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All by myself o we’re all in this together? Ano kaya? (Essay Entry #11)

 

All by myself o we’re all in this together? Ano kaya?

by Rhencis Ann Recana 

 

Noong-noon pa:

Nang wala pa akong plano para sa College…

Classmate:  Saan ka magrereview para sa UPCAT?

Ako: Di ko pa alam e.

Pero sa totoo lang iba ang nilalaman ng isip ko, pinipigilan ko lang sabihin kasi sigurado aabangan nila ako sa kanto. Eto kasi talaga ang gusto kong sabihin:

“Bakit ba ang daming estudyanteng gagawin ang lahat makapasok lang sa UP? Yung mga tipong magpapakamatay sa pagrereview, gagastos ng napakalaki sa mga review center at minsan yung iba, kinukuha yung kursong hindi naman talaga nila gusto, makapasok lang sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. Ang dami-dami namang unibersidad sa Pilipinas na mas tiyak na babagay sa kursong gusto nilang kunin, pero ayun, matitigas ang ulo, pinagsisiksikan ang sarili sa UP. Yung mga hopeless naman ay ng umaarte na end of the world na pag nalaman na hindi siya nakapasa sa UP. Sino bang bulag, ako o yung mga die-hard fan ng UP? “

 

 

 

Noon:

          Nang matauhan na ako at marealize ang kahalagahan ng UPCAT…

Grumaduate akong salutatorian nung elementary at ngayong high school ay nasa isang paaralang pang-agham ako. Kaya kahit papaano, masasabi kong may chance akong makapasa sa UP. Oo, magte-take ako ng UPCAT, magrereview din ako, pero all by myself may credentials daw kasi yun eh. pero last choice ko ang UP. Bakit? Una sa lahat, ayaw ng nanay ko kasi may tendency dawn a maging raliyista ako dahil ipinaglalaban kolagi ang sa tingin kong tama at sa ngayon, ang daming nangyayaring kahindik-hindik sa mga UP campus kaya baka mag-alala lang daw siya sa akin araw-araw. Pangalawa, marami pang school ang mas angat pagdating sa engineering courses. Computer engineering kasi ang balak kong kunin since member ako ng robotics club ng school namin. Pero baka medicine rin ang kunin ko kasi yun ang gusto ng nanay ko. Pangatlo, nakatali ka sa Pilipinas for 2 years kapag naging iskolar ka ng bayan. Hindi naman kami mayaman, kaya umaasa rin ako sa mga scholarship grant. Ang daming universities ang willing magbigay ng scholarship, bukod sa wala ka ng tuition fee na babayaran ay meron ka pang napakalaking allowance.  Panghuli, gusto ko ng adventure. Hindi naman sa sinasabi kong walang adventure sa UP. May iba pa kasing lugar ang mas may adventure at challenge kaysa UP. Tulad na lang ng MAAP o kaya naman ang pag-aaral sa dayuhang bansa. Bata pa lang gusto ko na mag-aral sa ibang bansa. Challenging yun kasi ibang-iba sa kinagisnan kong paqmumuha. Iba rin ang klase ng tao dun

Kasalukuyan:

          Nang malaman na may mga review center pala…

          Sige mag-eenroll na ako. Kaso lang nung time ng deadline, wala pa akong pambayad. Ang dami ko kasing gastusin that time. Kaya “all by myself” pa rin ang drama ko.

Mga 8 pm ng April 14:

          Nang malaman ko na may essay-writng contest pala…

            Nagkukumahog akong gumawa ng essay. Hopefully matutulungan ako ng Brain Train at maging “We’re all in this together” ang drama ko.

           

Sa Hinaharap:

          Kung mananalo ako sa essay-writing contest na ito..

          Magrereview ako sa Brain Train. Kalahati ng kaclassmate ko dito nagrereview.. hopefully makasama ako sa kanila…

          Pero sa huli, manalo man ako o hindi, makapasa man ako sa UPCAT o hindi, iisa lang ang sigurado ko, lahat ng nangyayari at mangyayari ay ginusto ng Panginoon. Kaya gagawin ko na lang ang lahat sa araw na iyon at ang Diyos na ang bahala…

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Do you also want to join this essay writing contest to avail FREE UPCAT Review from Brain Train?  Read more about it HERE.

 

The Art of Conquering the UPCAT (Essay Entry #10)

 

The Art of Conquering the UPCAT

by Mia Claire L. Catapang

 

 

(Note to readers: If you don’t feel like reading my novel-like essay, you could just skip my oh-so-long introduction about my embarrassing, nerve-wracking experience with exams and head to the more important bold and italicized paragraphs. All bold, italicized sentences enclosed in quotation marks are excerpts from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.)

If the United States (US) is a melting pot of races, the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) too is a melting pot – melting pot of mazes. (Great, an analogy is used to describe an entrance exam.) You have to find your way through the tangled, overlapping mazes of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry topped with the nose bleeding English stuff, and not to mention the disconcerting right minus ¼ wrong policy.

College entrance exams like the UPCAT are one big glob of sizzling, mind-boggling, shell-cracking questions with the notorious time pressure. I have known this prior to taking the Ateneo Junior Summer Seminar Qualification Exam which is essentially the Ateneo College Entrance Exam (ACET) itself. I breezed easily through the first English Proficiency questions. But moving on, I almost had a nervous breakdown when I realized there was only 15 minutes left for the English section and I haven’t even written a single word for my essay about justice. All that was coming to my mind about justice is Chief Justice Corona. Essay writing almost traumatized me.

That day I realized how time pressure can kill me if I’ll still be shading circles for like 10 seconds. I’m not much of a math whiz but I’ll do the math: so that means I will be wasting 10,000 sec for shading alone. That is 16.67 minutes – approximately 17 minutes. The time limit is just 1 hour so that means I just have 43 min left for the 100 item test. You subtract the 20 min for the essay writing part and what will be left is just 23 min which is scarcely enough to analyze every single question. I certainly cannot let the same thing happen in the UPCAT!

Thus, to pass the UPCAT, the first thing I will to do is to brush up my shading skills. Apparently, I’m just kidding. But I tell you, entrance exams will definitely kill you – not in the literal sense of course – if you do not have what it takes.

From my near-nervous-breakdown experience, let’s go to “what it takes to pass the UPCAT”. Take a look at my comprehensive master plan based on excerpts from the book, The Art of War:

“He who knows… and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.” Simply put, know your enemy for there is no knowledge that is not power. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt.” I’m not saying that the UPCAT is your enemy for real. It can be your enemy for it can prevent you from getting the chance to study in UP if you’re not clever enough. Know yourself too–your weaknesses and strengths like being hopeless at problem solving, nose bleeding at every unfamiliar English words that sounds so Greek, etc.

(Note to the easily-panic-stricken people: Don’t lose your wits with what you’ll find out.)

So of course the first thing I should do is to know the UPCAT and use what I know to improve myself. A few weeks ago, I checked out the essentials of the UPCAT from blog sites and websites that specializes in entrance exams (i.e., Academic Clinic). My supportive mother also gave me copies of articles from the Philippine Daily Inquirer about UPCAT Tips.

So here are the essential things about the UPCAT:

What will get you into UP is the University Predicted Grade (UPG). Some UP campuses like UP Diliman and UP Manila have a higher UPG cut-off.  The UPG consists of 40% of High School Weighted Average (your grades during the first three years of high school) and 60% of UPCAT performance. It was a good thing I had enough sense to study hard during the first three years of high school while almost half the classroom populace was like: “Bahala na, sa Fourth Year nalang ako mag-aayos. Mag-eenjoy muna ako ngayon.” Alas, they were mistaken! If you’re one of them, SCREAM NOW! LOL. Just kidding. Fear not for there’s still a remaining 60%. Just do great in the exam itself.

There are two main sections in the UPCAT: a Quantitative Test (science and mathematics) section and a Verbal Test (English, Filipino and comprehension skills). So this summer I’ll be refreshing myself not with halo-halo but with the past freshman and sophomore studies like Biology, Algrebra, etc. I still cannot decide between self studying and enrolling in a review center, so I’ll do both. Even before review classes starts I’ll be digging my way through past high school notes so review classes won’t feel like a living hell.

Unlike its counterparts, the UPCAT has no killer essay but it has the infamous right minus ¼ wrong penalty. Thank God, UPCAT has no essay writing section! I’m now saved from the ACET essay fiasco! But still, there is the right minus wrong ¼ wrong penalty. So what do I do? According to what I have read, blanks do not count but that doesn’t mean you need leave your answer blank. If you guessed the answer (or made an educated guess for school prodigies), you will just loose ¼ of a point but if you will leave it blank you’ll lose a whole point. So I’d rather be a risk taker and make my best educated guess.

UPCAT has time pressure. That’s why I won’t be wasting my precious minutes on thinking over a hard question. Strike the easier questions first then go for the harder ones afterwards.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted…other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity.” When translated in the UPCAT sense: If your knowledge is insufficient, your motivation weak, your physical body not in good condition, your fellow examinees will leave you hanging down the trail with the other failed students. Remember, it’s the ranking that matters – how your score compare to the scores of other students.

The UPCAT is some sort of competition with more or less 70,000 students hoping to have their hands on the UP education. Statistics show that only about 10, 000 make it. Sounds disconcerting, right? I definitely need to keep up with the crowd. Here’s what I need to do (and you too!):

Study with strategy. Merely memorizing won’t work – you need to understand the concepts. But it’s a different case with math because you surely need to memorize the formulas. One good tip I read is to just memorize one formula and derive others. For the English section, one tip is to READ A LOT. Good thing I’m a wide reader way before I have known about UPCAT. The more you read, the more unfamiliar words you will know. Again, don’t memorize the meaning of these words – use these words in your daily conversation or in writing so it will be easily imprinted in your mind.

“Fake it till you make it.” Always think that you can do it. Believe me, positive thinking and a good mindset will definitely help you make it through the UPCAT successfully.

Avada Kedavra coffee and junk foods!  Don’t make the mistake of drinking coffee and eating junk foods during the exam day. It will just disorient your brain. Eat chocolate for it can stimulate your brain. My mom told me so and the internet says so too. Aside from that, healthy foods are also desirable for breakfast.

“Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and CONQUER, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is FOREKNOWLEDGE.” Now you have this so called foreknowledge. (Thanks to myself. LOL) I hope you’ll use this knowledge wisely and strategically for the coming UPCAT.

“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands…” To pass or not to pass – it depends on you. If you will study hard enough with the right strategies and give the test your best shot, you surely aren’t that far from victory. And of course, we are never alone in this battle so pray and commit the exam to God.

This marks the end of my master plan. Thanks to the book, The Art of War for those war strategies that I surprisingly found so helpful and appropriate in most real life situations including the daunting prospect of taking the UPCAT. I am also grateful for all those articles from blogs and websites that gave me profound information and tips.

I am now ready to conquer the UPCAT! Avada Kedavra UPCAT!

 

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Do you also want to join this essay writing contest to avail FREE UPCAT Review from Brain Train?  Read more about it HERE.

Beating UPCAT is a must!!!! (Essay Entry #9)

 

Beating UPCAT is a must!!!!

by Algem Cris Crusis

 

University of the Philippines is one of the most prestigious universities of our country where the students are the best, the brightest and the bravest; as what Sen. Miriam Defensor on her speech. Many satisfactory achievements we’ve heard about UP making it the top choice of the most graduating high school students and I’m one of them. However, an annual of 70,000 students trying to attempt a slot, only 10,000 make it through. A hard competition, isn’t it? It is because of the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test), a highly competitive entrance test of the UP. But is there any way to beat UPCAT? Of course, there is as the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. All you must need is a spare of determination, a higher IQ, a background of the UPCAT, tools which are your review materials and a healthy lifestyle.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, hard work and determination. The latter implies a decision for us to settle a purpose which is to beat UPCAT.If you have this driving force, you must develop and possess the right attitude, discipline, courage, perseverance, confidence and faith. Self- determination would really help you up for passing UPCAT by motivating yourself to acquire such behaviors and skills to compete and think!

A scientific myth suggested that I.Q. is something related to genetic and can’t be improved upon. On the other hand, this myth was already proven wrong. Various studies conducted by scientists and neuropsychologists bring in significant results in developing one’s I.Q. through writing your thoughts, reading, watching fictions, solving puzzles, debating, and teaching. To meliorate your I.Q. which involves your critical and logical thinking, you must do these exercises but in a single-go and this would be a definite plus to beat UPCAT.

A background of UPCAT must be a prioritize of any student aspiring to be an “Iskolar ng Bayan” to have guidelines on what to be done to pass UPCAT which is a requirement for admitting in any universities of the Philippines. This five hour entrance test is time pressured covering language proficiency, reading comprehension, science and mathematics. But don’t think immediately about complex topics and problems. Always start with the basic concepts and think of possible questions which are easy yet difficult to understand. Your slot in UP is based from your UPG (University Predicted Grade) coming from the 60% of your exam score and 40% from your high school grade since first year to third year. Another factor affecting your UPG is the “pabigat” and “palugit”. These considerations are something to do with your social status and choosing your campus.

After knowing the science of UPCAT and attained determination, back up with a highI.Q..We must now prepare ourselves ahead before the examination day through reviewing high school subjects which are included in UPCAT. In choosing review materials specially a book; the answer key must have solutions or explanations, authored by UP staff or certified professors and contain questions which are challenging to answer. Review materials are not only in the form of books; it can also be a flashcards, puzzles or chart consists of formulas, tables, anatomical and system diagrams which are easy to familiarize when reviewed always. Sometimes, we get stuck in a question; the best thing to do is to proceed to the easy ones. You will take too much time to think about it. As soon as you finish reading both the question and explanation for many times, still don’t get how was it all about and how to get it. You may wish to ask your teacher or classmates who are really good at it and why not use our modern technology we have right now specially computers for surfing. In reviewing we learned many things and knowing the fact that human brain stores all the information and experiences of an individual yet some of these are easily forgotten. All we need to do is to always update ourselves, follow-up the topics and do some write ups. A sure way to beat UPCAT!

All the above mention entities will not be possible if you don’t have a good health. You must be conscious about it because the best thing in life is not wealth but health as what others always said. To keep you healthy have a balanced diet, daily exercise, proper hygiene, avoid too much stress, manage your time and an 8-10 hours of sleep. Don’t ever attempt to study till midnight; it’s a forbidden practice to pass any entrance test. Keeping you track with your health, why not try the “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  Always inculcate in your mind that good health is the best foundation to do such work and store energy until such time we would use this to beat UPCAT!

Now, are you ready to beat UPCAT!? Of course, you are. Whatever bothers you, take it away. Have the guts and be aspired to beat and conquer UPCAT. Be the one of the 10,000 students! Go and strive for it! God bless us!

 

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Do you also want to join this essay writing contest to avail FREE UPCAT Review from Brain Train?  Read more about it HERE.

It’s a Do or Die Situation Here! (Essay Entry #8)

It’s a Do or Die Situation Here!

by Alex Lehman Idia

 

The nerve-wrecking and toughest entrance test is getting closer, making third year students nervous and some, a lot happier. Remembering what my brother told me, “There are only two Universities existing, U.P. and others.” There’s just this kind of feeling that makes you feel honored and proud. Maybe it’s the “yabang” essence. Who wouldn’t be?  U.P., our country’s most prestigious and premier State University.

(Haven’t heard of it, you must be living under a rock!)

As the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test) gets closer, there are a lot of things to put in mind. Am I prepared?

There are times I hear rumors about me not passing the UPCAT. To tell you the truth, I’m not in the honor roll. But who knows? I may pass the UPCAT by preparing myself for it. I’m aware that inside U.P. is a sea of different types and kinds of minds of honor students. Time will come that it’ll be for me.

Being a third year student, I’m still considering what course to take up. Summer has just arrived and it’s time for reviewing. While others are having fun taking their vacation, I’m stuck here at our home, sweet home. Some of the students are enrolling for review programs, increasing their chances in passing the UPCAT. Some are just self reviewing.

I sat down at a corner and analyzed it. We’re like nearly broke and my parents can’t afford a summer program for me. My hopes and dreams are in jeopardy. Self review isn’t enough for me. I’m not a hundred percent sure that I’ll understand the topic alone. Good thing I found out this essay writing contest of Brain Train, hoping that I would be picked. I’m not that kind of student that joins essay writing contests, competing with other schools. I’m not even a part of our school paper! It’s really a do or die situation here. But it’s worth a try! Still, my parents are not so sure a bout it, knowing that the review venue is at Laguna. But I have deep faith in God.

My brother wrote an open letter about me choosing my college, last July 30, 2011. After reading it, tears rolled down on my cheeks. He also included the hidden secrets why U.P.’s tuition nowadays is competing with those in the Ateneo, and other private and other State Universities. (You may view it here http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150261636299431)

Anyway, win or loose, writing this essay is for me to have an experience.

The plan is if I win this contest, I won’t let this chance go away.

Beg?

Maybe!

There are a lot of ways.

 It’s time to step up. But if I didn’t have the chance to be picked, I’ll just be self reviewing this summer and wait for the free one when school starts that will be conducted in our school by UP Subol Society Diliman Chapter.

And I guess I’ll just buy some comprehensive modules and reviewers for me to answer. I’m also planning that I’d go to our municipal library for some research about facts and stuff that I need to know.

The internet would also be a great help for searching some strategies and facts about taking the UPCAT smoothly.

I already started looking for my old notes at school and other stuff that I’ll need for reviewing. Lucky me, I found them! My Biology and other science notes is still complete, Algebra (for the record, we’re not best friends) still complete, English (my favorite) ready, Hope? Got a lot of it!

When school starts again, I would probably ask my teachers some lessons that I didn’t understood while self reviewing.

If I’ll make it to the U.P., my brother will be damn proud. But that doesn’t matter now.

Even if I don’t pass the UPCAT, I know that God has a different plan for my life. So I trust all this in the name of our Father.

 

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Do you also want to join this essay writing contest to avail FREE UPCAT Review from Brain Train?  Read more about it HERE.

Sabi nila mahirap daw ang UPCAT, sabi ko naman... (Essay Entry #7)

Sabi nila mahirap daw ang UPCAT, sabi ko naman... 

by Katrina Dumagas

 

 

Isa lang naman ako sa libo libong kabataan na naghahangad na matawag na Isko o Iska ng Bayan. Isa lang naman ako sa dinadami dami na nagdadasal at minimithi na sana ay mapasa at makapasok ako sa prestihiyosong paaralan na ito. Isa lang naman akong tulad mo.

Teka, eh papaano nga ba ako makakapasok dito? Alam kong kulang ang paghingi ng tulong sa bawat santong kilala ko o paghiling sa bawat bituing makikita ko tuwing gabi, ika nga nila “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”

Alam ko na sa simula’t sapul pa lamang eh kaylangan ko ng masinsinang pagaaral. Oo masinsinan. Kaya naman e agad agad akong naghanap ng mga paraan, ng mga stratehiya at kung ano ano pa para maipasa ang pagsusulit. Mahirap na, at isang beses lang ito. It’s now or never at all or nothing nga kumbaga. Sa tulong naman ng Google at mga forums sa internet napadpad ako sa Academic Clinic.

Nakakatuwa, para bang nakajackpot ako sa lotto nung mahanap ko ang website na ito. Dali dali kong sinubukan ang mga sample tests nila para sa UPCAT. Oo lahat ng iyon sinubukan ko. Natatawa nga ko sa mga resulta at puro bagsakin. Dinugo ang ilong ko at napiga ang utak ko sa bawat pagsusulit na sinubukan ko.

Hala, e papaano ako papasa nito? Dito ko nadiskubre kung ano ang “Review Centers”. Dalian naman ako nagsearch doon at nagsearch dito kung anong Review Center ang pinakapatok sa mga nakapasa sa UPCAT. Nahanap ko nga ang Brain Train. Hindi na ko nagdalawang isip pa, agad kong pinaalam sa nanay ko na magrereview ako sa summer para makapasa ng UPCAT. Suportado naman sya sa desisyon ko. Tutal ay maaga pa, nagawa naming pagipunan ito.

O edi enrolled na ko at may Master Plan na ko, ang masinsinang pagrereview, eh syempre dapat ay gagawin ko ito. Para san pa ang plano kung hindi naman ito gagawin, hindi ba? 

Sabi nila mahirap daw ang UPCAT, sabi ko naman hindi naman siguro ‘to magiging mahirap kung nagplano sila. Kung pinaghandaan nila. Diba? Eh baka naman kasi may baril nga sila, wala namang bala. Yung may bala naman, baka shinotgun lang. Eh malamang sa malamang, hindi bubull’s eye yun. 

Kaya naman sa nalalabing apat na buwan bago ang pagsusulit, sasagad-sagarin ko na ang pagaaral. Makakaya ko ‘to. Magiging isang Iska ako.

 

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Do you also want to join this essay writing contest to avail FREE UPCAT Review from Brain Train?  Read more about it HERE.