If you are applying to medical training in Ireland from secondary school, you will go through the CAO system. Your total score for your application will be a combination of your Leaving Cert and HPAT scores.
You register for the HPAT exam at www.hpat-ireland.acer.org around November and the HPAT exam will be in February. CAO applications will be finalized around February also. You will complete your Leaving Cert in June and receive your HPAT results shortly after that. Finally, you will get your LC results in August.
Then in late August you will receive CAO offers. This will determine if the combined score of your HPAT and LC is enough for you to be offered a place in one of the 5 undergraduate medical schools in Ireland. There are 3 in Dublin (UCD, RSCI, Trinity College), as well as Galway (UG) and Cork (UCC).
Your points are calculated by adding the LC score to your HPAT. If you score above 550 on the LC, every 5 points are adjusted to 1. For example, if you scored 575 points you would get 555 points. If you score less than 550 there is no adjustment. Note: this adjustment only applies to medicine, not other CAO courses.
This LC score is added to your HPAT “raw score” which is determined by your percentile i.e. how well you performed in relation to all other students. For example, if you performed better than 90% of candidates in the HPAT exam, you would be in the 90th percentile, and in 2022 this would give you a “raw score” of 180.
Points for undergraduate medicine in 2022 were as below:
• UCD 743
• Trinity 743
• RCSI 740
• UCC 738
• NUIG 735
How you rank the options is important. You will be the course that is highest on your preferences, out of any that you qualify for and you have to accept or decline that one in August – you cannot decide you would like to join a course lower down your list.
Points vary significantly from year to year. This does not necessarily mean the standard is changing or that interest is increasing or declining or that the exam is getting easier or harder.
The HPAT is marked by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) who change the marking scheme on an annual basis which influences the points that are awarded for a particular centile score.