Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Aoife Lyons from Civil and Public Service Jobs to give some advice for people considering this job:


Aoife Lyons

Occupational Psychologist

Civil and Public Service Jobs

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  Aoife Lyons
Psychology is a very broad area and I would encourage people to reflect on the field that would suit them best. If you study pharmacy, you will graduate as a pharmacist. It is different in psychology. The role of a Clinical Psychologist differs significantly from the role of an Educational Psychologist, a Forensic Psychologist or a Sports Psychologist. A post graduate qualification will be required to practice in any of these fields. Regardless of the area of psychology that interests you, respect for and an interest in people is a key value that is required. Once you have qualifications, networks and professional bodies are a good way to meet prospective employers.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Preparing for the HPAT Admissions Test 2016

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Preparing for the HPAT Admissions Test 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016 

Preparing for the HPAT Admissions Test 2016

The HPAT-Ireland admissions test will be held tomorrow - Saturday 27th February 2016. Writing in the Irish Time this week, Guidance Counsellor Brian Mooney looks at the question Do I need to do expensive grinds for the Hpat?

A student who dramatically improved her results offers the following test advice:

PROBLEM: Is it possible to do well in the Hpat test for entry into undergraduate medicine without attending expensive grinds?

ADVICE: I discussed this question with a student who improved her score from the 35th to the 83rd percentile in one year. She gave the following advice.

Section 1:

The first section is on logical reasoning and problem-solving. There are a number of ways of preparing for this.

Process of elimination: for every question there are four answers, one of which is correct. Before you try to work out the correct answer, look at the options given. A lot of times you can immediately eliminate two of the answers. It is then a matter of looking between your two remaining answers.

Trial and error: this involves putting the answers into the question to see if they work. A simple maths example is: 3x = 12. Rather than work out the value for x, substitute in each answer to see which one works ie 3(1) is not = 12, 3(2) is not = 12, 3(3) is not = 12, but 3(4) = 12.

Mental arithmetic: the ability to do mental arithmetic without a calculator is crucial. The maths in the Hpat isn’t difficult, but under time pressure and without a calculator it can be challenging.

Practising basic maths such as long division, fractions, percentages, and being able to move between ratios and fractions will save a lot of time in the exam.

Familiarise yourself with medical terminology: try interpreting medical graphs and reading medical journals. There are so many resources on the internet for this. It will help you to become familiar with new medical words and conditions you may not have come across.

Section 2

For the second section, interpersonal understanding, the most important aspect is vocabulary. Build up your vocabulary by keeping a word journal, or use a flash-card programme such as Anki.

Practise speed reading: there are a lot of online resources to help with this.

Finally, read emotive passages to try to get into the habit of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes.

Section 3

The third section is on nonverbal reasoning. This section can be improved the most, but that will only come with practice. The section involves:

Mapping objects: separating moving objects, which makes it easier to follow the pattern they have taken. For example, if a square contains a black ball and a white ball, separate the balls into two squares. One square follows the path of the white ball, while the other follows the path of the black ball.

The three-two rule: this is useful in the pick-the-middle sequences. If within five objects, three seem to have one similarity and the remaining two have another similarity, the answer will always be within the group of three, so you can immediately eliminate two answers.

Become aware of rotating angles: learn to quickly follow an arrow 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 120 degrees etc.

Finally, learn the different types of movements between shapes. Are they consistent (moving one step at a time) or are they progressive (moving one step, then two steps, then three steps)?


More on HPAT and Entry Pathways to Medicine here

General HPAT Test Information

  • The duration of the test is 2.5 hours. (Applicants to UL  also have to complete an additional 1 hour Written English component.)
  • Applicants must report to the test centre at the time stated on your Admission Ticket, but it is not necessary to arrive before that time
  • The test itself will start as soon as all pre-testing procedures are completed
  • If you report to the centre after all candidates have been admitted to the testing room you may not be admitted
  • No latecomers will be admitted once the test has started
  • When making transport arrangements you should allow up to 4.5 hours from the arrival time stated on your Admission Ticket to the end of the test, as candidates are not allowed to leave the test centre before the test has finished
  • You are advised to have a light meal before reporting to the test centre, as you may have to be there for up to 4.5 hours. No food is permitted in the test centre, unless prior permission has been granted by the HPAT – Ireland Office based on medical reasons, e.g. if a candidate suffers from diabetes
  • Some test centres are warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week and you should consider dressing in layers so that you can be comfortable no matter what the room conditions are.

See also HPAT Ireland


The CareersPortal Team