Tuesday 24 October 2017

Students can now appeal HPAT exam

Katherine Donnelly and Stephen O'Farrell

STUDENTS sitting the controversial HPAT aptitude test for entry to medicine will be able to appeal their results this year.

It is a major breakthrough following the disappointment of high-flying Leaving Certificate candidates who failed to get into medicine in the autumn because of poor HPAT results.

ACER, the company that administers the test, has agreed to introduce a re-check process.

Details have not been decided, but sources have confirmed it will be in place this year.

HPAT, which tests skills such as logical reasoning and interpersonal understanding, was introduced last year to widen access to medicine and take the heat out of the points race.

High achieving Leaving Cert students -- including some with 600 points -- failed to get a place in medicine, while some with 520 points and a good HPAT result reaped the benefits.

It provoked protest in some quarters, and critics condemned HPAT for its lack of transparency, including the absence of an appeals mechanism.

A spokesperson said HPAT Ireland was not a test where there was an element of judgment. "We do a number of checks before results are provided to candidates."

Meanwhile, around 500 secondary school pupils from across the country yesterday sampled life as a medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Dublin. From x-rays and skeletons to social life, students were talked through various subjects and experiences.

Victoria McCormac (17), from Beaumont, Dublin, said she had a huge interest in studying either medicine or pharmacy.

"I think people are looking more at medicine because it does provide a stable job and you know that in 20 years you will still be guaranteed a job in practically any country."

Irish Independent

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