What is the HPAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Want to take a Medical or a health-related degree in Ireland? You will probably need to take the HPAT.

This article contains all the information needed for success. We’ll break down all the tips and strategies necessary for you to excel in the HPAT and secure your place studying Medicine at university!

What is the HPAT?

The Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT) is a critical assessment for students seeking admission into Medicine and some other health-related courses in Ireland. It is independently developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and is employed by all universities in Ireland for Medicine degree admissions, and by the University of Ulster for some courses relating to Medicine.

What does HPAT stand for?

HPAT is an abbreviation for: Health Professions Admission Test. 

Don’t forget: 

Feeling stressed, uncertain, or unconfident? Reach out to our friendly and talented team. At The Profs, we understand that every student has unique strengths and areas for improvement. That’s why we offer tutoring tailored to your specific needs. 

Our expert tutors will assess your current abilities, identify areas that require improvement, and develop a customised study plan to maximise your performance in the HPAT.

Who needs to take the HPAT?

In short, aspiring medical students in Ireland. If you live in Ireland or want to study Medicine in Ireland you will most likely need to take the HPAT. This is especially likely if you want to take a course that will lead you to one of these professions:

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Surgeon
  • Occupational therapist 
  • Therapeutic radiographer
  • Radiographer
  • Other allied health professionals

You’ll definitely need to take the HPAT if you’d like to study Medicine at one of the following institutions:

The Structure and content of the HPAT

Your preparation for the HPAT should involve understanding its structure and content.

The HPAT is a 2.5-hour online test, comprising 114 multiple-choice questions that assess your skills in: 

  • Logical reasoning: How you use rules of inference to determine if conclusions are supported by given premises.
  • Problem solving: Your cognitive process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.
  • Non-verbal reasoning: Your process of understanding concepts and relationships without language
  • Interpersonal skills: Your ability to empathise, communicate and interact well with others, as well as understand their thoughts, behaviours, and intentions.

The structure is as follows:

  1. Section 1: Logical reasoning and problem-solving (42 questions).
  2. Section 2: Interpersonal understanding (42 questions).
  3. Section 3: Non-verbal reasoning (30 questions).

Please note: No special understanding of any academic discipline is required for the HPAT. 

The HPAT: Scores and calculations

Your HPAT score is important because it usually increases or decreases the competitiveness of your university application. Most universities will stipulate a specific HPAT score as part of their entry requirements.

How the HPAT is calculated:

HPAT scores are complex and are expressed on a scale of 0 to 100. These are not percentage marks. You receive a score for each of the three sections, along with an overall score and an overall percentile rank that compares your performance with other test-takers.

What HPAT score do I need?

The required HPAT score can vary depending on the university and the specific course. Candidates should check with the respective universities for specific score requirements.

Students wishing to enrol in a Medicine degree usually aim for an average of 170 on the exam. Generally, most students need at least 80-85th percentile to get into Medicine.

You can view 2022 HPAT data here for a better understanding of the scoring system.

The highest HPAT score:

The highest score one can achieve in each section of the HPAT is 100, making 300 the highest possible combined score for the three sections of the test. 

According to ACER’s end-of-year analysis, the highest HPAT score achieved in 2022 was 217.

Preparing for the HPAT: 5 top tips

Over the years, our team has picked up tried and tested experience. We know what works! Below are some top tips for smashing the HPAT exam.

1. Comprehensive coverage of HPAT subjects

Step one is to know exactly what is expected of you so that you can prepare.

The HPAT assesses various skills, including problem solving, logical reasoning, and interpersonal understanding. It is important that you understand what each of the subject areas means, what they will ask from you, and how they could be tested. 

Talk to Medicine students about these subjects and research them online. Watch videos made by previous HPAT test takers. And don’t forget to make notes!

Check out our tips on the application process for Medicine in our previous article.

2. Proven test-taking strategies

Mastering the HPAT requires more than just knowledge of the subjects. It is important to perfect test-taking strategies to optimise your performance within the given time constraints. Get to know your learning style and hone your test-taking skills e.g. how to approach different question types, how to manage your time effectively, and how to apply critical thinking skills to solve complex problems efficiently. 

Of course, the best way to hone these skills is to take practice tests. Lots and lots of practice tests! Using available practice material and familiarising yourself with test-taking strategies is extremely beneficial.

To excel in the HPAT, it’s crucial to practise under exam-like conditions and mimic the actual test format. By familiarising yourself with the exam structure and timing, you’ll be better prepared and more comfortable on test day, allowing you to perform at your best.

Need more tips? Read our previous article.

3. Boost your confidence

Confidence plays a vital role in exam success so that you can approach the test with a positive mindset. Practising and improving your abilities play a vital role in this, but ultimately, this comes down to how you feel. Try to talk yourself up and rationalise any panicky thoughts. Don’t let anxiety interfere. 

Here at The Profs, our expert and friendly team of tutors is experienced in building confidence, coping with stress, and calming anxiety. 

4. Monitor your progress

Throughout your HPAT preparation, monitor your progress closely by assessing your performance in practice exams. Share these with your teachers for feedback to help identify areas for improvement and refine your study plan accordingly. 

Regular progress monitoring ensures that you stay on track and make consistent progress towards your goals! Move your goals higher and higher as you go.

5. Talk to an expert

It can be highly competitive to secure admission into a medical (or another allied health profession) course. At The Profs, we offer expert guidance for:

Our experienced tutors have a deep understanding of the requirements and expectations of top universities, giving you a competitive edge in the admissions process.

How we can help 

Secure your place on a Medicine course at a prestigious university with our expert tutors, personalised approach, and comprehensive resources. We have a 95% success rate getting students into their first or second-choice universities. Join our winning percentage!

Don’t leave your success to chance – get in touch with The Profs today and SMASH your HPAT.



When is the HPAT registration?

HPAT registrations typically close in mid-January of the year of the test. 

For example, for the test window of 17–25 February 2023, registrations closed at 5:15 pm GMT on 20 January 2023.

To register you must fill out an online application form, accessible here.

Where is the HPAT sat? Is it online?

The HPAT used to be taken in a test centre. However, since covid it has moved online. The HPAT is now a remote computer-based test by ProctorU. Candidates can sit for the HPAT from any suitable location that has a strong internet and meets the technical requirements of the test, meaning they can take the test from their home.

How hard is the HPAT?

The HPAT is considered challenging due to its broad range of content and strict time limits. It assesses not only academic knowledge but also skills like problem-solving, logical reasoning, and interpersonal understanding.

When will the HPAT results be released?

The specific dates for the release of HPAT results can vary each year. Candidates should check the HPAT Ireland website for the most current information. However, for 2022 and 2023, results were released towards the end of June.

Can you fail HPAT?

There’s no pass or fail in the HPAT. Instead, candidates receive scores for each section along with an overall score and percentile ranking. This ranking indicates the candidate’s performance compared with other test-takers in the same year.

Is the HPAT an IQ test?

No, the HPAT is not an IQ test. It is designed to assess skills necessary for academic success in medical and allied health courses, such as logical reasoning, problem-solving, and interpersonal understanding.

Is HPAT or UCAT harder?

The difficulty of the HPAT and UCAT can vary depending on the individual. Both tests are challenging and assess a range of skills, but they have different formats and question types. It is recommended that candidates familiarise themselves with both and prepare accordingly.