salamaaat po sa lahat!!~ lalong lalo n sayo KUYA Jacob Elicon!!!:))))))

by 'Jade Espinar' on


With all the hullaballoo over the “Big 3” universities, it’s easy to forget that entrance exams for other worthwhile learning institutions also exist—the USTET, for example.  Potential Thomasians are also gearing up for the big day just like their student brethren.

While the USTET hasn’t exactly garnered a frightening reputation for itself as compared to some of the other exams out there, there are still things about it that are worth noting.  Let’s take a look at some of these.

What to Expect

An entrance exam isn’t an entrance exam without the standard issue stuff:  science, English, reading comprehension and math.  You may look forward to some abstract reasoning questions as well, but the institution may only administer these subtests to architecture and CFAD (College of Fine Arts and Design) applicants.  There’s also no essay test here to fret over.

If you’re an artist, a musician, an architect, or a CFAD applicant, you’ll be asked to go to the extra mile and showcase your talent by taking additional ability tests.  For example, music students will be asked to take a music diagnostic test, sing and play their favorite instrument, while architects and CFAD folks will take tests on structures and abstracts, respectively.

One thing you should keep an eye out for is the MAT (Mental Ability Test or the IQ section)—probably the USTET’s signature section.  While manageable, you’ll only be given twenty minutes to thirty minutes to answer it.  If you’re not careful, you may find yourself running out of time real quick.

Complacency is Deadly

The word on campus is that the USTET is a breeze.  Beware!  It’s attitudes like that that can lead to complacency and eventual disaster.  Just because it doesn’t have right minus-1/4 wrong UPCAT system or the ACET/DLSUCET “pressure cooker” feel doesn’t mean you should take the USTET for granted.  Just ask those who found the test “easy” but who ended up failing it.

Thomasians who have been there, done that recommend that you find a good balance between rushing madly through the exam and resting on your laurels.  In other words, answer as quickly as you possibly can, but don’t go too fast that you miss important details and make stupid mistakes.

As with all entrance tests, answer practice exams well beforehand to get a feel of your optimum speed and adjust accordingly.

Leakage…or Not

Here’s are some things you probably don’t know about the USTET:  one, the test questions are drawn from high school text books whose authors are (surprise!) Thomasian instructors.  If you can get your hands on some, you’ll be good to go.

Furthermore, the UST tends to zero in on IQ, which would explain its more basic, general nature.  Translation:  if you’ve been paying attention in high school and if you pore over your high school lessons for this test, chances are you’ll be very well prepared for it.

Here’s a final reality check: the USTET itself may have a reputation for being easier than some other entrance exams out there, but some UST courses (e.g. nursing, physical therapy and courses that deal with science) are harder to get into, and even harder to stay in for the long haul.  The real work will begin after you land that coveted slot.

My conclusion:  do well in high school, review well, pray and do your best during and after the exam.  That way, you’ll rank highly enough to become a Thomasian yourself.

Increasing your Chances of Passing the USTET

increase your chances of passing the ustetThere’s word going around that the University of Santo Tomas Entrance Test is relatively easier when compared to certain other entrance exams out there.  That may or may not be the case depending on who you ask.  One thing’s for sure, though:  you’ll still be up against hundreds of thousands of other applicants vying for slots, regardless, so it’s never a good idea to rest get complacent.

As with other things, it pays to not only work hard, but to work smart as well.  Here are a few guidelines to help you pass that exam with flying colors and increase your chances of landing that much-coveted university slot.

Preparing for USTET


Repeat after me one hundred times:  I will not cram a few days before the exam.  Seriously, winging it a day before the big event will get you nowhere.  The real preparation time for the test starts months – even years – before the USTET day.  If need be, and if you have the budget for it, you may wish to consult a review or testing center.  There’s no shame in for asking for assistance whenever and wherever it’s warranted.

Start adding stuff to your stock knowledge as early as possible, as the test draws primarily upon that.  You may want to review a few weeks before the testing day, just to keep things fresh.  The only time I’d advise you not to review would be the day before the big day, and there’s actually a very good reason for that.

The Law of the Lid states that even when you do your best, there’s an absolute limit to how much you can accomplish on your own within a specific time span.  There will come a point wherein feeding cramming every available bit of into your brain won’t help.

Instead, take it more slowly and get the things you’ll need in order:  a couple of Number 2 Mongol pencils, an eraser, a watch, and your test permit (a jacket is optional for testing rooms with temperatures below zero.).  You’re allowed to nibble on something while you’re taking the exam, so pack water and some brain-boosting snacks like fruits or nuts to keep you in the game.

Once those are out of the way, take the time to do a relaxing activity.  Meditate, watch some inspiring movies, play games – do whatever it takes to get you into that optimal mental state for the following day.  Finally, pray for wisdom and get a good night’s sleep so that your brain will be primed and ready.


Make sure you stock up on fuel adequately before the exam.  Depending on the time of your test, though, you may wish to avoid wolfing your meal down (save that for afterward).  Pigging out before an afternoon exam isn’t recommended, as the blood your brain needs will sink to your stomach.  If it’s in the morning, however, a good breakfast will go a long way.

If you want to get the worm (figuratively, that is), leave early to avoid the rush.  It’s never a good idea to get caught in a sea of human traffic or otherwise en route to the testing center.  Time your departure so that you can arrive about an hour before the test and psych yourself up.

Now get ready:  the tricky part is just up ahead.

The key to successfully completing the exam is to answer the questions as quickly as you can without sacrificing carefulness in the process – that’s why your watch is there to help you budget your time.  Immediately go for the questions you feel most confident about answering.

Once you’ve breezed through them, go back and answer the ones you’re not quite sure of.  If need be, take your best guess.  Do your best to set aside time to review your answers and stick with that.  Chances are you’ll probably change a wrong answer into a correct one.

The Aftermath


Congratulations.  You made it!  Stretch and breathe a prayer of thanks to your Maker.  Since you’ve run the gauntlet, take the time to relax.  And whatever you do, don’t worry about the results.  If you’ve seen the movie “The Secret”, then you understand why this is important.

In case you haven’t seen the film, its basic premise states that what you visualize and focus on in your mind eventually manifests itself in reality.  If you’ve done your best to prepare for the test, and you’ve done your best during the test, and you believe that you have done well, that is exactly what will happen.

Now go out there and conquer that exam!

USTET Schedule and Important Dates

There are dates that we simply cannot forget.  It may be as romantic as a wedding anniversary or as melancholy as a funeral.  If it’s one thing a college hopeful shouldn’t forget, it’s the date of an entrance exam.

Fortunately, various universities have set up schedules that include all the important dates that any applicant should remember.  For those of you who are interested in attending the University of Santo Tomas, here are a few dates you can’t afford to be ignorant of.

The USTET Application Period

The first thing to do is to get the application process rolling.  It’s an awfully simple task, considering that UST already started accepting Metro Manila applicants last July 1, 2009. It will continue to dog so all the way until December 5 of this year.

Just drop by the UST Admissions Office anytime from eight in the morning till five in the afternoon.  The office itself is located in the Tan Yan Kee Student Center, Room 104 inside the UST campus.

USTET Testing Dates:  Metro Manila Applicants

August 23– 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 nn and 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

October 5, 2009– 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 nn and 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

December 6 2009 – 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 nn and 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

That’s right; all three dates fall on Sundays.  Better get your rest and relaxation the day before if you want to do well.  Also note that the above schedule does not apply to potential students in the provinces.  They’ll have their own schedules to follow, as shown below.

USTET Testing Dates:  Provincial Applicants

Baguio City, Benguet – October 4, 2009

Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija – November 7, 2009

Dagupan City, Pangasinan – November 8, 2009

Legazpi City, Albay – September 27, 2009

Olongapo City, Zambales – September 5, 2009

As you can see, each and every provincial testing center has its own schedule.  Due to the sheer number of places available, I’ve listed only a handful of them above.  If you’d like more info on your particular region, check out a more comprehensive list available here:

Just for the record, the University also offers the USTET to international applicants.  As with the Philippine provincial testing centers, the exact exam dates vary, so kindly consult this site for more information.

Releasing of Results

As with any entrance test, you’ll need to wait for the powers-that-be to finish checking papers and tallying scores.  Fortunately, the kind folks at the UST Admissions Office have told me that the results will be out sometime during the middle of January 2010.

No exact date has been given, so check back with them every so often for updates.  If you like, you may get in touch with them at 406-1611 local 8276 or 309-7211.  If you prefer to use a mobile phone, they’re also available at 0917-8156323 or 0919-3522634.  You may also send them e-mail at

For those of you who may be reading this in the province or in another country, simply visit the official UST website for more details.