By Ian Escamos

One key to score high in the UPCAT is to improve your English skills. Here are some tips on how to do so.

1. Read the newspaper.

Broadsheets are written in using proper English grammar. You need good exposure to such written materials before the UPCAT. Also, you will be able to practice reading comprehension as you try understanding the news articles. Avoid tabloids of course.

2. Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation when texting

Admit it. We are all guilty of this. We use shortcuts when we send text messages. Study shows that using shortcuts in texting dulls our capability to spell words correctly. As the UPCAT gets near, you need the ability to recall proper spelling, correct word usage (such as the difference between your and you’re) and right grammar.

3. Avoid watching “Tagalized” shows

Nowadays, English movies and TV shows are getting “Tagalized”. For now, just before the UPCAT, avoid these kinds of shows so that you get a good grasp of the English language. Although there are no scientific studies to back this up, it is better to get exposure to proper kinds of media.

4. Have a dictionary with you at all times

Having a dictionary with you helps you to broaden your vocabulary. Before consulting the dictionary though, try guessing the meaning of the word first. By doing this exercise, you are improving your memory recall.

5. Play word games with etymologies

Create different English words using foreign root words (Latin, German, etc.), prefixes and suffixes. It will improve your vocabulary and logical reasoning as well. Example: The philos root means love. Word like hydrophilic, philosophy and philanthropy contains that root.

6. Play Scrabble or Boggle/Word Factory

These games will help you learn English words and improve your logical thinking. You’ll also have fun at the same time.

7. Watch shows in History Channel, Discovery, or National Geographic.

English shows that are academic in nature are a good source of exposure to the English language. You’ll get exposed to formal English and it will help you increase your fluency level.

8. Edit blogs and articles on the internet

With the proliferation of internet and mobile usage, user generated content has become a norm in the media space. This came with raw, unedited posts, articles and reading content on social media, websites and blogs. These forms of media are rich in errors in grammar, spelling, and correct word usage. Try editing these articles and imagine yourself as an editor-in-chief of a media outfit. This will improve your error spotting skills and eventually, it will pay off in the UPCAT.

9. Speak, write and think in English

This, by far is the most important tip in my opinion. Using the language regularly will surely help you be good at it. If you are not used to speaking, writing and thinking in English, force yourself to. Master these three facets and surely improve your English skills for the UPCAT.