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What to Expect from the UPCAT

By admin Saturday, June 27th, 2009
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The UPCAT has perhaps become the most feared college entrance exam in the whole country.  Why not?, not only is it one of the hardest, it is also one of the most competitive.  Fear, however, can either encourage aspiring UP students to study more or increase  the probability of mental blackouts.   To minimize the occurrence of the latter, read on.:)

As a kid, I used to watch those old G.I. Joe cartoons during the 1980s, way before Sigma 6 came along.  There was one thing about the series that made it particularly memorable:  it was the tagline “Knowing is half the battle” that the Joes used to spout during the practical life lesson shorts at the end of the show.

Potential UPCAT examinees will still find that timeless piece of advice useful today.  If you’re even remotely interested in acing the University of the Philippines College Admissions Test (UPCAT), it’s imperative to know exactly what it is you’ll be facing. That way, you can prepare for it in advance.

UPCAT Subtests

The test itself is divided into two main sections:  a Quantitative Test section and a Verbal Test section.  The former deals mostly with the hard sciences, mathematics included.  The latter portion tests the examinee’s English and Filipino proficiency and comprehension skills.

Most of the test items are written in English, though a number of them are written in the vernacular.

UPCAT Time Restrictions

Be prepared to sacrifice five hours of your weekend as the UPCAT normally falls on a Saturday or a Sunday morning or afternoon.

The test normally begins at 7:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m., so it’s recommended that you be there are least thirty minutes before your designated time.  Ditch that “Filipino Time” mindset, shift your paradigm a little, and use the time to psych yourself up.

The examiner will allot different time limit for each of the exam sections.  These range from a fraction of an hour to over an hour, depending on the kind of subject that the section deals with.  The mathematics portion will require the most time, as it requires some computation on the examinee’s part.

Things to Bring to UPCAT

There is a number of that no examinee should do without:  a couple of Number 2 Mongol pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, a watch and your test permit.  The permit itself will indicate which room you’ll be assigned to.

If there are things you should bring with you, there are things you should store safely away during the exam.  Never bring these out at your own risk:  a mobile phone and a calculator (or any other instrument that does calculations more quickly than you can).

Using any of these gadgets is tantamount to cheating and will likely cost you the exam.

Be sure to eat a good meal before taking the test—it’s roughly five hours worth of intense brain work.  If you’re going for the afternoon session, make sure your lunch is just right in terms of quantity.  You should feel satiated but not overly stuffed.  Besides, you’ll be given a short break in the middle, so bring some brain food to snack on while you rest your mind and catch your breath.  For more UPCAT Day tips, click here and here.

The UPCAT may be a challenging affair, but it is manageable.  You owe it to yourself to come prepared.

To see tips on Choosing a good UPCAT Review Center, click here.

To see tips on how to prepare for the UPCAT, click here.

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Tags: UPCAT, UPCAT Application, UPCAT Tips

One Response to “What to Expect from the UPCAT”

  1. [...] Oh you want more than anything to respond – but there’s a hitch.  There’s the UPCAT, the ACET, the DLSUCET, and the USTET to go through.  These college entrance exams are like the [...]


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