UPCAT vs UPCA: Students weigh in on return of in-person entrance exams

August 17, 2022 - 1:56 PM
Art representing mixed reactions of University of the Philippines' students. ( (Art by Interaksyon/Uela Badayos)

Some schools just opened the school year but many senior high school students are already gearing up to enter their dream universities. 

One of the students’ top choices is the University of the Philippines (UP). 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state university has not conducted the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) for two consecutive years. Instead, the state university used an “admission scoring model,” also called UPCA.  

As more academic institutions are returning the in-person classes, the possibility of holding an onsite UPCAT for this year has been floated.

Given this development, students expressed their sentiments about the pros and cons of suspending the UPCAT.

“Bring back UPCAT! We know how dirty the grading system can be in a lot of schools, students with not-so-satisfactory grades do not mean they do not possess great potential. It’s fair to give everyone a shot instead,” a Twitter user said

“Sana may UPCAT fleece, I have a very low chance of passing UPCA e,” an online user wrote

A Twitter user also favors UPCAT, perceiving that the UPCA system is “unfair.” 

“Bring back UPCAT!!! Keep in mind that schools have different grading systems,” an online user noted

“An examination can give chances for us who received a low grade in high school. Though it isn’t the perfect test, it is the best way to screen the applicants,” a Twitter user said

An online user hoped that the admission exam would push through in person as he had already enrolled in a review center.  

Other students prefer the UPCA over UPCAT. 

While others are undecided on whether there should be a college entrance test, they pointed out the admission system’s flaws. 

“That is exactly what im saying,,,, there should be no UPCAT in the first place kung maayos lang ang sistema ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas. sobrang nakakapisil ng puso na para bang sa exam na iyon mababase ang kinabukasan mo. Education should be free and accessible to everyone,” a Twitter user said

“UPCA or UPCAT, pareho pa rin silang unfair dahil all students, regardless of intellectual ability, should be able to study (esp mga financially struggling) plus hindi naman lahat ng tao ay may privilege to focus ONLY on studies (or spend for it) na makakapasok sila sa UP,” an online user said

University Councils deliberation 

The UP’s University Councils — the highest policy-making bodies in each constituent university — deliberated whether they would administer or suspend the UPCAT last Friday, August 12.

“The proposal to suspend UPCAT for this year is in light of concerns about the public health situation,” UP said in an announcement

“In addition, the University is facing the logistical challenges of ensuring the safety and well-being of the more than 100,000 applicants and around 1,600 personnel who will administer the test nationwide,” the state university noted. 

The University Councils’ members include the Chancellor, professors, associate professors, and assistant professors of each UP constituent unit.