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by Patrick R. Gamboa on Academic Clinic Fanpage

UPCAT English Portion Tips and Strategies

If it’s one thing I’m grateful to my parents for, it’s the fact that they instilled the love of reading in me when I was just a little kid.  Little did I know that that would serve me in good stead, especially when I faced entrance exams like the University of the Philippines’ College Admissions Test (UPCAT).

Not everyone may be able to breeze through the English and Reading Comprehension portions of the said exam, though.  If you need help with regard to those sections, then read on.

Tips and Strategies

The content for the English and the Reading Comprehension sections is pretty straightforward.  You’ll likely face questions that will have you completing unfinished sentences, arranging mixed-up things in chronological order and correcting grammatical errors.  Be sure to mind those tricky tenses, spelling, punctuation and subject-verb agreement thingies, too.

Attacking these sections is a bit of a balancing act.  The time pressure involved makes it necessary to read through the text as quickly as you can without compromising your understanding of it.  Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for this. (more on those below).

Oh, and remember to read the instructions very well (this holds true for any section, actually).  If you understand what the question is asking for but you don’t follow the test instructions to the letter, you’re in trouble.

Great Test Takers are Great Readers

Arguably, the best way to prepare for these portions of the UPCAT is to be a voracious reader well before the test itself.  Read all the books, magazines and other publications (in both English and Tagalog) that you can get your hands on, and then after you’re done with them, read some more.

Another thing my parents taught me was to look up at least one new word in the dictionary every day.  It’s a great way to build up your vocabulary if you do it faithfully.  A word a day translates into three hundred sixty-five new words after a year.

A technique I learned from my mentors involves reading aloud.  Besides exercising your vocal chords, but there’s something about reading aloud that exercises your mind as well.  The processing and the comprehension involved seem faster and more efficient.  Try this and see.

A Final Word

If, after doing all these, you still need extra special help in polishing your English skills, there are plenty of resources available out there.

For instance, you may wish to invest in speed reading and other English classes, such as the ones being offered by the likes of Wilma Cruz Tapalla.  Feel free to check out the links here for some possible leads here.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best resources you can visit is Merriam-Webster’s site.  Besides having a handy dictionary and thesaurus, the site also offers word games and other resources that can help you keep your English skills razor sharp.

Above all, don’t forget to pray as you prepare.  By the time that UPCAT rolls around, you’d have gotten enough practice to tackle the English and Reading Comprehension sections in your sleep.


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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