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Saturday, August 05, 2006

College entrance exam

My daughter took the UPCAT exams this morning. It started at 6:30. While this is the third time seeing my child take the exams in UP, this is the first time I've experienced taking someone that early. My eldest and second child took the second batch which was in the afternoon. The 6:30 exam is much easier, traffic-wise so that made the trip a less taxing although the 6 hour wait is still too long. Well, at least I had company this time. A parent in our school who I happen to have known a long time was there also waiting for his child.

Anyway, this post is not actually about my daughter taking the exam. This is about the proliferation of review centers for collegiate entrance exams mostly for UP, Ateneo and La Salle. My question is why? The way I think about it is that these entrance exams are to test whether or not these students are ready for college work in their campuses. Ready to tackle their programs and that means if they have had the proper training and preparation in high school. The way I look at it, the phenomenon of having these students take special review for their entrance tests suggest either of two things: the high school preparation they have been getting is not enough or that these universities are asking questions that are way above that which these students have been prepared for. Sure, it can be argued that the questions asked in these exams encompass four years of high school and that the students should review what they have learned from the start. But if that were the case, the high school they went to could have made a simple review of what have been taken before and that should have been sufficient. Stock knowledge, so to speak. As it were, more and more students are taking these review classes aside from the regular classes they are studying in school to ensure acceptance in the best colleges. One thing for certain is that the competition is too high and that one must take everything available to him/her in order to get in to a university of his/her choice.

What really saddens me is that this makes education much less accessible to the poor. Never mind that their children have had less in terms of resources like good books, good teachers, libraries, computers and all that. Now, they need to take review classes as their high school preparation was not enough. And where would they get the money for this expensive affair? The majority of Filipinos hardly make both ends meet. The best university to go to would have been UP as it is not only the top university in the country today, it is, by far, the cheapest. And yet, this is not a stone's throw away to them. It is as far as the moon, maybe farther. This is the reason why most of the students UP has these days come also from the moneyed parents and only a fraction of the poor really enjoy the benefits of a full-time scholarship. If only our political leaders see this problem, then probably there can be a glimmer of hope that they would make education top priority and make public schools a lot better than it is today. Sadly, we have been nailed to the same problems that remain unsolvable till now - classrooms and good teachers. These are problems that could have been solved easily - budget allocation. Unfortunately, money is scarce these days as this commodity is filling up some unscrupulous, conscienced-deprived hooligan's pockets.

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31 Comments:

Blogger VICKY said...

Tito Rolly, I wish your daughter the very best of luck for the UPCAT.
I can't believe that all these review centres had proliferated- the money making predators had taken advantage of these entrance exams huh? and you are right that higher level of education is getting unreacheable for the poor and it only adds undue financial burden and stress to parents and students who may feel that they 'have to' do it as everyone seem to be doing it. It's sad.
Thank God for the UPCAT because if not for it I wouldn't have finished college- my parents were too poor and I had 6 other siblings after me. Ironically, I failed NCEE (puede ko nang i-broadcast dito tutal di na nila puedeng gamitin as paninirang puri! hihihi! i have salvaged myself passing the UPCAT)would you believe pero I passed the UP government scholarship exam 200 out of 4000 were chosen nationwide in those days. It was a scholarship for whose parents income fall on a certain income bracket (which at that time should be below the threshhold). My college stipend was divided between my mother and I and I just had the basic for my budget requirement(dorm/food/labandera/fare) as the other half was contributed towards the family budget. We got by, I finished, got a good job and helped my other siblings through their education. Now we are all self sufficient and I'd say that UPCAT had done me the world of good- aside from having the UP Education of course- which no one can steal from me it's the product of very HARD WORK! Passing the UPCAT is just the beginning. Merong mga nakikick-out din. But UPCAT is not the only way, if one don't pas this exam. Enrol in the other Universities and at that time obtain an average of 2 plus recommendation then you can enrol at UP on the 2nd year or so. I knew one friend who did this as she wanted to study in UP- she is now a doctor.
You are right, not even these review schools can do miracles or an overnight job- and it's inherent to the student who diligently did their assignments, readings and absorbed/observed everything around their surroundings through their time of learning that will be successful.
Again good luck to your unica hija!

9:40 AM  
Anonymous sachiko said...

i love this post,gives me an insight on the country's educational trend. btw,2 of my daughter's classmates (one was a roomate) is studying in UP now and living in the university's dormitory.. When asked about the impression they first have on the country,sus..laki daw ng ipis natin,lol!

10:46 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Vicky Thank you.

Yes, it's indeed very ironical that you failed your NCEE and pass the UPCAT which I believe is much harder. Just goes to show that these tests are not accurate.

You wouldn't believe how many applicants there are now at UP. It's in the tens of thousands and it is only getting 10% of those that applied. So, you see, it really is very competitive out there. No wonder the poor people are being displaced by those who earn more for their living.

Sachiko Thanks. What exactly did they mean about the ipis part?

12:40 PM  
Blogger cathcath said...

tirorolly,
siguro what she meant is the ipis in the dormitory.
offtopic,I was at the Union Station, Wash. Dc yesterday and was walking in front of the malls inside the station when suddenly a big cockroach crossed my path. I could have asked why did it cross the Road erm path. Cockroaches are big here in WA. while in the Bay Area, they are small and yet leaves stinky smell.

Back to UPCAT, grabeh pala, they make money for review. Back in my days, the only preparation, I can remember was my mother cooking fried eggs for me for breakfast, then eating longganisa when I made it to Diliman and eating ampalaya when my mom did not allow me to enroll in that university.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous sachiko said...

sabi..malaki daw ang size ng ipis sa pilipinas..roommate pala..

9:24 PM  
Anonymous potchi said...

Hi po.. napadaan lang po habang naghahanap ng mga blog ng mga taong nag-UPCAT din this year like me..

Although nag-review rin po ako over the summer, I agree with you kahit na po there are some things, though, na tinuturo sa review na hindi ordinarily tinuturo sa high school before senior year, such as Trigo.. Pero I dunno, maybe it's just me, pero wala namang gaanong lumalabas na ganun sa exams, and it's actually easier than the review centers' mock exams.. Most questions in the UPCAT are things that a student can learn even without review centers, kasi nga it's just practically what you've learned in high school. Pero some parents, maybe because they really really want their kids to go to UP, sign up their children for review classes, hoping that doing so will increase their kid's chances of passing, since that's exactly what the review centers claim to do.

Pero baka po hindi gaanong representative ng buong UPCAT-taker population ang opinion ko, haha. Kaya nga po ako naghahanap ng mga blog ng fellow-UPCAT-takers ko, kasi I wanted to know what non science high school students thought, kasi puro opinion ng mga schoolmates ang nalalaman ko, hehe.

Sige po, good luck na lang po sa daughter nyo. :)

7:09 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Cath hehe parang why did the chicken cross the street ha. Yan ba yung talagang malalaking ipis na halos kasinglaki ng fingers? Pero sa Mexico ata yun no?

Exactly. Ang preparation lang natin nuon, masarap na agahan at mga pagkaing pampatalino daw. Ako din di nakapag test sa UP. During that time kasi it was the height of student activism eh takot parents ko. Sayang, ang lapit sana sa Marikina non where I used to live.

Sachiko Nakakatakot namang roommates non? Parang galing kay Kafka.

potchi Hello! Kung totoong merong tinanong na hindi itinuturo sa High School, eh, mayu pagka unfair ata. Teka\, baka naman absent ka lang nang ituro yun ha? Kasi ang Trigo alam ko kinuha ko nung 3rd year ako eh hehehe.

I can just imagine the mock exams of the review centers being harder. They have to get a high percentage of passers just so they can justify their existence eh.

Good luck din sayo!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Svelte Rogue said...

tito rols, LMAO!!! natatawa ako sa iyo at sachi, classic case of MIS-understanding ata... allow me to clarify...

sachi, i believe, was referring to what her daughter's roommate noticed at the dorm in UP, the big roaches. i don't think she meant that the roommates were like cockroaches... hehehe now if i misunderstood Your comments to sachi, forgive me... my head hasn't been on straight the past few weeks...

as for review centres, i would personally take a job at these centres for the money and not think too much of the potentially deprived poor... kasi nga, you don't really need to go to a review center if you have your logic and common sense down pat, whether rich or poor ka. i still had classmates at UP who were dirt poor, so kahit papano, nakapasok pa rin sila, in spite of the high profile of the rich kids, lalo na sa mga high profile courses ng BA at eng'g.

it's also hard to compare tests, tito rols, like the NCEE & the UPCAT, except maybe in form, dahil parehas ata silang multiple choice. but the kind of questions and choices, plus the scoring system... not to mention pa the content covered...

i remember finding the UPCAT really easy and answered everything on it kahit na right-minus-wrong siya, and the ACET (sa ateneo) really really stupid because of all the stupid trivial questions na kahit sa jeopardy hindi mo makikita tapos may equally silly time limit pa... the NCEE... parang distant memory na siya. hehehe may bearing pa ba yon???

11:33 PM  
Blogger Mec said...

true... many have said that UP has ceased to be an equal-opportunity school where the rich and poor can rub elbows so long as they both have the potentials and the drive to learn and make it in life...

because clearly, even the poor who can get scholarships will never be able to afford the moeny for projects... for meal allowance... for transportation...

anyway Tito Rolly, I trust that your daughter will be accepted at the university she really wants to attend :)

2:02 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Svelte Hehe I was just mesing up with Sachi.

Yes, multiple choice ang mga tests. Easier to check with those holes matching the correct answers.

Marami ngang nagsabing madali lang ang UPCAT. Don't have any idea about Ateneo's though.

Wala na atang NCEE ngayon.

Mec Sad no.

Thank you and I hope so.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Titorolly,
Having been an insider in a state funded university, ( I can divulge to you in email only) I can tell you that some of the examinees don't fail. IT is just because of the quota system.

Kaya nga yong ibang pumasa sa ibang UP system pinapadala kasi puno sa Diliman.

Parang kagaya din yan sa US Embassy na kasama sa quota ang mga recommended ng mga "gods" in the government.


The Ca t

5:01 PM  
Blogger Svelte Rogue said...

ang pumalit sa NCEE ay yung NSAT kung di ako nagkakamali...

the ACET is a timed test, parang SAT's. ok sana kaso minsan parang nakakaduling lang gawin.

looking back though, in terms of a test, i guess yung ateneo entrance test ang pinaka diversified na ang approach sa content para sa test taker, so it aims to "hit" at the different intelligences na meron sa applicant. tapos meron pang essay, at titingnan ang iyong high school record (kasi kung stellar yon, malaki chance mo maging merit scholar, not a financial scholar, so you have the privilege of skipping basic courses and going straight to higher level courses).

things may have changed since i last took those tests, though. nung time ko, yung crush ko sa high school, nag under the table para makapasok sa ateneo... turn off... tapos di nakapasa sa freshman year, kaya out pa rin. lumipat siya sa ... ano ba yung college na yon, CRC... oh well, soft guys are soft forever. spoiled to death iyon... yung kapatid non, hindi nagbubukas ng sariling pinto sa sasakyan, kelangan pang bumaba ng yaya niya sa kotse para pagbuksan siya, kahit na laser lang yung pang-sundo sa kanya! hahaha meanness hehehe

kung saan saan nang napunta mga towts ko

7:44 PM  
Blogger Rey A said...

Tito Rolly kumusta na? Napansin ko na ang paksa mo sa kasalukuyan ay ukol sa karunungan at sariling wika. Mabigat na talakayan. Para sa akin gusto ko lamang ipahatid ang aking pagbati sa magiging "Iskolar ng Bayan" :)

1:34 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Svelte YEs, the NSAT but even that has been stopped.

Even at the Ateneo, may nga-under the table? Sad.

Rey A Salamat.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous potchi said...

Ay, hindi po, present po ako sa lahat ng araw ng kalbaryo sa Trigo! Haha. What I meant was that hindi po sya tinuturo sa ordinaryong high school, so parang medyo unfair po kung mga ganun ung tanong sa UPCAT dahil ang tinetest po dun ay mga napag-aralan ng karamihan from first to third year. :)

7:49 AM  
Blogger Svelte Rogue said...

anube, tito rolly!!!! akala mo bang walang kurakot na blue eagles? hindi lang archers ang mandaraya...

bwahahahaha

gotcha!!!

8:10 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Potchi Sinigurado ko lang, hahaha

Svelte LMAO! That just made my morning a wonderful one. Thanks.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous bayi said...

Looks like the Philippines are following the same trend in countries like Japan, Singapore, China and some of the other more developed countries where the entrance examination to prestigious universities is taken so seriously that the examination has been commercialized with high fees for its reviews. While these reviews may offer a student a marginal advantage, I believe a good student need not attend such reviews.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tito Rolly,

So your daughter is taking the UPCAT. You also mentioned that your two children were also taking the UPCAT but in the afternoon. Did they pass? Even if they didn't, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I believe that UP is overrated anyway. HEHEHE. They can still go to UE (You are still teaching there right?). At least they could see you there everyday. HAHAHA.

5:23 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Anonymous YEs, she did take the exam last Saturday. Her siblings, like her, wasn't bent on going to UP. They just took it as a practice for the university affiliated to where they studied their elementary and high school and where my wife works.

No, I am no longer in UE since I graduated college. I teach in a different school. :-)

10:06 PM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

Tito Rolly, the UPCAT marks for me the passage of time. I took it over, OMG, 30 years ago. My HS classmates and I all had to stay overnight in Iloilo so it was like a picnic - the fun we had in the hotel was more memorable than the exams, he he. Happily, we passed and all went to Diliman (though I didn't finish there, got homesick). When I had to take my niece 3 years ago to take the UPCAT, I did so because the exams were held in the school where I was teaching. And last Sunday, another niece took the UPCAT again. Parang, how time flies so fast!

But my point is this: here in Bacolod, we don't have review centers for the UPCAT, neither for the CPA board exams, the Bar and some other professional courses. I can't understand why people have to review for the UPCAT and the LAE. Maybe it's just an excuse for making more money? If the student's foundation is good (either in HS or in college), he/she does not have to go to a review school. But it seems that in college, for example in nursing or the accountancy or engineering, it's "traditional" to go to a review school prior to taking the board exams. Sometimes I think this gives the undergrad teachers reason for being lazy as many of them tend to say, "anyway, you're reviewing pa naman before the board exams." It's almost like a conspiracy between these undergrad teachers and the reviewers.

12:20 PM  
Blogger auee said...

hi tito rolly, please tell your daughter, madaming naka-cross ang fingers for her, inc. me!

Dito sa UK common din ang review centers para sa mga school entrance exams. Take note "school" is really secondary level & pre-college schools. Madami ding private tutors that can drill your kid... granted the parents can pay the fee.

Pero once you finish school & A-level and you want to enter the big uni's like Oxford or Cambridge, you're on your own. Those uni conduct interviews rather than exam. A friend in Oxford gave me a sample question she got asked:
"If a big enough hole is drilled on Earth & it loses gravity in the area, what would happen to a chair thrown in?"

As for review centers in Pinas for UP & Ateneo exams... they will never go away.

6:19 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bugsy Naranasan mo rin pala yung paghihintay ng matagal, no?Me isa pa kong sasamahan, si bunsoy.

I think it should be the more that high school teachers should work harder. Definitely, review centers is becoming big business. I even encountered one flyer that advertises that it has, if they did not own, teachers one from Ateneo and another from UP.

auee thanks a lot.

Ang hirap ng ganung test ano? Mas nakakanerbyos yun.

I guess they won't.

anonymous Akala ko meron din dito yung comment mo sa upper thread. I saw it posted three times sa email ko e.

4:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tito Rolly,

Pasiyensya na kasi akala ko nagkamali ako sa "word verification." so inilipat ko ang komento ko sa iba niyong blogs. Ipagpaumanhin niyo po.

Pero ano ho ang inyong makokomento sa balitang wala ni isang pumasok na unibersidad na galing sa Pilipinas sa top 100 schools, ayon sa newsweek magazine? At kung titingnan niyo rin ang "Top 500 World Universities" ayon sa Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2004),wala rin pong nakapasok na unibersidad na galing sa Pilipinas. Ganito na ho ba talaga kababa ang standard of education dito sa atin? Natatandaan ko pa noong mga 60's to 80's, nagpapadala pa ng mga estudyante ang mga taga-ibang bansa (at least sa ASEAN) para mag-aral dito sa atin. Pero ngayon, lumilipat na sila sa Hong Kong, Singapore, at Australia. Kailan ho ba mananatiling ganito?

9:06 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

anonymous Okay lang. Sigurado ka namang ipa-publish ko ang iyong isinulat sakin e.

Anyway, mahirap sagutin ang iyong katanungan e. Una sa lahat, wala akong data para malaman kung ano ang nangyari. Mahirap gumawa ng speculations. Pero, siguro maganda ring tingnan kung asan tayo nung mga naunang taon. Kung tayo ay nasa top 100 noon, at ngayon ay wala na, e sigurado ngang nag-decline ang standard ng ating pagtututuro. Pero, kung sa una pa man eh wala na tayo, baka ngayon pa lang tayo paangat, diba? Ang mas maganda sigurong katanungan ay kung paano tayo mapapasama doon sa listahan. It's useless asking ourselves why and lament on our sorry state when we can focus on the how. Yun na lang muna siguro.
Salamat sa pagdalaw. Sana sa susunod, lagay mo pangalan mo para magkakilala tayo.

9:38 PM  
Blogger ipanema said...

It looks like it's in a sad state. Review centres for entrance is too much. You're right in your analysis why these are sprouting. Education is being commercialised.

1:19 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

ipanema Thanks for the visit, the comment and the link.

Well, anything that will bring big bucks, I guess.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tito rolly,
gud am po. grabe ang talakayan dito pero punta sana tayo sa pinaka-basic na issue na ang edukasyon natin dito sa pinas ay masyado ng commercialized at bulok. wala ng pakialam ang mga agency ng gobyerno na dapat sana mag-control at magbigay ng giya sa nangyayari sa educational institutions natin. Tingnan mo na lang ang paglaganap ng nursing schools dito sa bansa. Meron lumabas sa dyaryo ng mga pangalan ng nursing schools indicating iyong passing rate nila. meron nursing schools na nakakuha ng 0 % ,ibig sabihin na walang nakapasa sa mga examinees nila.
sa topic ng latest controversy tungkol sa june 2006 nursing board exam, lumalabas na masyadong garapal na iyong mga namumuno ng board of nursing ,ilan officers ng philippine nursing association at philippine regulatory board sa paggawa ng mga hakbang na papabor sa kanila.ginamit nila ang kanilang posisyon at influensa sa paggawa ng hindi mabubuti. MAHALINTULAD NATIN ITO SA PANDARAYA NANGYARI NUNG NAKARAAN HALALAN. Ang pinaka-importante sana ay dapat MAGKAROON NG MORAL ASCENDENCY.
TAMA NA. ASAR NA.
tito rolly sana makapasa ang anak mo sa UP.

member ng silent majority

10:00 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Anonymous Medyo nagiging commercialized nga ba ang education? Medyo nga. Case in point, prep schools had mushroomed during the 90's and since then, education became a booming business. So, maaaring tama ka.

hehe, biglang napasukan ng politics ah. Let's leave it at that na lang muna.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Enrique said...

siguro nag-ugat ang mga ganitong gimik nang maglunsad ang UP ng summer review noong naunang dekada (90s ata, correct me if im wrong) para sa mga mag-aaral sa mga probinsya. layunin ng review classes na to (the name always slipped in my brain) na mas lalong manghikayat ng mga estudyante mula sa mga lalawigan. hanggang sa maisipan nang iba (Kumon et al) na gumawa ng mga ganitong review center. Ang mga ganitong senaryo ay di nalalayo sa mga review center para sa mga board exams. ilan sa mga kadahilanan ay:
1.) di nagtitiwala ang mga estudyante sa education system ng kanilang paaralan.
2.) nangangailangan ang ilang mag-aaral ng mas authoritive na magtuturo sa kanila kabilang dito ang mga tips o pointers na kailangan nilang gagawin (may isang review center ang minsang nagsabing "wala sa talino yan, nasa review center yan)
3.) pag-iisip na baka may lumabas na leakage sa nasabing review center (napapanahon ba? sa palagay ko matagal na 'to at ngayon lang nabigyan ng pansin)
nakakalungkot lang isipan na unti-unting kinakain ng komersyalisismo ang pag-iisip ng mga mag-aaral (pati na mga magulang). minsan sabi nga ng pinsan ko na may anak na kumukuha sa review center, "asset na yan!"
pasakalye lang, nang kumuha ako ng UPCAT di ako nagreview at kinuha ko'y puro quota courses kaya ayon lumagpak, pero sa ibang university na kinuhanan ko lahat ng first choices ko ang pumasa. maybe up was not intended for me.

1:27 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Enrique Expected na sagot ng isang taga review center yung tinuran mo na "wala sa talino yan, nasa review center yan" (self-serving ano?)

Maaaring tama ka sa mga analysis mo at maaari rin na tulad ng sinabi ko na:

1. Ang mga tinatanong sa entrance exams ay hindi angkop o hindi napag-aralan ng husto sa high school kaya kinakailangan pa ng review center;
2. Ang mga itinuturo ng mga paaralan ay masyadong basic at hindi natutumbok ang mga itinatanong sa mga college exams.

7:45 PM  

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  • There is always a silver lining
  • A Walk back to 1973 and I am 16 years old again
  • All's Well that Ends Well
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