‘Pa-mine na lang’: Twitter users quip selling reviewers after state university cancels UPCAT for 2021

November 10, 2020 - 5:36 PM
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Oblation at UP Diliman
The "oblation" stands in front of Quezon Hall, the administration building of the University of the Philippines Diliman. (Wikimedia Commons/Ramon Velasquez)

Some Twitter users quipped of selling their own reviewers for the college entrance exam after the country’s premier state university announced that it would no longer conduct its admissions tests for this year.

The University of the Philippines on Tuesday announced that it will not conduct its annual UPCAT or the UP College Admissions Test due to logistical issues brought by the restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

It said that university councils of eight UP schools in the country had unanimously decided to call off the entrance test for the intake of first year students in the academic year 2021-2022 due to difficulties with the pen-and-paper testing, as well as conducting it online.

“Taking into account the uncertain trajectory and uneven spread of COVID-19 in different parts of the Philippines, majority of the UC members did not deem it feasible to administer the usual UPCAT involving around 1,600 testing personnel deployed to 94 testing centers throughout the archipelago,” a report on UP website read.

“According to the same memorandum, majority of the UC members did not consider an online UPCAT examination feasible either. This is primarily due to the length of the exam and variety of items that would require a consistently strong Internet connection to download within the time allotted for examinees to answer,” it added.

The university shared that it has previously studied such options last October and added that foregoing UPCAT was the last resort.

Its Board of Regents has also instructed the Office of Admissions (OAdms) “to come up with a modified freshman admission systems specific to AY 2021-2022 by February 2021 in light of the pandemic.”

The report added that it “includes the use of big data analytics to arrive at a UP admission score model, which the OAdms, together with other concerned offices, is currently developing, as well as the determination by academic units of an additional layer of screening for particular programs, if deemed necessary.”

UP said aspiring “iskolars ng bayan” are supposed to take the UPCAT on October 10 to 11 this year if the pandemic didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, its application period for the next academic year will start in December 2020.

The announcement prompted the keyword “UPCAT” to enter the local Twitter’s top trending list as of Tuesday afternoon as students started airing their comments about the latest development.

Some have quipped about selling their respective reviewers since UPCAT would no longer happen in 2021.

“Who’s looking for UPCAT book reviewers? DM (direct message) me. Price is cheaper than the original price,” another Twitter user said after UP announced its cancellation of UPCAT.

The online user in a separate tweet shared pictures of her reviewers and then said that she was selling it for “the next upcoming freshies” or freshmen.

Incoming college students buy reviewers and guides to help them secure excellent scores in entrance tests for admissions to universities, particularly those in the “big four.”

The “big four” refers to universities known for its reputations in academic excellence such as UP, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas.

Some reviewers are specifically designed for a particular entrance exam, hence the publication of guides such as “UPCAT Reviewer” or “UPCAT Champion.”

Schools with no entrance tests

Last September, Ateneo and UST announced that it will screen incoming college students based on their past scholastic records and not through the ACET (Ateneo College Entrance Test) and USTET (UST Entrance Test), which are usually administered yearly.

RELATED: Unfair or not? Ateneo and UST’s new criteria for accepting freshmen are based on past credentials

These announcements were met with mixed reactions as some students consider college entrance exams the last resort in entering their dream schools, particularly if they have not done well in high school.

“If you’re relieved that both the ACET and USTET were not administered this year, that’s because you were lucky enough to receive satisfactory grades (regardless if you made an effort or not)—which is NOT something that all students get. Again, check your privilege,” a Twitter user previously wrote.

“It’s unfair for admission to be based solely on awards and grades from the applicants’ previous schools kasi aminin na natin, may mga school talaga na mema mema mamigay ng grade at award,” another online user said in September.