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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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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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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...
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What do the numbers on the 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 overall HPAT score is 0.4 x (Section 1 + Section 2) + 0.2 x Section 3.  The section scores are derived (scaled) from your raw score (the number of questions you got right) using statistical methods that...
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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 and Your 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...
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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....
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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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What Interviewers look for in prospective medical students (Part 1)

Many of the personal qualities that the HPAT aims to assess in prospective medical students are the same qualities that are required to be a good doctor. Whilst the HPAT can only assess what you put on a paper in multiple choice format; the medical interview that will follow, can look for these qualities in person.    Your choice of words, body language, attitude and way of thinking will all be up for examination in the medical interview. Without some internal self-reflection, you will not be able to paint a detailed enough picture of yourself. A lot of these qualities we...
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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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Extra-curricular activities: important or irrelevant?

Amidst the stress of preparing for the HPAT and studying for your other exams, it may be tempting to not spend time on extra-curricular activities, so that you can focus on getting the marks you need to get into medicine. After all, they won’t contribute directly to your score, right?    However, participating in extra-curricular activities, whether it be joining your local cricket team, volunteering for a soup kitchen or being captain of the chess club, will help you not only be a better person, but be a better candidate for medical entry. Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons to...
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HPAT Courses Dublin

HPAT preparation courses are run throughout Ireland leading up to the HPAT. A typical HPAT Course Dublin will include: HPAT focused lectures, advice tips and strategies to ace the HPAT, a practice HPAT exam with results and feedback as well as many additional resources for HPAT preparation such as trial HPAT papers, practice HPAT questions, HPAT guides and HPAT drills accessible for Irish students. Studying Medicine in Ireland has become extremely competitive. The competition for places in Medicine courses is fierce which  makes the HPAT score particularly important in addition to students' LC Points. The HPAT makes up about one third...
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HPAT results 2013: how your HPAT results will help you gain entry into Medicine or other health sciences courses in Ireland.

What HPAT results will I need to study for my course? The HPAT results of successful applicants ranged from 170 to 238. The highest HPAT result in 2013 was about 228, therefore even those with a HPAT result of about 160 may have a possibility of obtaining an offer. How are HPAT results calculated? The HPAT scaled score for the three sections of the test are added to obtain an overall HPAT result. The individual section scores given in your HPAT results are not raw scores (the percentage of questions you got right). The maximum HPAT result a candidate can receive is...
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IMPORTANT: Changes to HPAT exam 2014

What are the changes for the HPAT exam in 2014? One of the most significant changes to the HPAT exam for 2014 will be a change in the weighting of the HPAT sections. The non-verbal reasoning section of the HPAT will have a reduced weighting of 20% down from 33.3%. Consequently, the weighting of section one: logical reasoning and problem solving and section two: interpersonal understanding  will increase to 40%. Secondly, HPAT results will only be valid for one year as opposed to the previous two year HPAT result validity period. Note that this change will apply to those students who...
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What is the HPAT exam?

The HPAT-Ireland (Health Professions Admission Test-Ireland) is an admissions test used by Irish Medical Schools for undergraduate entry into medicine. The HPAT-Ireland test measures a candidate’s logical reasoning and problem solving skills as well as non-verbal reasoning and the ability to understand the thoughts, behaviour and/or the intentions of people. HPAT test results are combined with the Leaving Certificate Examination assessment for selecting applicants for admission to an undergraduate Medical School programme.

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