Report from  the Irish Times Friday 28th June 2013

Changes to HPAT, the exam used for entry to university medical schools, are aimed at reducing the potential advantage to applicants who repeat the exam.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA), the representative body of the seven universities, says an evaluation of the exam shows that non-verbal reasoning scores are improved in repeat applicants. Aiming to reduce the potential benefits those who repeat, the IUA has reduced the weighting of this section by 13.3 per cent to 20 per cent.

The weightings given to the logical reasoning and problem solving and interpersonal understanding sections of the exam have both been increased by 6.7 per cent to 40 per cent. The new weightings come into effect next year.

In other changes, the results of Hpat examinations sat in 2013 and subsequent years will only be valid for a single year. This means it will not be possible to present results achieved this year for admission to courses in 2014.

In a final change, practice material including examples of correct answers, issued to applicants this year will continue to be issued in future years.

The IUA says the changes are the result of recommendations made in July 2012 by research group that evaluated entry mechanisms to medicine.