Napoleon Bonaparte once famously said “an army marches on its stomach”, and that is as relevant for HPAT as it was for the French Armies that Bonaparte commanded. Making sure you put the right things into your body in the lead up to HPAT is vital to making sure that you perform well on the day of the test. I’m sure you are well aware of what a quality diet consists, so in this post I’ll serve up a couple of key tips for the immediate lead up to test day.
As you would expect, the night before HPAT, it is important to make sure that you have a filling and wholesome meal, preferably one with a reasonable amount of protein and carbohydrates to provide energy for the test the following day. It is also a good idea to have this meal fairly early in the night, so that your body can digest the food more easily and to ensure that you have a great night’s sleep.
A moderately sized breakfast is very important to have on the morning of the test. It is important not to have a huge breakfast, as this will possibly result in you feeling a little sluggish in the latter stages of the test. The breakfast should consist of low GI foods; muesli and fruit, or multigrain toast and eggs are both great options.
HPAT is a marathon, not a sprint, and I found it best to have something directly before I went into the test to ensure that I didn’t get hungry by the end of the test, especially with there potentially being more than 4-5 hours between the larger meal on the morning of the test and the end of the test itself. I personally had a banana, and something similar in size to this is probably best.
One of the most vital parts of this time frame is to ensure you are well hydrated. Drink a lot of water the night before the test, but make sure you don’t have too much on the morning of the test to ensure that you don’t need to take toilet breaks every ten minutes during the HPAT! It is an extremely good idea to take a bottle of water into the test to sip on during the test. This water can also be used if you feel concentration slipping during the test, slapping some on your face can help you refocus and reset.
While nutrition will play a key role in your HPAT, it is important to note that it is only one piece of the puzzle and it is certainly not a substitute for HPAT practise, which is the most important factor in performing well on the day. So make sure you utilise all the tools MedEntry places at your disposal!
Best of luck in your preparation!
Adapted from a blog by Jeremy, a MedEntry student who achieved in the 100th Percentile in the 2016 UMAT (similar to HPAT) and who has a provisional position in the University of Queensland MD program commencing in 2020.