Every year, thousands of students flock the University of the Philippines to take the annual University of the Philippines College Admission Test or more popularly known as the UPCAT. For many, the UPCAT is the biggest exam that they will take before college and it is the way for them to enter their dream university. Taking a college entrance exam, especially the UPCAT, is a nerve-wracking experience, and it needs a lot of preparation. So how does one prepare for the UPCAT?
1. Maintain Your Grades
While having high grades do not assure you a slot in UP, having good grades surely help as they are included in the UPG or University Predicted Grade—the basis upon which a student may be admitted to UP. The UPG is a combination of the UPCAT test scores and the high school grades of the students.
2. Do Not Cram
You always hear this from teachers whenever you have a big exam coming up, do not cram. Taking the UPCAT, of course, is no different. Start studying your lessons months before the exam and make sure to allot review sessions each day.
This will give you ample time to review all that there is to review. Remember, it’s better to be prepared than to regret to have not studied one particular part of the test because you did not have enough time.
3. Focus on Your Problem Areas
Use your time wisely by allocating most of your study time to lessons or subjects that you are struggling with. For example, if you’re having trouble in Algebra or Reading Comprehension, make it a habit to practice at least 10 Algebra problem sets every day, or read at least one short story a day. Such practice will help you a lot in improving on your problem areas.
4. Get Help
If you can afford it, you can opt to enroll yourself in review centers that help students pass college entrance examinations. If you don’t have a budget or don’t want to spend money, you can establish a study group with your batchmates. This way, you can teach others in the subjects that you’re good at, and your friends can help you with the topics that you’re struggling with.
5. Make Educated Guesses
Besides including your highschool scores, the UPCAT implements a right-minus-wrong scheme. This means that the UPCAT deducts .25 from your score whenever you make an incorrect answer. It is also important to remember that the test does not deduct points when you leave something blank.
However, it is sometimes better to make educated guesses than completely leave something blank. For example, if you make a correct guess, you’ll get a get a point rather than getting no point at all. Remember to use the process of elimination in making educated guesses. This will often help you reach the most logical answer.
6. Be Aware of the Test Structure
The UPCAT consists of the following subjects: Language Proficiency, Science Proficiency, Mathematics Proficiency, and Reading Comprehension. Research the time allotted for each subject. Keep this in mind when taking the exam to avoid running out of time.
7. Simulate the Exam
If you have already researched about the time allotted for each subject in the UPCAT, you can now simulate taking the UPCAT! Buy or look for online reviewers and time your test-taking.This way, you will not be anxious when you actually take the exam under time pressure.
8. Relax and Remember that Confidence is Key
Second-guessing yourself will only do more harm than good. Give yourself a pep talk that you can ace the exam. Remember to breathe, relax, and believe in yourself especially when you know you did all you can to study!