Hi! I just want you to know that I'm really enlightened by your articles on your website! TY very much. Recently took USTET,ACET and DLSUCET...

by jmtubera on Twitter

UPCAT Tips: A Test Day Survival Guide

Pressure usually peaks on your UPCAT testing date itself, when you have to go up and see if all that reviewing was worth it. Many take this aspect of the test for granted, often preferring to just look at the all-exalted review process. But what you do on the day itself can have as big an effect on your performance as all the reviewing you’ve already done.

The UPCAT-Day Diet

A good number of test-takers find out too late that what and how you eat for test day can factor into your performance on the UPCAT. Eating too little will have you hungry and impatient during the test, while being too full will have you groggy and sleepy, wasting those all-important test minutes.

  • Eat a good breakfast. A lot of test takers don’t bother with breakfast due to nerves or stress. Ignore all those reasons and have a hearty (and hopefully balanced) meal in the morning. Breakfast jolts all your body systems awake, and will improve your performance over the course of the day.
  • Take something before taking the test. Remember, that test is hours long, and you won’t be able to leave at any time during the test except to go to the washroom. Having a small meal (or a big snack) up to half an hour before the test will keep those hunger pangs from disturbing your focus halfway through.
  • Bring chocolates and water. Test takers are allowed to bring snacks into the room so you should make the most of the concession. Bring along a few pieces of easy-to-open chocolate and a bottle of water. Chocolate is easy to nibble and can give your brain a good wake-up call, especially when you’re in the home stretch.
  • Junk food and coffee are a no-no. Many make the mistake of bringing junk food and coffee into the testing room, in an effort to keep themselves awake. Junk food has carbohydrates that lull you to sleep when you’re not in motion, while coffee is a diuretic that will make you pee like crazy during the test.

Plan all these out at least a couple of days before the test. You’ll have much more pressing things to worry about on your testing date, and you really don’t want to waste time over a pack of chocolates.

An UPCAT Strategy

Countless people through the years have gotten by the UPCAT simply with a good test-taking strategy – even though their review was less than optimal. Truth of the matter is, a good approach to tackling the questions can get you through much of the UPCAT. It’s a skill you’ll have to master if you’re serious about making the cut.

  • Make a first run on the easy items. The questions in the UPCAT aren’t arranged by difficulty; easy and hard questions are scattered all over the place. Go through the entire test one time, answering all the items that you can recall immediately. Should you run into trouble somewhere else in the test, you already have those initial items to give you some semblance of a score.
  • Don’t fuss the difficult ones. No matter how hard you reviewed, you’ll probably come across a trigonometric identity you forgot or an element you can’t recall. Just leave it blank and move on. Worrying about it wastes precious minutes.
  • Review, review, review. It’s not just about checking if you answered all the items. Some of the items are interrelated – they use the same formula, for example – and answering one will give you a clue on how to answer another.
  • Got time? Guess. But that doesn’t give you license to do eeny-miney-moe. Pick the answer that seems to make the most sense to you. Remember, though, that each incorrect answer costs you ¼ of a point. If you’re absolutely clueless about an item, you may want to just leave it blank instead.

None of these strategies will work unless you have sufficient review time to back them all up. Don’t expect to be able to pull through the UPCAT with just a test-taking strategy and none of the topics that you were supposed to review in the last few months.

Psyching Yourself for the UPCAT

As much as the UPCAT measures your academic ability and achievement, it’s also a test of how well you can handle pressure. And no day is more pressuring than test day itself. Learn to deal with pressures – both from you and from others – and you’ve already got a big part of the battle down.

  • Eat. Hopefully, you’ve got a few snacks along with you. The UPCAT takes an extremely long time to finish, and there’s no point in your getting hungry.
  • Don’t panic review. Few things are as detrimental as a panic review – that strange practice where test takers cram in as many facts as possible in the last few hours before the test. Doing so will muddle up whatever you’ve already reviewed, and distract you during the test itself.
  • Find your way. Unless you know the campus or testing center like the back of your hand, do a test run of your route at least the day before. Find out where the important rooms are. Nothing is more stressful than getting lost on UPCAT day.
  • Be early. Don’t think that just because the test starts at a particular time, you can arrive at exactly that time. There are usually a lot of instructions and corrections to be given out, and there’s an advantage to coming in at least a half hour early.

The UPCAT can be a long and stressful experience for you, so you should work to lessen your stress levels in the days and hours leading up to the test. A little preparation and a few preventive measures should help keep you focused and ready for the UPCAT. As any UPCAT passer will tell you, it’s not as hard as it looks.

UPCAT Tips: Preparing for the Test

At this point, one thing should be clear: there’s no sure-shot, magic-bullet method to pass the UPCAT. Most test passers, however, will tell you that adding a few simple steps to your test prep should help improve your chances of making the cut. It’s time to stop just preparing and start preparing smartly.

Smart Memory Work

Too many people nowadays think that memorization is the key to passing the UPCAT. While keeping a fact or two in your memory can be helpful, memorizing every factoid is way too hard to be practical. Here’s how you can optimize all that space in your head:

  • Don’t memorize, understand. When you’re going through the book or reviewer, look at the concept instead of just the facts per se. You’ll be able to answer more questions while memorizing less, especially for science-related topics.
  • Use Analogies. This is a very effective way on memorizing science concepts as well as new vocabulary.  For the layers of the earth, you can use egg as an analogy, for volcanism – your bowel movement, etc.
  • Memorize one, then derive. Math involves all sorts of long equations, but that doesn’t mean you have to be able to recite all of them from memory. In fact, you can get almost all of the formulas from just a handful of fundamental equations. Focus on that handful, and then derive as necessary on test day.
  • Practice. Many have problems with English vocabulary  words because they merely use rote memory to pair words with definitions. Try using new words in sentences or regular conversation so that their meanings come to you naturally.

In practice, you’ll do better by memorizing as few things as possible. Rote memory works only on standard questions; once you get to a tricky or more advanced item, you won’t know what to do anymore. Working with concepts, meanwhile, will keep you versatile enough to answer most anything that comes your way.

Neater Note-Taking

Once you’ve simplified how you work with your head, it’s time to clean up your act with respect to your notes. Notes are an all-important part of the test prep process because they are good last-minute resources and reviewers. Every person, though, has a different style when it comes to taking notes. But whether you work with all text or draw pictures, here are some tips that should work for you:

  • Don’t just copy. You probably work with a textbook or some other source that has information in paragraph form. Not only is it pointlessly difficult to copy all that into your notebook, but you’ll also find those notes hard to review.
  • Use imagery. Have you heard the saying about how images are worth a thousand words? They’re worth even more in your notes. Pictures and diagrams could be a little tedious to make, but they’ll make your reviews much more efficient.
  • Put everything in an outline. Bullet points and sub-points help show you how different ideas are interrelated. At the same time, you don’t have to read through all the extra words that typically go into sentence construction.

Just like with memorization, your goal with your review notes should be to minimize and to optimize. That means getting the most benefit out of the least amount of effort exerted in this area. After all, you still have your regular academics to worry about.

Scheduling Strategy

You’ll have less and less time in the weeks leading up to the UPCAT. Scheduling and time management become more important than ever during those days, as you have to get all your reviewing and regular school requirements done simultaneously.

  • Prepare a calendar. It seems like such a small thing, but having a visual reminder in front of you at all times helps you stick to the schedules you set.
  • Focus on just one area. When planning your review sessions, don’t be ambitious and clump your Math, English and Science topics in one day. You’ll have an easier time by focusing on just one or two major topics from the same subject per day.
  • Call up your friends. Studying all by your lonesome can be demoralizing. Call up some of your classmates and organize a group study session every so often. Just make sure that you have a schedule or facilitator to follow so that you don’t end up gabbing the whole session away.

Don’t think that you can go on an academic marathon and study for three weeks straight. Experts suggest that you give yourself a day off every week or so to give you a little incentive and some time for your mind to rest from all that reviewing.

Style and Studying

Each person has his or her unique way of learning. Of course, you can still learn using other styles and methods, but using the one best suited to you will optimize the speed and effectiveness of your review.

  • Visual learners learn best through seeing. Whether it’s a printed diagram of the water cycle or a video on geology, having everything visually in front of you will help give you a better grasp of the concepts. Prepare notes in a structured outline form to help play to your learning strengths or look for instructional videos on YouTube to help you with some concept.
  • Auditory learners pick up things from hearing them. Lectures and oral reviews usually help you best if you’re an auditory learner. You may want to try reading your notes aloud, or going with a review group that does oral discussions.
  • Haptic or kinesthetic learners use touch or actions to get a literal grasp on the concepts at hand. It can be a little difficult as a kinesthetic learner because you’re often on your feet and on the go. Give yourself hand gestures to signify certain facts or equations you want to remember. Little props like a Styrofoam ball model of atoms should also improve recall.  I once taught a tutee about coplanar and collinear points by using pins and a shoebox.

One thing you should never do is force yourself to conform to a style that doesn’t suit you. If you notice that you’re not making a lot of progress with one method, switch over to another right away so that you don’t waste time. You’ll likely have to make a switch or two, but you’ll be thankful you did come UPCAT day.

You have a lot of things to do for UPCAT prep: pages of notes to dig up, books to go over and countless topics to review. In the end, those who do best with UPCAT review – and ultimately the UPCAT itself – are those who can do the most work in the least time

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 (http://www.pinoyexchange.com) 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 (http://www.mukamo.com/tips-for-upcat-takers/), Dine Racoma’s blog (http://dine.racoma.com.ph/school/tips-for-upcat-takers-acet-too/), 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 (http://www.upibalon.com) 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 http://www.peyups.com or http://www.pinoyexchange.com.  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 http://answers.yahoo.com as well.  Blogs, such as those written by folks like Dine Racona (http://dine.racoma.com.ph/school/tips-for-upcat-takers-acet-too/), 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 (http://www.sulit.com.ph) or OLX (http://www.olx.com.ph/) 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:  http://conradmiguel.com/tips-on-taking-multiple-choice-standardized-exams

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

http://www.sosmath.com/

http://www.thatquiz.org/

http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/GREmathPractice.pdf

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.

Overview of UPCAT Review Centers

There are some students who feel that they need to attend a review center in order to better prepare for the UPCAT.  Interestingly, these centers serve as confidence boosters as well as places of study.

As with all things in life, there are tradeoffs involved.  Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from these UPCAT review centers.

The Low Down

One thing’s for sure:  there’s no dearth of review centers.  You’ll find them all around the metro and beyond, from the area along Katipunan Avenue en route to U.P., to provincial areas like Laguna and Bulacan.

Regardless of which center you attend, expect drills, discussions, evaluations and mock exams on the UPCAT topics—perhaps even a U.P. tour in certain cases.

Individual Differences

Every review center is unique in the way it presents the review process.  Some centers will give you four-hour sessions, while others will grant you five hour sessions instead.  You may also want to look for bonuses—some centers will offer online reviews in addition to the ones held in person.

Prices between the review centers vary depending on a lot of factors:  the number of hours and sessions you want, the location of the center etc.  The range would anywhere from close to a thousand pesos to the mid to upper four-digit range (P6,000- P10,000).  The good news is that you can choose from a variety of packages best suited to your time and budget.

Finally, know this:  these centers, while helpful, are not absolutely critical in passing the UPCAT.  A lot of factors are involved in succeeding, only one of which is having a good review center.  I’ll explain more about those factors in another article.

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.

UPCAT FAQ

There are documents of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for just about every conceivable topic on the planet.  It comes as no surprise that the University of the Philippines’ College Admissions Test (UPCAT) should also have some FAQs of its own.  After all, it’s one hot topic for prospective college students these days.

If you’re thinking of getting into U.P., it’s not only important to know what to expect from the UPCAT; it’s also important to know how to become eligible for the test itself.  Seek knowledge and ye shall find it—read on and be enlightened.

The FAQ of the Matter

If you’re looking for information on the entrance test, the most logical place to start would be the university’s very own website.  On it, you’ll find helpful links to PDF files about the UPCAT application process and then some.

If you’re after more general information about the UPCAT, you may find it on this webpage, or you can simply view this word document.  You’ll also find helpful links to the two uber-important UPCAT forms on the same page.  Form 1 refers to your freshman application per se; Form 2 deals more with your high school records.

Give Me Results!

Waiting for the results of an important exam can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in life.  Thankfully, there are websites who can and will keep you posted once the information becomes available.

One such website where you can find UPCAT results posted is this one right here:  To help make your search more efficient, this nifty name search engine also classifies the potential student under different categories:  pending, scholarship awardee and INTARMED candidate.

Miscellaneous Information

It’s one thing to know about what’s in the UPCAT, but it’s quite another thing to know where it will be held.  Consult this FAQ and be in the know of where the UPCAT testing centers are—it’s sorted by major Philippine island and by region so you’ll never be clueless again.

If the UP Diliman campus is your designated area, however, you’ll need help navigating your way around; especially if it’s your first time to visit it.  When I first dropped by that campus to follow up on my application, I found it terribly easy to get lost.  At the time, I didn’t have a UPCAT  map like this one to help me find my way to the College Admissions Office.

Finally, there are bits and pieces of information covered in this FAQ that aren’t covered in the other links presented above.  If you’re a foreign student, a graduate student or a transfer student, be sure to read it—it explains everything about qualifications and requirements for applicants like yourself.

A Final Word

Someone once told me that there is “no knowledge that is not power.”  Another person later came along and told me that it is the implementation of knowledge, not knowledge itself, which is power.

By now, you should be powerful enough, as you’ll be armed with everything you need to know regarding the UPCAT.  Pray, prepare, and then go out there and ace that exam!