December 16, 2020

The uncertainty aroused by the coronavirus pandemic and potential domestic economic and social problems that have had an array of emotional impacts on Chile’s citizens has been even greater for the 262,000 students who also feel uncertain about the University Entrance Exam (PDT) that they’ll be taking in order to begin higher education. 

This is the case for Agustina Araya, a student of the Training School for Entry to Higher Education program (EFIES or Escuela de Formación para el Ingreso a la Educación Superior in Spanish). This is the second consecutive year juniors and seniors in Puente Alto in Santiago are receiving this benefit, be they residents of the neighborhood or CMPC team members’ children. This is a CMPC initiative working together with Formando Chile.

The young woman from Puente Alto has experienced firsthand how the coronavirus has changed the way of taking on the challenge of the new PDT.

Agustina, along with 79 other students awarded this benefit had been attending face-to-face pre-university classes held at the CMPC Biopackaging-Corrugados plant. As of March they have had to adapt to virtual studies in order to comply with physical distancing and quarantines. “I’m not used to studying on the computer. I prefer the manual method,” she said.

But after nine months under this new modality, the education experts at Formando Chile believe that it is important for the students to have at least one opportunity to take an in-person practice test that is as close as possible to the real PDT (formerly the PSU) experience. They will be held on January 4th and 5th and on January 7th and 8th. 

One month prior to these dates, Agustina and eight other students volunteered to sign up for the in-person practice exams for Language and Mathematics held last Wednesday and Thursday.

Having all of the Covid-19 sanitation measures in place, the students spent two days answering the exam questions in a setting as close as possible to the real thing, although at CMPC facilities.

“I wanted to be familiar with my reaction to taking the test since it was set up to be very similar to the real test,” states Agustina, who wants to study obstetrics and childcare. She says that having taken the practice exam was “a very positive change. I got enough rest and woke up feeling very energetic. The test was no problem. I was very relaxed.”

EFIES General Coordinator Camila Riquelme says “it was a very important event because it was the first time all of these students got to do an in-person trial run.” Until now other simulations have been run at home, but it’s not the same because people interrupt the whole time and the surroundings aren’t ideal.”  

This occasion, like many others held by the program, was aimed at providing tools to the students so they can have more and better options for accessing higher education, be they universities, technical or professional institutes.

“Now I have my schedule and study days set. I didn’t study very much before, I’d say nearly never, but the teachers and people at EFIES motivated me to study and achieve my goals,” adds Agustina. 

CMPC Public Affairs Assistant Manager Francisco Torrealba says that, “Being able to open the doors of our plant to students so they can get better prepared for the PDT is one more step in the commitment we’ve made with the young people in the neighborhood. Next up is the real test. We are confident they will do very well.”