With its reputation as the premiere secondary institution in the country, it’s no surprise that a seat in the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) is highly coveted. Nearly 100,000 grade school graduates compete for a mere 240 slots, and competition is always stiff. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go down without a fight.
Take Grade 7
One of the more recent trends observed in PSHS enrollment is the increasing number of graduates from private high schools. Many believe that the extra year private school students have compared to their public school counterparts means an advantage in the entrance tests because of the additional preparation and the better grasp of lessons.
Mathematics, in particular, is a major component of the Philippine Science High School entrance test. Private school graduates who complete Grade 7 have an edge here, as the test covers basic to intermediate algebra and geometry – something that’s barely discussed in the Grade 6 curricula of public grade schools.
The last few batches of Philippine Science High School freshmen have a considerable population of private grade school graduates – over half, in fact. Schools like Ateneo, Claret and Miriam typically compose over 20% of the batch populations between them. The extra year is a year worth taking if you’re serious about passing into PSHS.
Practice Logic, Not Numbers
Many aspiring entrance test passers make the mistake of focusing almost entirely on the Mathematics aspect of the exam. But Math is just one component of the test, and the level of the questions usually requires just a basic grasp of the concepts involved. You may want to turn your attention to the Logic or Non-Verbal Reasoning portion instead.
One of the more overlooked components of the entrance exam, the Logic portion can be just as helpful in giving you a score that’ll get you into PSHS. Not everyone, however, is gifted enough to decipher patterns within such a short period of time. It’s a skill you’ll want to hone during your review, especially in the last few weeks before the test.
Don’t bother with memorizing things like complex numbers or basic trigonometry. While some questions do involve that kind of higher Math, they’re not numerous enough to give you a very big boost in your score.
Test-Taking Skills Count
If you weren’t one to listen to all those lectures on test-taking techniques back in grade school, now is the time to start. The best strategy for attacking the PSHS entrance test involves not just preparing for the questions themselves, but planning an approach to the test as a whole.
It’s not unheard of for the makers of the test to put in a few unanswerable or extremely hard questions here and there to give test takers a challenge. Yet many aspirants have fallen by the wayside exactly because of these trick questions. Because they wasted too much time answering just one item, they were unable to finish a larger chunk of the test.
Remember that almost all of the items in the test have an equal weight, and that there’s a very real element of time in test-taking. Do all the items that you can readily answer first so that you already secure yourself a score, and then come back later on for all the other items. That way, the difficult questions will just act as boosters to the score that you already have.
Too many people think that the Philippine Science High School entrance exam is very hard, and that a genius-level IQ is required to pass. In reality, your IQ doesn’t matter as much so long as you have the right strategy to take on the test.