System used me like a guinea pig, says high scorer
SARAH Petch says she feels like she has been treated like a guinea pig by the education system.
The student was one of the highest fliers in last year's Leaving Certificate, achieving the maximum 600 points, but she failed to get any of her top five college choices -- all medicine -- because of a mid-ranking standing in the HPAT scores.
She settled for her sixth choice, physiotherapy and said: "I had my heart set on going to college. It was the end of August and I had nothing else planned."
Sarah had believed the advice that there was no point preparing for HPAT.
Once in Trinity College Dublin, she was sharing anatomy and physiology classes with medicine students and holding her own.
But she said she found it "very difficult to sit in the same lectures as the medicine students" and opted out at Christmas.
"I wasn't going to pursue it. I had no intention of finishing the course. I had already applied for medicine in the UK."
Having decided to give HPAT another go, she concentrated on preparation for the February exam.
She did a preparation course in Dublin and said she found an online course particularly useful.
She said: "I have no problem with the introduction of an aptitude test, but it was introduced so hastily and the fact that the Leaving Cert points were negated -- and also having been told not to prepare for it.
"You can't use students, with genuine ambitions, as guinea pigs."
Sarah said that even though HPAT is not something for which you can learn material, she now believes the preparation "gives you the edge".