Preparing for college entrance exams can be very intimidating, especially if you’re aiming to get into one of the top universities in the Philippines such as the University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), and University of Santo Tomas (UST). These universities are highly competitive and their admission tests are designed to challenge even the most academically gifted students.

To help you prepare for these exams and increase your chances of getting accepted, AHEAD compiled a list of the top mistakes to avoid in UP, Ateneo, La Salle, and UST college entrance test preparations.

Mistake #1: Procrastination

Procrastination is a common mistake among students when preparing for exams. It’s easy to get sidetracked by other things and put off studying until the last minute. However, this can lead to a lack of preparation, stress, and poor performance on the day of the exam. To avoid procrastination, create a study schedule that allows you to cover all the topics you need to study before the exam. Break down your study sessions into smaller chunks and set deadlines for each session.

Mistake #2: Neglecting Basic Concepts

One of the most common mistakes students make when preparing for college entrance exams is neglecting basic concepts. These exams are designed to test your understanding of the fundamental concepts in different subjects. If you don’t have a solid foundation of these concepts, it will be difficult to answer the more complex questions. Make sure you have a good grasp of the basics before moving on to more advanced topics.

Mistake #3: Not Practicing Enough

Practice is crucial when preparing for any exam, and college entrance exams are no exception. You need to practice answering different types of questions to get a feel for the exam format and structure. It’s also important to time yourself when practicing, so you get used to answering questions within the allotted time. You can also practice using the pomodoro technique to be more efficient.

Mistake #4: Overconfidence

Being overconfident can be just as harmful as being underprepared. Some students believe that their high grades in school or their extensive knowledge in a particular subject will be enough to pass the college entrance exam. However, these exams are designed to be challenging and test a wide range of knowledge and skills. Overconfidence can lead to complacency and lack of preparation, which can result in poor performance on the day of the exam.

Mistake #5: Not Knowing the Exam Format

Each university has its own format for their entrance exams. It’s important to know the format of the exam you’re taking so you can prepare accordingly. UP, for example, has a General Ability Test (GAT) and a specialized subject exam for each course. Ateneo and La Salle have their own version of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). UST has its own exam format that includes both objective and essay-type questions. Knowing the format of the exam can help you focus your preparation and improve your chances of passing.

Mistake #6: Not Managing Time Effectively

Time management is crucial when preparing for college entrance exams. You need to allocate enough time to study each subject, practice answering questions, and take breaks. It’s also important to manage your time on the day of the exam, so you have enough time to answer all the questions within the allotted time. Practice time management skills during your study sessions to get used to managing your time effectively.

Mistake #7: Not Seeking Help

Some students believe that they can handle the preparation for the college entrance exams on their own. However, seeking help from review centers, mentors, or tutors can significantly improve your chances of passing the exam. And it is not a bad sign to seek help, it just shows your willingness to learn and to adapt more in the things that you’re unfamiliar with. 

Mistake #8: Not Reviewing Past Lessons

Some students tend to focus on new topics or subjects they are not familiar with, neglecting to review past lessons they have already learned. Reviewing past lessons can help refresh your memory and strengthen your understanding of important concepts. It’s important to keep in mind that college entrance exams can cover topics from your entire high school education, so a comprehensive review is essential.

Mistake #9: Cramming

Cramming may seem like a quick fix to prepare for an exam, but it can actually be counterproductive. When you cram, you are more likely to forget information and become overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to absorb. It’s better to study in small, consistent increments rather than trying to absorb everything in a single marathon study session.

Mistake #10: Neglecting Mental and Physical Health

Preparing for college entrance exams can be mentally and physically exhausting, and neglecting your health can have a negative impact on your performance. Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Taking care of your mental health is also important; take breaks and engage in activities that help you relax and de-stress.

Mistake #11: Ignoring Test-Taking Strategies

Test-taking strategies can significantly improve your performance on college entrance exams. For example, answering the easiest questions first can help build your confidence and save time for more challenging questions. Eliminating obviously incorrect answers can also increase your chances of choosing the correct answer. Practice these strategies during your study sessions to help you feel more confident on the day of the exam.

Mistake #12: Not Managing Anxiety

Feeling anxious during college entrance exams is normal, but it can be detrimental to your performance if not managed properly. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and positive self-talk to help manage your anxiety. It’s also helpful to arrive early on the day of the exam, so you have time to settle in and calm your nerves.


In conclusion, preparing for college entrance exams can be a challenging and stressful process. However, by avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of passing and achieving your academic goals. Remember to create a study schedule, review basic concepts, practice answering different types of questions, manage your time effectively, seek help when needed, and take care of your physical and mental health. 

And for a guaranteed pass, enroll at AHEAD Tutorial and Review Center! AHEAD offers comprehensive review and tutorial programs that can help you pass UPCAT, ACET, DCAT and USTET. We specialize in subjects such as Math, Science, English, Filipino, Social Studies, and more, catering to students from elementary to college levels.

Over the years, AHEAD has helped thousands of students excel academically and achieve their goals. Many of its alumni have successfully gained admission to top universities, passed licensure exams with flying colors, and pursued successful careers in various fields.

To know more about us, visit or contact us at  0917 891 1187.

Written By: Lovely Lauron
Edited By: Chin De Chavez

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