Message For Parents

Message For Parents

Great things never come easy

Medicine is an incredibly rewarding, secure, well paid and respected profession.

It is also the hardest course to get into.

Furthermore, the final years of secondary school are a stressful and demanding time for your son or daughter, and the need to sit HPAT places additional pressure on them during this time.

Thankfully there are ways you, as a parent, can provide valuable assistance to your child to ensure their success.

Understand the importance of HPAT

Unlike most other courses, entry into medicine is based on much more than just high Leaving Cert points. In fact, even those with perfect Leaving Cert points of 625 can miss out on a place in medicine. Universities also consider HPAT score, and in some circumstances, HPAT can be more important than Leaving Cert in determining entry into medicine (more information can be found here). Yet many students neglect HPAT, and focus their efforts on their Leaving Cert, only to find that they do not obtain a place in medicine.

The first step is to recognise the importance of HPAT, communicate this to your son or daughter, and then work out a plan to ensure adequate preparation time is allocated to this crucial criterion.

Encourage your son/daughter to start preparing early

HPAT is very different from school exams and is not a knowledge-based test. It is a test of generic skills over three sections:

  • Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Understanding
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning

It takes two ½ hours and is highly time-pressured so that most students will not finish every question. Most practicing doctors would agree that it is the hardest single test they ever sat in their career.

It is therefore important to help get your son or daughter motivated and interested in HPAT at an early stage. This helps them to become accustomed to HPAT preparation being a part of their studies, and the more practice they undergo, the better prepared they will be.

This is important because the time pressures of sixth year need to be balanced with HPAT preparation. Further, some skills that the HPAT tests need to be developed over a length of time; it is difficult to ‘cram’ for the HPAT.

Avoid missing important deadlines

HPAT takes place at the end of February, and applications to study medicine close before Leaving Cert exams. It is therefore important to be organised so that important deadlines are not missed.

An example timeline for a student in 6th year is shown below (note that exact dates will vary depending on the particular year):


Registrations open for HPAT

Late Januar

Closing date to register for HPAT

Late January

CAO application closing date

Late February

HPAT takes place

Late June

HPAT results released


CAO offers released

It is advised that you create your own specific timeline relevant to your son or daughter and record important dates in your calendar.

Provide encouragement and support

6th year is a stressful time. Add in HPAT and the pressures of getting into medicine and stress levels can rapidly skyrocket. Significant stress can impair performance and lead to burnout. It is therefore important that your son or daughter feels encouraged and supported, especially when important exams such as HPAT are near.

Ensure that they are eating well, sleeping well, exercising and engaging in appropriate stress management strategies. Make yourself available to listen to them when they feel stressed or overwhelmed. Do what you can to lighten their load – for example, read through relevant HPAT information, redistribute chores to younger siblings, create a quiet working environment and drive them to important exams. Your actions can have a significant positive impact on their wellbeing and performance.

Choose a trusted preparation provider

It is important to choose a HPAT preparation provider which is trusted among doctors, teachers and those successful in entering medicine, and which has a proven track record of success.

If you would like further information, please explore the MedEntry website, where you can find more information about HPAT, a free HPAT practice exam, blogs about HPAT and more.

You can also contact us here at any time if you have any questions.

Helping your son or daughter get into medicine is an invaluable gift to give, and one which will secure their success and happiness in years to come.

From the parents at MedEntry

2022 HPAT Registrations Open