@acadclinic is such a great help for preparation for upcat. =)

by AmythiaNichole Nichole Flowerette on Acadclinic @ Twitter

Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools

Beyond their reputation as centers for excellence in science and technology, many students also vie for slots at Science High Schools because studying there is extremely affordable. For many middle- and lower-income families, entry into a Science High School is the ticket to a quality education without the five-digit price tag.

Scholarships for Scientists

Part of the mission-vision of every school in the Philippine Science system is to provide free quality education to young scientific talents. That’s why each and every school in the system from the main Philippine Science High School campus in Diliman to its branch campus in Southern Mindanao requires no tuition fee payments from any student.

This arrangement, however, does not come without strings. Before finally enrolling in the system, each student is required to sign an official and notarized contract that binds him or her to the terms of Philippine Science scholarship. Among those terms are a return service clause (students are required to give service to the government after college) and a requirement for travel clearance when going abroad.

In addition to the free tuition, the Philippine Science system also gives students monthly stipends, the value of which depends on the student’s socioeconomic background. Many students who study in a campus far from home rely largely on this monthly allowance.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Throughout the course of four years, it’s inevitable that students incur some costs while studying. Project expenses, field trips and special events are just some of the hidden costs that, though few, can add up to quite a considerable amount. How do students deal with all these financial burdens?

In most cases, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and the respective student councils make allowances for students who are underprivileged or are unable to deal with the expenses. A sponsor system is usually in place, wherein a parent or a third-party pays the cost of a student’s participation in an activity. In some cases, the cost of the extra student may be divided and paid for by all the other paying participants.

The organizations and institutions in the Philippine Science system place higher priority on everyone’s participation than making sure that everyone is paid. Countless students have been able to go on field trips to the provinces or attend Junior-Senior prom, despite their lack of financial capacity.

Asking for Help

Should a student require financial assistance for things not directly related to school, he or she has several options in the Philippine Science system. Cooperatives that operate in each campus, for example, typically offer loans at reduced interest rates compared to banks. Other groups like the school foundation – a non-profit company – and personal sponsors may also be approached directly for financial support.

If there was ever a secondary school that did not look at financial capacity, it’s the Philippine Science system. Parents, alumni and administrators alike recognize that not all students can pay their way for everything, hence the creation of all these groups and organizations that offer financial support to students. Whether rich or poor, students in the Philippine Science system are guaranteed the full high school experience.

Phisci, Masci, Quesci Basics and Background

When I was in the seventh grade, I distinctly remember one of my teachers encouraging us to apply for a slot in one of the science high schools in the country.  She was so excited at the prospect of us being accepted that she even got some application forms for us!

It was only later that I understood why:  the science high schools form part of a high school educational system that she wanted us very much to experience.  I ended up studying at a “non-science” high school, but now that I look back, I think she may have been on the right track after all.

While there are many science high schools in the Philippines, I shall focus on three of them in this article:  Philippine Science (PSHS), Manila Science (MaSci) and Quezon City Science (QueSci).

The Roots of the Philippine Science High School System

The PSHS system is the brainchild of one man:  Dr. Leopoldo V. Torralballa.  The esteemed mathematician was a New York University mathematics professor in the 1960s.  He was quite familiar with the Bronx High School of Science, so he figured it would be a great idea to establish a similar system back home for deserving Filipino students.

It took many decades’ worth of hard work, perseverance, and petitioning the Philippine government, but Torralballa and his colleagues eventually succeeded.  It was only in 1998, however, that all the science high school campuses were integrated into the system that we know today.

Many years later, the good doctor’s dream is alive and well—the PSHS system serves as an attached agency of the Philippine government’s Department of Science and Technology.

The History of Manila Science Revisited

While organized under an effective system, the PSHS is by no means the country’s first science high school.  That distinction goes to Manila Science High School.

In MaSci’s case, credit goes to former president Ramon Magsaysay for the idea.  The Philippine Congress acted on his idea and passed several Republic Acts that established the said school.

As is the case with PSHS, MaSci’s curriculum is also patterned after—wonder of wonders—Bronx High School of Science in New York.

Quezon City Science High School

Of the three schools, QueSci is the youngest—it was established in 1967.  Hermingilda Garcia Margate came up with the idea for a science high school in the Quezon City area, and passed the idea on to her colleagues.  The school went on to become the regional high school for the country’s National Capital Region.

In spite of being the “junior” of the lot, QueSci is by no means the runt in terms of academic performance.  Case in point:  in 2004, a group of students brought honor to QueSci and to the Philippines by winning an international competition.  Specifically, the researchers snagged the fourth Grand Award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Oregon.

All in the Name of Science and Service

These institutions are called science high schools for a good reason:  their basic aim is to prepare their students for a career in science and technology.  Their ultimate aim, however, is to inspire these future scientists to use their talents in the service of the country.

If this resonates with you, then why not try your hand at applying?  The schools are always looking for good students.  Who knows?  Perhaps you’ll be the next one on their list of accepted candidates.

UP Integrated School (UPIS) Entrance Exam Schedule

Chances are, you’re familiar with this process:  you pay the fee, fill out the application form at the high school of your choice, send in the proper documents, take the test, and then cross your fingers and await the results.

Still, there are some schools who have modified the general custom somewhat.  One such example is that of the University of the Philippines’ Integrated School (henceforth referred to as UPIS).  Allow me to show you why this is the case.

The UPIS Application System

The UPIS school system is the U.P. College of Education’s lab school, so it understandably differs from that of other schools.  For one thing, you are normally not allowed to apply for the high school straight away.

In fact, you’d better start off (literally) early because the only allowed entry point is the kindergarten level.  Sorry, UP High School hopefuls, but you’ll need to be patient with this one.

Note that I said “normally”—there are exceptions even to this exception.  For example, lateral entrants may be accepted if they’re children of returning U.P. staff members.  There was also a special case last February wherein the UPIS accepted fourteen high school freshmen.

Thing is, this was only done to fill in some vacant slots left by students who chose to enroll in other schools, as well as to recruit more varsity players for the UPIS basketball team.

UPIS Application Requirements

With such a system, you may be thinking that the application process is just as stringent for the kindergarteners.  Well, you’re right:  student hopefuls will be ranked according to their performance on a mental ability test, and the school will only select the top one hundred test takers.  Take note that sixty of these one hundred kids will be progeny of U.P. personnel.

There are other requirements, besides:  the child must be within the five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half-year-old range by enrollment time.  They shouldn’t be previous UPIS test takers, either.

The school’s application form will specify what other things you’ll need to submit, if any.  As of last year, the fee was set at three hundred fifty pesos.

UPIS Important Dates

January-February 2010:  estimated application period for school year 2010-2011

March/April 2010:  estimated entrance exam period for school year 2010-2011

May 2010:  estimated release of entrance test results school year 2010-2011

As of the time of this article’s writing, the UPIS Admissions Office has no specific dates for school year 2010-2011 yet, only approximations.  The folks have informed me that the exact dates of testing will only be determined upon the student’s application to the school, so it’s a good idea to check back with them often.

[***Important update:  Please find the schedule of the 2010 UPKAT at the post, UPIS Important Dates for 2010.]

Further Inquiries

There’s a lot more to the UPIS than what I’ve mentioned here.  If you have more questions about the institution and its unique system, schedule or application process, feel free to visit the official website for more information.

Alternatively, you may also call the school at 9297797.  If you absolutely must talk to the school folks in person, though, just drop by the campus along Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.


Quezon City Science High School Entrance Exam Schedule

Each school has its own benchmarks for potential students hoping to study in its halls.  Of particular note is the strict standard set by the science high schools:  Philippine Science, Manila Science and Quezon City Science.

Not to be out done by its contemporaries, Quezon City Science High school (hence forth known as QueSci) has some important facts for student applicants who wish to grace its campus.  Before we proceed, please note that the information below is tentative and subject to change.

The QueSci Application System

The application period for school year 2010-2011 at QueSci is all set to start this last quarter of 2009 (The Admission Office staff estimate it at anytime from September to November).  Before you rush out and apply, though a caveat:  the institution’s application system is a little different from that of other schools’.

For one thing, QueSci will not hand you your application form right away, even if you ask for it.  Present your Grade 5 report card first and the school will then screen you—specifically, they’ll have to check and see if the grades on your card meet their standards.

In order to qualify, you must have at least an average of 85 in Math, Science and English, and at least an average of 83 on all other subjects.  Furthermore, your overall weighted average must be at least 85, too.

Assuming you meet those requirements, they will then hand you the application form.  Fill it up, pay the fee (around two hundred fifty pesos or so, as of the time of this article’s writing), give them some 1 x 1 ID pictures, and proceed with the rest of the process.

QueSci Testing Dates

Another interesting thing to note about the QueSci system is that involves a multi-phase exam.  That’s right:  you need to go three phases of exams, and only if you pass the preceding phase(s).  .

The three exams consist of the first, more general test, a second subject proficiency test (focusing specifically on Math, Science and English) and an oral interview.  There’s actually a fourth exam—a medical exam—after the oral interview, but this last phase is more for formality’s sake.  If you reach this part, it means you’ve passed all three preceding phases.

As of last year, the first part of the multi-phase exam kicked off last December 5, 2008, with the second and third phases in January and February, respectively.  A similar schedule may be followed this year, depending on how things go.

Releasing of Results

Expect QueSci to release the results of your labor about a month after the oral interview (The case of last year’s set ended up being released just last March 2009.).  As of now, no exact date has been given, so check with the QueSci Admissions Office every so often for updates.

You may call either 4250287, 9220739 or 4536619 during office hours.  Preferably ask for either Ms. Hilario or Ms. Cayetano, as they’re the people in charge.  Unfortunately, QueSci currently has no official website you can visit.  Feel free to visit the unofficial Multiply site if you wish, though:

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may also opt to visit the high school compound along Misamis Street, Barangay Santo Cristo, Quezon City.  The QueSci Admissions Office will post the details of the exam results on the school bulletin boards once they’re ready.

Suggested Reading:

1.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Abstract Reasoning Portion Tips and Coverage
2.  Science High School Entrance Exam: English Portion Tips and Coverage
3.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Science Portion Tips and Coverage
4.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Math Portion Tips and Coverage
5.  Increasing Your Chances of Passing the Philippine Science High School Entrance Test
6.  The Science of Applying for a Spot in a Science High School
7.  Philippine Science High Schools’ Culture and Campus Life
8.  What to Expect When Studying in a Science High School
9.  Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools
10. The Advantages of Studying in a Science High School

Ateneo High School Entrance Exam Schedule

In a past article, I covered the details of the Ateneo de Manila University’s strict application process.  Believe it or not, the application system for the high school is just as stringent.  Apparently, the Jesuits believe in training up a child early.

Nevertheless, there’s a certain familiar ring to it, with modifications here and there.  To see what I mean, let’s take a closer look at it.

Important Dates to Remember

July 27, 2009:  release of application forms for school year 2010-2011

September 18, 2009:  deadline for filing of forms for school year 2010-2011

October 3, 2009 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 – 5:00 p.m.:  ACET day

October 4, 2009 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.:  ACET day (half day)

October 16, 2009:  deadliest deadline for submission of photocopy of grades for first grading period (see below)

January 29, 2010:  latest notification date of ACET results

February 19, 2010:  deadline for notifying the high school of your intent to enroll

March 2010:  projected latest date for release of second year application details

As of the time of this writing, the application process for school year 2010-2011 has already begun.  You have nearly two months to get all your documents in order (see below) before the actual test in October.  The high school administration will then mail you its decision with respect to your application no later than January 29, 2010.

If you intend to proceed with your enrollment, do let the school know by filling up the Intent to Enroll form and submitting it no later than February 19, 2010.  Otherwise, the school will take it to mean that you won’t proceed with the enrollment, and consequently, it won’t reserve a slot for you.  .

Note that the high school may or may not accept students for second year straight away.  It’ll depend on the number of slots available for the following school year.

Qualifications and Requirements

the accomplished application form

a photocopy of your NSO birth certificate

two recent 1 x 1 ID photos

a handwritten biography on 8/12 x 11 bond paper

a photocopy of your grades from your last complete school year AND at least the first grading period of the current year.

payment of the seven hundred peso application fee

The above items pretty much round out the documentation.  Just remember to turn these in at least two weeks before the exam:

Unlike, the science high schools, the Ateneo doesn’t require applicants to have a certain grade average in specific subjects, so long as the students have no failing grades and they are of good standing with their grade school.  They must also be eligible for grade school graduation by the time 2010 rolls around.

Aside from taking the ACET and turning in all the documents, the applicant will also need to go through a personal interview with a member of the high school guidance office.  Depending on the student’s performance on the exam and the date when it was taken, the school will schedule the time and date and then notify the student afterward.

For Further Inquiries

If you have questions about that biography bit or about the application process per se, feel free to get in touch with the school at 4266001 local 6292 or e-mail them at hsmail@admu.edu.ph.

Alternatively, you may visit their website for more info, or you may drop by the institution itself.  It’s located along Katipunan Avenue, in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Manila Science High School Entrance Exam Schedule

Being one of the members in the science high school triumvirate, Manila Science (henceforth referred to as MaSci) joins its peer institutions in training promising young scientists of tomorrow.

While qualifying for MaSci is a challenge in itself, the interesting thing to note is that MaSci’s application process is somewhat reminiscent of QueSci’s, only with some modifications here and there.  Let’s take a closer look at it.

MaSci Application Process Facts

The document requirements are fairly straightforward:  a couple of 1 x 1 ID photos with your name tag on them, a certified true copy of your report card (aka Form 138) complete with a seal, and written certification from your school’s principal vouching for your good moral character.

This is where it gets tricky:  MaSci is looking for students with at least an average of 85% in English, Science and Mathematics, and an average of at least 83% in all other subjects.  I cannot stress the importance of this enough—fall short in this area and you’re disqualified from applying, even if you pass the entrance exam.

MaSci Important Dates

November 2009-January 2010:  estimated application period for school year 2010-2011

a Saturday of mid-January, 2010; 8 a.m.-12 nn, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m:   estimated testing date for entrance exam, school year 2010-2011

March 2010:   estimated posting of exam results

As this is a science high school, expect the entrance test to focus heavily on the hard sciences (Science and Mathematics) and English.  Even when you pass the exam, don’t think that the process is all over—you’ll still need to go through an interview and a medical examination afterward.  MaSci will only announce the dates for the latter two after you pass the initial screening.

Intriguingly, it’s possible to skip the entrance test altogether—IF you belong to the crème de la crème of your particular elementary school.  That is, depending on the size of your grade school, you’ll need to be either the top dog or among the top 3 graduates in order to qualify for this “freebie.”

Another catch is that you’ll still need to take a diagnostic exam when MaSci deems it necessary.  You’re also supposed to let the school know that you really wish to apply there before the end of March 2010.  Otherwise, you’ll forfeit your chance.

Download Links and Then Some

If you’d like to check out the application form, just click on this link for it.  On the other hand, this link will allow you to download a copy of the school agreement.  In the event that you’re having trouble with the above links, go to this page and try downloading them from there.

MaSci has put up a convenient page where Internet surfers can check out its the latest entrance exam results.  It currently has the 2009 results posted on it, so if you’re applying for school year 2010-2011, check back sometime March of next year.

Got Further Inquiries?

For the most recent, up-to-date information, I highly recommend that you give the MaSci staff a call at (02) 525-6197.  Try calling sometime around November 2009, as more detailed information with respect to the 2010-2011 process should be out by that time.

Alternatively, you may also drop by the MaSci campus itself during office hours (8 a.m – 4 p.m.), as the school also tends to post exam results and other information on its various bulletin boards.  The school grounds are located along Taft Avenue, corner Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

Suggested Reading:

1.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Abstract Reasoning Portion Tips and Coverage
2.  Science High School Entrance Exam: English Portion Tips and Coverage
3.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Science Portion Tips and Coverage
4.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Math Portion Tips and Coverage
5.  Increasing Your Chances of Passing the Philippine Science High School Entrance Test
6.  The Science of Applying for a Spot in a Science High School
7.  Philippine Science High Schools’ Culture and Campus Life
8.  What to Expect When Studying in a Science High School
9.  Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools
10. The Advantages of Studying in a Science High School

Philippine Science High School Entrance Exam Schedule

There are quite a few things in life that depend on ranking.  Being accepted into the Philippine Science High School (PhiSci) is one of them.  It’s no surprise, really, considering that the institution helps local budding mathematicians and scientists to realize their full potential.

As is the case with its science high school brethren, the beginning of a PhiSci’s student’s high school life starts with a stringent screening process.  Let’s take a closer look at that.

Conditions for PhiSci Eligibility

Keep the magic number ten in mind:  PhiSci draws the line when it requires potential students to be part of the upper ten percent of their graduating class, based on their Grade 5 ranking.  This ranking must be certified by their respective school’s principal.

What if the students don’t belong to the cream of the crop, though?  The good news is that PhiSci will still consider their application, provided they show proof of their skill in English and the hard sciences (i.e., through letters of recommendation and report cards).

Furthermore, student hopefuls must also take and pass the National Competitive Examination (NCE).  This is basically a Scholastics Aptitude Test (SAT).  The exam will focus on four main components:  Verbal Aptitude, Abstract Reasoning, Quantitative Ability and Scientific Ability.

Requirements for Application

The requirements don’t stop there, though:  For one thing, they must be Filipino citizens with no intention of migrating in the near future.  They must also be no older than fifteen years by the June 30, 2010.  Good health and good moral character (again, written certification from school authorities is needed) are also musts.

Document-wise, PhiSci will ask for the usual 1 x 1 ID pictures, the report card and the completed application form (in duplicate).  A one hundred peso processing fee applies to students coming from private schools; it’s automatically waived for those from public schools, though.

The cool thing about securing and filing an NCE application form is that you’re not limited to the PhiSci campus alone.  Just search out any regional office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) or a regional PhiSci campus in your area.  Take a look at this list for the one closest to you.

Important PhiSci Dates and Further Inquiries

August 31, 2009:  deadline for application filing for school year 2010-2011

November 7, 2009:  NCE date for school year 2010-2011

February 2010:  estimated release of exam results

As of this writing, the application process is already underway, with the deadliest deadline being the last day of August, 2009.  There’s no official release date for results yet, as everything will depend on a variety of factors (such as the number of test takers).  The Admission Office folks estimate that the results should be out by February 2010.

Things may change sometime between then and now, so it’s always a good idea to keep communication lines open.  Feel free to get in touch with the PhiSci folks at 9240639, 9291603, 9265701 or 4341066.  Facsimiles may also reach them at the first two numbers.

Alternatively, you may also visit the campus grounds themselves.  The main one is located along Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City.  For the regional campuses, just visit this page to find out how you can get in touch with them.

Suggested Reading:

1.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Abstract Reasoning Portion Tips and Coverage
2.  Science High School Entrance Exam: English Portion Tips and Coverage
3.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Science Portion Tips and Coverage
4.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Math Portion Tips and Coverage
5.  Increasing Your Chances of Passing the Philippine Science High School Entrance Test
6.  The Science of Applying for a Spot in a Science High School
7.  Philippine Science High Schools’ Culture and Campus Life
8.  What to Expect When Studying in a Science High School
9.  Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools
10. The Advantages of Studying in a Science High School

Increasing Your Chances of Passing the Philippine Science High School Entrance Test

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.

Phisci, MaSci and QueSci Admission Procedure Basics

Have you ever felt as if life was just one big test?  Whether you’re a student or a member of the workforce (or both) any vocation comes with certain requirements that need to be met in order to get to the so-called “next level”

Being admitted to a Science High School is no different.  One of these major requirements involves the taking and passing of admission exams.  Fortunately, you don’t have to remain in the dark about them.  This article will help shed a little light on the entrance tests for some of the science high schools available in the country.

The Admission Exams:  Then and Now

The exam to pass for Philippine Science (PSHS) is known as the National Competitive Examination (NCE).  It’s aptly named—you’ll be competing with around seventeen thousand other students for a highly-coveted slot in the school.

Prior to 2008, the NCE consisted of a two-step process.  The first phase involved a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) while the second phase involved a Science Math Aptitude Test (SMAT).

PSHS has recently streamlined the testing process, though.  As of 2008, the NCE now consists of one and only one exam:  the SAT.  This exam measures four different areas of academic competency:  Verbal Aptitude, Quantitative Ability, Abstract Reasoning and Scientific Ability.  To learn about the application schedule of Philippine Science Highschool, click here.

On the other hand, Manila Science (MaSci) and Quezon City Science (QueSci) both feature exams designed along the same lines.  Their aptitude or achievement tests contain sections in English, Mathematics and Science.  To know the application schedule for Manila Science Highschool and Quezon City Science Highschool, click on the links provided.

The passing grade for the latter stands at seventy-five percent, and that’s only for the first screening.  Student hopefuls must be among the top two hundred fifty examinees in the second screening, and must also pass the interview portion in order to quality.

Beating the Odds

The Science High School entrance exams may seem intimidating at first glance, but just like any entrance exam, there are ways of evening the odds in your favor.  Allow me to share some tips with you based on my own experience with them.

If you’ve been paying attention to your grade school classes in Science, Math and English up to this point, then you have a really good chance of doing well.  It’s even better if your grade school has let you take an SAT at some point, as the science high school exams are similar in construction.

If you think you need to sign up for review classes or courses, then by all means, do so.  There’s no harm in asking for help if you really need it.  Having “mock exams” can be a big confidence booster.  Just make sure not study on the day before the exam—cramming won’t help you at all.

The other preparations mostly involve common sense.  If you believe in God, make it a point to pray and ask for His help.  Sleep early the night before the big day.  Eat a good breakfast on the morning of the exam.  You’ll be given a break in the middle of the testing session, so pack some healthy snacks and water to feed your mind.

Be sure to bring some sharpened pencils, a sharpener and an eraser.  The examiners will likely provide you with writing instruments, but it helps to have some of your own.  More importantly, keep your exam permit where you can easily find it.  Not having it on hand will get you into trouble.

Plan your travel time so that to arrive at the test venue some thirty minutes before the exam.  That will help you relax and psyche yourself up for it.  During my time, the volume of traffic was terrible.  Learn from my mistake and leave your house early enough.

Proper Perspective

In closing, I leave you with a bit of perspective:  this will be good training for your college entrance exams and for your college days as well.  Graduates of these science high schools all agree that their time in Pisay, MaSci or QueSci served them well when they got to the universities.  It may be difficult now, but it will all pay off someday.

Now go out there and knock those exams dead!

Suggested Reading:

1.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Abstract Reasoning Portion Tips and Coverage
2.  Science High School Entrance Exam: English Portion Tips and Coverage
3.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Science Portion Tips and Coverage
4.  Science High School Entrance Exam: Math Portion Tips and Coverage
5.  Increasing Your Chances of Passing the Philippine Science High School Entrance Test
6.  The Science of Applying for a Spot in a Science High School
7.  Philippine Science High Schools’ Culture and Campus Life
8.  What to Expect When Studying in a Science High School
9.  Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools
10. The Advantages of Studying in a Science High School

The Science of Applying for a Spot in a Science High School

Eyeing a particular science high school for your secondary education?  Good for you.  As with any academic institution, though, science high schools have certain yardsticks with which to measure enrollees.  These can be fairly demanding as well.

All things considered, the application requirements in Philippine Science High School (PS), Manila Science High School (MaSci’s) and Quezon City Science High School (QueSci’s) are somewhat similar, albeit with some minor variations thrown in.  To help you prepare, here’s a summary of what they will, generally speaking, ask of you.

The Incoming Science High School Students’ Screening Process

The screening process for all three schools typically has three different phases.  The first phase involves meeting or exceeding the seventy-five percent cut-off score for that science high school’s entrance test.  The second phase involves being among the top examinees in that same entrance test.  The third and last phase involves passing the institution’s interview.

Before we proceed, do note that note that Philippine Science people have modified things with regard to the NCE or the National Competitive Examination-the prerequisite test for the said institution.  The NCE has been simplified down to a single Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

When you really think about it, the screening actually begins way before you meet with the science high school administration-that is, the last year of your grade school life.  You need to be part of the crème de la crème in your school in order to catch the eye of your target science high school’s administrators.

For example, Pisay looks for students in the upper ten percent of their class.  This is based on grade 5 rankings, as confirmed by the students’ school principal.  MaSci and QueSci require that you have a grade of at least eighty-five percent in Science and Math (plus English for QueSci), and grades of at least eighty-three percent in all other subjects.

Applying in a Science High School:  When You Don’t Fit the Bill

You may be thinking, “May I still apply even if I am not exactly an intellectual elite in my class?”  The answer is yes.

There’s a catch, however:  you’ll need to pass school recommendation letters from people with clout in your grade school (teachers, guidance counselors or the principal).  Also, your report card must reveal a certain aptitude for the hard sciences.  Still, it’s highly recommended that you go for that upper ten percent if you can, as it makes for a pretty good advantage come science high school application time.

Here’s even more intriguing stuff:  you’ll automatically be eligible for admission if you are among the Top Two or Three students (of if you are the top student) in your school.  The criteria of the science high school will ultimately depend on the size of the school you’ll be coming from.  Nevertheless, top students will still need to take a diagnostic exam.

Science High Schools’ Paperwork Galore

Passing the exam is just one part of the sci-high application phase; filling out the correct forms is another.  Besides completely filling up the forms, set aside a couple of identical mug shots-ID pictures of size 1×1 (complete with name tags) and a true copy of your official report card (must have your grade school’s seal) for the science high school’s authorities.

You’ll also need to shell out one hundred pesos for the processing fee.  Here’s the bummer:  aside from the fact that it’s non-refundable, the fee will only be charged to applicants from private schools-public school students are exempt from this fee.  It’s shrewd, but it’s par for the course.

Once you’ve sent in all the documents, the school will mail your science high school test permit to either you or your school principal.

Cutting It in Science High Schools:  The Non-Quantifiable Stuff

With the science high school exam and the paperwork to keep you occupied, you’d think that’d be enough, right?  Not quite.  The science high schools will also conduct physical examinations and interviews to make sure that you’re of sound mind and body.

For one thing, you must be fit enough to handle the academic training that the science high school will throw at you.  Passing out in the middle of an experiment won’t be of any benefit to you, after all.

It also helps if you can prove your “good moral character” as people like to call it.  There’s a fine line between genius and madness, and the science high schools won’t appreciate it if their students go on to become evil geniuses someday.

Besides these things, there are other factors that science high schools often consider.  One of the most important is that you be a native Filipino citizen with no immediate intention to migrate.  You must also not be older than fifteen by the time the school year you’re applying for rolls around.

Prepare for Your Science High School Application ASAP!

And there you have the gist of the general requirements for entry into a science high school.  It’s a tall order, but what else can you expect from the premiere institutions of secondary learning in the country?  The sooner you can start preparing for these, the better.  The application processes for science high schools can be very competitive, so any advantage you can give yourself, however small, will go a long way.