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Life isn’t the only thing full of surprises. The upcoming HPAT exam could hold a range of new, never-before-seen questions and it is important to know how to deal with these in an exam situation.
The first step is to identify these types of questions in reading time. When looking through your HPAT exam booklet, mentally note these questions and have them simmering away in the back of your mind. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared for these “surprises” and less likely to panic when you go on to attempt these questions.
When writing time begins, start doing the questions you’re confident with and leave these “new” questions behind for now. There is a high probability that many of the new questions are actually in fact trial questions set by ACER and may not be worth any marks at all. Hence, there’s no point panicking or wasting too much time on questions that may not be worth any marks in the first place.
If it’s a question from the Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving construct that seems to be rattling your brain, try drawing a quick diagram, table, shape, graph, anything that can help you summarise the information. Get the thoughts from your mind onto the paper so that you can organise the information in the stimulus systematically and answer the question accurately.
If it’s a question from the Understanding People construct, try imagining the thoughts and feelings of each of the characters to judge the answer.
And of course, the Non-Verbal Reasoning construct, which in recent years has been the one associated with never-before-seen questions. Try using similar techniques you’ve used in previous non-verbal reasoning questions: Is there a 3-2 rule? Could it be addition/overlap? Is there a pattern in the way this shape is rotating?
All in all, if you find that none of these strategies are truly working, then try to eliminate any answers that you know will definitely be incorrect. Using our friendly old “process of elimination” technique may not necessarily give you the right answer but it can significantly increase your chances of choosing the correct option.
But if all these approaches fail and you genuinely have no clue what the answer could be or how to go about solving the question, guess and move on. The HPAT is already difficult enough to complete in the given time constraints and these questions are just going to drain more of your time as well as increase your anxiety.
The most important thing is not to be overwhelmed by these questions. ACER is bound to put new types of questions in the exam and it’s far better to stay calm and not get the question right than become extremely stressed and lose marks on easier problems. Being prepared for HPAT surprises will not only ensure that you jump past the hurdles, but also win the race with flying colours.