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Philippine Science High Schools’ Culture and Campus Life

It’s true what they say about Science High Schools: they offer an experience that no other institution can. Enrollees study under a lifestyle and culture that’s part of the signature and the image of any Science High School. In fact, a considerable number of applicants go to Science High Schools not just for the excellence that they cultivate, but also for the ideals and ways of life that thrive there.

Liberalism Lives

Science High Schools have been dubbed “Little UP’s” to show how similar they are to the premiere state university, as well as to imply that students are groomed in that direction. Part of it also describes the liberal environment, which often gives culture shock to many new students, particularly those from conservative private schools.

One of the unique things about Science High Schools is that they’re a lot less strict about rules and decorum than typical public high schools. Students are free to speak their mind, question a teacher’s statements and try different forms of self-expression. Members of the faculty and administration concede that Science High School students have more to say than most other kids, and so give them a freer rein.

Curiosity is also welcomed in the Science High School environment. In fact, it’s a trait that teachers are supposed to encourage as part of the schools’ mission-vision to cultivate the next generation of scientists and researchers.

The Constant Competition

Of course, competition is a natural consequence of having so much talent in such close proximity with each other. It’s common for students, especially those in the same section, to vie for the same honors and rankings. Many students in Science High Schools are very grade-conscious, and will go to great lengths to get a mark that’s even one notch higher.

It’s a common misconception that every single Science High School student performs very well academically. Even within the elite ranks of admitted students, some still do better than others in certain fields. In fact, there are even students who tend to specialize in just one area, doing poorly in all the others.

Teachers and administrators welcome the competitive spirit that often flares up in the Science High School environment. It’s an excellent motivation for others to perform, and it’s often expressed by comparing grades or going to tournaments – never violent.

A Complete Collection

Whereas the typical high school usually contains a fairly homogeneous student populace, the Science High Schools are host to the entire gamut of backgrounds and personalities. A good number of students come from far away, and so have to get on-campus housing. Stay-in students make up a large part of the student population in many campuses.

Science High Schools see a cross-section of the whole socioeconomic pyramid. Almost every level from the impoverished to the very wealthy are represented in Science High Schools, a unique mix in a secondary institution. Some students live in abject poverty, while statesmen and scions also regularly send their children to Science High Schools.

To be sure, any Science High School offers a learning environment that’s far from the ordinary. A more communicative faculty, competitive contemporaries and a very liberal status quo make up the multi-faceted and truly unique culture of a Science High School.

Makati Science High School Application Schedule

The application period for the Makati Science High School entrance examination will begin in November, 2009.  To apply, download the application form from the website of the Makati Science High School or try this download form link (clicking this link will directly download the MS Word document; choose Open to view the document or Save to save a copy of the form in your computer).  The downloadable application form should look something like the following image:

Makati Science HIgh School Application Form

After downloading the Makati Science High School Application Form, fill it out completely then submit it to the Makati Science High School Guidance Office.  The Guidance Office will begin accepting Application Form submissions beginning November.

The entrance exam date for Makati Science High School is yet to be determined at this time, but it typically takes place every March.  Thus, expect the entrance exam to be in March, 2010.

Suggested Reading:

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

Philippine High School Scholarships

Getting a quality education isn’t easy, especially with the economy and the country what they are today. More and more parents have had to make compromises with regard to education by foregoing family expenses to fund tuition, or transfer their kids to a cheaper school. There is, however, another route out of the quandary – a high school scholarship.

Although the spotlight is usually on scholarships for tertiary education, there’s also quite a number for high school students. But because there are so few scholarships and many applicants, you can expect the competition to be particularly tough.

Science High Schools

Few are as reportedly tough as the science high schools. A program of the Department of Science and Technology, the science high schools are meant to develop the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. Since the program’s establishment in the 1970′s, that has meant a science and math program that’s much tougher than that of the average public school.

Over 20,000 applicants every year take the test for the science high school system but less than a couple of thousand are chosen for slots at campuses all over the Philippines. It’s not just the test, either. Before you can apply, your elementary school has to certify you as a student in the top 10% of your batch. And even after passing the entrance test, a panel will interview you as part of the screening process.

The benefits, however, are great. For starters, tuition fees are waved for all science high school students, regardless of location or economic background. Other costs like lab fees are also shouldered by the school, and it’s only extra expenses like field trips that need to be paid for by the students. On top of that is a need-based monthly stipend and an offer to avail of each campus’ affordable on-campus housing.

Before finally enrolling at any science high school, all scholars are required to sign a contract that includes clauses for:

  • return service, which can be fulfilled after you’ve earned your college degree
  • tuition refund, which means you’d have to pay back what the program spent on tuition and other costs should you decide to leave before graduating
  • a grade requirement, which states that you cannot continue with the program unless you earn a minimum grade in each subject at the end of every year
  • degree requirements, which stipulates that you’re required to enroll in a math-, science-, technology- or engineering-related course upon graduation from the science high school program

The science high school program is not one to be taken lightly. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are all taken up individually there, and each year focuses on one of the sciences. Math courses are also major subjects for all four years, and students in the program are usually well into the collegiate math curriculum by the time they graduate. A scientific research publication is also a major requirement for graduation for some campuses.

Graduates of the program typically go on to enroll in the country’s premier universities to earn their degrees. If you’re up to the challenge, the scholarships offered by the science high school program is worth pursuing any way you look at it.

City Science High Schools

Autonomous from the science high school system are the city science high schools that are managed by their respective local government units. Manila, Makati and Quezon City host some of the more notable City science high schools in Metropolitan Manila.

Like with the science high school system, City science high schools offer students free education and heavily subsidized miscellaneous fees. The requirements, conditions and curricula of the two systems are very similar. In fact, one of the few key differences is the fact that each City science high school conducts its own entrance examinations while science high schools hold a single one for all their campuses.

Philippine High School for the Arts

The PHSA is for budding artistic talent as the science high schools are to future scientists and inventors. The program, however, is much smaller; PHSA usually gets around just 30 students every year for their single campus on Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna.

Entrance into PHSA is no easier than that for the science high schools. In place of an exam, hopefuls have to do a performance or bring a portfolio as an audition to a panel of judges. A successful audition means an all-expenses paid education – stipends included – that focuses heavily on all aspects of the arts.

Coursework at PHSA is especially rigorous, as students are required to dabble in almost all known media and forms of art. All that is done right alongside the regular high school curriculum, science, math and all. A recital is a requirement to progress from one year to the next, and a major performance is needed as every student’s thesis for graduation. Even with just 30 students, not all successful applicants make it to graduation day.

Financial Aid Offices

Although the fact isn’t as well-known as it is on the collegiate level, many private schools – particularly the sectarian ones – offer scholarships to high-performing students who can demonstrate financial need. Even in supposedly exclusive schools like Ateneo de Manila High School and Miriam College, many students are able to attend the school because of a financial aid package or tuition discounts from the administration.

Take note that this almost always requires a combination of two things: high academic performance and demonstrable financial need. Financial aid officers are often partial to applicants who come from affiliated schools – the Ateneo Grade School to the High School, for example – but will make an offer to any applicant who can make the cut.

Quality high school education is hard to get, yes, but it’s by no means impossible if it’s just cash that’s the problem. There’s more than one way to get into the high school of your choice and thus get started on building up a resume for college.

Financing Your Studies in Philippine Science High Schools

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

Scholarships for Scientists

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

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

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

Bills, Bills, Bills

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

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

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

Asking for Help

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

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

Phisci, Masci, Quesci Basics and Background

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

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

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

The Roots of the Philippine Science High School System

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

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

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

The History of Manila Science Revisited

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

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

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

Quezon City Science High School

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

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

All in the Name of Science and Service

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

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

UP Integrated School (UPIS) Entrance Exam Schedule

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

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

The UPIS Application System

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

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

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

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

UPIS Application Requirements

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

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

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

UPIS Important Dates

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

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

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

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

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

Further Inquiries

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

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


Quezon City Science High School Entrance Exam Schedule

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

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

The QueSci Application System

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

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

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

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

QueSci Testing Dates

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

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

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

Releasing of Results

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

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

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

Suggested Reading:

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

Ateneo High School Entrance Exam Schedule

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

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

Important Dates to Remember

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

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

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

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

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

January 29, 2010:  latest notification date of ACET results

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

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

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

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

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

Qualifications and Requirements

the accomplished application form

a photocopy of your NSO birth certificate

two recent 1 x 1 ID photos

a handwritten biography on 8/12 x 11 bond paper

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

payment of the seven hundred peso application fee

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

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

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

For Further Inquiries

If you have questions about that biography bit or about the application process per se, feel free to get in touch with the school at 4266001 local 6292 or e-mail them at [email protected].

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

Philippine Science High School Entrance Exam Schedule

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

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

Conditions for PhiSci Eligibility

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

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

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

Requirements for Application

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

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

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

Important PhiSci Dates and Further Inquiries

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

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

February 2010:  estimated release of exam results

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

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

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

Suggested Reading:

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

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

With its reputation as the premiere secondary institution in the country, it’s no surprise that a seat in the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) is highly coveted. Nearly 100,000 grade school graduates compete for a mere 240 slots, and competition is always stiff. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should go down without a fight.

Take Grade 7

One of the more recent trends observed in PSHS enrollment is the increasing number of graduates from private high schools. Many believe that the extra year private school students have compared to their public school counterparts means an advantage in the entrance tests because of the additional preparation and the better grasp of lessons.

Mathematics, in particular, is a major component of the Philippine Science High School entrance test. Private school graduates who complete Grade 7 have an edge here, as the test covers basic to intermediate algebra and geometry – something that’s barely discussed in the Grade 6 curricula of public grade schools.

The last few batches of Philippine Science High School freshmen have a considerable population of private grade school graduates – over half, in fact. Schools like Ateneo, Claret and Miriam typically compose over 20% of the batch populations between them. The extra year is a year worth taking if you’re serious about passing into PSHS.

Practice Logic, Not Numbers

Many aspiring entrance test passers make the mistake of focusing almost entirely on the Mathematics aspect of the exam. But Math is just one component of the test, and the level of the questions usually requires just a basic grasp of the concepts involved. You may want to turn your attention to the Logic or Non-Verbal Reasoning portion instead.

One of the more overlooked components of the entrance exam, the Logic portion can be just as helpful in giving you a score that’ll get you into PSHS. Not everyone, however, is gifted enough to decipher patterns within such a short period of time. It’s a skill you’ll want to hone during your review, especially in the last few weeks before the test.

Don’t bother with memorizing things like complex numbers or basic trigonometry. While some questions do involve that kind of higher Math, they’re not numerous enough to give you a very big boost in your score.

Test-Taking Skills Count

If you weren’t one to listen to all those lectures on test-taking techniques back in grade school, now is the time to start. The best strategy for attacking the PSHS entrance test involves not just preparing for the questions themselves, but planning an approach to the test as a whole.

It’s not unheard of for the makers of the test to put in a few unanswerable or extremely hard questions here and there to give test takers a challenge. Yet many aspirants have fallen by the wayside exactly because of these trick questions. Because they wasted too much time answering just one item, they were unable to finish a larger chunk of the test.

Remember that almost all of the items in the test have an equal weight, and that there’s a very real element of time in test-taking. Do all the items that you can readily answer first so that you already secure yourself a score, and then come back later on for all the other items. That way, the difficult questions will just act as boosters to the score that you already have.

Too many people think that the Philippine Science High School entrance exam is very hard, and that a genius-level IQ is required to pass. In reality, your IQ doesn’t matter as much so long as you have the right strategy to take on the test.