Aside from being the oldest university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) is also known as the Pontifical and Royal Catholic University in the Philippines. From its quality medical programs to its diverse art programs, UST offers a wide variety of courses as well as quality education. Moreover, the famous yellow school prides itself for its historical buildings, student-friendly campus, and annual Paskuhan.
However, to be a ~growling tiger~, one must prove themselves worthy to be one. Since things are slowly but surely going back to normal this 2023, aspiring Thomasians are now set to prepare for this year’s University of Santo Tomas Entrance Test (USTET). Replacing the score-based evaluation system, University of Santo Tomas Admission Rating (USTAR), UST returned its traditional entrance test when the pandemic started to ease last year.
If you wish to study at UST, here are some tips from actual Thomasians to help you prepare for the USTET:
1. Jasper Uson is an Advertising Arts major from the College of Fine Arts. Passionate about drawing and graphic design, he landed an internship position at NAOS Esports. He recalled the time he took the USTET in 2018 and gave a couple of tips that he wished he knew back then:
Wake up early! Always expect that entrance exams cause huge traffic in the area, whether it’s in UST or in the other big four universities. “Kasi [nang] pumunta ako noong USTET ko, sobrang traffic!” Jasper said. “Talagang makikita mo ‘yong kahabaan ng Sampaloc and ibang streets ng Manila [na] sobrang daming kotse, at muntikan na akong ma-late dahil doon.” So, save yourself from missing out on the opportunity by leaving your house earlier than usual.
Take note of your assigned building. UST isn’t like your local high school. It’s a huge campus with many different buildings all around. As someone who got lost twice during his entrance exams, Jasper advised USTET takers to plan ahead and research prior to their scheduled exam. “You can visit UST a few days before and check kung saan ‘yong building mo, you can look on it sa Google Maps, or ask a fellow Thomasian friend if you have one.”
2. Kara Bautista is soon graduating Cum Laude with a BS degree in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing Management. She’s also a Marketing Intern for the logistics company Ninja Van. Here are some of the things she learned during her USTET experience:
Review centers are helpful, but not necessarily a requirement. Although there are a lot of people who managed to pass without getting into a review center, enrolling in one can give you a bit of leverage. Review centers provide lectures, workbooks, and activities to help students prepare for their entrance exams. But if you prefer self-studying, Kara advised finding resources online and getting an outline of the exam. Knowing what to expect from USTET can make it easier to study for it.
Study Math and Science more. Despite being a pain for Math and Science-haters, take note that USTET is STEM-centered. “Ibig sabihin, you’ll find it very handy if you know a lot of concepts in Mathematics and Science,” Kara explained. No matter what your desired course is, have focused study sessions on these two subjects.
Don’t take the Mental Ability Test lightly. If your Mental Ability Test result is not up to par, you won’t be accepted into the university, even if you’ve passed all of the subjects. There are a lot of people who don’t take this part seriously and end up failing the USTET. Keep in mind that the Mental Ability Test plays a huge role in letting you into the university.
3. Alex Velasquez is a fourth-year Bachelor of Education (Special Needs) student. With her passion to teach the young, she opted to enroll in UST to finish her studies. The future educator shared a few reminders to future USTET takers:
Take the USTET seriously. Contrary to popular belief, USTET is not the easiest college entrance exam. If you’d believe it to be a piece of cake, then you’ll definitely set yourself up for failure. “Fix your mindset and really review and take it seriously kasi UST is not just for ‘clout’ lang,” Alex advised. “You're allowed to romanticize the university but it's also important to focus on the reason why you're there, which is to pass the entrance exam.”
This is an entrance exam, not an exam that will tell your worth. Setting aside all the pressure, the final results won’t define your worth as a person. Allow yourself the freedom to try and learn from your experience. Not being able to study at UST doesn’t mean it’s a dead-end for you. So, don’t be too hard on yourself!
4. Bryce Cabrera wanted to take a course on filmmaking but ended up taking AB Journalism instead. To make up for it, he became a MEDIARTRIX-UST member and the Acting Department Head at the Thomasian Film Society. He’s also a Tiger Jock at UST Tiger Radio. When it comes to USTET, Bryce provided some much-needed advice to prepare you for the ~Tomasino life~:
Secure and prepare your needed documents in advance. After sending in your application, list down every important file you will need for the USTET. Prepare everything ahead of time. Print your documents and place them in your bag right away. “Technically speaking, these are some of the very few steps and if not done right, might hinder your enrollment,” Bryce stated.
Make the most out of your high school experience. While you’re still in high school, don’t waste your time slacking off. A lot of the questions in the USTET are based on the lessons taught in your previous years. Doing well in academics can not only prepare you for the test, but also open doors to scholarship grants. Bryce suggested, “[Do your] best with what you're currently doing or studying. Because it may not seem like it, but a lot of what you're being put through will benefit you by the time you take your USTET or once you're in the university.”