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Does the HPAT Favour those from Better Socio-Economic Backgrounds?

Issues abound the HPAT!  You’ve heard the complaints from fellow students aspiring to enter medical school: It’s the hardest exam I’ve sat for! There is no way to prepare for it!  You’ve seen it posted by many others, the harrowing experience of how to prepare and then the actual exam day.  Yet another test to take!

The introduction of the HPAT was a means to help in the selection process of students leaving secondary school and wanting to pursue undergraduate studies in medicine.  It was intended to remove an unfair advantage of a previous requirement allowing students to attain their course entry requirements over the span of two years.  The system now requires a Leaving Cert exam minimum score in one sitting and results from the HPAT.  Another reason for introducing the HPAT was to help measure a candidate’s ability to reason and apply conclusions to an end result.  Something that many argue is not tested in the Leaving Certifications.

Reviews have shown that students who are able to take the HPAT multiple times do better.  On the other hand, others state that a student cannot be “coached” into doing better.  So, the argument comes to light that those who cannot afford these forms of preparation are at a disadvantage, which was not the intention of the HPAT.   But, does the ability to sign up for classes really put you at an advantage?  There are so many books and online services available that offer practise exams.  There should be more than enough preparation material available to all.

At the end of the day, if you can obtain practise papers and do them on your own, you can afford yourself good preparation.

December 31, 2012

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