What review school (would) you recommend for the phil science entrance exam. Thanks!

UPCAT Dos and Don’ts

by Janina Denise H. Torralba

            College entrance exams are generally a one-shot deal. You either pass them at the first and only try, or you don’t. With that knowledge, it’s hard not to put some pressure on yourself—and pressure is a very volatile thing. It can either give you a mindset that will whip you into shape, or it can make you crash and burn.

             With no prior experience of applying for and taking a college entrance exam, you might find yourself unsure of how to condition yourself or, heaven forbid, preparing haphazardly altogether. But fear not; if UPCAT jitters have made you unable to think straight, here is a list of things you can and cannot do in preparation for the UPCAT, and even on the day itself.

 Applying for the UPCAT

  •  DO make sure that you already know what you truly want to take up in college. What if your current option will no longer hold your interest after five or six months? You might end up forfeiting your slot in UP. Shifting may be a solution to this problem, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park.
  • DON’T select a degree program solely because it is known to be a non-quota course. Choose what you really want if you do not want to waste a year studying something that will not matter to you in the future.
  •  DO make sure that you will choose campuses that are convenient for you. If they are not readily accessible, be sure that your parents will allow you to attend either of your chosen campuses. If not, it just might end up being a waste of effort. In short, confer with your parents before choosing your campuses.
  • DON’T force yourself to choose a second campus just because you get to choose two on the application form. UP will not forbid you to take the UPCAT solely for that reason. Of course, choosing only one campus minimizes your chances of getting in, but you will not have to worry about that if you are well-prepared.
  • DO choose a campus because it offers your preferred degree program, and not because it has a low cut-off score. Applying for reconsideration in a better campus afterward can be quite an arduous process, and obviously, it does not guarantee that you will be able to study in UP.
  • DON’T be lazy or careless—read your General Information bulletin and Forms 1 & 2 properly, follow all instructions, and never falsify any information! There have been instances when students have been unable to submit their application forms on time because they overlooked important details in these documents.
  • DO prepare the needed materials on time, and ask your school to do the same for the materials they will be asked to provide. These materials will be specified in the General Information bulletin according to your situation. Some of those to be issued by the school may take a long time to process, so get the materials ready as early as possible.
  • DON’T hesitate to ask for help! As the saying goes, “Admitting your own ignorance is the first step to wisdom.” Better that you get the assistance of others than try acting like you know everything and fail miserably.

 Preparing for the UPCAT

  • DO use your old reference materials such as books, notebooks, and even periodicals from previous years. The UPCAT is not exclusively composed of fourth-year level questions, so recalling your old lessons will be helpful.
  • DON’T take your review too lightly or too seriously. Being complacent leads to under-preparation; being over-pressured leads to nervous breakdowns. Make sure you still have time to relax and have a bit of fun, but never ever compromise your review.
  • DO take care of your health. It isn’t uncommon to perform poorly on any exam due to lack of sleep and nutritious food, so prepare your body as properly as you are preparing your mind for the big day.
  • DON’T let yourself get distracted when reviewing. Turn your television, laptop, radio, and all other gadgets off, or at least stay away from them. If you need to go online to review, refrain from website-hopping. If you cannot concentrate when it’s too quiet, you may either stay in a room next to wherever your sibling is watching television (but not anywhere from which the screen is visible), or you may listen to songs as long as you cannot sing or dance along to them.
  • DO understand, not remember. To remember what you are reviewing will not guarantee retention; to understand what you are reviewing ensures longer retention and a better grasp on the topic.
  • DON’T hesitate to apply for a review center should you feel the need for it. Just remember to pay close attention during your sessions, because review centers offer not only knowledge, but also tips in taking the exam. If you think you don’t need to apply for a review center, reviewers online and offline will suffice. Discipline is the key!
  • DO organize your review. This will enable you to cover all the topics you need to study and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed or overloaded with information. Maximize your time, and allot more of it to the subjects which you feel demand your attention more.
  • DON’T limit yourself. Think out of the box and find other ways to prepare for the UPCAT. Perform mental exercises, play educational games, talk to your fellow UPCAT takers (and prospective future schoolmates!)—the list is endless. Moreover, as we are on the topic of breaking limitations, don’t doubt yourself!

Taking the UPCAT

  • DO get to your testing center on time. If you must, leave your house extra early, especially those who will be taking the UPCAT at the Diliman campus. The roads around and within UP Diliman can get quite congested, seeing as thousands of applicants take the test there alone. It’s not egregious in the morning, but it’s more difficult for the afternoon session.
  • DON’T wear anything uncomfortable. There are different temperatures and conditions in different testing centers; some, such as the Institute of Mathematics, will separate the students with jackets from those who do not, and place them accordingly into the right rooms. Not all buildings are fully air-conditioned or otherwise, and you will not know the room where you will be taking the test until the day itself. To be sure, wear something simple and bring a jacket with you. Take extra care to protect your face and your throat, where your skin is most sensitive. If it is too cold, you might get sore throat—or Bell’s Palsy.
  • DO bring just the right snacks—easy to eat, easy to handle, nutritious, and filling. You don’t want to mess up your testing materials with your food, and you certainly do not want to end up going to the toilet far too often. Not everyone who brings snacks will be able to eat them due to the intense pressure, so make sure your snacks can be consumed quickly. Brain foods such as nuts, fruits, and even chocolate will be good for an energy boost, but try not to rely on caffeine. Of course, the reminder of eating healthful food stands for your breakfast as well.
  • DON’T be disorderly while taking the exam. Don’t mutter to yourself too often or too loudly, don’t move too much, and don’t tap your pencil on the desk. It’s embarrassing, it’s disrespectful, and it might draw several pairs of reproachful eyes to you, including those of the proctor.
  • DO rest every now and then. As with the engine of a car, your brain might “overheat” if you take on the test too furiously and too quickly. Sit back in your chair, breathe evenly, and eat a little. Excuse yourself from the room and stretch a little outside if you can, but don’t take too long.
  • DON’T answer the test questions in a linear fashion if you can’t. You can skip the difficult questions first, but you can’t skip to another subtest without instructions. Just take note of all the items you’ve skipped and save them for after you’ve answered the easier ones. Don’t fret over the scratch paper; you aren’t obliged to fill it up. You can write less or more, depending on your capabilities to solve mathematical problems in your head.
  • DO keep track of the time. There is a time limit for each part of the test, and during the first and last test, you will not be allowed to leave the room in the last fifteen minutes. Manage your time properly and pay attention to the proctor. There will be some form of update on the time.
  • DON’T take anything your proctor says for granted. Besides general instructions, the proctor will also remind you of certain rules, such as where to keep your test permit or where to put your things. The proctor will also remind you of some additional testing information, such as the number of the room where you are taking the exam. Some instructions will be repetitive, but not all are arbitrary.
  • DO read everything carefully before writing anything down. Some questions are actually trick questions designed to confuse you before you come to a conclusion, and some will have choices that are ridiculously hard to distinguish from one another. The items for Reading Comprehension will not only have stories and essays; there will also be charts, comic strips, and more. Presence of mind is a MUST.
  • DON’T forget to pray! God is always with you, so be sure to acknowledge His guidance and presence.

Of course, some of these tips will be subjective, particularly those given for the preparation period. This article is not an instructional manual; it is a general guide which offers tried and tested tips with hopes of giving UP applicants satisfactory results. In the end, you may still follow the approach which will suit you and your needs. Like they say, “Kanya-kanyang diskarte lang yan.” Just be sure that your decisions and actions will be made and taken judiciously and carefully.

Gather up all you’ve got and get ready for battle!

Free UPCAT Review 2012

Academic Clinic is once again ready to conduct its annual free online UPCAT review for incoming senior high school students.

The free UPCAT review will start on March 1 and will continue until the day before the UPCAT.  The review will feature the following:

*  UPCAT Facts and Basics

*  UPCAT Coverage Discussions

*  101 UPCAT Tips: from application to the exam day itself.

*  Auto-Scored UPCAT Mock Exams

*  Free Downloadable UPCAT Reviewers and Modules

*  Subject Discussions on the Fanpage

It will be a great UPCAT preparation for incoming senior students who cannot afford an UPCAT review and for those who will be taking review classes, our program will be a great add-on to the paid review.

The Free UPCAT Review schedule will be as follows:

101 UPCAT Tips:  1 UPCAT Tip daily @5pm – Monday to Friday starting March 1, 2012

UPCAT Strategies, Application Tips and Basics Posts Starts April 2, 2012

*  Choosing your UPCAT Review Center

*  other Free UPCAT review programs

*  UPCAT coverage

*  Choosing your College course

*  The UPCAT Ranking Process

.. and many more

UPCAT Readings, Discussions and Quizzes Starts April 2, 2012

*  one major subject will be covered every week at the fanpage

*  Readings will be posted every Monday

*  Discussions will be from Monday – Friday every 5pm

*  Mock quiz will be posted every Saturday @ 3pm

April 2012:

April Week 1:   UPCAT Basics info

April Week 2:  Science:  General Science

April Week 3:  English:  Parts of Speech and General Grammar

April Week 4:  Math:  Arithmetic

May 2012:

May Week 1:  Choosing your UPCAT Application Campus and Courses

May Week 2:  Science:  Biology

May Week 3:  English:  Syntax and Mechanics

May Week 4:  Math:  Algebra

May Week 5:  UPCAT Application Tips

June 2012:

June Week 1:  Science:  Chemistry

June Week 2:  English:  Diction and Vocabulary

June Week 3:  Math:  Trigonometry and Geometry

June Week4:  Test Taking Strategies

July 2012:

July Week1:  Science:  Physics

July Week2:  English:  Reading Comprehension

July Week3:  Math:  Advanced Algebra and Statistics

July Week4:  UPCAT Day Tips [Exam day tips, going to the testing centers, etc]

We invite student organizations, school officials and review centers to participate in this endeavor and help in any way they can.  If you’re interested in helping out as a guest mentor, quiz maker, blogger, etc, please email us at admin@academic-clinic.com.

See you at the Free UPCAT Review and don’t forget to share! ^^

UPCAT Review – Your Ultimate Guide


Finally, an ultimate guide to UPCAT – and by ultimate, I mean you won’t have to look elsewhere for any other information about UPCAT.  This is actually a compilation of posts done by several UP students and graduates who still remember their UPCAT experience.

UPCAT Application

First things first- When is the UPCAT, when is the start and deadline of application and what are the requirements?  You can check that info in this post:

UPCAT Schedule for AY 2012-2013 admissions

It may come as a surprise to some students but UP has actually created an online portal where students can pre-register for the UPCAT.  This cuts some of the steps from the application process and makes it easier for the student to keep up with any UPCAT related updates.  To read more:

UPCAT Online Application / Registration

UPCAT Application Frequently Asked Questions

Some UP hopefuls are also concerned about what courses to write down on the application form.  In fact, some base it on what they have heard about quota and non-quota courses in UP.  To know more about these terms, click the following link:

Are There Still Quota and Non Quota Courses in UP?

UPCAT Quota and Non Quota Courses

 Will Choosing a Non Quota Course Increase my Chances of Getting into UP?

Pre-UPCAT Tips

Getting into UP is not a one-size-fits-all college solution.  Believe it or not, there are certain types of students that may adapt very well to the college culture in UP.  So before you seriously consider UP, read this first:

Is UP for You?  Assessing your Chances in UP

Some students carry a lot of misconceptions about the UPCAT.  Here is an article that discusses well.. some of the lesser known things about the UPCAT:

10 Less Known Facts about the UPCAT

Here are some basic things that you need to know about the UPCAT:

UPCAT 101: Basic Facts about the UPCAT

What to Expect from the UPCAT

How Hard is the UPCAT?

For those who are aiming to do well in their UPCAT exam, here are some things that you need to know:

How to Ace the UPCAT

This article are for those having a long term plan regarding getting into the University in the Philippines, you can apply some of the strategies here as early as first year highschool:

How to Increase your Chances of Passing the UPCAT

Contrary to popular belief, it is not solely your UPCAT score that gets you into the University of the Philippines.  Your UPCAT score will only comprise a certain percentage of your total performance or your UPG, the rest depends on your high school grades as well as socio-economic factors:

You UPG and Your UPCAT Score

UPCAT Tip: What is the University Predicted Grade

Here are some other frequently asked questions about the UPCAT:


Managing Pre-UPCAT Anxiety

UPCAT Review Center VS. Self Study

UPCAT Correct-Minus-Wrong: Is it better to guess or leave the question blank?

On UPCAT Coverage

This section deals with the subjects matters that will most likely appear in the UPCAT.  Below are some general tips:


UPCAT Tips: What to Study

UPCAT Tips: Preparing for the Test

UPCAT Coverage

The following links are specific subjects that will appear in the UPCAT.  Remember that, the subject concentration of the UPCAT may vary from year to year so be prepared for any eventuality.

UPCAT Math Portion Tips and Strategies

UPCAT Science Portion Tips and Strategies

UPCAT English Portion Tips and Strategies

Finally, here are some additional resources that will complement your UPCAT review:

UPCAT Help: Resources for UPCAT Test Takers

Where to Find Answers for your UPCAT Questions

Free UPCAT Reviewers

We have have free UPCAT reviewers / sample exams in our site.  Please dont forget to share the quizzes with your friends.^^

Download Free UPCAT Modules and Readings


General Science: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-sample-questions-general-science/

Biology: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-sample-questions-biology/

Chemistry: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-sample-exam-chemistry/

Physics:  http://academic-clinic.com/2011/06/upcat-mock-test-physics/


Basic Math: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-sample-test-basic-math/

Algebra: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-review-questions-algebra/

Trigonometry and Geometry: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/04/upcat-review-questions-sample-trigonometry-geometry-quiz/

Advanced Algebra and Statistics:  http://academic-clinic.com/2011/06/upcat-sample-quiz-advanced-algebra-and-statistics/


Parts of Speech/General Grammar Rules: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/05/upcat-review-questions-sample-parts-of-speech-general-grammar-rules-quiz/

Syntax and Mechanics: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/05/upcat-sample-questions-syntax-and-mechanics/

Diction and Vocabulary: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/05/upcat-reviewer-sample-quiz-diction-vocabulary/

Reading Comprehension: http://academic-clinic.com/2011/06/upcat-mock-exam-reading-comprehension/

On UPCAT Review Centers

Around the month of March or April, UPCAT takers for the year usually start registering for the summer UPCAT reviews.  Choosing the right one may not be an easy task especially now that there are more than 30 UPCAT review centers in Metro Manila alone!  Below is a practical guide on the do’s and don’t’s when choosing an UPCAT review center:

Choosing your UPCAT Review Center:  A Practical Guide

You can compare and contrast the UPCAT review programs of different review centers by clicking this link:

UPCAT Review Centers:  Review Program Summaries

Moreover, here are some write ups that will give you a glimpse on what to expect from your UPCAT review:

UPCAT Review Guide

Overview of UPCAT Review Centers

Here are some learning tips that you can use to maximize your UPCAT review:

Maximizing your UPCAT Review Classes

Lastly, a frequently asked question about UPCAT reviews.. Some say you don’t need them, some say you do..  read on to learn more about this topic:

Are UPCAT Reviews Really Effective?

UPCAT Day Tips

Some tips for the UPCAT day itself.  The first 3 articles focuses on driving directions to UP while the last 2 gives you some general tips about what to do and what not to on the day of your exam.

Hassle Free UPCAT Day

Driving to UP Diliman for the UPCAT

Taking a Jeepney to UP Diliman

UPCAT Day Tips for UP Diliman Test Takers

UPCAT Tips: A Test Day Survival Guide

Post UPCAT Tips

The succeeding articles are all about tips AFTER your UPCAT starting on where to find your UPCAT results, how to interpret your results and what to do after knowing it:

UPCAT Results: Where to Find It

UPCAT Results and the Next Steps

Types of UPCAT Results

UPCAT Result: Degree Course with Available Slot

UPCAT Pending Result

Below are some tips for those who, unfortunately, did not pass the UPCAT.  Do not despair, there are still some things you can do to get into UP.

UPCAT Alternatives

What to Do If You DON’T Pass the UPCAT

U.P. UPG Cut-Off Scores and Reconsideration

UP Reconsideration Process

How to Get your UPCAT UPG Score

And for some UPCAT passers, you might get invited to the UP summer bridge program.  Read the article to learn more about it:

UP Summer Bridge Program 101

Last but not the least, here is the link to our current project on Facebook – our 101 UPCAT Tips.  New tips are added weekly and we expect to complete the 101 tips sometime this coming July.  Please support our 101 UPCAT tips project by clicking like on the photos or tagging yourself or your friends on Facebook.

101 UPCAT Tips Project on Facebook

If you have anything to add to our ultimate guide to the UPCAT, please feel free to leave your comments below.  Moreover, if you find this article an informative read, please don’t forget to share this free resource with your friends.^^  Goodluck on your UPCAT!

UPCAT Review Guide

Doctor Harold J. Sala once said that “you can never know everything there is in the world, though there are some things you can’t afford to be ignorant of.”  Part of the fun lies in discovering more things as you go along, especially when they involve college entrance exams.

In a previous article I wrote about the UPCAT, I included some pointers on what to expect from the entrance exam and how to prepare for it.  This article will take another look at additional nuances of UPCAT review centers and your own part in test preparation.

On Reviews Schedules

There are about as many review centers as there are thumbprints, each with their own way of preparing you for the UPCAT.  Nevertheless, one thing you should know about them is the fact that review center schedules are always in a state of flux.  That is, the frequency and duration of sessions can change depending on the time of the year.

Ask any review center’s staff member and they will tell you that peak season tends to fall around the summer months of April and May.  The fact that kids are freer means that review sessions can last for half a day or a whole day, and can take place several times a week.

In comparison, review sessions conducted during the early school months of June and July are usually relegated to a few hours on Saturdays, or maybe an hour or two after classes, depending on the center in question.  This means that if you want a more comprehensive UPCAT review, try aiming for a spot in one of the summer review programs.

Click here to view the list of UPCAT Review centers so that you can easily compare and contrast their programs: UPCAT review centers


For the Sake of Completion

Schedules aren’t the only things that differ between centers and seasons—coverage does as well.  All review centers advertise good review sessions, but check the packages if they offer exactly what you’re looking for.  The completeness (or lack of it) of the packages will make or break a review center for the careful canvasser.

If you’re absolutely new to the canvassing scene, though, we humbly recommend that you look for a review center that “goes the extra mile.”  Some review centers may offer extras above and beyond the normal academic review sessions:  diagnostic tests, simulated exams, career assessment, seminars on study habits, and even U.P. campus tours.

One other factor thing worth looking for is the presence or absence “exposition” seminars or courses” about UPCAT-related topics.  For example, do the review centers explain what the UPG is to students?  Do they guide the students through the U.P. application process?  The UPCAT isn’t just about academics, and any review center worth its salt will have something to say about other relevant subjects.

Other Things You Need to Know

In a nutshell, what is advertised as “the best package” may not be so if it doesn’t effectively fit your specific needs.  How do you reconcile the two?  This article will help you answer that question.

Finally, do remember your part in the preparation equation.  The review center is there to help you, but ultimately, you are responsible for making sure you are ready.  Move the process along by studying smart as well as studying hard.

For instance, snack on “brain foods” that stimulate clear thinking.  Review not only subjects but also effective study techniques (mnemonics and other memory aids, SQRR, Pareto’s Principle, etc.).  Manage your review time effectively, and whatever you do, don’t cram.  With a good helping of strategy, you’ll likely be more than prepared for the moment of truth.

Here are some UPCAT sample exams in our site:

UPCAT Sample Exam:  General Science

UPCAT Sample Exam: Basic Math

UPCAT Sample Exam:  Biology


UPCAT Coverage

For students who have yet to go through the “Stations of the Cross” (read: the entrance exams of the country’s top universities), the coverage might all look the same to the untrained eye.  While these exams do share certain things in common, they also possess specific characteristics that distinguish them from each other.

Understanding those differences will help you prepare for the exams more effectively.  Let’s take a look at the distinguishing characteristics that make each test what it is, starting with the UPCAT.

Paying the Penalty

Perhaps the most infamous thing that the UPCAT is known for is its right minus ¼ wrong penalty.  Having to contend with time pressure is stressful enough; dealing with the fear of being penalized for your errors makes it doubly so.

So what do you do when you really don’t know the answer?  UPCAT veterans recommend taking your best, educated guess instead of just leaving the item blank.  The reason:  you’ll nab a full point if you get the correct answer.  If you leave it blank, you forfeit that full point; if you make a mistake, you lose only a fraction of that full point, so the odds are in favor of taking that risk.

The penalty may seem a little daunting at first, but the key to overcoming your fear of it is to polish up on your concepts and your skills.  The math and science portions will test your conceptual knowledge, but the language proficiency sections will challenge your bilingual skills.

Concepts Galore

The good news is that the UPCAT will draw upon your stock knowledge gained from high school lessons.  If you’ve been paying attention during your high school classes and you’ve got the notes to back you up, you’re already well armed.  All that remains is to hone your mind and keep it sharp by reviewing the math and science concepts listed on this webpage and this webpage, respectively..

Here’s a trick I recently picked up from those who’ve been there, done that:  you may find it more efficient to answer certain math and science questions by using the process of elimination instead of computing.  If you think it will take you more than a minute and twenty seconds to solve a problem, try plugging in different multiple choice options until you arrive at the correct answer.

Note that this doesn’t work for all questions of this type, so use your discretion.  As with all things, practicing beforehand helps.

Facility for Language

Unlike the ACET and the DLSUCET, there is no killer essay to accomplish at the drop of a hat, so focus more on developing critical reading and comprehension skills in both English and Filipino for those lengthy walls of text.  You’ll find questions written in the vernacular interspersed between questions written in English, so prepare accordingly.

One good way to prepare for this is to read—and I mean, a lot.  Reading strengthens those synaptic links and keeps the language part of your brain sharp.  Learning some speed reading techniques can help, but they’re not absolutely necessary for finishing the UPCAT on time.  to see the general english coverage of college entrance exams, click here.

A Final Word

The UPCAT is actually passed or failed long before the actual test date arrives.  If you stock up on knowledge, pray and apply the proper strategies, you’ll have a pretty good chance of landing that much-coveted U.P. slot.


If you’re one of several thousand people hoping to take and pass the UPCAT, you’re probably feeling a little nervous about the whole thing.  It’s all right to feel that way—a certain amount of stress makes you want to do your very best.

The problem is when you experience excess amounts of anxiety.  Fortunately, a few good strategies can help you overcome that and help you keep it within manageable levels.  Take a look at some of them below.

Topics of Interest

Don’t worry, you won’t find anything really out of the ordinary in the UPCAT (as far as entrance tests go, anyway).  Expect questions on mathematics, science, reading comprehension and language proficiency.

Language proficiency is arguably the easiest of all the sections, but don’t let your guard down for a moment.  This section requires basic grammar know-how in both English and the vernacular.

Reading comprehension is a bit trickier to manage.  One time-saving strategy you can employ is to refrain from reading the entire article.  Just look at the questions and survey the article until you find the information you need.

The science portion involves questions on physics, Earth science, astronomy and biology, so focus more on those.  Finally, UPCAT math deals with sub-topics like algebra and trigonometry.  Keep those computation skills handy.

Read More:  ♦ UPCAT Coverage  ♦101 UPCAT Tips on Facebook

To Guess or Not to Guess…

If it’s one thing that sets the UPCAT apart from some of the other entrance tests out there, it’s the formula (right – ¼ wrong—that is, a fourth of a point will be deducted for every wrong answer you have.  It may seem like a killer at first, yet the good news is that there are ways to deal with this.

First, make it a point to answer the questions that you are absolutely, positively certain about first.  This will give you the double benefit of raising your score and boosting your morale for the harder questions.  Tackle the latter next.

Second, give yourself enough time for reviewing your answers and changing them.  Yes, there are penalties for wrong answers, but consider this:  you’ll be getting a full point for every right answer as compared to a quarter point deduction for every mistake.

Besides, studies and experience show that you’re more likely to change a wrong answer into a right one instead of vice versa, so answer as many items as you possibly can and don’t worry about them!

An Ounce of Prevention…

If you feel you need extra doses of confidence, then redeem the time by taking review classes or answering practice tests online or on paper.  Besides being readily available, they will give you an idea of what to expect and how to deal with it when the real test comes around.

Take the time to prepare early.  By early, I mean doing well in your high school classes.  Note that the university will also use your high school grades as a basis for your acceptance or rejection, aside from your performance on the UPCAT.

You can be your own best ally or your worst enemy, depending on how you approach it.  Prepare well and prepare early, and you’ll stand more than just a fighting chance at nabbing a slot in the state university.

Read More:  ♦ Free UPCAT Reviewers     ♦ Ultimate Guide to the UPCAT

UPCAT Tip: What is the University Predicted Grade

By now, you’re probably already aware of the fact that the University of the Philippines considers many factors when admitting students.  One of these is the University Predicted Grade (UPG).  But what exactly is the UPG and how much of it really gets factored into your UPCAT grade? Let’s find out.

Strictly speaking, the UPG is a composite score—it is a combination of the applicant’s High School Weighted Average (HWSA) and the UPCAT score.  Between the two, the UPCAT score carries the bigger: sixty percent of the UPG.  The HSWA makes up the remaining forty percent.

The History Behind the UPG

Interestingly enough, the UPG never existed prior to 1976.  In fact, the practice from 1925 up to 1970 was to simply use either the senior high school grades or ranks or the UPCAT scores as the quantitative criteria for admissions.

The year 1970 saw a change in the admission system.  A resolution, approved by the University Council, provided for a new system.  This was put into effect during the 1971-1972 academic year.  Basically, it called for a combination of the applicant’s scores from the College Admissions Test and an average based on three years-worth of high school.

The ratio was something out of Pareto’s Principle:  the total rating combined eighty percent of the applicant’s UPCAT score with twenty percent of the applicant’s high school rating.  It wasn’t exactly the UPG yet, yet it was effectively the UPG’s precursor.

Thing is, this new system had some unfortunate results.  For one thing, students had an even harder time getting into the university.  The institution sought to refine its admission system further, so in 1976, a venerable mathematics professor by the name of Romeo L. Manlapaz came up with a solution to the problem.

The UPG Formula

Professor Manlapaz employed a highfaluting technique known as multiple regression analysis to come up with this new system. Like the previous system, it was a combination score.  Unlike the previous one, however, this one added a predictive ability factor known as regression weights. The professor dubbed the resulting number the UPG.

Being a mathematics professor, you’d expect the good professor to come up with a formula for his brainchild.  Well, you’re right.  The formula for the UPG is as follows:

UPG = K – W1 x S Engl

– W2 x S HSWA

– W3 x S Math

– W4 x S Read

–        W5 x S Engl x S Sci x S HSWA

In case you’re wondering, K is the constant in the equation.  The terms S Engl, S HSWA, S Math and S Read stand for the standard UPCAT scores in English, HSWA, Math and Reading Comprehension, respectively.

The S HSWA is a mini-formula in itself. It’s computed by multiplying the HSWA by 85 and then dividing the resulting value by five. The applicant’s grades from his or her first three high school years make up the HSWA.

Finally, the five Ws in the formula above are the regression weights mentioned earlier.

A Final Word

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  Maybe it is, but the computation shouldn’t really be your concern.  Leave that to the university. Your job is to make sure that you do well enough in high school and pass the UPCAT as well.  As to how you can do the latter, that my friends, is best discussed in another article…

Managing Pre-UPCAT Anxiety

upcat anxietyIf you’re gunning for the UPCAT, chances are you’ll feel at least a little bit nervous as the big day approaches.  Don’t worry, as anyone who wants to do well is bound to feel the same way.

The trick is to manage your nervousness so that it stays at acceptable levels.  Jitter management leads to optimal performance; having no anxiety at all leads to complacency, and the latter leads to a lot of stupid mistakes.


The Basics

The first thing you need to do is to get your physical needs in order.  The body and the mind are connected, so if you are lacking in the sleep or nutrition department, you’ll feel more jittery than normal.

Do everything to lessen your chances of not making it to the UPCAT passer’s list.  Take review classes, review on your own, read more about the application process and how UP chooses its passers, learn about the other factors that will increase your chances of making it to UP.  The better your preparations are, the less jittery you will usually feel.  Also, don’t forget to surround yourself with optimistic and proactive people.  This will help you a lot in getting into the right frame of mind for the UPCAT.

Do not review on the day before (or if you can help it, the week before) the exam anymore!  Relax, let your hair down, do something that you enjoy.  Practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm.  During the UPCAT, take a few seconds every so often to breathe and clear your head.

Reprogramming Your Mind

On another article of mine, I shared this technique called “fake it till you make it.”  Regardless of how you actually feel about the UPCAT, stand in front of the mirror every day before the test, look yourself in the eye, and tell yourself that you will pass the UPCAT with flying colors.  It may feel like a lie at first, but do it regularly enough and you’ll not only believe it—you’ll make it happen, too.

Finally, pray before the exam for guidance and clear thinking.  Remember, there’s nothing wrong with being nervous.  A little amount of helpful anxiety makes you want to do your best, and that’s exactly what you need to do.

Maximizing your UPCAT Review Classes

maximizeupcatreviewWith this year’s UPCAT not too far away, it’s not surprising to see student hopefuls cracking their books.  Everyone seems ready to shed blood, sweat and tears for the sake of passing that exam.

Unfortunately, merely reviewing hard for the UPCAT isn’t enough—smart reviewing is the key.

Tricks of the Trade

One effective way to review is to take advantage of the time when your mind is at its freshest.  For example, I tend to review best before dawn, while others may prefer late evenings.  It doesn’t really matter when you do it, so long as you stick to that time.

Keep Pareto’s Principle (the 80/20 rule) in mind.  This means that twenty percent of what you need to review will constitute eighty percent of the UPCAT content (and eventually, your grade as well).  Find that all-important twenty percent and know it by heart.

One method that can help you do that is SQRRR—Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.  First, scan through the material you need to study and formulate questions about it.  Read your notes and locate the answers to your questions.  Recite them out loud to yourself, and then go back and review the questions and their answers again.

When attending UPCAT review classes, BE in the room.  Don’t waste your time making googoo eyes with that cute guy in the back row.  Take some notes, summarize key lessons, recite in class, invite your classmates to form a study group, make little cue cards and carry them in your pocket at all times, anything that will help you maximize your time and energy.

Take the time to review the results of your simulation exams.  Find out why some of your answers were wrong and more importantly how to arrive at the correct answer.  Sit at the front row, the better for asking questions about things you didnt understand about the lessons.  Don’t be meek or shy!  remember that your parents are paying good money for your review and to understand lessons you didnt get before is precisely the purpose of the review.

Miscellaneous Tactics

Also, do whatever it takes to get you focused and in the mood, no matter how unusual it may be.  My mother used to spray lavender aromatherapy scents in my room to help me focus.  One person I know listened to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto while studying.

Finally, it helps to think of the UPCAT as a brainteaser that requires a strategic, puzzle-solving approach.  People tend to learn best when they’re having fun, so turn your UPCAT review into a game and ace that exam!

How Hard is the UPCAT?

With this year’s UPCAT already looming on the horizon, one of the most common questions getting thrown around is this:  just how hard is the UPCAT?  It’s almost as if knowing how difficult it is makes it a “reassuring” part of the preparation process.

Let’s take a closer look at that intriguing question.

Skirting the Real Issue

Some say that the exam’s difficulty isn’t really all that important—it’s the ranking (how your UPCAT results compare to every other test taker’s results) that ultimately matters.  Given a situation where you have seventy thousand potential students all vying for coveted U.P. slots, only around ten thousand of them will make it.  A ratio of one in seven makes for an interesting challenge, indeed.

So exactly how hard is the UPCAT?  The answer is:  it depends.  Some people swear that the right minus one-fourth wrong system, the time pressure and the sheer amount of competition will break you; others note that prayer, adequate preparation and an excellent High School Weighted Average can tip the odds in your favor.

The Heart of the Matter

Fortunately, the point doesn’t lie in how easy or how difficult the exam really is.  The heart of the matter ultimately lies in doing the best you can with whatever you’ve got.  Focus on how hard it might be, and chances are that’s exactly what you’ll get—a difficult exam.

Flee the temptation to play the comparison game.  Instead, pray for guidance; invest your energy in giving it your best shot.  That’s the best anyone can ask of you, anyway.