The Times, They Are A Changin’

Today was quite possibly one of the most productive days of my Christmas holidays when it comes to the Leaving Cert. Oh yes, there were sweat, blood and tears and I didn’t open a single book, copy or folder. I did it, ย I took the plunge and hauled my ass over to the CAO website to sort it out, once and for all. Well, figuratively speaking at least… Might as well bookmark the “Change of Mind” facility now.

You know it’s funny. I’d gone to pretty much all of the Open Days. I’d dragged my mates around the different stands, to the boring information lectures to the point where it was much better to split up, letting them check out the university “talent” while I checked out courses. “Pfffft,” they said, “loads of time.” So today it paid off: I got out all my prospectuseseses (prospecti??), happy that I had some grasp of what I want to do. Okay, Medicine down the five slots there… Then lost. I mean, I know that you need to have a back up, a back-up for your back-up and so on. I put down back-ups. I mean, I know now that I want to do Medicine and there’s really no other course that I’m interested in, especially after thinking it over the past few weeks, even months. It’s deciding where you might end up going ย if things don’t go as planned,the complete uncertainty that’s so unnerving. They say change is good, but one that ties you down somewhere for 4 years? Yipes. Must be the Mother Theresa of the World of Change.I guess it’s good motivation to really knuckle down and get what you want to get.

I wasn’t even going to do the CAO for another few weeks until someone warned me about the Dublin HPAT test centre and the possibility of it filling up and then having to go to Galway or Cork. That would be one hell of a day. For anyone in a centre outside of Dublin in the event that Dublin does fill up… I think that you’ll be able to tell which candidates they are. The twitching ones that will cry tense tears of exhaustion as the time to put down the pencil draws ever closer. Then I saw myself in the situation. Not a chance I’d cope, I’m bad enough in exam situations without being sleep-deprived even further with travel time. Hence the CAO panic and now I have my number and HPAT registration all done and dusted. Figuratively speaking.

So what did I put down as my back-ups in the end? Human Health and Disease, Science, Physio and Occupational Therapy, roughly in that order and it’ll probably change after this post. After all that I nearly wish I really did go check out the talent because really I’m no more concrete on my “definitely maybes” than I was six months ago. Yet as 2010 draws closer and closer I can’t help but think where, in little over six months time, my CAO application will lead me and for my friends, their’s. I think today is the first day, the first big wake-up call I’ve had, of life beyond the Leaving and life beyond school.

30th December 2009 folks. A day for change.. now the 31st? Let’s hope it’s a positive change for study! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mister X.

14 thoughts on “The Times, They Are A Changin’”

  1. Crud. I have to start figuring out my 2nd and 3rd choices now…I must haul out the ol CAO handbook that our careers teacher basically read to us for the first half of the year. Cos we can’t read ourselves, obviously.

  2. Has one else tried the HPAT practice booklet? If so how did you score? I’ve done it and got 72/110 but I’d like to find out how others faired?!?

  3. Hi!! Can anyone tell me is it possible 2 branch off in2 medicine if u do a basic science or Human Health course or even dentistry. Sorry i know i should prob know this bt our career teacher really doesnt hav a clue!! Tanx.

  4. im pretty sure u can after a primary degree in some science course, dont know the full details though, sorry.

    1. Preparing myself for the haters…

      I haven’t sat down for the 2 and a half hours to sit the HPAT. I’m hoping to get around to it tomorrow if school is actually called off..? Though I have leafed through sample questions and a few here and there… Xmas hols have been insane with work and stuff, I think I’d 2 days off so far not counting Xmas Day and Stephen’s? Really just focused on doing some studying so far. But yeah, the HPAT practice is supposed to be easy compared to the real deal, but sure it’s not meant to be easy it’s meant to be a cruel cruel test that really pushes you.

      @Niamh, you’re wondering can you branch off into Med once you have your degree? If you hold a 2.1 degree you can go for the Medicine Graduate Entry Programme (Med GEP). RCSI ( were the first to offer I think (could be wrong) and now Limerick, UCD, UCC and I think NUI Galway offer it. You’ll also have to do an exam called the GAMSAT. It’s more intensive than the traditional route (I know in some universities they work through summers) and it’s fee paying. Although RCSI mention something bout a loan in that link. Maybe someone can clarify on the GAMSAT but I think it’s some science and a little like HPAT so surely a Science degree would help? And with H H&D in Trinity I’d be amazed if they don’t introduce Med GEP there. You’d have to ask the college, but surely with a degree like that you could skip some modules? At the very least they’d be easy ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow thank you so much thats so helpful i really apreciate it.
    For Cillian i just did the practice test there i scored 75/110, i tried to do it within the time frame so had to guess a bit of section 1 and 3 cause i ran out if time.
    Best of luck with the rest of the blog Mr X and thanks again. Happy studies evry1:)

  6. Niamh, think that doing a post-grad Medicine course costs circa 10 grand a year, so if you’re in the money, go for it! If not, I hear puppy poaching is a good prospective illegal trade to earn some funds? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I’m yet another Medicine hopeful (sickening, aren’t we?!) To be honest, haven’t started the HPAT practice yet.. I’m waiting for my mind to clear from this haze of Christmas over-indulgence. Any day now…
    Did anyone else apply to the UK and do the UKCAT? Has a few sections on it that are vaguely similar to the HPAT so hoping that’ll be of some (again, vague) advantage to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Depends how the options go this year, I might apply to the UK for next year if it all goes badly. Any idea about requirements? Did you get them back?

    2. Eh, I got a decent-ish score in the UKCAT, nothing spectacular though. Got 2 interview but was forced to cancel them due to unforseen circumstances (ie. not enough cold hard cash for travel expenses! :() Still waiting to hear back from 2 other universities, but presuming my places there are well gone by now. I’d prefer go to Ireland anyway! Yeah. That’s it.
      I’m SOOOO not bitter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Think all you need for UK Med is a strong personal statement, UKCAT over 650ish, fairly decent predicted grades (Edinburgh looks for at least Higher 6A2s… nice!) Nice thing about UK entry is that it’s not nationalised, like everything is based on your application to each individual university.

      I know I’m going to kick myself up the… well, I’m gonna kick myself in a spectactular display of acrobatic movement if I don’t get Medicine in Ireland this year. After cancelling my two interviews! ๐Ÿ™

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