College Entrance Tests (CET) are coming up so here are some tips and experiences from myself and Batch 2016! This post will cover pre, proper and post-CET advice. Study well!
Instead of taking summer reviews at AHEAD or MSA, I took a summer review class my high school offered (kasi mas mura lel). It was a daily review for 1 month, covering major subjects of the CET (math, science, english, etc.). Taking that review didn’t necessarily make me more confident with the entrance exams since I only went for 2 weeks.
Once school started I decided to take a refresher course at MSA for 6 Saturdays. The refresher was right before the UPCAT which made retaining the information easier and everything is still fresh for the exam. For the sessions, MSA gave us a reviewer that we answered before or on the day itself. We discussed the answers and difficult questions were given more depth.
Other than those, I bought an MSA CET review book at NBS and this is what I mainly used to review (together with the one MSA gave).
Tip: Do not answer directly on the review material. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper/notebook so that you can use the review material again. You can also track your scores (if they’re getting higher or lower) and look over your mistakes since they’re recorded separately.
To prepare for the CETs, I would try my best to study in the morning. I get to school early so I would spend 30-45 minutes reviewing before classes start.
Tip: Keep answering mock tests for all components. This helped me develop my testmanship and getting used to actually taking the exam. I found this more rewarding than actually studying the lessons and memorizing since you get results instantly, thus being able to track your progress. Also, give yourself a time limit while taking the mock test and record how long it took you so you can compare past times.
Also, it helps if you’ve been a “good student” throughout high school. If you’ve always listened in class it will benefit you because studying will just refresh your memory on certain topics and it’s easier to absorb new info. As for those who struggle with academics, it’s proven that hard work pays off. I know people who didn’t exactly excel academically, but they put in the work and time to study for the CET and they passed. If you commit yourself, you’ll make it.
People say that you shouldn’t study days before the exam— I didn’t follow that especially for the DCAT. Up until the day before the exam I was studying because I felt underprepared for it. I’m not encouraging this because it all depends on the person, we all know our limitations and what will benefit us. Diskarte mo nalang yun! Just make sure you get enough sleep (very important, mahirap kung patulog ka na habang nag-eexam).
That was basically what I did, here are more tips:
> Everything you’ve learned in school will be put to the test and it’s really about what you know by heart and mind!
> You’ll find the CETs similar to the CEM tests you take every few years. Remember how those tests are, and you’ll manage! Take it seriously. – Michelle
> Go back to basics! Brush up on general topics in grammar, biology, and chemistry and also find math shortcuts to help you during the test itself. – Marti
> Don’t review everything. Review those you can only remember. If you try to review everything then your brain will get mind blocked. – Lyka
> Start studying early! DO NOT CRAM. You can find lots of articles that discuss how cramming doesn’t really do good to your long term memory, which you rely on when you’re taking these tests.
> Find the right study buddies. Studying with other people is more fun and personally I find that the conversation/interaction actually helps me understand things better. Of course this will only work if you and your study buddies are equally serious and committed.
> Set a study schedule. You need to set aside a sufficient amount of time to study or else nothing will stick. Looking back, I’ll admit my study plans were…rigorous. Aside from making a schedule, I planned exactly how many chapters of which subjects and books to study, how many items under each topic I’d answer, etc.
> Find your study style. Review classes? Self-studying? Not studying at all? Do whatever you think is best for yourself. You do you. -Selena
> Know what to focus on for each exam. Ateneo Math may be more difficult than the others while it’s also good to practice speed reading (in English & Fil) for UP, etc. – Alison
> I suggest group reviews with some friends (this was a big help for me, especially for math). – Iza
> Go to church anytime before your testing day. Talk to God and ask Him for guidance because He will never let you down. (If you want you can also have your pencils blessed ?? I saw a girl who did that when I was leaving the church, she eased my nerves hahaha) – Ysa
> I began my study the summer before senior year, which gave me a huge amount of time to study. You don’t have to do the same, but at least have enough time to study before the actual exam so that you won’t be forced to cram. – Gabriel
Choosing your course
Be certain about your course choices. If you’re undecided that’s okay, just discern the best possible option for you. Keep in mind the following:
– Pros and cons of the course
– Job opportunities after
– If it aligns with your personality, interests, values and goals
Also, ask advice from people who are in that course (either currently studying or a graduate) and adults who are in the field you want. This is the best way to gain insight because they’ve gone through what you plan to take. I asked advice from a DLSU Advertising Management (ADV) graduate who now works at an ad firm. His main points were:
– ADV at DLSU is focused on the business side of advertising, not so much on the creative side (lots of business math, accounting, etc.)
– Not all employers care if you graduate with a double degree or not (I asked if it was a good idea to take ADV and Comm Arts, he said it was redundant because they’re quite similar. I opted to make my first choice ADV only then.)
– Employers like it if you’re active in school orgs, it’s a bonus if you head projects there as well (this adds to your resume)
The type of application (hard copy or online) depends on the college, but they mostly ask for the same information. Here are my tips:
– Stock up ID pictures (1 x 1, 2 x 2 and passport), you can even take it yourself and print it on photo paper para tipid!
– Ready your personal documents (photocopy, original & scanned) such as your NSO birth certificate
– Request for your student records at the registrar ASAP, this is what normally delays applications
– Be certain about your course choices. Weigh in the pros and cons, job opportunities after, if it’s a quota course or not, etc.
– Prepare for things to not go your way or for mess ups/setbacks. Don’t be discouraged, wag ka magpadala. Work through it!
Some more application tips:
> Be meticulous with your application forms. You can’t afford to get anything wrong or submit anything late. Take it seriously, and make sure everything (especially your course choices!!!) is how you want it. THIS IS YOUR FUTURE. – Selena
> Take initiative when preparing your app forms. The school may offer batch processing but make an effort to constantly monitor your forms especially when the due date is near. – Alison
> Read what is being asked for very carefully. Recheck the answers in your forms as much as you can. You may have overlooked an error or question. Also, try submitting your application forms as early as possible so that you won’t stress about it anymore. – Iza
Now that you’ve prepared and applied for the exams, it’s now time to take it! Here are my personal tips:
> Use the process of elimination since it’s a multiple choice exam. It’s better to make an educational guess rather than guessing randomly.
> For the UPCAT, make an educational guess rather than leaving the item blank (because of right -1/4 wrong). The pay-off of of guessing is greater than not guessing. Read more on this here: How to pass the UPCAT
> If it’s clear you don’t know the answer, don’t think about it anymore— just skip it and go over it later. Hard questions do not mean more points, it’s all just 1 point per item. So pick out the easy questions first while you have the time, these will be your guaranteed points. Then go back to the harder questions with the remaining time. If you’ve spent more than 50 seconds on an item, it’s not worth it.
> If you run out of time and have blank items just shotgun or laser the questions. Do not leave anything blank!
> For reading comprehension, go over the questions first then read the selection so that you already know what you’re looking for while going through the given content.
> I got headaches after the exams, so give yourself a treat after. Take a nap, eat out, watch a movie. You deserve it!
Here are some more tips from other people:
> Make sure you have everything you need prior to the test. Triple check everything, exam permits, pencils, snacks and water, all your exam essentials!
> Dress to be comfortable, not to impress.
> Trust in your knowledge and in your gut. The moment you lose that trust in yourself, the more you’ll over think and over complicate simple questions.
> Make sure your answer is for the right number. Personal experience from this: during ACET, I completely messed up my shading for one of the subjects and had no time to go back and fix my answers. They are very strict when it comes to the allotted time per subject so make sure you are careful from the very start.
> Don’t answer one item while still thinking about the previous one. Keep yourself focused on the current item and that alone. If you don’t know one item, it’s not the end of the world!! You can make up for it with the ones you DO know!
> Keep yourself awake and attentive! It’s nice to have water or snacks at all times (of course if you are permitted to) if not, then just keep yourself FOCUSED. Do NOT doze off! That’s precious time being lost. Time will move very quickly! – Michelle
> Do not panic if anxiety kicks in (especially if it’s your dream school)! Take deep breaths and clear your head before the start of the test, it’ll really help once the test starts. – Martina
> Give a lot of allowance when you go to your testing place. Better to be really early than to be running to the assembly area. If you’re one and a half hours early like I was to one of the tests, you can just nap in the car lol
> Do whatever you can to feel as relaxed as possible. When the math portion of the UPCAT started, I felt so overwhelmed that it took me 5 minutes to answer a PEMDAS question. Don’t be like me. – Selena
> After taking the exam, don’t bother comparing answers with everyone else. The test is done and there’s no way of changing it.– Alison
> Bring easy to eat snacks, even though you might not even get to eat them. Candy and/or chocolate will help you stay awake during the exam. – Iza
> I remember for the ACET, my room was filled with Chinese people and I got really intimidated because I knew they’re pretty beast at math. Just take a deep breath and focus on answering the numbers. Trust your brain, and trust in yourself because if you prepared well enough, you’ll get through it. – Ysa
The battle continues even after taking the tests, this is when you wait for results and discern your final university. Here are my personal tips and experiences:
– Waiting for the results made me antsy because there’s nothing you can do about your performance anymore. You just have to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for whatever happens.
– Once results come out, it will be an entirely new experience. If you pass, congratulations! But if they don’t take you, it’s ok to feel what you want to feel at that moment, but make sure you don’t dwell on it. There’s always recon and other schools! Also, make sure to be there for your friends whether they pass or fail 🙂 You guys will share that moment together.
Short story: UPCAT results were released the day before our Christmas party. When I read my name on the list, my heart sank and I cried out of relief and joy. It was weight off my shoulders. The following day, our Christmas party, Ateneo results came out and my batch was a melting pot of cheers and cries. It was a day and emotion I’ll never forget— we all shared the triumphs and woes of being and not being enough, it was tragic yet beautiful. Be there for your friends and batchmates, no matter the results.
Here are additional tips and experiences from others:
> If you pass, all you have to do is choose! Either the path was chosen for you, or you have to make your own choice. This is where you trust your gut. Get advice from your family members and upperclassmen. Research on the course that you got into, and choose from there. Do NOT base it on the school name alone! But instead, your course. You’ll make the right decision if it’s what YOU want!
> Now, if you fail, it’s not the end of the world. There are still other ways of getting into your dream school! Like recon for Taft or appealing for Ateneo! Look into their scholarship programs as well like in UP! There are other means of getting in. Even if you don’t excel academically, you can still make it through other ways! – Michelle
> Course > School, as much as you love that campus, you might not be loving what you chose to study. Choosing the best course is better than the best school cause it’s the major that’ll carry you throughout your work life too, make it something you love! – Martina
> Just be grateful with whatever school you pass and make sure you chose the school because you want it and not because your friends are in it. – Lyka
> Don’t stress about the release of the results. Enjoy other things while you don’t have to think about the future. I am saying this as someone who was stressing out everyday from August 30, 2016 to December 17, 2016. – Selena
> Results will be released out of nowhere. Be surrounded by supportive people. No matter what result you get, you’re going to need the support. – Iza
> The night of the UPCAT results, it was the day before the school Christmas party. We were all in a festive mood. After finding out that I passed UP but not in the campus that I originally wanted, I was disappointed in myself because I knew that if I had studied harder or prepared a little bit more, I could have. ACET results were a surprise too because they were released the morning after the UPCAT ones.
> If you pass all/most of the tests you took, then congrats! The best problem to have is choosing where to go to because of your ~options~. Despite passing the others and knowing that I’ll have to work my butt off to get to the campus I want, I went with my gut feel. I ended up choosing UP still, because it was what I really wanted – a UP education. Go with what your heart wants, always go where you know you’ll be happy because college will be the last 4 or so years that’ll prepare you for the real world. – Ysa
> Welcome to one of the biggest crossroads of your life. If you managed to pass more than one school’s exam, you’ll then be given the choice of where to go. People will say go to the one with the cheaper tuition, or maybe go to the one where it’s your parent’s alma mater, while some would say go to where your friends go. Personally, I would say go to where your chosen course would flourish. Remember that college is where you’re going to start your ‘adulthood’ life, but picking the college that gives you a plus for your studies (good facilities, many board passers, etc.) and gives you the fun of being in college (have a few friends going to the same college, central and near many ‘gimik’ places) is what you need to balance out, because college isn’t just for full on studying, its the place where you could meet lifelong friends. – Gabriel
That’s the last of our advice for you guys taking the CETs this year! Yes all this college talk and preparation is quite scary and may cause some anxiety, but personally it’s one of the most colorful experiences I’ve had so far. Balancing senior year with CETs will test your character and push your limits. You’re carrying yourself this time, making decisions on your own and dealing with the consequences. Just remember that everyone goes through this and if they can do it, so can you.
Study well, rest well and test well! Kakayanin nyo ang #CETember 🙂
Thank you to the following people who shared their advice, experience and tips on CETs:
- Michelle Orbeta, Behavioral Science/Business Management (DLSU)
- Martina Serrano, BS Communications Technology Management (AdMU)
- Lyka, Accountancy (DLSU)
- Selena, BS Architecture (UPD)
- Alison Solis, BS Psychology (UPD)
- Iza Socorro, AB Psychology (AdMU)
- Ysa Carreon, BA Communication Arts (UPLB)
- Gabriel Cuaresma, Electronics and Communications Engineering (DLSU)
Featured image taken from Career Power