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ACET Essay Portion Tips

ACET essay exam tips

If you’ve applied at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), then you already know that the application process involves essay writing.  Love it or hate it, it’s all par for the course as far as ADMU school life is concerned.

In fact, the institution’s very own entrance exam—the ACET—requires test takers to write essays under time pressure.  If this sounds like a daunting task to you, fear not.  I’ll share a few tips with you that can help increase your chances of acing that essay portion of the test.

Writing Well Under Time Pressure

Doing anything while the clock is ticking is an acquired skill—writing is no exception.  I cannot fully emphasize how important it is to get enough practice well before the ACET rolls around.

Here’s a suggestion:  ask a friend to help you out.  Have him or her give you an essay question about any topic.  Make an outline first, and then start writing.  Give yourself twenty-five minutes to finish the essay, and then have your friend review your work and give you feedback.

If the essay isn’t exactly up to snuff, keep practicing.  If it is, repeat the process, but this time, give yourself twenty minutes instead.  Repeat the process again, but limit yourself to fifteen minutes this time, and so on.

Keep doing this over and over and I can almost guarantee you that you will become adept at it.  Pray to God for help and keep practicing.  When the big day arrives, the essay portion of the ACET won’t look so formidable anymore.

Some Essay Question Examples

This may strike you as strange, but don’t expect essay questions on narrowly-focused topics.  People who have taken the ACET recently have reported that the questions can range from the broad to the vague to the weird.

For example, the ACET people may ask you to discuss how useful computers are in today’s world.  You may also encounter an essay question asking you to explain how children cope with the reality of living away from their parents.

If you’re wondering why those questions were chosen for the test, I must confess that I’m as clueless as you are.  Before you scratch your head or break out into a fit of laughter, please note that the essay questions aren’t meant to be relevant to the ACET at face value.  The people behind the test are looking for something else entirely.

The Whole Point

While you’re intensely focused on that pressure cooker of an exam, your first priority is to be able to put your thoughts down on paper and to make yourself understood.  Never mind if the topic doesn’t make sense or doesn’t seem meaningful to you—just express yourself as clearly and as concisely as you possibly can. That, my friends, is the point of the entire exercise.

There’s this joke going around that Ateneans can give you a good discussion on just about any topic under the sun, even if that topic is absurd or pointless.  Don’t worry; you’ll get plenty of essay training later when you get into the college.  For now, consider the ACET essay questions as a means of getting your feet wet in the wonderful world of self-expression.

The ACET and Ateneo Application Process

The Ateneo de Manila University is one of the premiere higher-education institutions in the Philippines.  To put it simply, this is one of the best universities in the Philippines and you will choose well if you decide to study in this university.

Of course, the decision on whether or not you will get to study in the Ateneo de Manila University is not yours alone to make.  Aside from your parents’ consent (hey, they’re going to foot your hefty bill so they should have a say!), acceptance from the Ateneo de Manila University’s Committee on Admission and Aid is also necessary.

What exactly do you need to do to get accepted to the Ateneo de Manila University as a freshman student?

1. Procure an application form and exam permit.

That’s right.  Wherever you decide to study, you will need to accomplish lots and lots of forms; so get off your high horse and begin your romance with forms, forms, and more forms.

The Freshman Application Form may be secured from the Ateneo de Manila University’s Office of Admission and Aid.  Here’s the exact address:

Office of Admission and Aid

Rm 105, Ground Floor

Kostka Hall

Ateneo de Manila University

Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108

2. Fill out the application form and submit it to the Office of Admission and Aid

Of course, you need to fill out the application form.  What do you think of the application form – a souvenir?

Kidding aside, you should complete the form, gather all the required supporting documents (it will be indicated in your application form), and submit the application form and the required attachments to the Office of Admission and Aid before the deadline.

Remember please that the Ateneo de Manila University receives thousands of applications for admission every season.  The powers that be are not going to waste time on incomplete forms.  Therefore, make sure that your application form is fully accomplished and all the supporting documents are likewise complete.  Otherwise, your application won’t be processed.

3. Pay the application fee.

The application fee is a definite requirement.  The school naturally wants to recoup some of its expenses for giving you the chance to pay them some expensive tuition (wink!).  Local applicants – that is, graduates of local high schools – will be charged PhP 500 (applicants from high schools abroad, on the other hand, need to pay 50 USD).

You need to pay the application fee upon submission of your accomplished application form.

4. Accomplish your exam permit and submit to the Office of Admission and Aid.

Your exam permit will be your ticket to the ACET or the Ateneo College Entrance Test.  Fill it out completely and guard your copy with your life.

5. Show up for the ACET

On the designated date and time, show up at the testing center to take the ACET.  Do not forget to bring your pencils, pens and whatever it is that you are instructed (by your exam permit) to bring for the ACET.  Note that you cannot bring scratch papers, calculators, cell phones, and any electronic devices.  The testing center will provide you with all the scratch paper you’ll need.

Of course, there’s more to the exam than just showing up for the Ateneo College Entrance Test; you need to prepare for it, too.  If you love yourself and your parents, make sure you are prepared for the ACET before you sit in that chair and take it.

You can enroll in ACET review classes if you want.  Better yet, start rereading your notes – that is, if you can rely on your accuracy and diligence when you were writing down those notes – and your textbooks.  Study like there’s no tomorrow (there probably won’t be any if you fail the ACET, he he he).

Of course, ACET preparation cannot be done in one, two or even six months.  ACET review classes and refresher courses can help, certainly, but only to remind you of what you have already learned.  You can’t get into Ateneo de Manila University if you are not a conscientious student in the first place – or a genius who can absorb four years’ worth of high school education in a few months.

6. Wait for the decision.

After you have taken the Ateneo College Entrance Test, there’s nothing else that you can do except wait for the Committee on Admission and Aid’s decision on your application.

Such a decision can go three ways:  you may be accepted, waitlisted or rejected.  If your name is on that legendary Bulletin Board in Ateneo, you are either accepted or waitlisted (information to that effect will be displayed).  The decision over your application is made based on the information written down on your application form, your ACET test scores, your high school grades, and the glowing (or not-so-glowing) endorsement from your teachers (recommendation letters from teachers are some of the required attachments of your application form).

How about your prayers?  Will they help?  Praying will not help with your ACET test scores because you’ve already taken the exam; you should have prayed before you took the ACET.  Your prayers now won’t even help change your high school grades; they’ve already been made and recorded.  Your prayers, however, may still help in the sense that the members of the Committee of Admission and Aid may decide you have great potential even if your records are less than stellar – so do pray; it can still help turn the tide in your favor.