For two days around this time every year, thousands of high school graduates troop to campuses of the University of the Philippines (UP) nationwide to take a shot at a much-coveted UP slot.
But first things first, they have to pass the University of the Philippine College Admission Test (UPCAT), said to be the country’s toughest college entrance exam.
Last weekend, about 75,000 young people braved the rains (in Metro Manila), the heat (in other test centers), and most importantly, the nerves (everywhere!).
UP Diliman traditionally hosts the biggest number of examinees every year. The 2012 batch of examinees is also the first to take an UPCAT with an essay portion. In the past, UPCAT consisted only of multiple choice questions in Science, Math, Reading Comprehension and Language Proficiency. The right-minus-wrong method of scoring is also being implemented.
But more than just an entrance exam, the UPCAT is one memorable experience.
Just ask the girl who lost her way to her exam room amid the huge UP Diliman campus, or the boy who did not eat enough breakfast and was not ready for the five-hour test; the mother who prayed hard for her son to pass the exam because this is their only shot at a topnotch and free college education, or the father who held the umbrella over the head of his son to protect him from the rains before the test; the vendor who made a killing selling streetfood, or the traffic policeman who had a headache figurinng out how to direct all those cars and the thousands of people.
And so the waiting begins until the results are released in Feburary of next year.
By IVY LISA F. MENDOZA,