Medical school entry and HPAT


A chara, – While forms of aptitude testing have certainly been in use for some time, there is a lack of evidence to suggest that the predictive value of such an aptitude test has had a positive impact on the selection of medical students and future doctors.

The thriving community of educators providing expensive grind courses for HPAT suggests that it is ability to give the right answer to the right questions, rather than aptitude, that is in fact being tested. Further, this industry skews the admissions to medical school in favour of those who can afford to pay, a regressive step.

Suggesting we persist with an unproven, unreliable and unfair test is absurd, and we should seek to find an egalitarian and fair alternative in the interests of our students and citizens. –Is mise,



Dublin 3.

Sir, – The issue of what kind of person it takes to be a good doctor is overstated. Modern medicine is made up of many specialities, and there is room for every personality type somewhere in the profession of medicine. That’s why medicine is never a bad career choice.

What matters most is not suitability at medical school entry stage, but correct selection of speciality according to one’s interests and personality soon after graduating from medical school. Senior doctors should be proactive in ensuring this. We all know of mismatches – doctors lacking in empathy practising in specialities where they often have to break bad news, and doctors with poor communication skills in family practice where communication is vital, etc.

Many careers in medicine such as pathology have no patient contact at all, so that an empathic personality is not required.

Let’s change the debate from choosing correctly at the time of entry to choosing correctly at postgraduate level. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.