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DOST Scholarship Exam Tips and Strategies

The government’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Science Education Institute (SEI) believe in developing the human capacity for greatness.  That’s pretty much why a scholarship bearing their names exists—to give the scientists and engineers of tomorrow a chance to prove their mettle to the country and to themselves.

Like all students in need of financial aid, though, these pupils must first go through a test to prove that they merit such assistance in the first place.  If you’re one of these academic hopefuls, then read on.

The Exam Coverage

Word has it that the overall test lies in the easy to medium range on the spectrum of difficulty, yet certain test items may cause problems to test takers depending on the latter’s aptitude for the different subjects.  This is partly because the DOST Scholarship takes the scope of your run-of-the-mill entrance test and expands upon it.

The test itself is divided into two major sections.  the Intellective part and the Non-Intellective part.  The former involves your familiar high school mathematics, science, English and then some, only in greater detail.  In this test, they are known as quantitative ability, scientific ability and linguistic ability, respectively.

The technical/mechanical ability and working memory sections are two portions that are a little different from the rest.  The former gives you several mechanical steps in a series and asks you to find or calculate the result; the latter works like one of those experiments where an image is quickly flashed before your eyes and you’re supposed to recognize and identify it.

The Non-Intellective section will assess your analytical and problem-solving skills in a different way.  For example, the test will present passages written in a certain theoretical language and you’ll have to infer, evaluate, and draw conclusions from them.

Stock Knowledge or Stuck Knowledge?

If you’ve been diligent with your studies throughout your high school years, chances are you already have what you’ll need for the exam knowledge-wise.  That’s right:  super confident applicants may draw from their stock knowledge alone to best the DOST Scholarship entrance exam.

If you’re feeling a wee bit unconfident, however, a little extra reviewing will help you a great deal.  Some test takers have spoken of difficult questions in the scientific and quantitative ability sections; others have reported seeing nosebleed-inducing words in the linguistic ability part.  Identify which problem areas you’ll need to work on beforehand and prepare accordingly.

What You’ll Need

One thing you will definitely need beforehand is a good night’s sleep.  The exam is easily four hours’ worth of pure brain work, and any all nighters on your part will negatively affect your performance.

Encouragement is another thing you’ll need in generous amounts.  There’s something potentially intimidating about seeing several hundred other applicants vying for a scholarship slot, yet don’t let that discourage you.  Pray, do your part in preparing, and the Lord will do His.  The old saying still rings true:  altitude determines altitude.

In summary:  treat the DOST Scholarship entrance exam as you would any other entrance exam (with all seriousness, competence and time consciousness) and you can—and will succeed.

Philippine College Scholarships: DOST Scholarship

Each year, thousands of high school students from all over the Philippines receive undergraduate scholarships courtesy of the Department of Science and Technology. One of the most generous scholarships in the country, the DOST-SEI Merit and R.A. 7687 scholarships make college education more accessible to thousands of undergraduates. It could very well be the ticket to your own undergraduate science degree.

Benefits

 

Unlike many other scholarships, all DOST-SEI Merit scholars get the same basic benefits regardless of socio-economic status. Each scholar gets

  • a tuition subsidy amounting to a maximum of PhP6,000 per semester
  • a book allowance of PhP5,000 for every academic year under scholarship
  • a uniform allowance of PhP500, to be given once for the entire scholarship
  • tuition subsidies for academic units taken during summer
  • group accident and health insurance

On top of the standard benefits, scholars are also entitled to receive a monthly stipend from the DOST as part of the program. The amount of the stipend is based on financial documents submitted by scholars. Stipends, however, start at PhP1,200 per month and can go as high as PhP4,000 monthly. Either way, it’s still a big contribution in the typical student’s budget.

Scholars enrolling into courses identified as ‘special priority’ fields like physics are also given special incentives by the scholarship program. Additional allowances and subsidies await you if it so happens that you’ll be going into any of the priority majors.

The R.A. 7687 Scholarship works almost identically to the DOST-SEI Merit program, except that the schedules for the issuance of stipends and benefits are different. Scholars under the R.A. 7687 program are also required to undertake extra training and workshops  to better orient them with its goals.

Requirements

 

Applicants for the DOST-SEI Merit program are accepted regardless of socio-economic status. Only the R.A. 7687 scholarship is specifically targeted toward less financially able students, which is why a declaration of assets and liabilities are part of the application procedure. Both the Merit and R.A. 7687 programs, however, use the same application papers and require taking the same test.

In order to qualify for either scholarship, you must be from the top 5% of your graduating class, or otherwise will be graduating from a special science high school like Philippine Science. A duly accomplished application form must be submitted to the DOST (usually by the end of June during senior year) with the required paperwork.

One screening test is part of the procedure in order to become a scholar under either program. All applicants who are able to get the required number of points on the test will be sent a notice of award from the DOST, and will be eligible to claim either scholarship.

The DOST Scholarship Test

 

Unlike typical college entrance examinations, the DOST scholarship screening test has a much wider coverage of topics and fields. Because the program aims to create a larger number of scientists and engineers, it comes as no surprise that the test leans heavily towards those fields.

The screening test is composed of two major parts, the Intellective and Non-Intellective portions. The Intellective half is comprised of

  • scientific ability, which covers basic to intermediate high school biology, physics and chemistry
  • quantitative ability, which covers the entire high school curriculum up to intermediate trigonometry
  • mechanical and technical ability, which makes you determine the outcome of a series of mechanical steps
  • linguistic ability, which requires a good grasp of high school English, and
  • working memory, where you are briefly shown an image that you must identify afterwards on your test paper

 

If you’ve worked your way through the typical public high school full curriculum, then the coverage of most of the DOST test should have been taken up in the classroom. Much harder to anticipate is the non-intellective portion, which requires analysis on your part to solve a problem. In some cases, the test requires you to understand a theoretical language, and to comprehend passages written in that language.

 

Tips for Test Day

 

Although the requirements of the DOST exam aren’t exactly rocket science, you’ll still want to keep yourself sharp the whole time. The exam can take extremely long – up to four whole hours – so make sure you get plenty of rest beforehand. Psyching yourself prior to the test will also be crucial; you’ll be taking it with hundreds of other hopefuls, and you can be sure that the test center will be noisy and distracting.

 

If anything, the test is long. Most of the questions are in the easy to intermediate range, but there are also some (particularly in the quantitative and scientific ability areas) that are extremely difficult. Employ good time management and you should do fine.