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Will Choosing a “Non-Quota” Course Increase my Chances of Passing the UPCAT?



Many parents have students have this very dangerous misconception when it comes to the UPCAT.  The short answer is NO – choosing a “non-quota” course will not, in any way, increase your chances of getting into the University of the Philippines.

To get into UP, you must first qualify for the UP campuses you have noted down as your first and your second choice.  This is done by getting a UPG or University Predicted Grade that is higher than the UP campus cut-off grade for that year.  It is when you qualify for a UP CAMPUS that your COURSE choices will come into play.

To Illustrate, suppose that a UP applicant wrote down the following choices in his/her UPCAT application form:


UP Campus Intended Course
1st Choice UP Manila 1st Choice D Dental Medicine
2nd Choice BS Pharmacy
2nd Choice UP Diliman 1st Choice BS Biology
2nd Choice BS Food Technology


Now let us suppose that after the UPCAT, this particular applicant got the following results:

UPG: 2.40

Math Subtest: 50

Science Subtest: 65

Language Proficiency: 55

Reading Comprehension: 70

As mentioned before, the applicant must first qualify for either of the two UP campuses that he/she has written down in his/her choices.  Although the UPG cut-offs of the different UP campuses changes yearly depending on a myriad of factors, let’s suppose that on the average, UPM and UPD’s UPG cutoffs are the following:

UP Manila: 2.20

UP Diliman: 2.285

Based on the above information, the UPCAT applicant’s UPG did not qualify for any of his/her Campus choices and if you don’t qualify for your 1st and second choice of campus, the UP admissions algorithm will not go to the next step which is to check your course choices.  Instead, it stops.. scratches your name from the list of UP hopefuls and prints out a rejection letter along with your UPCAT scores [in case you want to appeal for reconsideration].

Now, if only the UP applicant discussed above wrote down UP Los Banos as his/her 2nd choice, things could’ve gone differently.  You see, UPLB’s UPG cut-off is more or less 2.42.

UP Los Banos: 2.42

This means that UPLB would’ve been inclined to accept the applicant given that his/her University Predicted Grade is 2.40.  In this case, UP’s admissions algo would have then processed the course choices of the applicant associated with UPLB.


Degree Program with Available Slot

There are cases wherein an applicant’s UPG makes it through the cutoff of a certain UP campus but not the program cut-offs of the courses he/she has inputted as his or her first and second choice.  In this case, the UPCAT result would be DPAS of Degree Program with Available Slot.  It is at THIS stage that the course choices will matter.  Choose a high requirement program like computer science for example that has the following requirements:  Reading Comprehension – 75, Math – 85, Science – 85 and you will find your application rejected based on the subtest scores of the UPCAT result of the preceding section.

So to summarize, you must first qualify for a UP campus before you can qualify for a course.: )


Below is a graphical representation of the above discussion:UPCAT Non Quota



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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6 thoughts on “Will Choosing a “Non-Quota” Course Increase my Chances of Passing the UPCAT?

  1. Hello po 🙂 dpwas passer po ako sa uplb. Paano po nila binabased kung pwede ako sa course na kinuha ko? The same lang po ba sa recon at waitlisted students ang pagpoprocess nila sa mga dpwas passers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  2. What if yung course na nalagay mo sa first choice mo ay ayaw mo nang kuhanin pero nakapasa ka naman sa first and second choice mo? pede bang yung second choice ang itake mong course instead of the first onekahit quota course? pano pag saka mo narealize namas gusto mo ying second choice mo instead of the first but u already sent your form. Pede ba yun?

    • Hi! There’s no quick answer to your question. UP standardizes high school grades before they’re used in the computation of the university predicted grade. So your grade of 88 may become something different, depending on the grading systems of the rest of the high schools in the country. Furthermore, the way you compute you average may be different from the way UP will come up with your average. UP Uses High School Weighted Average, which means weighting is applied.

  3. Excellent explanation. This misconception has unfortunately been on for years. Many times i´ve suspected it those that do not pass teh UPCAT that promote this misconception, to excuse their fauilure. In my case, thanks to experience, I understood right away that it was your campus choice that really determined whether you could be admitted or not. My sister was the first in the family to apply to UP. She applied for her real campus preferences and courses, which was UP Dil, followed by los Baños (which then required a higher grade than UP manila) and BS Psych and Biology as her course choices, which were both quota courses. She was admitted to the Diliman campus, but her grade did not reach the cut- off mark for the 2 quota courses of her choice, so the Univ. offered her other Psych and Bio related courses. When my time came, I also put my honest choices knwing fully well that I was risking it. i was ready for the consecuences of whatever the result, which, thankfully, was positive. When the student has the capacity to reach the scholastic level required, he/she can opt for her real choices. The problem is when one is not actually capacitated and has to either sacrifice his campus and course choices just to say he has been admitted into UP. i find that hypocritical. While it is prestigious so say that you are from UP, sometimes we have to accept our limitations and strive for what we really want, and not sacrifice them, just for show.

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