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Your venue for the HPAT can become a very scary place very quickly. While being academically prepared is extremely important for HPAT, it is also useful to know what to expect when you get to the venue.
Firstly, you’ll see a range of different students at the HPAT venue – while some are great to have a conversation with before the exam commences; others, not so much:
1. The Downplayer – This is a student who will consistently talk about how they have not done any practice for the HPAT, keep reinforcing that they’re going to fail and claim to have never done a single drill on MedEntry. While they may not directly demoralise you, their negative comments and thoughts about the HPAT can be particularly distracting, especially since you want to be in a focussed and positive mindset for the exam.
2. The Self-Claimed Overperformer – Occasionally, you may come across someone who believes that they are going to absolutely ace the HPAT. They may boast about the number of HPAT practice exams they’ve completed, or how they have gotten 100% every time they practised the HPAT. Once again, this can also be demoralising and can significantly affect your confidence, especially if you still have nerves lingering around in your system.
3. The Lazy Lad – There will always be a couple of students who are there simply because they have been told to be there. While their interest in HPAT may not be as strong as yours, often they can provide good conversation while waiting, especially since they’re more likely to talk about non-HPAT related topics. They can help calm your nerves and possibly even take your mind off the HPAT just for a while.
4. The Guardian Gangs – Some students will prefer to be with their family before the HPAT and will consciously make an attempt to stay with them as long as possible. Often this can be an effective strategy for you to employ yourself, since supportive comments and the presence of your loved ones can really help lift your mood about the exam. It can also put you in the right frame of mind, particularly for Understanding People questions.
5. The Last-Minute Revisers – As soon as you enter, you may find rows of students lined up against the walls frantically reading through pages and pages of notes. They do not wish to conduct any sort of conversation, as they are too busy trying to memorise the different patterns for Non-Verbal Reasoning in preparation for the exam. It is important that you do not let these students intimidate you, nor should they influence your mindset for the HPAT. Be confident with the practice and preparation you’ve done and don’t let the people around you impact your confidence. Note: cramming like this is also generally not a good strategy for HPAT.
Due to the sheer number of students sitting the HPAT, often there can be a really long wait inside the exam room. If you’re someone who gets nervous at the sight of a sea of desks, I’d recommend you spent most your time waiting outside the halls and enter closer to the commencement of the HPAT exam. However, if you like to get comfortable in your exam space and familiarise yourself with your desk and surroundings (e.g. where the clock or nearest bathroom is), you may choose to enter the room earlier. Some HPAT venues may allow the use of phones while waiting for everyone to be seated, so you may choose to listen to music you like, or finally beat level 687 on Candy Crush – anything that will get you in an optimistic, attentive and positive mood.
Most importantly, do not be intimidated by the exam facilitators. They might carry stern looks while briskly walking between the aisles, but they are extremely nice people that will genuinely try their hardest to help you. Whether it be before, during or after the exam, if you need clarification or some sort of assistance, do not hesitate to the ask them.
Being mentally prepared for the HPAT is just as important as the practice you’ve done before the exam day. Do organise yourself the night before to avoid mishaps on the day.
And even if something does go wrong, don’t panic – it’s never the end of the world.