Applying for the UP MBA Graduate Program + the GPAT Exam

Wooh okay, I’ll be documenting my UP MBA application experience here. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that I made it through the first round, because I promised I won’t talk about the UP-MBA application if I’m not accepted. There are a lot of other great resources online, namely the PEX forums, Juanabeme, and Sabuhaynimay, all of which helped me plan my application and review. This is from my personal experience, so it might be different from the accounts of other people.

Application
The Virata School of Business website has a list of the requirements you’ll need to submit or satisfy in order to apply for the program. You’ll be applying through the Online Application Form. Once done, you’ll need two character references to accomplish the Online Recommendation Form. Instructions on how your referrers can request for the form will be sent to you once you’ve accomplished the Online Application Form. You can start filling out these forms even while the application period is still not open. When it opens, an email will be sent to you with the instructions on how you can submit additional requirements, like your 2×2 photos, a copy of your birth certificate, a photocopy of your TOR, as well as proof of employment. What’s not mentioned on the page or the email that you’ll receive is that you’ll have to pay an application fee of Php 150, and an GPAT fee of Php 600.

When you choose which program you’ll be taking, it would be best to consider that the UP MBA Evening/ Part-time program will be held at the newly opened UP BGC campus, while the UP MBA Day Program (aka the Full-time program) will be conducted at the UP Virata School of Business in UP Diliman. Location is not the only thing that you should consider. The tuition per unit for the Day Program is Php 2,000 per unit. For the evening program, it’s Php 4,500 per unit.

Review

I started reviewing, but not religiously, for the GPAT exam last October 2016. I didn’t really know what book to buy, so I bought a Kaplan GMAT Reviewer 2016 from Fully Booked. Pro-tip: Check OLX as well from time to time, since some people sell of their preloved GMAT reviewers there. Some say that Barron’s GMAT Reviewer is your reviewer of choice. I never really got to check it out, but it’s worth looking into.

I focused on the Quantitative portion, or the Math portion, of the review, largely because I wasn’t confident in my algebra and math problem solving skills. One of the things that I found useful during the review was the Data Sufficiency. This is new to me, so the review helped me familiarize with the proper problem solving approach for these types of questions. I also needed a refresher on basic geometry formulas, like computing for the area and surface area of a given figure. It was the algebra that I found terribly difficult, though. Look up problem solving approaches for work problems, mixture problems, and probability questions, among others.

I did find the questions in the GMAT review a lot more challenging than the actual GPAT, so best to overprepare during the review by going for the difficult questions.

The Graduate Program Admission Test

I arrived at the testing area (CBA/ VSB) at around 6:45 AM. I had a nice breakfast, and spent the previous day trying to relax. Being early helped minimize the stress and the haggardness of exam day. Aside from that, I was able to choose a nice seat in front of the classroom. If you’re like me who’s easily distracted by tiny movements, it’s best you get a seat on the first row.

Once you’re settled, the proctor will have you sign the attendance sheet and s/he will give you your test permit with your test permit number. It’s very important that you keep this slip, because the test permit number will be what you’ll look for when they release the results of the exam. That’s how you’ll know if you passed or failed the GPAT. The proctor will also request that you keep only your pencils, test permit, ID, and maybe your food and drinks with you. The rest of your items go in front of the classroom.

There are three subjects: Logic (100 items – 90 mins), Quantitative (50 items – 90 mins), and Reading Comprehension (60 items – six articles).

The Logic part was pretty easy and straightforward. It did have analogy questions with terms I’ve never encountered before, so working on your vocabulary during the review might also help. Questions included choosing valid deductions and inconsistent statements from the choices based on a set of statements considered to be true, as well as abstract reasoning. I loved the abstract reasoning part because it has to do with identifying patterns and using that skill to find the next item in the set.

The Quantitative Part – I am admittedly not very good in Math, so this had me worried. There were just some questions I left blank because I really did not know how to solve for them. You’re given only 90 minutes to answer 50 questions, so that’s about 2 mins per question. I recommend that if you find you’re stuck on a question, move on to the next, and just come back to the unanswered item later. All the questions are worth 1 point each, so it’s in your best interest to finish the easy ones first before you run out of time.

The Reading Comprehension was surprisingly tough! You’ll be asked to read a passage (some five pages long, others three pages long) and try to identify the main points of the article, as well as as many details as you can remember. Once you finish reading the article and decide to move on to answering the questions about the article, YOU CANNOT GO BACK TO REVIEW THE ARTICLE. The questions are printed upside down, so the proctor will be able to see if you’re flipping the page to review the article after you’ve started on the questions. Any examinee caught doing that will result in disqualification.

I found this one challenging because some articles were too long, and some had too many details on them. Some questions would ask about trivial details found in the article, which sucks because I tried to focus on the main point by not paying attention to numbers and figures too much. Yes, they would ask about that, too. To prepare for this part of the exam, try practicing speed reading, and do your best to read regularly.

There are ten-minute breaks in between the three test sections. You can use this to go to the comfort room, or eat, or try to clear your head b getting some fresh air outside. During breaks, examinees are not allowed to use their mobile phones.

The results are to be released four to five weeks after the exam date. During this time, it’s best to not worry about the results of the exam, and move on to reviewing for the next great challenge: the Proficiency Exam!

UPDATE 04/01: The GPAT Results have not yet been released. In addition, some waitlisted applicants were called in for an interview today. One of the applicants called in shared that there will only be one section for the Evening program, and only forty students will be accepted (instead of the usual two sections, with a total of eighty students.) The ones who were called in were applicants who did not make it to the list of the Top 40 passers, but were ranked 41-60. They’ll be getting only the top 50 GPAT passers to take the proficiency exam. This means that the competition for a slot for the evening program just got tougher. Some of them were encouraged to shift to the Day program. I think the reason for the delay in the release of the results is that the college is still finalizing the list of the GPAT passers who’ll be taking the Proficiency Exam.

Honestly, knowing how hard the GPAT was, this new development does not fill me with confidence.

UPDATE 04/12: The GPAT Results came out and I passed! Huzzah! I’ll be talking about my Proficiency Exam experience and the UP MBA workshops in another blog post.-HANA

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