Monday, April 17, 2017

My PhiLSAT Experience


I don't know why, but I always seem to have pioneering experiences in my life; from being the first elementary batch to follow a new way of ranking honor students, the first high school batch to follow a new curriculum, the first college batch in our university to adopt the zero-based grading system, the first batch to graduate with the degree in Real Estate Management, and now this - the first batch of aspiring lawyers to take the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT).

If you're curious about how my experience has been during the exam, feel free to read on. :)

Last Sunday, April 16, 2017, we became part of history. The Legal Education Board had held its first ever nationwide Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT). The PhiLSAT will be a uniform admission test for the aspiring lawyers, which is now mandatory to be taken in order to be enrolled in any Law School in the Philippines. The examinee needs to have a raw score of 55% in order to pass the exam and be admitted to Law School, but since this is the pioneering year, Law Schools have the discretion to either accept or reject any applicant even if he/she didn't pass the exam.

So yes, here is my overall experience during the PhiLSAT exam day.

Let's fast forward to the time I arrived at the testing site, which is my ever beloved alma mater, Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan. You might think that I am already very familiar with all the buildings in this university, but you are wrong.

My assigned building was the School of Medicine building. To tell you frankly, this is the ONLY building in Xavier University that I wasn't able to get into, which is why I tried to visit it days prior the exam for me to familiarize. But then, here is the twist.

I was not aware of the different passages of the building. The only path I knew was the one adjacent to Ororama, which was actually being closed during Sundays. I also knew about the path on the 3rd floor of our Engineering building (which we weren't usually allowed to pass since it's exclusive for Med students), but I became more lost since the stairs confused me, and yes, this was the path we were required to pass to arrive at our testing room. Since I got lost, I had an instant workout in the morning. When I finally arrived outside the room, I was sweating really bad, and I felt the need to pee. I got lost again while finding the comfort room. Gosh. It was only 3 minutes to 7 at that time, so yes, you know how I got stressed. 

It was a relief though that the only thing that was asked by 7 am was to form in line by seat number. Our requirements weren't checked until 7:15, so we stood outside the room waiting for our turn to get inside as the facilitators checked each of our requirements one by one. It was good that I was the 15th person to get inside, so that meant I had more time to relax than my counterparts who were assigned seating numbers next to mine.

During the requirement checking, what I observed was that the facilitators were really strict. They really followed what's in the guidelines where it says we weren't allowed to bring bags inside our testing building, though they were considerate enough to have them put outside our testing room instead. I was not supposed to bring my bag though, but since I can't seem to fit my umbrella and glasses inside my plastic envelope, and it seemed awkward to bring only my envelope in commuting and going some place else, I had no choice but to bring the bag. Sorry facilitators. Huhu. I was expecting that they will be less strict since the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) was considerate enough to have our things placed where we can see them (I even had a bigger bag back then), but I was wrong. So guys, if you ever plan to take the PhiLSAT next year, you now know what to expect when it comes to bringing your things.

Oh well, moving on, by the time it was 8, we were given a briefing about the exam, and the guidelines were iterated. We were given the test booklets and answer sheets, then on the latter were instructed to shade the required boxes for identification purposes, such as the booklet number, the one where you get asked if you already have a post-graduate degree or not, and since our names are already printed on the answer sheet (PHP 1,000 testing fee was worth it. Haha!), we were asked if the spelling of our name was correct. We were also required to check our test booklets for missing pages.

After all that, we started the exam, wherein which we started at 8:15 am.

I was in for a very challenging exam. Whooo!

Since we took an oath regarding the prohibition of sharing specific questions from the exam, I will not go deeper into that.

Instead, I'll tell you what subtests are in the PhiLSAT, and how my experience has been while taking each one.

The first one was Communications and Language Proficiency. To tell you frankly, this subtest seemed to be a bonus one for all of us, because it was the easiest, and in fact, the only easy one out of all subtests. This part involves error identification, sentence correction, and sentence completion. Since I was fond of reading, answering this part was easy for me, though I should also take into account the margin of error.

The second one was Critical Thinking. This is the confusing part, and we were only given more or less one minute per question to think well of the right conclusion to the passages provided to us.

The third one was Verbal Reasoning. This is the part where I actually thought, what the hell? This is the reading comprehension part where we were only given 40 minutes for 50 questions with passages that were too long to read for the given time. This one's very challenging, and by the time the proctor told us that we should be at the next part already, I was still on the 45th question. That's when I knew that I am screwed. Wanna know why? The fourth part was the most challenging one.

The fourth one was Quantitive Reasoning. This part composes of pattern recognition, data interpretation, and data sufficiency. The pattern recognition part was way beyond what I expected since it was the hardest number series to complete at just a short time. It was almost impossible to see the pattern at first glance. This part made me hate numbers, even though I love Math. The next parts were easier, though they were still hard compared to other parts of the test. My fast solving skills was put to the test as I frantically solved everything as fast as I could. My hands were already shaking out of nervousness, which was slowing me down per millisecond.

Despite everything, I was able to finish on time, but I barely did it because, by the time the proctor said that the time is up, I had only seconds to glance at the remaining 3 questions and answer them as fast as I could. I'm just glad that I didn't leave anything blank, but I still felt bad that I didn't have the time to clean my answer sheet.

I always manage to finish any exam 10-20 minutes before the time, but PhiLSAT was different. The time allotted was insufficient. 3 hours for 200 questions is barely enough. It would be better if they added 30 minutes at least. In fact, during our board exam for Real Estate Appraisers, we were given 5 hours for 200 questions as far as I can remember.

So, what can I say about the PhiLSAT? Well, one thing's for sure, it was harder than the two (2) board exams I took. I am not even confident about getting 55%, but I am still hoping for the best.

While talking with my friends who also took the PhiLSAT, we had our own share of plans if we ever pass or fail (God forbid). We already told ourselves that maybe we should stay with our jobs, or that the exam was a sign that we should spend our time more on developing our careers first. Well, I even told myself that maybe it's actually time to apply for jobs, or time to develop my hobbies and interests.

Nevertheless, it is good that I am now free to do what I want while I wait for the results. Favorable or not, I have my backup plans.

I thank God for this pioneering experience.

So yes, I hope you have learned a lot from me. :)

Till here. :*

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