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How to apply for medicine in the UK as an Irish student

UK medical schools have an excellent reputation internationally and many Irish students travel to the UK to study each year. Applications to UK universities are made through UCAS (like the UK version of the CAO). Irish students applying to study medicine in the UK can start their UCAS application over the summer before 6th year (applications open on 18 May 2021). They must submit their UCAS application by 15 October 2021, and need to sit UCAT between 26 July and 29 September 2021. These students will enter medicine in the UK in September 2022. Students who have completed 6th year and...
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I didn’t get a good enough HPAT score. What should I do?

After spending months working through HPAT guides, completing practise exams and labouring over difficult drills it can be devastating when HPAT results day arrives, and you realise that you have not achieved a good enough HPAT score to get into medicine. It is completely understandable that to feel extremely disappointed, but it is very important that you have a clear idea of the other options that you have to get into medicine. Firstly, remember that the points required for entry into medicine vary from year to year, and also depend on your performance in the Leaving Certificate. Thus, you may not...
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HOW TO INTERPRET YOUR HPAT RESULTS

HPAT results have been released! You will have received an email from ACER with details on how to access your results. This blog contains information for how to interpret your HPAT statement of results. What do the numbers on the HPAT Statement of Results mean? Your HPAT Statement of Results will display two measures of your performance: HPAT score and HPAT percentile.  Your overall HPAT score is a weighted sum of your three section scores. Sections 1 and 2 are each weighted at 40%, and section 3 is weighted at 20%. For the mathematically inclined, the formula for calculating the overall...
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AN EXPLANATION OF HPAT RESULTS: HOW ARE HPAT RESULTS CALCULATED? AND OTHER HPAT RESULTS FAQS.

WHEN AND HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY HPAT 2020 RESULTS? You will receive your HPAT 2020 results in late-June. You will receive an email from ACER once results are available to notify you of their release. You will be able to access your results via the ACER HPAT-Ireland website, by logging into your account. WHAT HPAT RESULTS WILL I RECEIVE? When you receive your HPAT results you will be given a score for each HPAT section (logical reasoning and problem solving, interpersonal understanding and non-verbal reasoning), and an overall weighted aggregate HPAT score. From this information, you will also be given...
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HPAT RESULTS: WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR CAO

HPAT results are usually released in mid to late June. After months of waiting to find out your HPAT results, it can feel quite overwhelming to finally receive them! After all of the hard work and preparation for HPAT, everyone wants to get a great HPAT score. However, it is important to know what to do if things don’t go as well as you had hoped. It’s not the end of the world and if you want to be a doctor you will get there in the end, even if it takes a bit longer. The most important thing to do...
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Medicine, the HPAT, the CAO and one big mistake to avoid

For any Leaving Certificate students hoping to go on to study medicine, the HPAT and the CAO are two well-known abbreviations which are of great importance to you as you prepare for life after the Leaving Certificate. For me, I wasn’t certain until the very end of 6th year as to what exactly I wanted to do after school. Honestly, it wasn’t until those last few weeks while I waited for my Leaving Cert results that I realised for certain that I had put down the right courses in the right order from my desperate hope that I would get the...
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Why is the HPAT so important?

Firstly, the HPAT is important because without it, you cannot study medicine in Ireland, regardless of your Leaving Cert points. The HPAT was implemented to assess students’ skills in logical reasoning, problem-solving and understanding people –skills that are important in the medical field. It was felt that such competencies should bear weight on an individual’s suitability to medicine. Whether you agree with the HPAT or not, it’s there for a reason and you have to do it to be considered for medicine. The HPAT is extremely important, as Leaving Cert points for medicine applicants are assessed differently. A medicine applicant can...
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HOW WILL CALCULATED GRADES AFFECT HPAT AND MEDICAL ENTRY 2020?

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Leaving Certificate Examinations have been cancelled. Many students are wondering how this will affect HPAT and medical entry in 2020. This blog answers some common questions.   What is the new system of Calculated Grades? The Calculated Grades system has been selected to provide Leaving Certificate 2020 students with the ability to progress to third level education or to begin work. The grades will be calculated from a combination of a school-based estimate and data available on past performance of students in each school and nationally. This allows a standardisation to give students as...
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HPAT Results to be released in mid-June

ACER has announced that HPAT-Ireland results will now be released in mid-June. Candidates will receive an email when results are available, as is the case each year.  Normally, HPAT-Ireland results are released in late-June each year. ACER initially announced that HPAT-Ireland results would be delayed until August. This was in response to the government’s announcement that Leaving Certificate examinations would be postponed until August, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Leaving Certificate 2020 has been postponed further and the decision has been made to offer students calculated grades. The conventional Leaving Certificate examination will...
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DELAY IN RELEASE OF 2020 HPAT-IRELAND RESULTS

ACER has announced that HPAT-Ireland results will not be released until after the Leaving Certificate examinations are complete. ACER anticipates that this will occur around August and will notify students of the exact date once it is confirmed. Normally, HPAT-Ireland results are released in late June each year. The delay in release of HPAT-Ireland results is due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting impact upon schooling in Ireland.   As you may be aware, 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations are tentatively scheduled for later than usual, starting at the end of July or early August. Whether they will actually occur at that...
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GAMSAT will be run online in 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT) will be run online at the end of May for the first time ever. GAMSAT is used to select students for entry into graduate medical programs. GAMSAT is usually run in person across multiple venues. However, due to COVID-19, the GAMSAT exam scheduled for Saturday 21 March 2020 has been cancelled. This applies to all candidates, in all locations globally. ACER, which runs GAMSAT, has said that candidates will sit GAMSAT at home or at a private location of their choosing. Candidates will need to have a...
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How to apply to the CAO and ACER for medicine

To be eligible to study medicine in Ireland there are two key parts to the application process: applying to the CAOapplying separately to sit the HPAT through ACER. Before you can register to sit the HPAT, you need to apply to the CAO and get your CAO number – you will need this for the HPAT registration process. This must be done online, because if you make a paper application to the CAO your number will not arrive on time. In order to be eligible to apply for an undergraduate Medicine degree you must apply to the CAO within the restricted...
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Is medicine for me? 5 tips on how to make the big decision

Deciding what to put on your CAO can be extremely daunting. Personally, it took me months and lots of research and thought to finally make that decision. Here are a few of the ways I went about deciding whether medicine was right for me or not:   1. Talk to those in the know I was lucky to be given the phone numbers of friends of friends and colleagues of relatives who had just recently completed med school and were beginning to embark on various careers in medicine. Listening to their first hand experiences and being able to ask questions about...
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Dispelling the Myths of Medicine

  The idea of studying medicine at university can seem like a very daunting prospect. There are many myths and false beliefs about the degree which allow these fears to prosper. Having completed my first year studying medicine at Monash University, I hope I can dispel some of your fears about potentially studying medicine at university.   Medicine is ULTRA competitive Granted, Medicine, like all high-achieving courses, is competitive. Many of the students are extremely dedicated to their studies and strive to get the best out of themselves. However, one of the great aspects of medicine is that one of the...
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Why study Medicine?

There are only two things people seem ask you about in sixth year: those big exams in June and what you want to do when they’re over. It’s a stressful and busy year with plenty of studying to be done. The constant questioning can be annoying, but it’s really important that you take the time to really look at what it is you are going to do next year. For anyone considering applying to sit the HPAT and putting medicine down on your CAO, here are just a few of the reasons why you should study medicine. Unlike a lot of...
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SO YOU WANT TO BE A DOCTOR? HOW TO GET INTO MEDICINE

Congratulations on your decision to pursue medicine as a career! Medicine is an interesting, valued and rewarding profession. The process of getting into medicine can be confusing, so here’s an introduction. Criteria for getting into medicine The minimum points required to get into medicine varies from year to year and between universities, but a total of at least 720 points is generally required. This is the addition of: Your adjusted Leaving Certificate points andYour overall HPAT score Let’s consider each of these in turn.   Adjusted Leaving Certificate Points In determining entry into medicine, Leaving Certificate Examination points are adjusted as...
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MEDICINE AS A DOUBLE DEGREE

A common question that aspiring medical students ask is whether they should combine their medical degree with another degree, such as arts or music. It is important to think carefully about this. You will be spending 3–4 years of your life and as well as a lot of money if you pursue a double degree. Will a degree such as English, history, philosophy, music or literature actually benefit you?Some argue that these degrees are worthwhile, may point to all the things you can learn, and perhaps even point out a few successful people that achieved a lot with such degrees. But...
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OPTIONS FOR STUDYING MEDICINE IN IRELAND AND ABROAD

The easiest, cheapest and most direct route into medicine in Ireland is the undergraduate route. This route requires you to sit HPAT. However, there are other options for studying medicine, which are outlined in this blog. Undergraduate medicine To study undergraduate medicine in Ireland, you need to both achieve high enough points in your Leaving Cert and perform well in HPAT. There are five colleges which offer undergraduate medicine – three in Dublin (Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), one in Cork (University College Cork) and one in Galway (National University of Ireland,...
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Interview Tips and Advice (Part 1)

In preparing for something as mammoth as a medical school interview, there are a lot of things to consider. When preparing you have to understand what type of language the interviewers might use, what to include in your answers and how you can respond both verbally and through your body language.   General advice for medical interviews • Walk into the room with a big smile. • Be confident, honest, friendly, understanding, respectful and empathic. • It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you decide to adopt, take your stance and defend your arguments until the end. Give reasons to...
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One on one with a medical school interviewer

I was fortunate enough to have jumped through the hurdles that lie on the way to medical school, and there are quite a few benefits on the other side. One of these is being able to talk to doctors, health professionals or community members that have had previous experience as interviewers. The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a past interviewer to understand what they are looking for in medical interviews.    1. As a community member are you concerned about the medical/dental focus of some of the scenarios? “The scenarios in the MMI (multiple mini interview)...
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