There’s only two ways…

Loooong time no see! So much has happened in the past 3 months or so…

First up, the HPAT. I said to myself that when I finish the HPAT, I’ll either know if it’d had gone horribly wrong (if I’d ran out of time half-way through some section, for example) or I wouldn’t know how I got on at all (I finished every section on time and gave the questions a reasonable amount of consideration). Thankfully, I managed to achieve the latter, which was a big morale boost. I’d done disastrously in a mock-HPAT in my preparation course only a week before the HPAT, I found the nerves simply got to me doing the mock. However, in the actual HPAT, I felt as cool as a breeze. I took the entire mid-term that week off, and did no LC study, and precious little HPAT study. I relaxed with my friends and took it easy, and just got myself into a good mental position to take the exam. I was sitting down in my exam centre for about 30 minutes before (I was in Kampus Kitchen in UCC) which was actually nice, it helped me focus and relax myself before the exam. I hope it all worked out!

Secondly, the orals. I do Irish and German, and they were both fairly grand. I do OL Irish and it’s definitely my 7th subject so I wasn’t too worried about it really, whereas for German I was a tad bit more nervous for, and I’d put a LOT of work into my German oral. Irish was fairly non-serious, after I told the examiner I wanted to do medicine though I think he thought I was in HL Irish. Before long he was enquiring as to the denomination of my primary school. I was also asked about the difficulties of life as a doctor and what experience I had dealing with people (awesome opening for my giant learnt-off paragraph on my part-time job in a shop! :P) In German, however, I told her I was going and doing marketing or something and I only needed 400 points to avoid the same fate. I sort of regret it. At least when the examiner thinks you need high points, they know for sure you’re out for top marks if you’re hoping to do medicine.

The German oral is made up of 3 parts for those of you who don’t study it, about 5 minutes for each part. There’s the general questions (40 marks), picture question (where you answer questions on and describe what is happening in one of five possible picture stories, worth 30 marks) and the role plays (self-explanatory, you pretend to be someone and the examiner somebody else, worth 30 marks also). The picture (I got the one about the one who does a school exchange, for those who do German) and general questions went more or less perfectly. However, for the role-play I got the one where you’re a receptionist striking up a conversation with a German guest. We got to Irish street-signs and my examiner wouldn’t ask me about them. I was stuck for a good 5 or so seconds of awkward silence trying to concoct a way to bring up Irish street-signs to my guest without sounding weird. In all my mocks, I was the one who was asked about them! In the end, she almost seemed to just put me out of my misery and ask me about them. I was thoroughly confused, and it was an annoying blip on an otherwise lovely exam. I’m not even sure what I did wrong – hopefully I won’t have to go and find out!

They’re pretty much all the major academic goals I’ve crossed off my list so far. It all feels like I never did them at all. If I was to say what was the worst of it so far, I’d have to say the HPAT, far more nerve-wracking than the orals! But even the HPAT feels insubstantial now. I’m not overly worried about the exams in June – after the HPAT, a preparable exam is a dream come true (except for English paper 1, but that’s still more preparable than HPAT). I’ve gotten this far now, the main motivator is not to feck it all up at the last hurdle or to get complacent.

As for the CAO, it’s still the same aule way. I think my order of medicine (NUIG, UCC, TCD, UCD, RCSI) will most likely stay as it is, but my second choices will change completely. I’m favouring general science much more now, and other such broad courses, because truth be told, after medicine, I’ve really no idea what I wanna do. It’s not due to a lack of choice, but an overwhelming amount of choice. Medicine itself is a hugely broad course when you think about it, with the amount of different specialities you can enter (annoys me when people ask me what speciality in medicine I want to do, I’ll try and get medicine first and foremost!) and the possibility to do research (or easily a postgrad in a different area, for example, medical physics). The choices during and after medicine are huge, although yes, it is a tough course.

Next up though, June!

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