. Talk to a friend, teacher or family about how they coped with nerves during their exam times- and remember HPAT study and HPAT practice exams are absolutely key to feeling calm and prepared come HPAT test day.
How do I prevent myself from becoming overly nervous about the HPAT exam?
As emphasised above, HPAT preparation and HPAT practice are the most effective ways to avoid HPAT stress. HPAT practice exams and general HPAT study are better broken up into small, manageable chunks- so try and do a little bit each day. One month out from the HPAT exam you should be doing at least an hour of HPAT questions every day including several practice exams each week . Use a timer to make sure you are working efficiently and effectively under exam conditions and practice with a watch on your wrist if you plan on wearing one for the actual HPAT exam.
How can I stay motivated to do full practice exams in one sitting under test conditions?
An excellent idea would be to organize a ‘practice’ HPAT with some of your friends or, if you would prefer, by yourself, at home or your local library. Do a full HPAT exam under complete test conditions in the exact time frame of 3 hours. Do not allow yourself breaks or time to dwell on questions- think of this a dress rehearsal- the more times you do a full HPAT exam, the less scary the real HPAT exam will be when it comes around.
What do I do if I feel like these HPAT nerves have already engulfed me?
If you’re sitting at your desk getting absolutely no study done, then please; break up your routine! Don’t waste time doing nothing, get up and go for a walk or have a small snack and then start your study again. Remember, the work that you put in for the HPAT now will save you having to find an alternative entry pathway into medicine in the future (i.e a graduate medical course).
It is critical that you stay positive and put in the best effort that you can! Don't dwell on negative thoughts and let them drag you down. Thinking like this gets you nowhere! Be confident in your ability to succeed.
For more specific HPAT test tips please see our blog series HPAT test tactics and preparation by the team at MedEntry HPAT preparation.