University of the Philippines College Entrance Test (UPCAT)

12: 30 PM. August 1, 2009. UP- Cebu. Arts and Science Building.

I read the admission slip over and over again. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. C’mon, I’m taking an entrance exam for goodness sake. I don’t want to be dreaming! But I didn’t want it to be real. Who wants to be sitting beside an unknown stranger while answering a five hour exam? No one! Unless, he’s some genius who’s addicted to exam taking.

I slept at around ten O’clock that night. I wanted a goodnight sleep. But I wasn’t given that. Instead of waking up at seven O’clock, my stomach woke me up at Five in the morning. FIVE O’CLOCK! Didn’t my brain realize that it was too early for the butterflies to enter my stomach? Well, since there was no breakfast, I ended up eating a cracker. But I don’t think I was hungry enough to finish it. I waited till the clock touched 11. My friend and I had decided that we meet up an hour before the test. Yes, we want to be very punctual. We’re Filipinos who don’t want to be late! Accomplishment!

Anyway, I had arrived earlier than she did. But she came right before I had gone crazy. The events that had happened before the exam were:

1. We were chatting with one of the guards(?) of UP. He was speaking in bisaya, we understood him but this was the only thing that popped out of our mouth was just “Bitaw.”

2. We met up with our other two classmates who took the 6 AM exam (even if it was against the rules).

3. I went back to the line and said “hey” to a friend. Another guard thought I took the 6 AM exam and pulled me away. I yelled, “I DIDN’T TAKE THE TEST YET!” or well, I think it was more embarrassing.

4. We were lining up… well, duh!

5. The rain poured hard. I was wet!!!

6. We sat down in our designated chairs. I was right beside my friend!!! Haha!!! I promise you… We didn’t cheat!

7. We placed our snacks under the tiny armchair and left our bags at the sides.

They began passing around the answer sheet. We filled up the name area first and wrote our name in the paper that was passed around. And finally… they told us to open the test booklet.

PART I. English

I remember I didn’t know how to answer the first question. I speak English but I was having a one second mental block. What was the error in the sentence when there was no error? Where was the no error box to shade? What? There’s no letter E? Oh crap… make it up

Alright, let me tell all of you something. The exam was right minus 1/4th wrong. This meant every four mistakes meant minus one. I had completely forgotten this while I had taken the test. I colored this and that and this  and that.

But, I had finished English with no problems. Fine, maybe I guessed in this area and made up another part but I finished! I finished way before time ended!

PART II: Science

The thing about science was that after the test I had forgotten that there was a science part. Probably this was because I had made up a lot of it. It was mostly on genetics. I didn’t remember my genetics at all! And when I mean I didn’t remember it… I didn’t remember anything. ZERO. Nada. Nothing! There was probably a few physics here and chemistry there… but I don’t think I answered enough correct answers. But let us all be positive.

Oh! And there was this part that was Filipino. There were paragraphs and paragraphs of Filipino. I understand the language but… if you let me read it, I have the tendency of speed reading. I think I was shading all the boxes randomly. But I swear, I answered properly!

After closing the booklet, the examiners told us to stand up. My friend and I stared at each other. Everyone had stood up. Then… they told us to STREEEEEEEEEEEEEETCH! I think I stretched… but I didn’t stretch far enough.


The dreadful math. I was NEVER good in math. Maybe now that I’m fourth year, I’m getting better at it. But algebra was never my forte. NEVER. I can do geometry but not algebra. And guess what? That’s what the test was focusing on. There was geometry towards the end. But by that time I was already brain dead. The coffee candy that I was eating wasn’t working anymore. I wasn’t awake.

There was another problem. I was close to finishing when I realized that I was missing a number. I had skipped something. UH-OH. Skipping is bad. It means that all the numbers after that skipped number is wrong. So, I erased and shaded the next number. I did the same while trying to find the skipped number. I was already passed twenty numbers. I couldn’t find that skipped number. I was running out of time! I returned to the last number I answered. I continued answering but I was thinking about that skipped number. I would turn the papers back  just to check if anything looked unanswered. I pushed myself to finish it. I had shaded boxes that I had completely guessed. After finishing the remaining questions, I returned to searching for the missing number. I had found out that that number wasn’t too far. I had gone as far as twenty numbers but it was really close to the end. Anyway, I finished math before the time ended.

PART IV: Reading comprehension

Finally! Finally! This was what I was waiting for. But, I was drained. My brain was tired, my eyes wanted to drop dead and my feet were aching. I wasn’t in the perfect shape to answer. Unfortunately, the deadline was fifty minutes after. I HAD to answer it. I was ok in the beginning. I can read, I can comprehend, everything was alright. And then I saw my death. Another Filipino paragraph had formed on the test book. The questions were in Filipino too. Oh no, I’m going to fall asleep. I was lucky I understood the stories and paragraphs. I was lucky I watch teleseryes at night. I was lucky I knew the language. I had finished the test, too. No blanks, no spaces, all shaded.


The day was pretty exhausting. I ran to the bed the moment I reached home. My body was aching. My ass was extremely soar from sitting down and my head was exploding. I felt volcanoes popping out. The important thing is… I SURVIVED


PS. I remember while taking the test, I had time to day dream. I was asking myself: WHY AM I TAKING THIS TEST??? I guess, at first I just wanted to take the test because everyone is taking it. Now, I think I want to go to that school. I should have place UP-diliman in that list. Darn it!


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