The tension for UPCAT sure is high. :) Thank you so much for those pointers!

by aishizuki on Twitter

What to Do If You DON’T Pass the UPCAT

Sad, but it happens.  Some people (take that to read:  a lot of people) do indeed fail the UPCAT.  What if you’re one of those who do not pass the UP entrance test?

First and foremost, don’t jump out the window, hang yourself or blow up a mall using explosives strapped to your chest just yet.  All hope is not lost and your dream of a UP education can still come true.

Here are some tips, alternatives and strategies to get into the UP system regardless of the UPCAT result:

The Talent Determination Test

Contrary to popular belief, the UPCAT isn’t the only way to UP.  There’s a narrow path for creative individuals to get into UP and it’s called the talent determination test.  Better pray to God that you can draw, paint, sculpt, sing, play an instrument, or act very well.  Think American Idol and hone your skills, quick.

The TDT is held every summer in the colleges of music and fine arts.  They have their own application procedures, application fees and grading system.

Waiting List

Sometimes all it takes is enough courage or ‘kapal ng mukha’, post UPCAT determination and information to tip the scales and get you into the University of the Philippines.

First, get your UPCAT grades [to see if its near the cut-off grade] and go to the college of your choice and inquire about their waiting lists.  A number of UPCAT passers will opt to study somewhere else, so a slot might suddenly become available.  Moreover, a different course [one that's relatively new or less known] in the same or different college altogether may need more students to fill up their required slots.  Sometimes they may require a contract locking you in to the course; even so, maybe you’ll end up liking this course better than your original choice.  Sometimes, no such contract is required; for those without contracts, you can just shift to the course you really like after your first year.

You can also try inquiring about the availability of slots in the other UP Campuses.  More often than not (that is if your UPCAT grade is near enough to the cut-off), sheer legwork and determination will find you a spot somewhere in the University system.  Failed to get into UP Diliman, try another UP campus like UP Los Baños, UP Iloilo, etc.


If don’t sing or dance well or if you fail to find an extra slot in the vast/confusing UP system, you can opt to study in another good university during your first 3 or 4 semesters.  Make sure you earn great grades so you will qualify as a transferee to UP.

The above mentioned options are not the well beaten path towards a UP education, but they are just as effective as passing the UPCAT.  Be sure to try them out if you don’t pass the UPCAT.

Related posts:

  1. Are UPCAT Reviews Really Effective?
  2. UPCAT Alternatives
  3. UPCAT Mock Test: Physics
  4. U.P. Diliman Talent Determination Test 101
  5. The UP TDT: Certificate in Music Program
  6. UPCAT Reviewer / Sample Quiz: Diction and Vocabulary
  7. UPCAT Sample Questions: Syntax and Mechanics
  8. UPCAT 2010 Forms (for AY 2011-2012 Admission)
  9. UPCAT 2010: SY2011-2012 Schedule Updates
  10. 10 Less Known Facts about the UPCAT
  11. UPCAT Help: Resources for UPCAT Test Takers
  12. UPCAT Tip: What is the University Predicted Grade
  13. UPCAT 101: Basic Facts about the UPCAT
  14. How Hard is the UPCAT?
  15. Post UPCAT Ultimate Guide


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40 thoughts on “What to Do If You DON’T Pass the UPCAT

  1. Hi po

    Nareceive ko na po ang aking UPG which is 2.9 :(
    My campus choices are UPLB and UP Mindanao.
    I discovered that the minimum cut off score for reconsideration is 2.8. Will I still have a chance na mareconsider ako sa UPLB or UP Mindanao even my cut off score didn’t reach the applicable reconsideration appeals? I think not all qualifiers in mindanao will apply for UP mindanao. Then maybe there will be available slots. Sana pwede :’(

    • Hi Jelly,

      I like it that you thought the matter through yourself. :) Ganyan ang dapat, proactive. Even if there seems little chance, you must try. Malay mo, di ba? Good luck sa request for reconsideration mo.

  2. what if kung nakapasa k sa upcat… at sa ibang campus k nakapasa… pwede pa bang magtalent test? mas gusto k kasi sa UPD…

  3. Hi!

    paano ko po malalaman ang score/grade ko sa UPCAT?…’Di po kasi ako naka-pasa sa UPCAT but that’s fine with me, God has a better plan for me, though na-disappoint si mommy ok lang naman din po sa kanya. I think I can sing, baka lang naman makapasok pa ako sa UP. Pwede po ba malaman ang score/grade ko sa UPCAT via e-mail? or may iba pa pong process na gagawin? thanks po :D

  4. My son passed UP LB however we really prefer his 1st choice w/c is UP Diliman. Is there a way that we can try that he can be admitted in Diliman instead? Thanks

    • Hi Ma’am,

      Unfortunately, if UP Diliman was his first choice and UPLB his second choice and he qualified for UPLB instead of UPD, then it generally means that his UPG did not make the UP Diliman UPG cut-off mark. This means that there’s no way at this moment that he can push for a slot in UP Diliman. He can, however, try to transfer to the UPD campus starting on his second year.

  5. Pingback: UPCAT Review – Your Ultimate Guide

  6. I’m taking the upcat next week (Aug 6, 2011) My first choice is BA Film and my second is BA English Studies. Just in case I don’t pass the upcat, can I still take the talent test? Would it be possible to shift to music/arts/theatre and take the talent test?

  7. .i already filed my application for reconsideration in UPLB. I would like to ask if i have a great chance of passing considering that my upcat scores were as follows:
    UPG:2. 554
    My chosen courses were Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and BS Nutrition

    • Pumunta ka lang sa pinakamalapit na UP campus. If in UP Diliman, go to the UP Office of Admissions. If in another campus, go to the UP Office of the Registrar. Alternatively, you can visit the UP website ( UP also makes application forms downloadable – just make sure you’re downloading the form for the right school year, though.

  8. .malungkot pero kelangang tanggapin na isa rin ako sa mga hindi pinalad.. tatanong ko lang po kung pano ko malalaman yung naging result ng test ko.. i memail nyo po ba sa amin yun? thank you.. god bless..

    • We’re sorry about that, pero madami pang ibang colleges and universities. If you really want to graduate from UP, apply for a transfer after your freshman year. UP will send you your UPCAT result in the mail. Good luck!

  9. I am an UPCAT 2011 taker and sadly I did not pass. I am one of the higher achieving students of my school which is an atenean school. But I sadly placed double quota and quota course in my application form thinking that even though I do not pass the program i would still be considered for the campus.
    Some of my classmates who I know I’m slightly better at passed the UPCAT but qualified for BA courses.
    My question is does this still apply today? SY2011-2012
    Thank You. More Power.

  10. Kelan po ba talaga labas ng UPCAT 2011 ? ano po ung passing rate para sa mga campus ? Saan po unang ipapadala ung mail ? sa school or sa sa examinee? Thanks po pki send na lang po sa email ko. :)

  11. Bakit naman po kasi ganun yung halos 25 percent ng tanong ni hindi man lang po tinuro sa akin since elementary????Tsaka kawawa po yung 4th yr. ngayon yung tinest nila yung iba pang 4th yr. e samantalang pagaaralan pa lang nila yun????

    • Naku, mahirap nga yan. :( Pero – malamang – yung pinagbasehan ng UP sa mga tanong nito sa UPCAT ay ang standard, recommended curriculum ng DepEd. Nagkakaiba-iba nga lang siguro ang subject treatment at pacing ng bawat eskwelahan.

      How about the other UPCAT takers here? Kumusta yung UPCAT para sa inyo?

  12. na late po akong mag file ng application. My form po ako pero di kopo agad nalaman na my grandmother ay my balak na i will study in UP(cLARK) LATE PO AKO…KELAN PO ULIT PWEDING MAGSUBMIT NG FORM THEN kelan po ang exam..?4th year high school po ako as of now…by nxt school year college napo ako….paki email nalang po sa email ko….tnx.po…

    • The next UPCAT should be in August 2011. Note, however, that college students (those who have taken up or are taking up college subjects at the time of the UPCAT) are not eligible to take the UPCAT. Specifically, UP states:

      (To be eligible to take the UPCAT) Graduates of DepEd-accredited schools or secondary schools abroad and those declared eligible for admission to college after taking the PEPT
      1. must not have taken any college subject/s previously;
      2. must not be taking any college subject/s at present; and
      3. will not be taking any college subject/s prior to or for the semester/academic year for which the UPCAT is to be taken.

      If you wish to seek specific or more detailed advice, please call the UP Office of Admissions. You’ll find its contact info in our Directory.

    • @Nick,

      Ganun ba? I’m sorry to hear that. What do you plan to do now? Aside from UP, what other universities were you considering?

      You should have received your notification letter by now. Ask your classmates if they have received theirs. If they have and you still haven’t, check with your local post office. If none of you has received a letter from UP yet, then the notification letters are probably still on their way. You should also check with your school. If you live near UP Diliman, you can also go there to inquire about your UPCAT grade.

      I (and the rest of us here at Academic-Clinic) wish you the best of luck Nick!

  13. how can i shift campus if i passed the upcat? u knw i really don’t like the course assigned to me by the UPCAT results. I was assigned to UP LB not in UP manila where the BS nursing course is. What will I do pls..

    • @angelica,

      The best route would be to enroll in your assigned course, go full time in your freshman year, get excellent grades then try shifting to your preferred course and transferring to your preferred campus within the period allotted for shifting courses/transferring campuses.

      The not so-good route would be to try to talk the people in charge of the College of Nursing in UP Manila to take you in as a new student for AY 2010-2011. Do this only if you can do some fast-talking and are up for a lot of legwork. I know you’ll need your UPCAT records for this so go to the UP Office of Admissions and ask them for your admission rating (check your admission letter, it may already be there). Prepare a letter stating your request (you should know the drill – why should you be accepted and all that) then go to the College Secretary of UP Manila’s College of Nursing. Tell the College Secretary what you want to do, both in your letter and in person (the letter may be completely unnecessary but it’s best to be prepared). The College Secretary will then decide if your UPG (university predicted grade) is good enough for Bachelor of Arts in Nursing and for UP Manila; he/she’ll also decide whether the college can accept one more freshman for AY 2010-2011.

      The above procedure is not in any rulebook or guide. It is not prescribed nor recommended. Furthermore, it is not guaranteed to lead to results; you’re not even sure the College Secretary would be willing to see you and hear you out. It’s still worth a shot, however, if you’re up to it.

      Good luck!

  14. i did not pass upcat.. i am trying to take a talent test because they say i am good in writing. is there such a talent test intended for creative writing? and if ever there is, when will it be? i also want to apply for the waiting list program since i failed upcat. what are the processes should i take then ?

    • @Chris,

      BA Creative Writing belongs to the College of Arts and Letter (CAL). According to the CAL website, students of Bachelor of Arts degree programs should be UPCAT qualifiers. To quote:

      Beginning Freshmen (BA)
      Graduates of accredited high schools who are UPCAT qualifiers may be admitted as freshmen into the College of Arts and Letters.

      There are 2 undergraduate courses in CAL which does not require passing the UPCAT, however. Note that these 2 are Certificate Programs rather than BA degree programs, and they are 2-year courses. I’m mentioning them here because they might interest you. To quote:

      Certificate Programs
      In CAL, there are 2 pre-baccalaureate certificate programs: Certificate in Theater Arts (CTA, 2 years) under the DSCTA and Sertipiko sa Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino (SMPF, 2 years) under the DFPL. A freshman applicant to any of these programs need not be an UPCAT qualifier but he must pass the audition/workshop[ given by the department concerned. Application to any of the aforementioned certificate programs is made directly to the department.

      ***Note: DSCTA is Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts
      DFPL is Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature

      On another note, non-qualifiers may also try another route to get admitted to UP. Go to the UP campus where you want to study, go to the Registrar’s Office then present your Non-Qualifier’s Slip (your admission rating should be there). Tell them you want to be accepted as an incoming freshman student in that campus. You may be accepted if your rating is still within that particular campus’ cut-off grade and if the campus still has slots available.

      Finally, you can also enroll in another school, take up 33 units (that would take about 2 semesters), get great grades (no lower than a GWA of 2.0), then apply for a transfer to the UP campus of your choice.

      Good luck!

  15. I sadly didn’t pass the UPCAT, but I know that I did well during the exam. My high school grades could’ve gotten in the way (and also being a student from a private high school). I should have written down a less “popular” course in Diliman. Thanks to this article, I will really be waiting and inquire for a slot in a course in Diliman. If the letter does not come in two weeks, I will personally go to the Office of Admissions for my score and then appeal/request for an available slot in a course offered in Diliman.

  16. First, get your UPCAT grades [to see if its near the cut-off grade] and go to the college of your choice and inquire about their waiting lists.

    Where exactly do I get my UPCAT grades? The UPCAT website only shows the UPCAT passers.

    • @miggy,

      Go to the UP Office of Admissions in UP Diliman if you want to know your UPCAT score. If they don’t give out the score (they used to, in my time), they should at least be able to direct you to the office responsible.

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  18. My niece took the recent UPCAT. She’s good in Math and intends to take up Eng’g. If she doesn’t make it in the UPCAT, what 2 or 3 other schools shld she start applying ?

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