The Ateneo bears the distinction of being one of the country’s premier universities. Consequently, it also has a reputation for having one of the country’s most difficult entrance exams. The ACET’s pressure cooker approach is precisely what leaves applicants feeling blue in more ways than one.
There is good news, however. If you think of the test as a training exercise or as a battle, then you can significantly increase your chances of doing well on it if you know what to expect ahead of time. Here are some of the things you can anticipate.
Standard Issue and Then Some
As an entrance test, the ACET has a lot of questions we’ve come to expect from exams of its type: math, abstract reasoning, logical reasoning, English (subdivided into language proficiency and reading comprehension) and then some. It’s the “and then some” that concerns a lot of students. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Now pause a while, backtrack a bit and take a look at the list of subjects covered above. Do you notice anything subject that’s missing? That’s right. The ACET doesn’t have a science section. Don’t worry, though: you’ll be too busy answering the other sections to even miss it.
The Defining Characteristics
Every university’s entrance test possesses at least one characteristic that sets it apart from most other exams of its kind. In the Ateneo’s case, that would be the General Information section and the essay section under the English category.
The General Information occupies the space normally occupied by the science section. It’s precisely, that: a section with questions based on facts and current events. It’s nothing that a fairly good knowledge of today’s news can’t fix.
Recall how the Ateneo asked you to write an essay when you first applied. That was just a foretaste of things to come. Test takers will be asked to do that yet again, and this time, they’ll have to do it under more exacting time pressure.
Preparation and Self-expression
Prepare as you normally would for the standard issue sections of the ACET. Review your high school lessons in math and English. Search for free logical and abstract reasoning exercises on the Internet and practice answering them.
Keep tabs on the major events of the major dailies. This serves a dual purpose: one, it will help you store away knowledge for the General Information section; two, it will also get you thinking and reflecting about what you’ll eventually express in the essay section. Ateneo is all about reflection and writing, so the sooner you can start on it, the better.
Speaking of which, the essay portion will require a tad more preparation. There’s nothing quite as effective as writing your own essays beforehand, preferably with a friend to help offer you advice on how you can improve. Here are some tips you can read to prepare for this part of the exam.
The Blue Verdict
In closing, one veteran ACET-taker recommends showing that you are a person for others—whether it’s in writing or in person. This is a critical point that the university will persistently hammer into you when you get accepted, so you may as well start this early and show the powers-that-be that you’ve already got what it takes.