8 Handy Tips for Your Upcoming UPCAT

1.'Taglish' will come UP... in a way

Each test will use two languages. In our case, some of the questions were in English, while some were in Filipino. There are a lot of Filipinos who are fluent in one but not in the other, so look for practice tests/reviewers that use both languages.

In science, familiarize yourself with the Tagalog translations of the various processes. In math, take note of the units of measurement in both languages, and of course, in reading comprehension and language proficiency brush up on your vocabulary.

8-handy-tips-your-upcoming-upcat-1.png Tweeted by @VinePro_. Yes, “patis” made an appearance. But I’m sure most of us understand what “patis” is.

2. Speak UP

When I was taking the UPCAT, there was a proctor who made sure that the air conditioner wasn't affecting us because she said that in a previous exam, a girl couldn't finish the test because the air conditioner was directly hitting her. The girl, said the proctor, only spoke up after completing the test, which did not do her any good. So don't be afraid to ask for assistance. The proctors are there to help you.

That unfortunate incident occurred because the girl did not speak up, but also because she wasn't prepared for the testing environment, which leads us to our next tip: the testing center.

3. Prepare for the temperature to go down or UP

What I mean by this is that you should prepare for fluctuations in room temperature, whether it rises or drops to chilly levels. Wear light, comfortable clothing in case the room ends up hot and humid due to the number of test takers, lack of ventilation or even the slightest chance that your testing room’s air conditioning system breaks down (nooooo). But be sure to lug a jacket in the event that the room is too cold for your liking.

Prepare for different seating set-ups. My classmates complained that their seats were practically connected. While in my test venue, the seating arrangement made me forget that there were other test-takers in the room.

UP has an open house for those who will take the test, giving them a tour of the campus to get them familiarized with the venue.

Aside from the venue, other test-takers could also mess with your psyche. Remember, it will be a diverse environment. There will be people who will intimidate you (or look intimidating, anyway) but remember, they are just like you. In that very moment, you are all UP student hopefuls, taking the same test. Keep your focus.

When I took the test, there were test-takers who brought index cards, reviewers and notebooks as a means to try and cram in more information. If you are one of those types, stop now because...

4. Cramming in everything might end UP to nothing

You already know these topics. All you have to do is review, focus, and be in your best state of mind during exam day. I recommend that you study for at least two hours every weekend and focus on the ones which puzzle you the most. That doesn’t mean you should skip the “easier” topics though.

The day before the test, have one last review or better yet, go through one final round of practice test and check with your answer key. After you’re satisfied with your practice scores, close the book and try to relax. You’re done. Prepare the things you need to bring during exam day and remember to get enough sleep.

During test day, just when I passed through the university gate, a girl behind me collapsed. She fainted, probably due to stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, hunger or… I don’t really know. So take care of your body to be in your best state of mind. Eat well, but don’t overeat. Get enough sleep and prepare the stuff you need the night before to avoid unnecessary stress in the morning. Speaking of packing, you should…

5. Pack UP only the essentials

You might want to bring a box full of pencils, fully sharpened and unused, but it is actually more convenient to bring and use only two pencils. You also don't have to bring an eraser if your pencils already have erasers on the other end. I would recommend bringing sharpeners, however, just to be sure.

I also suggest that you bring candies, crackers, candy bars, water or juice, instead of rice meals because the only break you'll get is a stretching break. You can only get to eat your snacks while you are taking the test. Can you imagine having rice scattered all over your test paper? Better yet, can you imagine stuffing your face with rice while being in a time-constrained test environment? No? Then leave your lunch box at home.

Most importantly, do not forget your permit.

6. Do a check UP

Most likely, each question will take up to one minute to answer, but if you do finish the exam before the time, don't waste your chance. Check and re-check your answers, and if you can, mark those numbers with which you are still uncertain of the answers to.

Check if your information on the testing sheet are correct, also make sure that you properly shade the oblongs. Remember: completely shade an oblong, no smudges and certainly no incomplete shading. Do not get obsessive-compulsive with the shading though because it might waste your time. I suggest for you to place a dot on an oblong to represent your answer and after every five or ten numbers, shade the oblongs with the dots. Make sure you don’t place dots on oblongs/answers you’re not really sure of because there is a fractional deduction for every wrong answer.

7. Guess if you’re unsure of some items, if time's almost UP

In UPCAT, guessing is risky because of the fractional deduction for every wrong answer rule. But guessing is not completely discouraged. Just try to guess intelligently. Adopt a logical elimination process to try to find the closest possible answer to the question.

8. Look UP

You will be emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted after the test, but remember that just like the test, those waves of emotion too shall pass 😜. Look up and remember that this is just a test. If you pass, then CONGRATULATIONS, future Isko/Iska and prepare for the next chapter: student life in UP.

If you failed, there are other opportunities in every corner. Your life is just beginning, the future is bright. Take the UPCAT as a chance for you to understand your weaknesses and strengths. Hone your strengths and improve on your weaknesses and allow this wisdom to prepare you for the future (or another entrance test maybe?)

Either way, move forward.

Remember, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Usually attributed to Churchill, but found nowhere in his canon).

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