Changes to HPAT-Ireland for Entry to Under-Graduate Medical Courses

The IUA wishes to announce changes to the HPAT-Ireland examination which is used for entry to all undergraduate medical courses at Irish Higher Education Institutions. The main focus of these changes is to enhance equity of access and transparency.

The changes are as follows:

Change 1: Revised Weighting of HPAT- Ireland Test Sections. Effective from 2014

The revised weighting scheme as outlined in Table 1 below will be implemented for the 2014 HPAT-Ireland test.  The change in weighting of the 3 sections aims to reduce the potential benefits of repeating the examination, as an evaluation of HPAT-Ireland has shown that Non-Verbal Reasoning scores can be improved through repeating the exam.

HPAT-Ireland Test Section Old Weighting New  Weighting 2014
1. Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

1 (33.3%)

2 (40%)

2. Interpersonal Understanding

1 (33.3%)

2 (40%)

3. Non-Verbal Reasoning

1 (33.3%)

1 (20%)

Table 1: revised weighting for each of the three sections of the HPAT–Ireland test

Change 2: HPAT-Ireland Examination Results Valid for One Year Only. Effective from 2013

The results of HPAT-Ireland examinations sat in 2013 and subsequent years will only be valid for a single year for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

This means that it will not be possible to present results achieved in the 2013 sitting of the HPAT-Ireland test for admission to undergraduate medical courses in 2014.

Applicants who sat the HPAT-Ireland exam in 2012 will still be able to present their 2012 HPAT-Ireland result when applying for admission to undergraduate medicine in 2013.

Change 3: HPAT-Ireland Practice Material Being Made Available to All Applicants. Already effective.

Students who registered for the HPAT-Ireland 2013 test received, as part of their registration, a copy of the HPAT-Ireland Practice Test booklet, which contains worked answers to assist them with their test preparation.  This change will continue to apply in subsequent years.

The changes apply to:

  • National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
  • Trinity College, Dublin (TCD)
  • University College Cork (UCC)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)


Additional Point of Clarification:

Students with Leaving Certificates from previous years can still apply for entry to medicine it is only the HPAT test that has to be sat in the year of entry.


2707 sat the HPAT exam in 2013. The results of that exam were issued on Monday 24th June.

These changes are based on a number of recommendations made in July 2012 by a National Research Group which evaluated Revised Entry Mechanisms to Medicine.  The following recommendations were considered and approved in Spring 2013 by the academic councils of all institutions with undergraduate medical courses.

On the basis of three years of evidence of the performance of HPAT-Ireland, the recommendations of the National Research Group were as follows:

  1. A redistribution is applied to the weighting of HPAT-Ireland sections (as outlined in Table 1) to reduce the contribution of Section 3 scores to the overall score in order to reduce the impact of repeat effects;
  2. HPAT-Ireland scores be valid for a period of one year only;
  3. 3.       Further practice material be made available to all HPAT-Ireland applicants which also includes some examples of correct responses and the rationales to these to ensure adequate opportunities for all to become familiar with the test format and sample items.

The full report of the National Research Group is available on