HPAT: The Health Professions Admissions Test


What is the health professions admissions test?

If you are applying to study a healthcare related or medical degree subject in Northern Ireland, make sure you find about this additional admissions requirement, the HPAT test.

What is the health professions admissions test (HPAT) used for?

The health professions admissions test (HPAT) is used by The University of Ulster and all universities in the Republic of Ireland, to assess the suitability of candidates applying for medical courses.

Like the UKCAT tests, HPAT Ulster and HPAT Ireland look beyond academic qualifications to test for the kind of thinking and inter-personal skills that are needed for a successful career in the medical profession.

What courses require the health professions admissions test?

The HPAT Ulster is required by the following undergraduate courses at the University of Ulster:

  • Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging
  • Radiotherapy and Oncology
  • Speech & Language Therapy

The HPAT Ireland test is also used for medical course admissions by the following Irish universities:

  • National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • University College Dublin

What is the format of the health professions admissions test?

The HPAT Ulster comprises a single 3 hour paper with three sections, two consisting of multiple choice and one that requires written answers:

  • Critical reasoning
  • Interpersonal understanding
    Written communication

The HPAT Ireland comprises a single two and a half hour multiple choice style test in three sections:

  • Logical reasoning and problem solving
  • Interpersonal understanding
  • Non-verbal reasoning

How and when do you take the health professions admissions test?

You can only take the HPAT if you are in the sixth form or have completed your sixth form level schooling. Registration can take two stages:

  • For the HPAT Ireland, you must first apply for a candidate number online at the Central Applications Office
  • For either test you can register and pay online at either HPAT Ulster (for the University of Ulster) or HPAT Ireland (for Irish universities).

Registrations open in October/ November and close in early January, with the tests taking place in February / early March.

How to prepare for the health professions admissions test

The HPAT does not test any specific scientific knowledge or understanding, so you cannot revise for the test. However, you should familiarise yourself with the test format by accessing the HPAT Ulster specimen tests or HPAT Ireland specimen tests available online. You should also read the information provided for candidates on the websites for HPAT Ulster and HPAT Ireland.

Neither test organisation endorses or recommends the many commercial HPAT preparation companies.