6 ACET Tips Every Aspiring Atenean Should Know, According to Ateneo Students

Take note, future Ateneans!
by Marit Samson   |  May 26, 2023
Image: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Arianna Louise Lopez, Paolo Gabriel Estrella
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If you are an aspiring Atenean, the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET) could be one of the most important exams that you will ever take in your academic life. Although the ACET was striked off from the list of application requirements for two years due to the pandemic, its revival was announced by the admissions office of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) last August 2022.

ALSO READ: 7 of the Best Courses to Take at Ateneo de Manila University

The last batch of Ateneans who took the ACET are juniors now! Before they officially go down the hill, here are some tips you could learn from them as you prepare for the test:

  1. Gap Estrella is an English Literature major while juggling two Minors—Education and Korean Studies. Gap emphasized the time challenge of the ACET so he gives a kind reminder on knowing which parts of the exam to prioritize:

Manage your time wisely. Planning which parts of the exam to spend more of your time on is crucial since the ACET is known to be one of the most time-constrained entrance tests. Gap shared, “During my time, the English proficiency portion included an essay on top of answering about 100 items, and the proctors don't tell you when to answer which part. Be prepared to chunk your time on your own so that you have enough time to properly go through each part.”

  1. Alicia Baquiran is a graduating senior  from ADMU, and will be finishing her degree in BS Management with honors. Apart from her academic excellence, she is also an officer in various student organizations. Alicia shared very interesting tips for the English and Mathematics portions of ACET:

Write your essay first. For Alicia, prioritizing the essay helped her pace herself with the English portion of the ACET. She advised, “Utilize your brain cells where you need it the most!” Writing an essay under time pressure does not come easy for several students. So, taking Alicia’s advice may help your brain work more efficiently since it’s not as drained yet from the series of multiple-choice items.

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It's okay to skip questions. This tip applies more to the Mathematics portion of the ACET, especially if Math isn’t really your strong suit! Alicia suggests for you to skim through all the questions in the booklet first and answer the easy items right away. But remember also to mark the questions you plan to answer later, or the items you are still uncertain about. “I personally place a very light asterisk right next to the number so that I don't forget them! Once you've finished the easier items, you can now divide the rest of your remaining time to the more difficult and more daunting problem sets,” she revealed.

  1. Yani Lopez shifted from BFA Theater Arts to AB Communication. Although she admitted to not acing the ACET before, she is now set to graduate as magna cum laude. Yani talked about the importance of sharing your struggles with the right circle of people. Here are some specific study methods you can try with your friends:

Review with your friends. It may be different for others, but for Yani, studying with friends was actually helpful! Here are some specific methods you can try with your ‘kada as tried and tested by Yani: “You guys can set different days covering different topics—reciting Math formulas together, coming up with a 'word of the day' to brush up on vocabs, solving puzzles for logical reasoning, and chatting about general information that who knows could potentially come out in the test.” Discussing relevant topics and having a question-and-answer conversation with your friends is an effective way to check each other’s mastery on different subjects.

  1. Kyla Cortez is a financial aid scholar who shifted from AB Diplomacy and International Relations to AB Psychology. She was recently awarded 2nd place for Best Psychology Thesis. On top of that, she is also graduating as Magna Cum Laude. For Kyla, mentally preparing yourself even after the exam is also a must:

Make your essay concise and personal. Essay prompts in the ACET may be abstract. As much as it allows for more creativity, it could also make it easy for you to get carried away, causing your essay to lose structure and clarity. For Kyla, focusing on only two themes apart from following the intro-body-conclusion format helped her essay be more cohesive. Another piece of advice she gave is to “relate your personal experiences to your insights because doing so will help the reviewers understand more about you outside of your academic qualifications.” Kyla emphasized the importance of letting your personality show in your essay, so make sure to bring your A-game!

Mentally prepare yourself. Aside from doing the necessary academic preparations, Kyla pointed out the importance of protecting your mental health before the exam by eating  wholesome food and focusing on positive thoughts. Mental preparation also includes creating a plan for how you will approach the exam. This would lessen the mental load and the anxiety during the exam proper. Finally, Kyla also gave a reminder to care for yourself even after the exam. She said, “Remember to congratulate yourself on a job well done and reward yourself with a treat after the exam. Remember to be kind to yourself and keep a positive attitude until the results come in!”


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Marit Samson