For me, planning is an essential part of my life. Despite of my impulsiveness, I always see to it that I am able to formulate efficient plans so I could achieve my goals. For every plan A, there is a plan A.1, plan A.2 until I lose all of my major options and I have to stick to plan B. Nevertheless, I give all my best just so I could avoid resorting on my plan B’s.
Last year, I decided to take five college entrance exams. My initial plan was to take seven. I wanted to take ACET or the Ateneo College Entrance Test but due to my laziness to process more papers (and because of financial issues), I decided to call it off. Plus, the exam’s schedule was on August 2017. And from that time, I know that I am still unprepared to take any college entrance exams. The second exam that I planned to take but also refused to do so anymore was the Benildean Entrance Examination. I ran out of money to pay for the entrance exam. My mother refused to give me money for it since I’ve already paid for four college entrance tests (I came from a state university so my application for DLSUCET was free). In the end, I was able to take these tests respectively: USTET (for the University of Santo Tomas), DLSUCET (for De La Salle University), UPCAT (for the University of the Philippines), PLMAT (for Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila) and PUPCET (for the Polytechnic University of the Philippines).
My USTET Experience
The day before my USTET, I was relaxed. I happily accompanied my two friends from Cavite to PUP, one will take her entrance exam on that day while my other friend came with us so she will be already familiar with the place on the day of her own exam. Despite of processing my application form in PUP for the first batch, they decided to transfer me to the second batch because of the large amount of the students who applied for the first batch. From what I have formerly seen on the website of UST, my USTET was supposed to be conducted on October 22 but because of the NMAT, they have decided to move it on October 14.
I freaked out.
Had I known beforehand, I would’ve stayed in our house and studied instead. I was only able to check their website again when my friend and I were finally relaxing in my dorm near PUP, waiting for our friend to finish her exams. Thank God I decided to check their website. If I didn’t, my mother’s 600 pesos would have gone to waste. Apart from panicking because I haven’t seriously studied yet, my DLSUCET was also scheduled on the same day of my USTET. From that moment, I was already thinking to myself, “FUCK”.
Thankfully, by the work of whomever is in charge with assigning the time to the examinees (and, I believe, by God’s grace) my USTET was scheduled on 8 am while my DLSUCET was scheduled on 1 pm. However, that poses another problem. Can I make it? How the fuck am I going to pass both of the exams (or even one of them) if I haven’t even started seriously studying yet? Will the amount of my brain cells suffice for that day?
Once I got home, I hurried to my bookshelf to take all of my reviewers and went straight to my bedroom. I did not study. I studied seriously for sure. Because I have a hard time remembering some of our lessons in Chemistry, I decided to teach myself once again through watching educational YouTube videos. AND who would’ve thought that all of the things that I have learned from those YouTube videos would actually appear on the test itself? After delving into Chemistry, I decided to focus on Biology since I had an instinct that most of the questions would be taken from that subject. When the clock hit 1 am, I decided to take a rest. I did not forget to pray to God for guidance and for the knowledge I have obtained to never leave my brain.
On the day of my exams, I woke up at 4:30 am to prepare for a very mind-challenging day. My mom and I had to leave our house at 5 am to avoid the morning traffic in Cavite. We were able to arrive at UST an hour earlier than the assigned time.
While I was taking the exam, I have realized that my instinct was right. So while I was intently reading the questions, I silently thank God for YouTube and for the gift of a stable internet connection. The Mental Ability part was easy. I had to efficiently manage my time though so I could finish all of the 80 questions within the short given time. In spite of managing my time, I was only able to answer 70 questions. I had to randomly guess the questions that I have skipped without taking another glance at them again. Surprisingly, I did not have a hard time answering the Math part of the exam. The Science part was also not that bad. The English part was the most fun for me to answer because it is my favorite subject. I also loved the questions regarding fallacies. The sad part though was I had to guess some of those questions because at that time, ad hominem was the only fallacy that I know.
Once I’m done, I looked for my mother who’s waiting outside the Alberto Magnus Building so we could go ahead immediately and eat some lunch. We ate in Chowking and after that, I booked for a Grab car to lessen our travel time going to DLSU, considering that Manila has a bad traffic at any time of the day.
My DLSUCET/DCAT Experience
I was only able to learn all of the topics in basic statistics in Senior High School. (Thank you, Ma’am Bang-as). Because of this, I grabbed the opportunity to study in the car on our way to DLSU. Due to the lack of proper sleep, I chose to take a nap and rest my brain for a bit. My nap didn’t last long though because we already reached the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall. Even if we have arrived earlier than the scheduled time, students were already queuing inside the lobby. So I went inside the building and hoped for the best. For a second, I felt small among the crowd of students because it is apparent that they came from a well-off family. I brushed all of my negative thoughts aside and focused on my agenda: take the exam successfully.
I can’t help but feel mesmerized with the interior design of the building, as well as the classrooms. Once I was seated in my chair, I looked around and thought, “This is the environment I want to be in. I want to study here”. Because of that, I knew I had to focus intently so I could pass the exams.
The first part was bearable. Although I admit, I had a really hard time answering some of the questions. It was not the kind of test that I expected and prepared for. After that exhausting part was the first Statistics test. At that point, I already feel like I am sweating even though the air-condition was set in a cool temperature. I was only able to answer a few questions without a feeling of doubt and uncertainty.
The most gruelling part after that was another Statistics test. At that point, I was internally crying, thinking to myself, “Why did I even bother taking this test?” or “Thank God, I didn’t pay any amount to take this exam. It would not seem regretful for my mom and I if ever I failed this exam”. However, I still tried my hardest to be able to form an educated guess even if I had no clue with what I was doing. The last two parts were refreshing. The very last part was the most fun.
At the end of that day, my lips were already pale and I am already famished. We went home right after that challenging day and prayed to God that I pass at least one exam from the both of them.
My UPCAT Experience
I had to skip school classes for that day. Thankfully, I was scheduled on the afternoon shift. In spite of this, my mom and I had to leave our house earlier because we are not familiar with my testing room. I was assigned on the Institute of Mathematics in UP Diliman. I had no clue with its location. Fortunately, some of the students inside the jeepney that we are riding with are also headed to the same place.
We waited outside the building because most of the morning shift examinees are still not yet finished. I also waited for my classmate because we had the same schedule. However, we got separated by our testing rooms.
Because I have already tried answering the reviewer provided by UP itself, I already knew what I was expecting. I also enrolled in a review center before studying in 10th grade so I already knew what it might feel like once it is my turn to take the actual UPCAT itself.
Of course, UPCAT was difficult for an average student like me. The Math part was gruelling. Science was not that bad compared to Math, for me. Reading comprehension was the best. I liked the selections.
Once I was done with the exam, I looked for my mother once again and we walked to UP Town Center so we could finally eat our dinner.
From my experience, I could say that DLSUCET was more difficult than UPCAT.
My PLMAT Experience
The night before my PLMAT, my friends and I went straight from school to our friend’s house in Cavite, which is a 30 minute ride from our house. We had to cut our last class just so we could attend her birthday party.
On that night, we animated their neighborhood by loudly singing videoke songs. We were actually quite nervous that some of their neighbors might ban us from entering their subdivision once again. Thankfully though, nobody complained.
I let my friends spend the night in our house so I could have some company going back to our house. It is already late when the party ended and I cannot stay in our friend’s house because I have to leave at 9 am to take my exam.
I was already worried because I was not able to study anything for that exam. My friends know about this so they just told me, “Just use your stock knowledge”. Considering that PLMAT is one of the competitive tests that I know, I am actually scared of only using my stock knowledge.
My friends from Cavite and I applied on the same day for the exam so we had the same schedule and room. We decided to go together as I bring along my friends from PUP so I could guide them from going back to their homes.
My PLMAT experience was very pleasant. My friends and I shared stories while we wait for our turn to take the exams since the morning batch is still not yet finished. Because we spent our time just telling stories and (not seriously) reviewing, it was too late when we realized that we are in the wrong line. Thank God the other applicants are kind, they told us where to go to catch up on our roommates.
Fortunately, half of the applicants assigned in our room are still queuing outside our testing room. We made it just in time before the proctor called my friend’s name.
The test itself was not that difficult compared to UPCAT. However, its contents are similar with it. I can say that PLMAT is like a short version of UPCAT.
Once my friends and I were done, we headed to Divisoria because they had to buy a swim suit for their PE class.
My PUPCET Experience
The day of my PUPCET was the same day of my friend’s 18th birthday celebration or debut. Because of this, I had to bring a lot of clothes since we will be staying in their house after the celebration. I also had to bring my guitar to play for her birthday. From our house, I had to carry a tote bag full of clothes, a drawstring bag that I got from DLSU after taking their exam and my guitar case with Fernando, my guitar, resting in it.
Once again, my friends from Cavite decided that we go together to PUP. I asked for their help to carry my things and we went on like that. To avoid the morning traffic, we had to leave at exactly 5 am in Cavite since we are scheduled to take the exam at 8 am.
Once we departed from the LRT station in Pureza, I hurried to my dorm to drop off all of my things. Then, I walked briskly to get back to Jollibee Pureza where my friends and I ate our breakfast. I had to eat quickly to arrive in our testing room before our assigned time.
After dragging my friend to half-jog and half-walk all the way to PUP Main, a man is already announcing that we are late for our exams. So we hurried off until we get to our testing room. When I arrived in our room, all of the seats, except for 3 were already taken. Meaning to say that I am, indeed, already late.
Thankfully, the test hasn’t started yet. The bells have not yet rung to signal its beginning. I rested for a bit to calm my heart down.
I enjoyed taking the test. It was the easiest of all the CET’s that I took. I thank God for Mrs. Cerro’s efficient teaching because most of the things that she has taught us from Grade 10 was included in the test. Plus, I love Greek mythology!!!!
After taking the exam, my friends and I looked for each other in the field. Just like me, they did not seem to have a hard time answering the exam. I also did our proposed research topics because the deadline is at that same day. Then, I went to my dorm to wait for my PUP friends to finish the exam. When they were done, we headed on our way to Rodriguez, Rizal to celebrate our friend’s 18th birthday.
It was challenging. Applying for a university and processing my requirements were not easy. I had to fall in line for hours just to get what I need. Patience and perseverance got me through. But that’s just not it. Diligence is the thing that I have clung into. I know what I want and I’ll do anything to get it. To obtain my goals, I need to work hard for it.
If you happened to find this post somewhere and you are an aspiring student from the universities that I mentioned above, I could say that you do not need to enroll yourself in a review center before taking the exams to be fully prepared.
Instead, you must be disciplined if you want to self-study. During your summer break, start reading and catching up on your junior high school topics. Refresh your mind with knowledge and information. Test yourself and find out where you’re not excellent at. Do you have a hard time answering Math questions? Find for Math reviewers, answer simulated tests and never be intimidated by numbers. Some questions might seem confusing but they will always have a definite answer. And lastly, trust yourself but always remember that there will always be people who are way better than you. You must keep in mind that this is not a competition and they are not your opponents. Your greatest enemy is yourself. Always strive to be better than what and who you are right now.
If anyone can do it, so can you.