ACET (Ateneo College Entrance Test)

The Ateneo College Entrance Test or ACET is a test that must be taken by graduating high school students who wish to study at the Ateneo de Manila University. For this year, students taking the ACET at the Loyola Heights Campus will have one of the following test schedules: September 20, 2014, Saturday, 7:30am to 12:30pm or 1:30 pm to 6:30pm and September 21, 2014, Sunday,with the same two choices of time slot.

If you have nothing important to do in the Katipunan area on the said dates, please stay away as traffic is expected to be heavy.

Last year, my son took the ACET on a Sunday, morning schedule. Similar to the UPCAT, a morning schedule is usually better than an afternoon one as there is less traffic to contend with, both going in and coming out of the Ateneo campus.

For his 7:30am test schedule, we left the house really early at 5:40am (better early than sorry for you only take these tests once in your lifetime) and we were already at the Ateneo campus by 5:52am. There was already a build up of cars by then but since it was relatively early, we were still relaxed. Luckily for my son, his testing area was at the Ateneo High School -- a place that felt like home to him. As we approached the high school area, we discovered that to ease the traffic situation, the guards were not allowing vehicles to go straight to the high school area to drop students off. There was some sort of a shuttle though that students could go on (useful for those who do not know the place) to get to the high school area. With traffic building up, my son just decided to get off where he could and walk to the high school. Before getting off, we agreed on where we would pick him up after the test as parking near the area may not be possible. We agreed on a nearby shed - also familiar to him since this is where he would usually be picked up by his school bus on regular school days. As for parking, we parked a long way from the high school as that's where parking was available. Our parking was closer to the entrance gates than to the high school.

By 8am, the Ateneo campus already looked like a ghost town - with no more cars coming in and with no more pedestrians walking around the campus, going to their testing areas. If you live nearby, you can probably go home and just come back but in our case, just like with the UPCAT, we decided to wait it out in the area.

We needed to use the bathroom at some time and last year, we found some open bathrooms at Xavier Hall. Since it was a five-hour wait, we decided to have breakfast at Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe, right across Katipunan. If you plan to do the same thing, you can try going out gate 3.5 (yes, there is a gate 3.5 there or there may have been a gate 3.5 before) and go via overpass. Breakfast starts at 7am and I remember that I had the beef tapa which was crispy -- more like bacon -- and it was not the usual tapa that I expected. The place was full and we also met parents who were also waiting for their child who was taking the ACET.

There's a Fully Booked in the area (at the Ground Level of Regis Center, 327 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights Quezon City), at the same structure where Mom and Tina's is located. Fully Booked opens at 10am and this is a good place to kill time although you are likely to spend much money on books once you get there. Regis Center was filled with parents/families waiting for ACET takers.

For afternoon test takers with tests starting at 1:30pm, be forewarned that traffic already starts to build up in the area as early as 11:15am, based on our observation last year. Make sure also to bring umbrellas and make sure your child has an umbrella too since on our way back to pick up my son, it started to rain. Since we were parked a long way from the high school and since it rained quite hard eventually, we all got wet (even with umbrellas) going to and from the high school. The ground that you walk on can get muddy so make sure you wear closed/comfortable shoes that you don't mind getting wet and dirty.

As we went to pick up my son, traffic in the high school area was again building up from parents with cars picking up their children and parents with cars bringing their children to take the afternoon test. Just like during the UPCAT, people watching and listening to people kept us entertained. The traffic or security personnel would say things like: "Good luck sa mga kukuha ng test. Clogged na po ang traffic so ibaba niyo na lang po ang mga kukuha ng test." (Good luck to all test takers. Traffic is already clogged so please drop off test takers at this point.") "Madame!" - addressed to a woman who crossed when and where she was not supposed to - "Baka po kayo mapahamak. Huwag na po kayong dumagdag sa traffic." (You are putting yourself in danger. Please do not worsen the traffic situation anymore.)

After a few minutes of waiting at the shed (our appointed meeting place), my son arrived and was just happy to finish his five-hour test. Rather than the contents/coverage of the test, he commented on the "time pressure." We were happier months later (sometime in January this year if I remember correctly) when we found out that he made it to the Ateneo de Manila University for an honors course. Getting into an honors course requires that you make it to the top 15% of succesful ACET takers.

Note: By the way, for the results, going to the Ateneo campus early on is a more reliable way of finding out whether you passed. If you try to log on to the online system early -- as in the first few hours from the time the results are announced -- there may be glitches -- as we experienced and you might get a message saying that you did not pass. We did not go to the campus anymore (though some people we know did) and just waited till the online system worked properly. You can also expect your child's classmates and other people to post pictures of the names on social media so life is easier these days.

Did my son choose to go to the Ateneo? Since he had been at the Ateneo practically his whole life, he eventually chose to go to UP Diliman for a change and for other considerations. But right from the start, he knew where he wanted to go for college -- it was either Diliman or Katipunan and by Katipunan, he meant Ateneo.

To all the ACET takers this year and in the years to come, good luck to you and your families...Entrance tests of this sort are always family affairs. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Here's to Magis, regardless of where life takes you...

For other details on applying to the Ateneo, please visit: Ateneo de Manila University Admission

[By Angelica Viloria | Saturday, September 6, 2014]

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