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Preparing for the HPAT exam

See below for some common FAQ's in relation to preparing for the HPAT exam.

Can I prepare for the HPAT in 5th year?

We often get asked ‘Can I prepare for the HPAT in 5th year?’ and our answer is yes absolutely! In fact we encourage it. Every year, 5th year students get a head start on their HPAT Exam preparation. As you cannot sit the HPAT exam until your leaving cert year. You can however begin your preparation early and to become familiar with the HPAT and to gain an insight into the exam. We provide extended access to 5th years so you will book our HPAT courses and once you are facing into your Leaving cert, simply contact us and we will extend your access for your HPAT exam year.

Can I prepare for the HPAT in Transition Year?

While the majority of students will wait until they are in 5th year before they begin studying for the HPAT®-Ireland Exam, if you are sure that you want to study medicine then you can get started with one our preparation courses in 4th year.

What is more important – your Leaving Cert or your HPAT Exam Preparation?

The competitive selection criterion for entry to Medicine will be on the basis of the weighted combination of the Leaving Certificate Exam and HPAT-Ireland scores. Since medicine applicants will require high points in the Leaving Certificate, as well as an excellent HPAT score, both exams require ample preparation and study time. The influence of your HPAT Ireland exam score should not be underestimated; it is often as important, or sometimes more important, than your Leaving Certificate points in determining whether you get a place on a medicine course.

What are adjusted leaving certificate points for Medicine?

Before the scores are combined, Leaving Certificate Examination scores above 550 points will be adjusted to a maximum score of 565 points. This is because medicine applicants’ leaving certificate points are adjustment once they exceed 550 points. Above 550 points, every bracket of five points is only worth one point.

For example:

This means that after adjustment, the maximum Leaving Cert points a student can obtain is 565.

What is the best plan to prepare for the exam?

We recommend our HPAT Courses

  1. Visit and research thoroughly the official HPAT-Ireland website:
  2. Read the CAO booklet “Selection Criteria for Undergraduate Entry to Medicine”.  It can also be found on the CAO website.
  3. Career Services HPAT Course (96.3% Recommend our HPAT Course)
  4. ACER Practice Tests 1, 2 and 3 – These practice tests are copyrighted by ACER and as a result can only be purchased from the official HPAT-Ireland website.
  5. Take the official exam. The official date for the HPAT-Ireland exam is usually held at the end of February of each year.

Is there a way to improve on understanding Section 1

In addition to the course tuition and practice questions it can also be beneficial for students to look over scientific journals and articles in order to become more familiar with the scientific language used and gain a greater comprehension.

Where can I purchase the ACER practice papers?

The ACER practice papers are available at:

Please note: HPAT®-Ireland Exam is a registered trademark of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). CS Career Services Ltd. preparation courses are unaffiliated with and not endorsed by ACER. Our preparation materials are based the format of the HPAT-Ireland assessment and provide the best tuition with the information that is available at the current time. We cannot accept responsibility for any possible changes to future assessments.