Our broadband is woeful. How can my daughter sit the online Hpat?

Technological requirements to complete the test will be daunting for many students

 

My daughter is due to sit the Leaving Cert in June and hopes to secure a place to study medicine. Her school has advised that she will need to do the Hpat test online this year – but we have terrible broadband and I’m not sure it’s good enough. Can you explain what she needs to do?

In normal years, thousands of hopeful candidates for undergraduate medical courses crowd into exam centres around the country to complete the Hpat – the Health Professions Admission Test. This year the Australian company behind the aptitude test has decided to run it online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The first thing your daughter needs to do is to apply to the CAO which will provide her with the application number needed to register to sit the Hpat test in 2021. She then needs to register online (hpat-ireland.acer.org) to sit the test.

Her online registration and payment of €152.80 must be completed by 5:15pm on January 20th. (Late registrations will be accepted up to 5.15pm on February 1st, upon payment of a €70 late fee in addition to the registration fee. An exceptional late registration at a further €35 is available until 5.15pm on February 3rd, making it €257.80.)

The type of computer is also vitally important. Only desktop computers or laptops with cameras and microphones are permitted

The test will take place in February – on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st – and will be delivered by “online proctoring”, which involves sitting the test under live supervision using a computer equipped with a camera and internet access.

The precise technological requirements may cause real challenges for families living in poorly connected rural areas. Crucially, you will need uninterrupted service for a minimum of 4½ hours. If you have poor quality broadband, consider going to another setting where there is better connectivity.

The type of computer is also vitally important. Only desktop computers or laptops with cameras and microphones are permitted. Tablet devices such as iPads, smartphones and Chromebooks are not considered suitable. The minimum requirements are MacOS X 10.5 or higher, or Windows Vista or higher.

An internet speed of at least two mbps download and two mbps upload is needed. Hot spots are not recommended. You can test your broadband speed online (speedtest.net) to see if your connection is good enough.

On the day of the test, candidates will be monitored live by camera by an online proctor. The room must be private, quiet, with a suitable desk and chair and with a clean, clear workspace that does not have notes or books or any clutter on or around the work area.

On the day of the test, candidates will be monitored throughout by the online proctor. Candidates will be allowed only photo ID, a clear water bottle, a mirror so the proctor can check that there is no one else in the room, two sheets of blank scrap paper, a pencil, sharpener and eraser.