WHAT is the se­cret to pass­ing the Up­cat?

Not dif­fi­cult, not easy

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Nina Ca­pu­long

At this time of the year, noth­ing is more im­por­tant to the grad­u­at­ing high school class than pass­ing the col­lege en­trance test (CET) of their dream schools.

My own ex­pe­ri­ence in tak­ing the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Col­lege Ad­mis­sion Test (Up­cat) was not easy. There were days when I was not mo­ti­vated to study, doubt­ing in my abil­ity to pass. There were times when I was way too stressed that I for­got how eight hours of sleep felt like.

But it’s nor­mal to feel pre-Up­cat jit­ters. Here are some tips that helped me in the process to be­com­ing an Isko­lar ng Bayan.

1 Don’t cram.

The cram­ming method, or study­ing the night be­fore a test, may some­times work, but it’s not ad­vis­able for Up­cat—which is un­like a reg­u­lar high school test. In fact, it’s ad­vis­able that you shouldn’t study at all the day be­fore the Up­cat.

Ideally, list down the top­ics you need to study and then set a study sched­ule. Though it may be hard bal­anc­ing CET study and ac­tual school work, one CET topic a day will do. That is, if you start study­ing at least two months be­fore the Up­cat. You don’t want to cram all that in­for­ma­tion in a week.

2 Up­cat is not dif­fi­cult.

But it’s not easy ei­ther. Up­cat is per­ceived as one of the most dif­fi­cult col­lege en­trance ex­ams. Well, it is one of the hard­est to pass, with an ac­cep­tance rate of 15 to 17 per­cent, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean the test is dif­fi­cult.

Ac­tu­ally, the Up­cat is fairly ba­sic, just stick to your high school notes. There isn’t any cal­cu­lus or quan­tum physics in­volved. Just make a cheat sheet of all the ba­sic math and sci­ence for­mu­las, mem­o­rize them and you’re good to go.

You don’t need to be very smart, as long as you an­swer smartly. How you an­swer the ques­tions mat­ters a lot.

Your big­gest ob­sta­cle is time pres­sure. An­swer the easy ques­tions first to avoid get­ting stuck deal­ing with the dif­fi­cult ones.

Also, learn how to make in­tel­li­gent guesses. Some­times, the ob­vi­ous an­swer is al­ready in the choices. How­ever, choose your guess wisely be­cause the Up­cat is right mi­nus ¼ wrong—or for ev­ery four wrong an­swers, there is an ad­di­tional de­duc­tion of one point to your Up­cat score.

3 Study­ing is only half the prepa­ra­tion.

The ac­tual process of the test is more com­plex. Be­fore the date, try to visit the test­ing venue so you won’t get lost on the day it­self.

Avoid be­ing late as well. Pick the right food. Don’t bring any noisy or mal­odor­ous food that may dis­tract others, and don’t pick messy food, too, for it may mess up your test pa­pers.

Try con­di­tion­ing your­self in the test­ing en­vi­ron­ment, with time pres­sure and in a study group. Imag­ine your­self tak­ing the ac­tual Up­cat.

4 Self-con­fi­dence is key.

Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the law of at­trac­tion. In phi­los­o­phy, it is a be­lief that pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive think­ing would at­tract pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive out­comes.

It is most likely that in pre­par­ing for the Up­cat, any neg­a­tive thoughts won’t at­tract any­thing pos­i­tive.

Don’t waste time and en­ergy on pan­ick­ing and neg­a­tive think­ing. Wor­ry­ing only bur­dens you twice. It’s in­evitable that you’ll feel anx­ious. That’s okay, but don’t let it con­sume most of your time.

Whether you pass the Up­cat or not, things will fall into place. The fu­ture is out there for you. Trust in the process and be­lieve that you have a shot to be­come an Isko­lar ng Bayan.

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