Thanx for the tips. It’s really a big help. I still have 1 month remaining to prepare for my USTET exam that will be on October.

Transferring to UP Diliman Campus

As people, we’re all prone to changing our minds.  Sometimes that change involves studying at the U.P. Diliman instead of at another campus.

If you’re itching to transfer, then you’re in for a meticulous application process.  Read on.

Transferring from another UP campus to U.P. Diliman

Prepare the true copy of your grades and your transfer application and send them in to the Diliman campus.  After you do that, wait a bit.  Once they’ve been accepted, apply for your Official Transcript of Records, your Permit to Transfer and your Student Clearance from your U.P. branch of origin.

Send these in to Diliman and get your College Admission Slip.  Turn the slip in to the Admissions and Registration Office, fill up a couple of copies of the student directory, and you’re done.

Transferring from another School to UP

Applicants from other schools need to do a tad more work.  Prepare a True Copy of Grades or transcript signed by your school Registrar, U.P. form 3 or 3.1, two recent 2 x 2 photos and one hundred pesos.

After that, play the waiting game for about three weeks, and then inquire about the status of your application.  If it’s been accepted, gird your loins, there’s more come.

Get a Transfer Credential or Honorable Dismissal from your original school and turn it in.  Fill up two copies of the student directory, and then get an official request for your Transcript of Records and your University Admission Slip.

Next, go for a medical and physical examination from the University Health Service.  Turn in the validated medical certificate and the Admission Slip to get your Form 5A.  From thereon, it’s registration as usual.

Sound tedious?  It can be.  The rewards, though, will be well worth the time and effort invested.

UPCAT Pending Result

Sometimes, funny things happen even when you do your best in the University of the Philippines College Admissions Test (UPCAT).  Ask some of the many, many test takers and you’ll be hard pressed not to find someone whose status is described as “pending.”

What exactly does this mean, and what can be done about it?  Let’s find out.

“Patient” Pending

One common reaction that the P-word elicits from students is needless worry or fear.  It’s needless because it doesn’t mean that the student has received a flat out rejection.  In fact, the student possesses the necessary qualifications for enrollment, and if not for certain hitches, the institution would’ve accepted him or her straight away.

These hitches usually have something to do with the documents or other requirements that the student has submitted.  For example, transfer students or foreign students may run into some setbacks with their paperwork.

Calmness Reigns Supreme

If ever you find yourself in this situation, do not panic.  I repeat:  do not panic!  Take a deep breath, pray, clear your mind and inquire as to why your case is a pending one.  U.P. officials will explain your case to you and what you can do about it if you ask them nicely enough.

The university administration may also require you to present some records for verification purposes—your birth certificate or school records for example.  Give them what they need so that application processing may be finalized.

Finally, remember that the human mind has a tendency to blow things way out of proportion.  If you approach the situation calmly, things will have a way of working themselves out.

UPCAT Result: Degree Course with Available Slot

Every person who takes the UPCAT yearns for immediate acceptance into the course of their choice.  This doesn’t always happen, though.  Sometimes, someone gets a notice of a “degree course with available slot.”

What does this mean?  Let’s find out.

The Long and Short of It

In simple terms, it means that you’ve been placed on the waiting list for the course in question.  Note that this doesn’t mean that U.P. has rejected you; you’ve passed the UPCAT and you’re certainly qualified to study in the university.

The hitch is that your score ranking does not qualify you to get into your chosen course immediately.  Should a slot become available later, however, the school will notify you and you can grab it then.

Available Options

Fret not, as there is something you can do.  One option is to take another course—say your second choice—in U.P. while you wait, and then transfer to your first choice if or when a slot becomes available.  This can happen when an applicant who originally made the list decides not to pursue the said course, thus opening it up for you.

You can also do what I did:  I studied in another university (for the meantime) that offered me the same course.  Fortunately, I did well enough on that school’s exam so as not to be wait listed.  Should you decide to go that route, you can always try for U.P. again next time if you’re really crazy about studying there.

Remember:  don’t worry if the door you originally wanted to enter is closed for now.  God always has a way of opening other doors for you.

Types of UPCAT Results

The best type of UPCAT result is of course the one that says accepted.  Sadly, this is also the rarest one.  If you do get this kind of result, shout the news over the rooftops, offer some eggs to the monastery or treat yourself out.  You deserve it.

The Results You Don’t Expect (Or Don’t Want to Expect)

While everyone’s goal is to make it into the state university, the sad fact is that not everyone gets the results they work hard to achieve.  The most painful one is obviously a flat out “no,” yet sometimes you get a “special” kind of result that’s somewhere between full acceptance and utter rejection.

The first special case you may come across is known as the pending status.  It’s classified as an “almost there but not quite” status—in other words, the potential student appears to have all the necessary qualifications for acceptance, except for a wee hitch or two.

The hitch usually has something to do with documents or some other requirements that the potential pupil has turned in.  Never fear, as the Admissions Office will explain the situation to the applicant, as well as what can be done about it.  Once things have been settled, the student is good to go.

Another case you may encounter is that of the “degree course with available slot” status.  In layman’s terms, it means that the student hopeful has been waitlisted with respect to his or her first course of choice.

Waitlisted?  Now What?

Fortunately, there are alternatives available.  For one thing, applicants may pray and choose to wait for a slot to appear as far as their first choice is concerned.  If they’re really hot about studying in U.P. right away, regardless of course, they may also settle for their second choice, instead.

On a related note, the university may suggest that the students go for a “non-quota course” while they wait.  I placed the phrase in between quotation marks because word apparently has it that U.P. no longer makes the distinction between quota and non-quota programs—every course is supposedly now a quota course.

If ever you decide to take that path, do know that you can always opt to shift to your first choice if or when a slot becomes available, unless you change your mind and stay in your non-quota course for the rest of your college tenure.

Yet another thing you can do is to try appealing to the school authorities.  They may actually reconsider.  Believe me, there have actually been cases of that happening.  University officials aren’t perfect, and sometimes a second look is all that’s needed for them to change their minds.

Regardless of what exam result you end up with, remember, there’s always a positive way to respond to your situation.  Find out what can be done and what your options are, pray for wisdom and guidance, and then decide and move forward.

To learn about other alternatives in case you dont pass the UPCAT, click here.

UPCAT Tips: What to Study

Yes, the UPCAT is supposed to measure how well you mastered your lessons in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go back and read every single shred of the notes you gathered from your freshman year. Since you’re probably dealing with your senior year academics at the same time as your UPCAT review, there’s an advantage to studying just those topics that you really need.

UPCAT Math Tips

Too many people overreact with regard to the math portion of the UPCAT. A large chunk of test takers even go through review regimens that include higher mathematics like advanced trigonometry or calculus. You could follow in their footsteps, but the edge you get from all the extra studying isn’t worth your pains.

For most of the UPCAT, all you’ll need are the more basic concepts. That includes topics like basic number theory, particularly the critical sets of numbers and their corresponding notations and properties. Basic to intermediate algebra should also be part of your review regimen, as many of the techniques involved can be used in other areas. Simply knowing how to perform certain operations can already save you a lot of trouble on the test.

Go back to your previous lessons on intermediate algebra, especially the ones that had functions. The ability to work with and manipulate different functions and equations is something that any UPCAT taker should have. At this point, your factoring skills should already have been sharpened to help make all the different procedures easier.

Some geometry is also required for the UPCAT, but restrict your review to just the basics. You’ll definitely need to know about the basic 2D and 3D shapes, as well as each of their properties. That should help you get through most of the test already.

Though it’s a considerably smaller part of the math section, practicing your trigonometry can give your UPCAT score a boost up. At the very least know the basic trigonometric values and identities so that you’re not left guessing numbers come test day. You don’t want to spend too much time here, though, as there’s not very many of these items.

Read more:  ♦UPCAT Math Coverage      ♦UPCAT Math Tips and Strategies

UPCAT Science Tips

 Unfortunately, a good number of parents also tend to overreact when it comes to this part of the test. No, you don’t have to study all the way up to subatomic physics and genetics to ace the UPCAT. Countless test takers have gotten through knowing much less.

In Biology, you’ll need to know all about classification, evolution, biological interactions and a little Anatomy. There’s little point in going any deeper to topics like biomolecules and heredity; even if those lessons are covered in the UPCAT, you’ll have to study so much to gain so few points.

Chemistry is also part of the UPCAT but, like the rest of it, there’s no need for you to go overboard with your review. Stoichiometry, the atomic model, basic chemical interactions (including neutralization and combustion), thermochemistry and a little organic chemistry can pull you through the UPCAT. Once you finish with the properties of the periodic table, it’s time for you to stop reviewing Chemistry and start doing something else.

Test takers will tell you that, although it’s still a part of the test, Physics doesn’t seem to be so big a component. As long as you know how to work with waves, forces and the kinematic equations, you’ll do fine on the UPCAT. Most of the Physics questions in the test have to do with objects in motion, though you’ll see an odd optics or thermodynamics question here and there.

Read more:  ♦UPCAT Science Coverage     ♦UPCAT Science Tips and Strategies

UPCAT Language Proficiency

 Here’s where reviewing can get a little iffy. Unlike with the sciences or Math where you have to master concepts, the Language Proficiency part requires you to have skills. When you have to do things like critical reading and abstraction, that’s a very big difference. No clear-cut routine is suggested for Language Proficiency, but that doesn’t mean you can review without any structure.

Practice your reading comprehension, particularly looking for and understanding context clues. This’ll make a large chunk of the exam easier for you, and will serve as a backup plan when you encounter vocabulary words you’ve never seen. Critical reading is also a must; learn to spot cause-and-effect pairings as well as critical events and key characters.

Speed reading isn’t really a very crucial skill to passing the UPCAT, but it has a definite plus. There’s a lot of reading to be done in the test, many of them involving big blocks of text. Knowing how to skim and speed read can save you a lot of time and give you larger leeway to carefully think about your answers or review.

Vocabulary is one part of the UPCAT that many find difficult, not in the least because of the quality of English education in the country. One thing you should never do is to just memorize every single word with a corresponding definition. Instead, find words from an UPCAT reviewer, identify their definitions yourself and then use them in conversation. You’ll have better recall that way, especially if you do it in batches of 5 or 10.

Read more:  ♦UPCAT English Coverage     ♦UPCAT English Tips and Strategies

Where to Get Review Materials

 For private and science high schools, most of the topics in the UPCAT will have been covered by late third or early fourth year. Hopefully, you still have your old notes and handouts with you so that you could go back over them. They’re a great resource for UPCAT review because they’re often already summarized for easier studying. Otherwise, you may want to look into your old books or consult your previous teachers.

♦ Download Our Free UPCAT Reviewer

When reviewing for the UPCAT, don’t make the mistake of memorizing raw facts and examples – they’ll be of little help to you. What you should study are the concepts and the ideas involved so that you can adapt your thinking to any question that comes your way.  Enrolling in a good UPCAT review center should help you a lot in organizing the things you have to study for the UPCAT exam.  To see tips on how to choose a good UPCAT review center, click here.

There’s really nothing too special or hard about preparing for the UPCAT. If anything, the process is only made difficult by the sheer volume of material you have to study. By trimming down your review topics and studying only the lessons that you have to, you should be able to pass the UPCAT – and do many more things besides.

UPCAT Help: Resources for UPCAT Test Takers

Does the prospect of taking the UPCAT make you anxious?  If so, that’s understandable.  It is, after all, one of the most challenging entrance exams around.  Add that to the fact that thousands of students are also vying for a lost in the state university, and you’ve got a bit of competition on your hands.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone.  There are plenty of people and things out there that can help you pass that test and land a coveted slot in the state university.

Online Assistance

Students know that one of the best ways to pass any exam is to prepare for it as a group.  Besides forming a study group with your friends or classmates, there are other helpful groups you can join online.  For starters, go to Yahoo or Google and type out “UPCAT” in the search box.  You’ll come across a plethora of support groups for that entrance exam alone.

The interesting thing to note is that some review institutions who offer review sessions in the flesh also do so online.  If you need advice from people “who’ve been there, done that,” you’ll also find a lot of resources on the Internet.  Forums like Pinoy Exchange ( offer a lot of healthy (and not-so-healthy) discussions on the UPCAT and how to prepare for it.

Some blogs and community sites may offer helpful advice, too, such as Mukamo (, Dine Racoma’s blog (, Friendster UP communities, and of course the very blog you’re reading right now.

Offline Assistance

The Internet isn’t the only place where you can get help.  Quite a few are offering review and tutorial services “in the flesh”.  You can look them up online or through flyers given outside your school.  Some even offer this service for free, such as StarBox Tutorials, Music and Language Institute (call Ralph at 0921-966-46-74) in Dasma.  The only catch is that your grade average must be at least 85% and you need to bring your own module.

If you’d rather gain the “home court advantage” by getting tutorials from former students, there are alumni organizations who cater to particular regional niches.  For example, the UP Ibalon Bicol Association ( holds seminars in Naga City and posts its resources on the Internet.

A Final Word

If you’re not sure which way is best, do a little research and ask around.  Do note that different people have different opinions regarding what the best way to prepare is, however.

For example, some say going to review centers helps boost your confidence.  Others maintain that you’re better off spending money on the NCEE booklets available at National Bookstore.

Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to learn from the experiences of others.  Who knows?  You may find a free, informal review session in your area that may be just as good, if not better, than the pricey ones out there.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that investing in these methods will only actualize what is already there.  It’s the grace of God and the mettle of the students themselves that ultimately make the difference.

UPCAT English Portion Tips and Strategies

If it’s one thing I’m grateful to my parents for, it’s the fact that they instilled the love of reading in me when I was just a little kid.  Little did I know that that would serve me in good stead, especially when I faced entrance exams like the University of the Philippines’ College Admissions Test (UPCAT).

Not everyone may be able to breeze through the English and Reading Comprehension portions of the said exam, though.  If you need help with regard to those sections, then read on.

Tips and Strategies

The content for the English and the Reading Comprehension sections is pretty straightforward.  You’ll likely face questions that will have you completing unfinished sentences, arranging mixed-up things in chronological order and correcting grammatical errors.  Be sure to mind those tricky tenses, spelling, punctuation and subject-verb agreement thingies, too.

Attacking these sections is a bit of a balancing act.  The time pressure involved makes it necessary to read through the text as quickly as you can without compromising your understanding of it.  Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for this. (more on those below).

Oh, and remember to read the instructions very well (this holds true for any section, actually).  If you understand what the question is asking for but you don’t follow the test instructions to the letter, you’re in trouble.

Great Test Takers are Great Readers

Arguably, the best way to prepare for these portions of the UPCAT is to be a voracious reader well before the test itself.  Read all the books, magazines and other publications (in both English and Tagalog) that you can get your hands on, and then after you’re done with them, read some more.

Another thing my parents taught me was to look up at least one new word in the dictionary every day.  It’s a great way to build up your vocabulary if you do it faithfully.  A word a day translates into three hundred sixty-five new words after a year.

A technique I learned from my mentors involves reading aloud.  Besides exercising your vocal chords, but there’s something about reading aloud that exercises your mind as well.  The processing and the comprehension involved seem faster and more efficient.  Try this and see.

A Final Word

If, after doing all these, you still need extra special help in polishing your English skills, there are plenty of resources available out there.

For instance, you may wish to invest in speed reading and other English classes, such as the ones being offered by the likes of Wilma Cruz Tapalla.  Feel free to check out the links here for some possible leads here.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best resources you can visit is Merriam-Webster’s site.  Besides having a handy dictionary and thesaurus, the site also offers word games and other resources that can help you keep your English skills razor sharp.

Above all, don’t forget to pray as you prepare.  By the time that UPCAT rolls around, you’d have gotten enough practice to tackle the English and Reading Comprehension sections in your sleep.

UPCAT Science Portion Tips and Strategies

While not as annoying as mathematics, science also gave me a challenging time during my school days.  Some of my teachers helped me grasp the method behind the “madness” (read: the scientific discipline), while other teachers drove me to madness, period.

Science comprises a major portion of the University of the Philippines’ College Admissions Test (UPCAT).  If you’d like to study the science behind passing the UPCAT, then read on.

What to Expect

As with the math portion of the UPCAT, the science portion contains stuff you should already be familiar with.  Questions usually cover general science, biology, physics, chemistry and Earth science as well.

For example, you may be pressed for the different parts of the cell and their corresponding functions.  The test may also ask you to solve for the amount of voltage or current in a particular situation, or it may ask you to describe what happens to an object that is in motion under certain circumstances.

Be careful, though:  it may be terribly tempting to take the science portion for granted just because it doesn’t involve nearly as much computation as the mathematics section, so don’t let your guard down.

Strategy and Ba’s Dimensional Analysis

Follow the same general strategy that you do for other sections:  pray beforehand, attack the easy questions first, go for the harder ones next.  Budget your time, and be mindful of the fact that a fourth of a point will be deducted from your score if you answer incorrectly.

One blogger by the name of ba offered a helpful suggestion in the form of the “dimensional analysis method”—a rather fancy term for the process of elimination.  The trick to science questions, ba contends, is to simply compare the answers you get from your own calculations with the options provided for multiple choice questions.

From there, just find the choice (rounded down or rounded up) closest to your computed answer and eliminate the rest.  Exercise caution, as sometimes the question will include certain irrelevant bits of information just to confuse you.

Resource Links

If you’re looking for more UPCAT help, try asking around forums like or  Most forum members will only be too happy to answer your questions, especially if they’ve been through the UPCAT already.

You can also get some good responses on as well.  Blogs, such as those written by folks like Dine Racona (, can also provide plenty of good feedback regarding entrance exams.  Be sure to check out the reader responses, too—you may be surprised at the amount of insight that readers can offer there.

If you’re scouting around for review sessions, traditional word-of-mouth or sites like Sulit ( or OLX ( can help you find what you’re looking for.  Just do a quick search for “UPCAT review” and you’ll come up with a gazillion possibilities.

In closing, remember that the UPCAT ultimately draws from your stock knowledge, so start stocking up on relevant information during your high school years.  Once the UPCAT season rolls around, you’ll be glad you did.

UPCAT Math Portion Tips and Strategies

As a student, there was one four-letter I particularly disliked:  M-A-T-H.  I preferred to work with words and ideas, rather than cold, hard numbers and logic.  You can imagine what it must’ve been like for me during entrance exams.

Like it or not, you’ll need to deal with mathematics anyway when it comes to the University of the Philippines’ College Admissions Test (UPCAT).  It may look like a formidable challenge, but fear not.  There are strategies that you can employ to help you not only pass, but pass well.

Tips and Strategies

Expect a lot of stuff drawn from your high school math classes:  algebra, geometry, trigonometry and what not.  You may come across questions on ratio and proportion, polynomial factoring and length calculation.  For example, you may be asked to calculate the length of a side of a triangle given the lengths of the other two sides.

Make sure to bring a watch with you, too.  While this is not the “unfinishable” ACET, you will still have to deal with a fair amount of time pressure.  In your mind, divide the math portion into four-phases:  the easy questions phase, the hard questions phase, the “absolutely clueless” questions phase and the review phase.

Budget your time and answer questions in that ascending order of difficulty.  That way, you’ll get build up points as well as much-needed morale early on for the harder questions down the road.

To Skip or not to Skip

The UPCAT reportedly employs a scoring system wherein twenty-five percent of your wrong answers are subtracted from your right answers.  Opinions vary regarding the best way to handle this.  Some say it’s better to take an educated guess; others say that it’s better to just skip the tricky questions.

Unfortunately, this is an arbitrary matter, and the best course of action will depend on who you are, where you are at that moment and how you’re doing.  That’s why I make it a point to pray for wisdom and guidance before exams.  You may wish to do the same thing.

Miscellaneous Stuff

If you’ve been keeping your math skills up to snuff since your freshman high school year, you should be well equipped to deal with the UPCAT math section.  If not, start preparing as soon as you can.  Look for a tutor, a review book, study group or review center that can help you.  Chances are you’ll learn better when you’re in the company of others with similar goals, so seek those edifying people out.

To help you get started, here are a few resources you can check out.  Conrad Miguel has some good tips and strategies on taking multiple choice exams on this site:

For a general review on math, you may also want to practice with available online reviewers such as these:

There is also a wealth of practice exam booklets available in National Bookstore and other places of learning.  With these and other tools at your disposal, the math portion of the UPCAT can be whittled down to something that’s a lot more manageable than it initially appears to be.

Where to Find Answers for your UPCAT Questions

One of my high school teachers once told me that the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.  Thus, it may be well worth it to ask your question at the risk of looking stupid, especially when it involves something as important as the UPCAT.

The good news is that we’re in the Information Age—there’s actually a plethora of stuff about the UPCAT out there if one knows where to look.

Going Back to the Source

The first and most obvious source of information is the UPCAT section of the U.P. official website.  In it, you’ll find enough general information about the test, how to apply for it, how to find out what your results are, etc.—in short, basic stuff.

If you’re on the prowl for insider info, however, you’ll need to set your sights elsewhere.  Fortunately, the internet has a lot of resources for you to check out.  Forums like Pinoy Exchange, Tristan Café and Peyups can cough up a lot of useful information if you make a post or do a search.

Been There, Done That

Quite a few people have blogged about their experiences (or the experiences of people they know) with the UPCAT—Dine Racoma’s and Conrad Miguel’s blogs are two fine examples of these.

You can go to the ever-popular Yahoo Answers and try asking your question there.  I’ve seen a number of UPCAT-related queries on it, and the answers have been pretty informative so far.

Last but not the least, take a look around this blog.  You are currently inside one of the internet gold mines for UPCAT, ACET, USTET and DLSUCET related information.  With posts written by contributing students or graduates from the premier colleges of our country, you can certainly find almost everything you need here.  If not, feel free to leave a query and we’ll move heaven and earth to find the answer for you.

The point is to seek and ye shall find.  At least one nice person will be willing to answer your questions if you take the time to ask.