Part Two of My UPCAT Experience
Hello hello!!! Gravity, two days to go before Day 1 of THE DAY!!!
Anyway, you nervous UPCAT takers are in for another treat, because three other successful UPCAT takers have been so generous with their time to encourage you with your upcoming endeavor.
Let’s begin with Engr. Jeffrey Paulo Perez’s (who insists on being called “Jeffrey” from now on, because mas tutyal daw pakinggan ang “Jeffrey”, bilang papunta na siyang Belgium in a month..Huhuhu!) UPCAT experience.
(took the UPCAT in…basta a not-so-long time ago; graduated cum laude from UP Los Banos with a degree in Chemical Engineering despite:
1. being president of three student organizations
2. and moments like telling the jeepney driver “Para!” prematurely just to give another Chem Eng student lascivious looks while the latter was playing volleyball at DL Umali Freedom Park, and of wearing eyeshadow to class)
I only had one dream in high school—to get into UP. Back then, I believed that being an Iskolar ng Bayan will be an affirmation of my insatiable hunger for knowledge, a validation that I am meant for greater things, and, most importantly, a proof that all of our family’s sacrifices have finally paid off.
Just days before UPCAT 2014, let’s see how terrorific I was during that fateful day.
My UPCAT schedule was set on a Sunday at 6:30 AM. I did not have that much sleep the night before. I was very anxious even though I have prepared myself academically. I was assigned [to take the test] at the CEM Function Hall, which I decided to visit a day before just to make sure that I won’t get lost.
On exam day, I arrived at the assigned room 30 minutes before the examination starts so that I will have time to calm my nerves. There were already a lot of students when I got there. I felt so out-of-place because everyone had someone to talk to (or someone to panic with). They also crammed extra topics that they think will be essential for UPCAT. I had to plug-in my earphones and blast some feel-good music so that I won’t feel nervous and distracted.
Then, a few minutes before 6:30 AM, the examiner asked us to enter the room and proceed into our assigned seats. My seat assignment was near a tower-type air conditioning unit. Fortunately, I brought a jacket with me because I heard there was this kid who peed in his pants while in the lecture hall. The first subtest administered was Science. In our batch, most of the questions came from General Science and Physics, a few from Chemistry and a little bit on Biology. Of course I was very happy with the question mix since it was like competing once again in Science and Chemistry Olympiads. Furthermore, there were questions on optics and sound, my two favorite topics on Physics. Nevertheless, I was very confident with the first subtest. There were a few items which I was not really familiar with so I had to use my powers of deduction (Naaaaaaks! In short, hinulaan ko.).
I was aware of the “Right Minus 1⁄4 Wrong” rule, but I still decided to guess the answer for the other questions. Why, you ask? Statistically speaking, there is a very high chance of getting the answers correctly if you can eliminate other choices. While reviewing for UPCAT, I noticed that most of the choices in college reviewers can be narrowed down into two – leaving you with a 50:50 chance of getting a correct answer. As one of my colleagues in Brain Train, Sir Jhabs, pointed out, the deductions we would incur will be trivial if we “scientifically” guess the answers. I am not saying that you guess the answer for every blank item. I think it would be better if there are SOME questions that you choose to answer. If you feel guilty because you guessed “too many” items, most probably the others did the same thing. Remember that your UPCAT scores are in percentile so guessing MAY increase your rank.
The next subtest was Mathematics. Now, this one is a tricky subtest. Many questions were from Algebra and Geometry (especially the shaded areas). I think the subtest was constructed so that many students won’t be able to finish. I, for one, finished just in time, meaning I had no time to review some of my answers. So you better be fast and not think twice if you want to finish the exam in time! Just remember all the shortcuts and techniques we taught you so that you won’t be MA-BA-GAL (Hi Sir Mark!). And, yes, that’s the Brain Train Advantage!
For Language Proficiency and Reading Comprehension, they were a combination of English and Filipino questions and passages. Also, there were some editorial cartoons and caricatures that were asked to be interpreted. I can say that the difficulty of the last two remaining subtest during our batch was moderate, not too easy but not too difficult.
I did not bring food during the exam because I know I won’t have time to eat. Just like what I did in my Philippine Science High School Entrance Test, I brought a chocolate bar and bottled water, in case I got hungry. I also did not eat heavy breakfast so that I won’t feel drowsy or go the comfort room to do some “dirty business”. After the most grueling five hours of my life, I emerged feeling victorious in the depths of that highly academic lair. I felt like a winner because I know I just conquered one of the most difficult college entrance exams in the country. And, most of all, I felt satisfied because I know I am already one step onward to a bright future, no way but UP!