It’s interesting how word travels fast regarding entrance exams. For example, the Ateneo College Entrance Test’s (ACET’s) reputation as being an “unfinishable exam” has left a distinct impression among many test takers, both past and future.
Granted, the ACET is a challenging exam, but there’s no need to be intimidated by it. To follow are some guidelines to help you beat that exam giant down to a more manageable size.
An Ounce of Preparation…
You may wish to brush upon your Mathematics and English skills, as you will need to draw heavily upon these come test time. Whatever you do, DO NOT review the week before the exam, as cramming does not work. If possible, review months (or even years) before to avoid the rush.
There are two things the ACET will require from you: speed and accuracy. If need be, seek assistance from a review service. Doing so can help you get used to answering questions quickly; it can also help boost your self-confidence.
Remember to pack some water snacks for the break that will be given to you. Brain food (such as tuna, nuts, fruits and vegetables) is a must during any heavy mental workout. Also remember to bring your watch, as you will need it to help you budget your time effectively.
Make sure you relax on the day, (if possible, the week) before the exam, and leave your home early. This is to allow for a ginormous volume of vehicular and human traffic en route to the testing room.
Attitude Determines Altitude
It’s a good idea to get into that “success mindset” while preparing for the exam. Believe that you are excellent Ateneo material, as your beliefs will reveal themselves in your essay (yes, the ACET includes an essay portion as well.).
Months before the exam, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself in no uncertain terms “I am worthy of studying in the Ateneo. I can pass the ACET and pass it well.” It may sound like a crazy idea at first, but keep doing it everyday. It won’t be long before you start believing in it yourself.
The very thought of taking the test may make you feel like Atlas, who bore the entire weight of the world upon his shoulders. It’s all right to feel that way – just remember that you aren’t alone. Everyone else is going through the same experience.
Be sure to pray before and after the exam. This is critical, as it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll be doing everything on your own strength.
Besides the obvious spiritual benefits involved, prayer also sets your mind in a more relaxed state and allows you to think more clearly. In a pressure cooker exam like the ACET, you’ll need every iota of clear thinking that you can get.
Knocking ‘Em Dead
Take the time to read the instructions carefully. Yes, I know you have to deal with time constraints, but it will be a HUGE waste of time and effort if you misunderstand the instructions and screw up.
Remember that watch you brought? Use it. Try to give yourself a little leeway in terms of time. For example, if you’re given five minutes to complete one section, give yourself four minutes instead. This is to give you time to go back and review your answers. Studies show that students tend to change wrong answers into right ones instead of vice versa.
By the way, do note that the ACET is not one of those “right minus wrong” exams. Go after the easy questions first – this will assure you of points and help inspire you to keep going. Skip the more difficult ones and return to them later.
If ever you don’t know the answer to a particular question, take your best educated guess and answer it, anyway. Who knows, you may end up writing the correct answer in the process.
As strange as it sounds, it may be paradoxically easier to get into Ateneo than some other schools. The reason for this is that significantly fewer people tend to take a shot at the ACET than, say, the UPCAT or the USTET. This eliminates a lot of your competition and increases your chances of getting accepted.
That doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels, though. Just pray, prepare and give it your best shot. That alone is behavior worthy of success, regardless of the outcome.