MANILA, Philippines – The college entrance test season (UPCAT, ACET, DCAT, USTET) is fast approaching, and many of you are spending the next few days cramming everything in. Some have enrolled in review classes, while others have relied on a host of review materials available online or in bookstores. Still, a few may have been confident enough to just come to their testing centers and hope to wing it. Regardless of your preparation, here are eight things you should do during the test.
1. Keep track of your time and pacing.
Bring a watch. Keep in mind the time allotted for a particular segment of the exam, and when you are supposed to end or move on to the next segment. Note the time when the exam commenced, or use a stopwatch counting down to zero.
2. Read the questions or directions thoroughly before looking at the options.
Words or phrases, at times in capital letters, such as EXCEPT, LEAST LIKELY, or MOST PROBABLY, should be notice enough for you to carefully consider the possible answers. More often than not, the way the question or direction is phrased is as equally challenging as the actual answer itself.
3. Choose answers based only on the information given in the question, and not on what you already know.
You think you know, for example, that the effects of climate change can be catastrophic based on stored knowledge, but the passage only talks about how they can be unpredictable. This means that even if what you know is correct, it may not necessarily be what the question asks for, or what the text discusses. Basing your answer solely on previous knowledge can be, well, catastrophic to your test scores.
4. Don’t change your answers on a whim.
Often, you choose an answer and then change your mind a few moments after, at times at whim or for reasons that are unreasonable, like realizing you’ve chosen too many As or Bs on your answer sheet. Often still, however, the original answer is actually the correct answer. But if you really feel that you’ve made a mistake, by all means completely erase your previous mark, and make sure that your new answer is clearly distinguishable.
5. Do not let difficult questions bog you down.
Of course it is best if you’re able to answer each question in the test. Remember, however, that your goal is to get as many correct answers as possible. Move on to the next if an item is too difficult or time-consuming. More often than not, there will be questions you will find too easy, allowing you to save time which you can use to go back to the items you have skipped.
6. Use process of elimination.
If you are really unable to answer an item or even understand what the question is asking, try eliminating the option or options that are least likely to be the correct answer. This method increases your chance of choosing the right answer, even as it can be time-consuming. When you have eliminated at least one of the options, make an educated guess.
7. Do not make any stray marks on the answer sheets.
If the test is going to be scored by a computer, the program will not be able to differentiate between your answer and a stray mark. Two answers in a question will thus be marked wrong. If the test is going to be scored by an actual human being, stray marks may in extreme cases be construed as an attempt on your part to identify yourself to the checker and may thus be classified as a form of cheating.
8. Do not despair.
And we mean this before, during, and after the test. Despairing before the exam imperils your efforts at preparing; during the exam, it negatively impacts your critical thinking skills; and after, it is simply futile. Some exams, like the UP College Admission Test, takes into consideration not only your test scores but your high school grades as well. So even if you feel you did miserably on the exam, there still is, and will always be, hope for you to get into your college or university of choice.
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