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Science High School Entrance Exam: Science Portion Tips and Coverage

A wise man once said that it’s important to make one’s life like that of a laser beam.  Philippine Science, Manila Science and Quezon City Science are in the business of developing the “laser beams” (scientists) of tomorrow.  In fact, the first instance where you will see this clearly is in their entrance exams.

The good news is that there’s a pattern to the science portion of the entrance exams—a method to the scientific “madness,” if you will.  If you’re preparing for the tests and you’d like to get an overall picture of what to expect, read on.

The Long and Short of It

If you’ve been paying attention in grade school science, class, then you’re in luck:  you’ll see lots of familiar concepts during the exam.  Basically, expect science high schools to throw biology, chemistry and physics-based questions at you.

In a lot of cases, the questions you’ll encounter on the exam have something to do with familiar, everyday phenomena:  human body processes, the water cycle, moving objects and what not.  Of course, you will also get the “once in a blue moon” kind of questions—think total eclipses, speculations on hypothetical planets, venereal diseases, etcetera.

What?  More Computations?

Don’t lull yourself into a false security by thinking that this is science and not math.  There are still some computation-related questions involved.  For example, you may be given the formula for computing the amount of kinetic energy in a moving object, and then asked to solve for the total amount given a certain amount of speed.

Be sure to have your stock knowledge of simple formulas ready, as some questions will press you for answers without giving you the formulas at all.  They may, for example, tell you that a certain substance has a mass of twenty grams and a volume of one hundred cubic centimeters.

If you’re not familiar with the basic formula for deriving density (mass divided by volume), then you’ll have a trickier time arriving at the correct answer of .2 grams per cubic centimeter.

Visual Stimuli

As with the math section of the exam, the science portion also involves some handy-dandy charts, graphs and diagrams for you to study and draw inferences from.  For instance, a common physics question involves a diagram of a circuit, where your job is to determine the direction of the flow of electricity.

In most cases, the answers to the questions that come with visual aids will be starting you in the face—all you have to do is to look carefully at the pictures, consider the facts and draw your conclusions.  At other times, the answer won’t be so obvious, so you will need to combine observation with stock knowledge then.

Case in point:  you may be shown a picture of a burning candle with a test tube being lowered over it.  Of course, the candle goes out, and the picture doesn’t say outright that the act of lowering the test tube over the candle has effectively snuffed out the oxygen supply.

A Final Word

The science section may be less on computation and more on common sense than the math section, but don’t let your guard down for a moment.  Pray, keep your mind clear, review your computations and answers, think in a step-by-step fashion, and you’ll do just fine.