Category Archives: Conquering the SAT

Because the SATs are over…Repost from Inquirer: “Much Ado About Getting In”

*This article was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated January 16, 2014; now that I’m also done with my last SATs, I guess this deserves to be reposted here in my blog 🙂

Last year's CAMP Conference where hundreds of students gathered to learn more about the college admissions process abroad

Last year’s CAMP Conference where hundreds of students gathered to learn more about the college admissions process abroad

With just a few more months before graduation, anxious of what their future will be like, high school students flocked to the Ateneo campus to check the Ateneo College Entrance Test (Acet) results which were released on Jan. 11. Some of my friends started shouting in joy and celebrating as they saw their names on the list of accepted students; they finally had a college.

At the same time, my other friends sat there thinking about what their future will be like as they wait for the test results of the other schools they applied to. The buildup to the college admissions results means a lot of goose bumps and late nights worrying whether or not one will get into the college he or she wants. Continue reading


One Year Blogging Anniversary — The Best Is Yet To Be

I know I should be doing some last minute review for my SAT subject tests right now but as I posted my post on taking my last SATs tomorrow just a few minutes ago, I noticed a WordPress notification with a little trophy and as I clicked on it, there it came, “Happy Anniversary with!”

One year of finding the silver lining in every step of the journey

One year of finding the silver lining in every step of the journey

Indeed, time flies. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started this blog. And reading through some of my posts, I can’t help but feel that I’ve somehow learned how to enjoy life more, to make life count a bit more.

Funny how in some ways, I have gone through a 360 degree change but deep down, I’m still the same David who one year ago started this blog with a purpose. This same purpose I guess is what has enabled me to continue blogging about my experiences, learnings and adventures. 

And no matter how much I’ve changed since the day I started my blog, January 23, 2013, I’m actually still the same curious student of life with a bit more love for writing, but just as perplexed with the obscurities of life as I ever was.

Continue reading

SAT subject tests — One Last Time

It’s been quite a while since I last blog. A lot has happened since the fourth quarter has started yet central to everything I’ve been doing in the past few days and weeks is one thing — reviewing for the SATs, one last time.

And finally, this is it. Tomorrow is the day I take my SAT subject tests. Barring any craziness in the future, this will be the last time I’ll be taking the SATs.

It has honestly been a crazy adventure that has gotten me studying like I’ve never studied before. I’ve carried my biology and math books to places I’d never even think of studying in. I’ve poured almost every ounce of my energy and glucose in an attempt to master all the concepts I’ll be needing. Continue reading

Tired of School? Tired of all the responsibilities? Don’t stop, the Story Ain’t Over!

The last few days have been really tiring. After finally taking the SAT reasoning test for a second time last Saturday, I thought I’d finally be able to take a break. Guess what hits me? HELL WEEK. It’s the last two weeks of the Third Quarter already and everything is starting to pile up.

It’s crazy how you barely have time to breathe. There’s always something more to do. There’s always something that I should be doing. All the responsibilities, duties and tasks are really building up once again. Or am I just overwhelmed? How do I balance all these? Continue reading

Fleeting Moments, Eternal Memories – A Summer to Remember :)

Looking back, Summer 2013 was such a surreal and amazing journey in itself. It was the best summer I ever had and definitely one of the most memorable 3 months in my life.

It a was a summer full of first times and new experiences. It was a summer full of smiles, laughter and tears. It was a summer that brought out the best in me. I truly learned so much about myself and all the high and low experiences I went through this past summer helped me see life in so many different perspectives.

Summer 2013 number 2

These are just a few of the many experiences I had this summer but these were definitely the highlights that stood out. These are moments that I will never want to forget. These are moments if I had an opportunity, I’d like to experience once more. These are moments that changed my life in so many different ways.

My summer just wouldn’t have been as surreal and as phantasmagorical if it weren’t for these moments. Moments that I want to eternalize, and moments I’ll forever look back to when summer 2013 is mentioned. So without further ado, here are the 8 highlights of my summer.

1. Anvaya Bonding withthe Backyardigans – March 10-11

There’s nothing like going with your friends to a beautiful resort to relax, have fun, try out new things, and off-course enjoy each other’s company!


2. Europe Trip – March 24 – April 8 

Every country has its own unique culture and exploring these countries and immersing yourself in these cultures is simply a breathtaking experience. When in another country, don’t be afraid to explore, to try out new things, to take pictures, to buy souvenirs, to eat exotic food and off-course to enjoy the culture!


3. HKUST campus visit – April 10

This was honestly the first time I visited a University and really explored it and man, I was amazed and blown away. HKUST had such a beautiful campus that I actually wanted to stay right there and start studying. No joke, the atmosphere was just that fervent and inspiring. I honestly can’t wait for college!


4.  Ateneo Chem Camp – April 15 – May 3

This was arguably the most memorable experience of this summer. I learned so many new things not only about Chemistry but about life. Chem Camp made me realize that learning can be fun and that knowledge truly is power. The importance of learning, curiosity, perspective and the way we see things are things that I will forever carry with me for the rest of my life.


I also met so many amazing, vibrant and talented individuals that in a span of 3 weeks became friends that made Chem Camp such a surreal and unbelievable experience. They were friends I shared so many smiles, laughter, joy, and in the end, tears with. Chem campers whom I will never ever forget for the memories we shared will always be one of the most transcending and surreal moments of my life! Once a Chem Camper, always a Chem Camper!

5. Xavier Basketball Summer Varsity Training – April 15 – May 8

My senior year stint with the team may have been a short lived but without a doubt, Xavier Basketball will always have a special place in my heart. All the grueling practices, bonding moments, tough losses and fulfilling wins are things that I will forever remember.

I’m really thankful that I got to be part of the team one last time and it was really one hell of a journey. It was also such a honor and blessing to be part of a team of such amazing individuals who strived each day for one goal. My basketball career not have turned out the way I expected but the values I learned, the memories I gained and the bonds I formed will be things that I will treasure for the rest of my life.


6. Tearing my ACL – May 8 

One of the lowest and at the same time highest moments of my life. Tearing my ACL was really an eye opening experience that truly changed my perspective in life. At first I was really devastated, but then I realized that things could be worse and that I am still very lucky. I really learned how to appreciate the little things and be thankful for my blessings.

Everything happens for a reason and tearing my ACL may just have been and blessing in disguise from God and a chance to start a new and try out new things.

7. Hands On Manila Orientation and Kindness Revolution 

Joining Hands On Manila was definitely one of the best choices I’ve made this summer. Hands On Manila opened the door for me in so many ways and is an outlet for me to share my blessings with the less fortunate through volunteerism. I also realized that we are all gifted individuals and the best way to use these gifts and talents of ours is to pass it on by volunteering.


8. Reviewing and taking the SAT – April – June 1 

Reviewing for the SAT was a completely different journey in itself. I’ll admit it, reviewing for the SAT was a really arduous and tedious process but looking back, it was definitely a memorable experience. It truly was a test of hard work, perseverance, critical thinking and discipline. It was the hardest I ever studied for a test and I really dedicated a lot of my time and effort in preparing myself.

Towards the end, I was actually enjoying reviewing and answering practice tests and seeing my score improve each time. Reviewing for the SAT at one point became a habit of mine. You’d see me bring around my vocabulary notebook everywhere I went. Those truly were fun times and no matter what score I got in that test, the build up to the testing day and all those hardcore review sessions will always be fond memories of mine.


My summer just wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for these 8 highlights. As summer 2013 comes to a close, I’m glad to say that I made the most out of this summer. It truly has been a summer filled with fleeting moments turned into eternal memories, a summer to remember indeed!


It’s Finally SATurday! May the Odds be in our Favor!

It’s finally tomorrow, the day I’ve been preparing for for a month now, the day of the SAT. Profuse amount of time spent learning both new and old concepts, thousands of new words stuffed into my brain, countless of hours answering worksheets and practice tests, tedious moments figuring out why I made a mistake, and it all boils down to one test and that test is tomorrow. To be honest, this is probably the one written test I’ve prepared for the most in my entire life. I don’t know if I’ve done enough but what I do know is that I’ve tried everything in my power to prepare myself to a certain extent given the time.

IMG_2991I’ve done everything that I can to control what I can control and learn what I can. Like they say, “Do your best and God will do the rest.” I just have this feeling inside me that this Saturday will be my lucky day.

Like the old adage also says, “Pray for the best but expect the worst.” Reviewing for this test has definitely been quite an experience in itself. From the early stages where I was still a bit lax and complacent to the past few weeks where I’ve been pushing myself to my limits. I’m really thankful for this experience for not everyone has a chance to apply to colleges abroad, let alone take the SAT.

IMG_2931 Reviewing for the SAT, reading success stories online, reading about tips and tricks from successful test takers and simply learning as much as I can has really opened my eyes to the power of knowledge and the joy of learning. I may have gone to an SAT tutor for a while to brush up on the fundamentals but towards the latter part, it was truly all on me and whether I was up to the challenge. The 8 hour a day self study sessions, the memorizing of vocab while eating breakfast, the late hours solving a math problem will all be fond memories of mine when I look back at this period of time.

63_20120409_081736_shoot_for_the_moonTomorrow, I’m shooting for the moon so even if I fall short, I’ll end up in the stars! I’m going to seize the day, give it everything I got and leave the testing room knowing that it definitely has been one hell of a ride reviewing for the test! I’ll probably forget a good chunk of the vocab words I’ve been cramming into my brain but all the profound and eye-opening insights, realizations and even the constant headaches I gained from reviewing for the SAT are things I’ll forever remember.

I may not have the best study habits, I may not have been the most studious student during the past years, but one thing I can say about the last few weeks is that I really gave my best in trying to make every second count as I prepare for probably the biggest written test in my life so far! Without a doubt, it’s been a growing process, and I’m proud to say that I didn’t just grow as a student or learner, but I’ve also grown as a person!


Good luck to everyone taking the SAT and may the odds be in our favor!


HISTORY and why preparing for the SAT has become FUN!

In preparation for the 25 minute essay in the writing part of the SAT, I’ve really been researching a lot and reading up on a myriad of topics ranging from leaders who bravely fought for a cause to inventors who through their inventions, created a lasting impact in the world . I’m really trying to be more cultured, knowledgeable and aware so that I may be ready for any prompt or topic the test gives.image

It’s really astonishing though how I’m really enjoying learning more about our history, the prominent figures who changed society and the significant events that forever altered our world. I used to find history really mundane and languid but recently, I’ve really learned how to appreciate it and I feel a lot more humane to know these things.


I guess my perspective and approach to history has really changed. Instead of looking at all these as mere facts that I’d need to get an A+ in a test, I’ve learned how to see history as a bridge that will help me learn more about not only myself but about the world. It also helps that reading about these things and then sharing what I learned to others make me sound a bit smarter.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863 Honestly, one can’t help but be amazed at what several people were able to do and how they were able to make a lasting difference. Men like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and a lot more fought for what they believed in and sought for equality. It’s truly inspiring reading about their beliefs and what pushed them to make a stand.

Moving away from politics and equality, I’ve also learned so much about inventions, technology and innovation by reading about the lives of Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and the other prominent inventors of both the past and the present. Instead of just taking note of their achievements, I’ve learned how to look beyond that and more importantly, analyze and see how they came up with innovative ideas and what traits enabled them to reach new heights. 10974v7-max-250x250

I’ve definitely learned so much already the last two days, and it’s truly amazing how technology allows us to learn about a broad range of topics in such a short amount of time. Knowledge truly is power and with everything I’ve learned the past few days, I’ll hopefully be ready with a couple of examples for the essay no matter what prompt or topic may come out!

edisonLooking ahead though, I plan to continue reading more about history and I definitely think everyone should be more knowledgeable about the past for it truly does have a profuse amount of lessons that we can learn and apply to our present lives!

To end, I’d like to share a quote from Thomas Edison “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

No matter how mentally draining, tedious and arduous preparing for the SAT may be, I’ve found a way to enjoy the process and it has definitely been a lot more fun!

I’ve learned so much already from preparing for the SAT not only about math, reading, writing but most importantly, I’ve learned more about the world and myself! Our perspective, outlook and attitude towards life really does make a difference! Life truly is what you make it!