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.