The HPAT is so commonly viewed as a test of intelligence and aptitude, that we forget how crucial it is to improve our mental endurance for this exam. In fact, the endurance required for the HPAT is much greater than that required for any end of year school exam. Not only is the HPAT as long as or longer than any school exam (2.5 hours), but the nature of each individual question requires much greater focus. This need for enhanced application to each question is due to our inability to draw upon a year’s worth of content and knowledge, as is done in our school exams.
The ability to cope with this test of endurance is a critical strength that the top HPAT students hold above others.
As such, it is with good reason that HPAT practice exams are so important. A HPAT student cannot derive the same benefits to their mental endurance from 30 minutes of sample practice questions as they can from a 2.5-hour practice exam.
However, do not be concerned if you reach the 2-hour mark of your first practice exam, and desperately need to take a break. This is a good starting point, and from here, you can monitor your improvement. In the early stages, just completing a whole 2.5-hour exam is an achievement.
So how can I improve my mental endurance?
- Simulate exam conditions for each practice exam
- Do not allow yourself to go overtime or have extended breaks. These will only trick you into thinking that you are able to complete a full examunder HPAT conditions.
- You may only be able to complete 80% of the questions in your first exam. However, on the second exam you should aim to improve on this, by completing, for example, 90%. This way, you can assess your improvement.
- Work out how long each section takes you
- This way, you can know if you can allow yourself a little rest or a toilet break
In the exam:
- Have a drink bottle
- Having sips of water can keep you feeling fresh
- If you are running on time, allow yourself a quick break
- Go to the toilet. Wash your face. Even stretching your legs will keep freshen your mind, as you prepare to tackle the rest of the exam.
- Get a good sleep and be refreshed on test day
- Be organised
- Organise everything the night before. This way, you aren’t expending your mental energy worrying that you’ve forgotten something.
Blog Written by Jack, a 100th percentile student in UMAT (Similar test to HPAT), currently studying Medicine at Monash University in Australia.