Yes, the UPCAT is supposed to measure how well you mastered your lessons in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go back and read every single shred of the notes you gathered from your freshman year. Since you’re probably dealing with your senior year academics at the same time as your UPCAT review, there’s an advantage to studying just those topics that you really need.
UPCAT Math Tips
Too many people overreact with regard to the math portion of the UPCAT. A large chunk of test takers even go through review regimens that include higher mathematics like advanced trigonometry or calculus. You could follow in their footsteps, but the edge you get from all the extra studying isn’t worth your pains.
For most of the UPCAT, all you’ll need are the more basic concepts. That includes topics like basic number theory, particularly the critical sets of numbers and their corresponding notations and properties. Basic to intermediate algebra should also be part of your review regimen, as many of the techniques involved can be used in other areas. Simply knowing how to perform certain operations can already save you a lot of trouble on the test.
Go back to your previous lessons on intermediate algebra, especially the ones that had functions. The ability to work with and manipulate different functions and equations is something that any UPCAT taker should have. At this point, your factoring skills should already have been sharpened to help make all the different procedures easier.
Some geometry is also required for the UPCAT, but restrict your review to just the basics. You’ll definitely need to know about the basic 2D and 3D shapes, as well as each of their properties. That should help you get through most of the test already.
Though it’s a considerably smaller part of the math section, practicing your trigonometry can give your UPCAT score a boost up. At the very least know the basic trigonometric values and identities so that you’re not left guessing numbers come test day. You don’t want to spend too much time here, though, as there’s not very many of these items.
UPCAT Science Tips
Unfortunately, a good number of parents also tend to overreact when it comes to this part of the test. No, you don’t have to study all the way up to subatomic physics and genetics to ace the UPCAT. Countless test takers have gotten through knowing much less.
In Biology, you’ll need to know all about classification, evolution, biological interactions and a little Anatomy. There’s little point in going any deeper to topics like biomolecules and heredity; even if those lessons are covered in the UPCAT, you’ll have to study so much to gain so few points.
Chemistry is also part of the UPCAT but, like the rest of it, there’s no need for you to go overboard with your review. Stoichiometry, the atomic model, basic chemical interactions (including neutralization and combustion), thermochemistry and a little organic chemistry can pull you through the UPCAT. Once you finish with the properties of the periodic table, it’s time for you to stop reviewing Chemistry and start doing something else.
Test takers will tell you that, although it’s still a part of the test, Physics doesn’t seem to be so big a component. As long as you know how to work with waves, forces and the kinematic equations, you’ll do fine on the UPCAT. Most of the Physics questions in the test have to do with objects in motion, though you’ll see an odd optics or thermodynamics question here and there.
UPCAT Language Proficiency
Here’s where reviewing can get a little iffy. Unlike with the sciences or Math where you have to master concepts, the Language Proficiency part requires you to have skills. When you have to do things like critical reading and abstraction, that’s a very big difference. No clear-cut routine is suggested for Language Proficiency, but that doesn’t mean you can review without any structure.
Practice your reading comprehension, particularly looking for and understanding context clues. This’ll make a large chunk of the exam easier for you, and will serve as a backup plan when you encounter vocabulary words you’ve never seen. Critical reading is also a must; learn to spot cause-and-effect pairings as well as critical events and key characters.
Speed reading isn’t really a very crucial skill to passing the UPCAT, but it has a definite plus. There’s a lot of reading to be done in the test, many of them involving big blocks of text. Knowing how to skim and speed read can save you a lot of time and give you larger leeway to carefully think about your answers or review.
Vocabulary is one part of the UPCAT that many find difficult, not in the least because of the quality of English education in the country. One thing you should never do is to just memorize every single word with a corresponding definition. Instead, find words from an UPCAT reviewer, identify their definitions yourself and then use them in conversation. You’ll have better recall that way, especially if you do it in batches of 5 or 10.
Where to Get Review Materials
For private and science high schools, most of the topics in the UPCAT will have been covered by late third or early fourth year. Hopefully, you still have your old notes and handouts with you so that you could go back over them. They’re a great resource for UPCAT review because they’re often already summarized for easier studying. Otherwise, you may want to look into your old books or consult your previous teachers.
When reviewing for the UPCAT, don’t make the mistake of memorizing raw facts and examples – they’ll be of little help to you. What you should study are the concepts and the ideas involved so that you can adapt your thinking to any question that comes your way. Enrolling in a good UPCAT review center should help you a lot in organizing the things you have to study for the UPCAT exam. To see tips on how to choose a good UPCAT review center, click here.
There’s really nothing too special or hard about preparing for the UPCAT. If anything, the process is only made difficult by the sheer volume of material you have to study. By trimming down your review topics and studying only the lessons that you have to, you should be able to pass the UPCAT – and do many more things besides.