With all the hullaballoo over the “Big 3” universities, it’s easy to forget that entrance exams for other worthwhile learning institutions also exist—the USTET, for example. Potential Thomasians are also gearing up for the big day just like their student brethren.
While the USTET hasn’t exactly garnered a frightening reputation for itself as compared to some of the other exams out there, there are still things about it that are worth noting. Let’s take a look at some of these.
What to Expect
An entrance exam isn’t an entrance exam without the standard issue stuff: science, English, reading comprehension and math. You may look forward to some abstract reasoning questions as well, but the institution may only administer these subtests to architecture and CFAD (College of Fine Arts and Design) applicants. There’s also no essay test here to fret over.
If you’re an artist, a musician, an architect, or a CFAD applicant, you’ll be asked to go to the extra mile and showcase your talent by taking additional ability tests. For example, music students will be asked to take a music diagnostic test, sing and play their favorite instrument, while architects and CFAD folks will take tests on structures and abstracts, respectively.
One thing you should keep an eye out for is the MAT (Mental Ability Test or the IQ section)—probably the USTET’s signature section. While manageable, you’ll only be given twenty minutes to thirty minutes to answer it. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself running out of time real quick.
Complacency is Deadly
The word on campus is that the USTET is a breeze. Beware! It’s attitudes like that that can lead to complacency and eventual disaster. Just because it doesn’t have right minus-1/4 wrong UPCAT system or the ACET/DLSUCET “pressure cooker” feel doesn’t mean you should take the USTET for granted. Just ask those who found the test “easy” but who ended up failing it.
Thomasians who have been there, done that recommend that you find a good balance between rushing madly through the exam and resting on your laurels. In other words, answer as quickly as you possibly can, but don’t go too fast that you miss important details and make stupid mistakes.
As with all entrance tests, answer practice exams well beforehand to get a feel of your optimum speed and adjust accordingly.
Here’s are some things you probably don’t know about the USTET: one, the test questions are drawn from high school text books whose authors are (surprise!) Thomasian instructors. If you can get your hands on some, you’ll be good to go.
Furthermore, the UST tends to zero in on IQ, which would explain its more basic, general nature. Translation: if you’ve been paying attention in high school and if you pore over your high school lessons for this test, chances are you’ll be very well prepared for it.
Here’s a final reality check: the USTET itself may have a reputation for being easier than some other entrance exams out there, but some UST courses (e.g. nursing, physical therapy and courses that deal with science) are harder to get into, and even harder to stay in for the long haul. The real work will begin after you land that coveted slot.
My conclusion: do well in high school, review well, pray and do your best during and after the exam. That way, you’ll rank highly enough to become a Thomasian yourself.