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by Osrick Laranang on

What to Expect from the Ateneo College Entrance Test or ACET

The Ateneo College Entrance Test or ACET is your means to an Ateneo education.  Of course, you’d also have to have money for the fees and tuition, but that’s incidental, he he he.  The ACET is the make or break exam that will determine if you will Pass Go or Head on to Jail (to people who are determined to study in Ateneo de Manila University, Jail and Other School are practically synonymous).

People tend to fear what they do not know or understand.  And yet, there are those who fear what they believe they know and (tragically) understand.  The Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET) belongs to this latter category.

You’ve probably heard all the ACET horror stories that are circulating around, perpetrated by those who’ve gone before.  Some of those stories are based in fact, but chances are they’ve been blown way out of proportion.  The mind does have a tendency to play tricks on us.

This article, however, will not.  “There is no knowledge that is not power,” so goes the old Mortal Kombat saying, so use this power to your advantage when facing the ACET.

The “Unfinishable” Exam?

Before you can cry foul, let me say this first:  “unfinishable” is not a word.  It’s only a term I’m using for this occasion to help me drive my point across.  There, satisfied?

There’s a reason why some people have dubbed the ACET as the “unfinishable” exam:  the time limit involved is somewhat tight.  Since you’re given only five minutes to answer certain sections, your mind will most likely panic unless you’re armed with some kind of plan.

The trick, of course, is to know what you’ll be up against before hand and to prepare in advance.  Having a watch with you will be of tremendous help – all you have to do is to note the time limit for each section and pace yourself accordingly.

One word of caution before we proceed:  if you’re going to bring a watch, make sure that it’s a real clock, not the watch on your mobile phone.  Otherwise, the exam proctor may bust you for suspected cheating.  (It’s actually happened to someone before.)

Now let’s take a look at the subjects involved.

While the ACET will throw in the standard issue Science, Math and English topics, expect your skills in the latter two subjects to be tested big time.  ACET takers have reported a lot of questions involving problem solving, statistics, conic sections (basically Maths 2 and 4 material).  Now, aren’t you glad you’re from a science high school?

There are also sections on reading comprehension and essay writing.  Yes, you read it correctly – essay writing.  Remember that essay question they threw at you when you first sent in your application form?  If you can manage that, then you should be able to manage the ACET English essay writing portion as well (insert screams here from those who have let other people write their admission essay, he he he).

In the essay writing section, explain things well but be brief.  You don’t want to pass an “excitingly and wonderfully profound masterpiece” that no one got or read because it’s not complete, do you?  It also won’t hurt your chances to put in a good word for the Ateneo de Manila University in your essay.  It may even help; believe me, ego-stroking still works in this day and age.

Expect some questions on current events as well.  I expect the powers at be in Ateneo de Manila University throw in these questions just to keep you on your toes.  You may wish to make a habit of reading the papers weeks before the big ACET day.

Exam Etiquette

One thing you should keep in mind is that the ACET is not the UPCAT or U.P. College Admission Test.

You:  “I know that, you dummy!  ACET has only four letters while UPCAT has five.” {I’m sorry; couldn’t resist ribbing you a bit, he he he).

In ACET, you can bring some snacks for when you take the exam.  However, unlike in UPCAT, the exam proctor won’t allow you to eat and drink during the exam.  Wait until the snack break to munch on your sandwich or sip on your bottled water.

Newsflash: If I were you, I’d steer clear of carbonated drinks.  In fact, you should steer clear of anything that has ever caused you a tummy upset in the past.  For instance, if you have lactose intolerance, you’d better bring only food and drinks that don’t have milk in them.  You don’t want to be running to and from the CR just when you’re getting all warmed up about the ACET.  For drinks, water is still best.

If you still have some time during your break, walk around and limber up a bit.  Your ACET session may take place in one of the covered courts, so feel free to explore, chat with friends (please, not about the exam – do you really need any more pressure?), and make new friends (uuuyyyy).

Lastly, don’t forget to take a quick trip to the “comfortable room.”  The exam is pressure enough; so be kind to yourself and get rid of any building pressure in your bladder.

Go and Do Likewise

Now that you know what to expect, the next thing to do is to apply it.  If you’d like more detailed suggestions on how to properly prepare for the ACET, I’ve discussed them in greater detail in Preparing for the ACET.

For now, just remember that you do not need to fear the ACET.  It is a difficult exam (and an extremely hard one for those who are not prepared for it), but with enough preparation, prayer and guts, it can also become a quite manageable college entrance exam.

To know the ACET Schedule, click here.


While every effort has been made to keep this website accurate and updated, makes no guarantees about the veracity and accuracy of the information it provides. has been established to provide students and their parents an additional source of timely and relevant information.  It is not meant to serve as nor claim to be a replacement for the information portals of universities, schools, government agencies, private organizations, and any other entities we may have used as references.

Please be advised. Thank you.

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