As many of you would have noticed, HPAT preparation takes time. And I mean a LOT of time! It’s often overwhelming trying to get those HPAT practice exams you’d promised yourself to get done as well as study for that first chemistry quiz if you’re in 6th year, or keep up with your GAA training.
In many cases, students often lose time, confidence and their interest in HPAT since it simply adds to their already overwhelming workload. So before you start stressing about the upcoming HPAT exam, let’s just take a quick look at how you can manage studying for the HPAT without those dreaded HPAT sections making surprise entrances in your nightmares.
1. Break your days into slots of time. You could do this the traditional timetable way or just even something simple like “before school”, “after work”, “after dinner”, “before bed” just to get some method of organising your day in an easy and efficient way. Allocate tasks you need to do (which may include HPAT or any other commitment that you have) within these slots.
2. If you do have some sort of timetable or other concrete method of organising yourself, then assign your breaks first, then your other necessary activities. That way, you will be able to accommodate for all your commitments while still having an appropriate amount of free time.
3. If there are subjects you don’t like as much, do them first. It helps keep you motivated for the nice and pretty subjects at the end of the day, when you’re a bit more sluggish and tired.
4. If there are questions in the HPAT that you didn’t understand completely or blindly guessed in a practice exam or drill, read the answers and solutions and make a note of them.
5. On days that are relatively free (like weekends) try smashing out an entire exam. I promise, the feeling of achievement when you have completed an exam outweighs the trauma you experience during the exam.
On days that are slightly busy, try accommodating a couple of drills whenever you have a chance.
On extremely busy days, just go back to the questions you had made note of that you honestly didn’t understand and attempt them again. This is also a good way to boost your self-esteem for the HPAT (and believe me we all need that at some point during our HPAT preparation) since you’ll find that you actually are able to get them right the second time (yay!)
6. If there are times you really need to take a break, then just take a break. It is better to take 5 or 10 minutes off just for a stretch rather than build up stress over hours and hours that will end up having detrimental effects on your mental and academic capabilities.
7. Don’t see HPAT as another exam or another source of stress or another hurdle to pass but rather another chance for you to show universities what a capable and deserving student you are to study their course