More than 3,000 would-be doctors took a new aptitude assessment test at centres around the country today.

It is the first year that students hoping to attend an undergraduate medicine course at colleges in Ireland must take the Health Professions Admission Test.

The test is in addition to the Leaving Certificate, which is also required.

The HPAT is in a multiple choice format and tests common sense skills like verbal and numeric reasoning, and spatial acuity.

The points from this test will be combined with Leaving Certificate results later this year for school leavers, while for mature students it is one of the primary elements of their application.

The testing centres were located in Dublin's RDS, Cork, Galway, Sligo and Waterford.

The HPAT-Ireland test is separate from HPAT-Ulster, which was held at the end of last month, and is required by those applying to colleges in Northern Ireland.