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English Topic

Word Play

The good news is that these sections don’t have to be

intimidating, provided you know what’s coming. Expect to be
tested on synonyms, antonyms, error identification, analogies
and reading comprehension.

The first two are pretty much straightforward. Just tap into
your vocabulary data banks and pick the best or opposite of
the words they give you. For instance, let’s say the item is the
word “augment.” Given a list of possible answers, you can
choose the word “increase” as a synonym and “decrease” as
an antonym..

Intense Scrutiny

Error identification requires a keen eye for detail—you’ll be

asked to examine underlined words in sentences and pick out
the mistakes. To make things even trickier, there are items
without any errors at all. It looks a bit like this:

Shirley and his mother came over to our place for dinner. No


Unless Shirley was born biologically male and simply chose to

undergo an operation later, it makes sense to choose B as the
correct answer.


The analogy and reading comprehension sections will take you

a little more time to get through than the other sections. The
former basically involves a sequence of words, and you’re
supposed to guess the next correct word in the series. Think of
it as the English version of abstract reasoning. As an example:

Doe: Deer:: _____: Bear

Note that the analogy questions may also ask for two words in
the series instead of just one.

The comprehension section will you have you read essays or

short stories and answer questions based on them. The
questions can be based on facts stated outright, or inferences
drawn from the passages. Expect the test to try and twist
details around to see if you’re really understood what you’ve

Final Tips

One of the things I’m most thankful for is the fact that my
parents got me into reading at an early age. Even if you’re not
a voracious reader by nature, it’s not too late to pick up the
habit. Start preparing for the English portion of the entrance
exam by reading a lot. Better yet, read to yourself aloud.

My father also came up with this piece of helpful advice: whip

out your dictionary and learn at least one new word everyday.
If you do this faithfully, your vocabulary will expand to three
hundred and sixty-five new words after one year.
If you’re in the mood for some pre-testing challenge, grab one
of those activity books you see in bookstores or go visit a site
with word puzzles, such as or Merriam-
Webster’s site. When the time for the exam comes, you’ll be
glad you did

Of Languages and Patterns

My godfather once told me that he once had trouble with math

—until he came to understand it as a language. In fact, any
tricky subject, abstract reasoning included, has a language all
its own, and that language can be broken down further into
rules and patterns.

The key, then, is to understand, the pattern or the rule behind

the question. If you’ll notice, most abstract reasoning
questions come in the form of sequences, with you being
asked to find the missing part in the sequence.

Rotations and Reflections

Here’s a tip: study the available parts of the sequence and

look for similar elements, shapes, shaded portions, and their
corresponding numbers. It’s common practice for the elements
in a set to get rotated around.

In these cases, it helps to think of one unit of sequence as the

blade of an electric fan or a mirrored globe in a disco. If you
know in which direction the “blade” or “facet of the globe” is
moving in, you can figure out what the missing portion is and
where it’ll turn up.
“Sudoku” Relationships

Another approach involves studying the relationships between

elements in a grid. Oftentimes, you’ll see similar shapes
strewn throughout that differ only in terms of shading or the
particular direction that they’re facing.

Study the relationships between elements by taking them per

row or column at a time. If the grid is bigger than four by four,
divide it as such. And then, take a look at the available
answers and, by process of elimination, select the one that the
sequence seems to be missing.

Practices Makes…

The ability to understand relationships, whether it’s between

things or people, is a skill. Like all skills, it can be developed
through practice. Fortunately, you don’t have to look any
farther than your friendly neighborhood Internet.

If you’d like to get your feet wet in the world of abstract

reasoning way before the entrance exam date, or if you’d
simply like to keep your skills sharp, here are links to a few
resources I’ve found online:

1. Psychometric Success – This one contains some good

questions to get you started, complete with an answer key and
a brief history on the topic.

2. Logic and Reasoning Problems – This site has a good

collection of reasoning problems, abstract and otherwise. The
areas of interest are slides 22 to 23 (pages 11 to 12), with
answers on slide 116 (page 105)

3. Kent.AC.UK – Classified as “non-verbal reasoning,” this

webpage has 20 questions worth of abstract reasoning, plus
hints, strategies and an answer key, to boot.

4. YouTube video – Nope, this isn’t a pure sample of test

questions. It’s more of a visual guide designed to help you nail
those abstract reasoning exams.

The Long and Short of It

If you’ve been paying attention in grade school science, class,

then you’re in luck: you’ll see lots of familiar concepts during
the exam. Basically, expect science high schools to throw
biology, chemistry and physics-based questions at you.
In a lot of cases, the questions you’ll encounter on the exam
have something to do with familiar, everyday phenomena:
human body processes, the water cycle, moving objects and
what not. Of course, you will also get the “once in a blue
moon” kind of questions—think total eclipses, speculations on
hypothetical planets, venereal diseases, etcetera.

What? More Computations?

Don’t lull yourself into a false security by thinking that this is

science and not math. There are still some computation-
related questions involved. For example, you may be given the
formula for computing the amount of kinetic energy in a
moving object, and then asked to solve for the total amount
given a certain amount of speed.
Be sure to have your stock knowledge of simple formulas
ready, as some questions will press you for answers without
giving you the formulas at all. They may, for example, tell you
that a certain substance has a mass of twenty grams and a
volume of one hundred cubic centimeters.

If you’re not familiar with the basic formula for deriving

density (mass divided by volume), then you’ll have a trickier
time arriving at the correct answer of .2 grams per cubic

Visual Stimuli

As with the math section of the exam, the science portion also
involves some handy-dandy charts, graphs and diagrams for
you to study and draw inferences from. For instance, a
common physics question involves a diagram of a circuit,
where your job is to determine the direction of the flow of

In most cases, the answers to the questions that come with

visual aids will be starting you in the face—all you have to do
is to look carefully at the pictures, consider the facts and draw
your conclusions. At other times, the answer won’t be so
obvious, so you will need to combine observation with stock
knowledge then.

Case in point: you may be shown a picture of a burning candle

with a test tube being lowered over it. Of course, the candle
goes out, and the picture doesn’t say outright that the act of
lowering the test tube over the candle has effectively snuffed
out the oxygen supply.
A Final Word
The science section may be less on computation and more on
common sense than the math section, but don’t let your guard
down for a moment. Pray, keep your mind clear, review your
computations and answers, think in a step-by-step fashion,
and you’ll do just fine





Algebra composed

Variable and numerals: