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UP Advanced Placement Examination 101

by Janina Denise H. Torralba

The function of the UPCAT, among other things, is to gauge how much you have learned  and retained throughout high school. In some cases, a student may have learned a lot beforehand, making it unnecessary to go over certain topics again in the first year or so of college. When this happens to you, you have the option to take the UP Advanced Placement Examination.

For Starters…

If you are familiar with the basic education concept of “acceleration”, this is roughly the same thing. In the summer before the incoming academic year, the different constituent universities of UP offer select incoming freshmen the chance to take a special exam which will fulfill a requirement in their respective curricula. Often, these subjects are prerequisites, or subjects you have to take as part of your degree program before moving on to more advanced fields and your majors.

Of course, there are limits to the APEs you can take. For example, if you’re majoring in Mathematics, you can’t take the APE for Math 11 (College Algebra) or Math 16 (Plane Trigonometry). However, if you’re majoring in Biology, you’re free to take the APE for Bio 1 (General Biology). It really depends on the degree program you’re taking. Feel free to approach the administration offices of the college which issues the APE you want to take.

In addition to these limits, you only have one chance to take an APE. Once you get past the incoming freshman stage, you’re no longer qualified to take an APE.

All Set to Take the APE?

The APEs offered vary from university to university, year to year. The most common APEs are for subjects that fall under Math and Science, but you might also come across APEs for subjects in the Arts, Humanities, and the Social Sciences and Philosophy from time to time.  APEs have been offered for the following subjects, among others:

  • Mathematics, Science and  Technology
  1. Math 11 and 14 (equal to Math 17 when combined), Math 60 (Precalculus)
  2. Chem 16 (General Chemistry I)
  3. Bio 1
  4. Env Sci 1 and 2 (Environment and Society)
  5. Nat Sci 1 and 2 (The Material Universe)
  • Arts and Humanities
  1. Eng 1 (Basic College English)
  2. Hum 1 (Literature, Man and Society)
  3. Comm 1 (Communication Skills 1), Komunikasyon 1 (Kasanayan sa Komunikasyon)
  • Social Sciences and Philosophy
  1. Kas 1 and 2 (Philippine and Asian/World History, respectively)

To apply for an APE, contact the college that offers the corresponding subject or the Office of the University Registrar in the campus you qualified for. The APEs are issued simultaneously, on the same day, or a few consecutive days in April or May, and it is up to you how many you want to take—limitations on your degree program and the schedule considered, of course! Some units might also set limitations on who can take the APE (i.e. depending on your score on the UPCAT), so feel free to ask about that before deciding to plunge in.

Since an APE is structured like a typical UP final exam, don’t expect it to be a piece of cake. Bring a bluebook (an inexpensive booklet UP students use for answering exams), and if you’re taking a Math APE, be ready to show your solutions. Most importantly, ask for help from upperclassmen who have taken APEs!

On One Hand and the Other…

Before making the decision to take an APE, it would be wise to think very carefully about it. It has its fair share of perks and peeves, too!

  • Pros
  1. You don’t have to take the corresponding subject anymore. That means a lower tuition fee, fewer requirements to worry about, more time for your other subjects, and the chance to graduate sooner than expected!
  2. You don’t have to sit through something you already know well enough.
  • Cons
  1. You don’t get to learn more about the subject.
  2. You bond less with your batchmates who did not pass or opt to take the same APE, thereby having to take the corresponding subject—you might not even graduate at the same time!
  3. All you will get on your TCG (True Copy of Grades) is a P for “Passed”—you’re safe from a 5.00, but you won’t get a 1.00 either. It doesn’t matter how well you performed on the APE.
  4. You miss out on fun, insightful moments with professors who are sure to offer some life lessons to the class, both implicitly and explicitly.

Fire Away!

If you’ve got a green light ahead of you for the APE, go and grab the opportunity! Be brimming with confidence when you enter the examination room, have lots of faith, and study very hard! You can’t go wrong with stock knowledge and prayers. You can contact these offices for inquiries and application forms:


Registrar’s Office


Baguio Prof. Jocelyn Rafanan, University Registrar
Ms. Amihan Rivera, Office of the University Registrar
Mr. Jay Mapalo, Office of the University Registrar

UP Baguio, Baguio City 2600

(074) 442-5592
Diliman Office of the University Registrar, University of the Philippines, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City (02) 981-8500
  • Pampanga
Dr. Nenita M. Dayrit, Deputy Director

Office of the Dean, UP Pampanga

(045) 599-6037
Los Baños Dr. Myrna Carandang, Office of the University Registrar (049) 536-2508 / 536-2553
Manila University Registrar, UP Manila, Padre Faura, Manila (02) 524-0534
Mindanao* Office of the University Registrar (082) 293-0201
  • Cebu
University Registrar, UP Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo (032) 231-3086
  • Iloilo
University Registrar, UP in the Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo

Eleza Jundes, OUR Staff
Office of the University Registrar, UP Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo 5023

(033) 315-8556, (033) 315-9631/32 (trunklines), 315-9625, 513-8700, 513-8771 local 193
  • Tacloban
University Registrar, UP Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo (053) 325-5108


*As of this writing, there has been no information on APEs in UP Mindanao. You may contact their office for updates, should they offer APEs in the future.

Sources: (University of the Philippines official website and sub-domains of constituent universities) (Pinoy Exchange APE thread)


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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