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Tips on Passing the Principals’ Test

For someone like you who want to take public service to the next level for the country’s quality education by serving as a school principal, one of the steps to take is to pass the Principal’s test, commonly known National Qualifying Examination for School Heads (NQESH). This test is for all the aspirants for a Principal I position.

As mentioned in the DepEd Order (DO) No. 39, s. 2007 entitled Modified Qualification Standards for the Positions of Head Teachers and Principals and DO 97, s. 2011 entitled Revised Guidelines on the Allocation and Reclassification of School Heads Positions, the applicant should meet any of the following eligibility requirements:

a. One year as Head Teacher; or
b. Two years as Teacher-in-Charge or Master Teacher; or
c. Five years as Teacher III or SPED Teacher; or
d. Five years as incumbent public school teacher who has five years of managerial and supervisory experience in a DepEd recognized private institution or Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recognized higher education institution.

The examination shall cover situational critical thinking questions relevant to the role of a SH anchored on the domains of the National Competency-Based Standards for School Heads (NCBSSH) stipulated in DO 32, s. 2010 entitled National Adoption and Implementation of the National Competency-Based Standards for School Heads:

a. School Leadership;
b. Instructional Leadership;
c. Creating Student-Centered Learning Climate;
d. Human Resource Management and Professional Development;
e. Parent Involvement and Community Partnership;
f. School Management and Operations; and
g. Personal and Professional Attributes and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

The nature of the test is very different from the Licensure Examination for Teachers or the Civil Service Exam. The content of the test will be a little complex and you may the questions easy, only few pass it as the aim of the examiners is for you not to pass it. That’s how tough the NQESH is. Tougher than any other exams— tougher than the bar exam! It is because the Department of Education (DepEd), through the Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development (BHROD) and the Quality Assurance Divisions of the Regional Offices (RO-QAD) wants to make sure that they choose the finest of all aspiring school administrators.

Here are some tips on how to pass the 2017 Principals’ Test/NQESH:

As your experience and desire to make a difference take you to the next level of challenges in your academic and work success, we also would like to make sure that we give you the best tips in succeeding in the next version of your professional-self.

That is why, TeacherPH listed these three key tips in passing the NQESH.


  • You must do some self-check and start walking the path to achieve your goal.


  • Use the TeacherPH’s review materials to familiarize yourself with the content of the test. You can also follow our tips so you can recall quicker all the topics that you should learn about.


  • Through our android application, you can take hacks and apply them while practicing with a question bank we provide.


Make sure you prepare everything for your exam day including:

1. Transportation.

Make sure you have a reliable means of transportation. Visit your room assignment before a day before the exam. You have to make sure that you know where to go so that you won’t be late as getting late means failing the exams.

2. What should I bring duting the test?

Examinees are required to bring their official receipt, Unique Tracking Code, valid IDs and pencil/s. Examinees may also bring light snacks and water. In case, official receipt was lost, inform the Regional testing coordinator one (1) hour before the examination.

3. Understand how the Principals’ Test/NQESH works.

You must have a clear idea on the following:

  • How many questions will be there in the test?
  • When will the exam end?
  • How long will the exam last and how long are the breaks?
    (take note: Make sure you relax a bit when you take a break.)
  • What types of questions will be in the test questionnaire?
    (there are several different question format types that you should expect to see on exam day so make sure you thoroughly read the question before answering. You must not get fooled! We encourage you to purchase and practice with our question bank before your exam so you get comfortable with each question type.)

The more you think ahead, the more smoothly things will go for you. Your focus and your challenge for the day is the Principals’ Test/NQESH.


4. Set a Goal and Allocate time for your review.

You should not cram on your review time. Make sure to set specific time for your review. A couple of hours and more spent in reading and reviewing per day may help a lot. Always remember that although you are already familiar with some of the topics that can potentially be included in the review, the information you have don’t stay fresh in your brain. You have come so far, so just get the review done and you will surely surmount the hurdles given in the test!

5. Identify your Strengths and Weaknesses.

Spend more time reviewing on the topics that you are weak of.


6. On the day of the test, make sure to read each question carefully.

Aside from testing your ability to recall and reason, Multiple-choice test also examines your ability to read carefully and thoughtfully.

Make sure that you identify the key words that can be very tricky and confusing. Here are the words that you must be mindful of: always, all, none, never not, few, many, sometimes, and some.

You also have to identify what is being asked. You have to find out the context of the material that was taught to you while you were preaparing for the exam.

You can also try the cover-up strategy in which you try to recall the answer from memory before you look at the choices.

7. Should you change the answer?

Do it only if you have a good reason for doing so and if you are very sure of your answer. If there are also responses that appear to be equally correct, try to eliminate the response that appear to be least related to the question being asked. Bear in mind that you are looking for the best answer, not the correct one.

Additional help on Passing the 2017 Principals’ Test/NQESH

1. Unlike a typical exam, the first items at the beginning of the test are difficult. So don’t get pressured or discouraged. It will seem that the whole test is difficult but it is not. Your mind might get squeezed a lot at the first parts of the test that you won’t have the energy and the will to finish the test anymore when you are already in the last parts of the exam so we suggest that you leave some items in the first parts blank and answer it later.

2. It might not be ideal to leave some items blank as you might miss answering them when you’re done with all the items. To make sure this will not happen, bring a small blank sheet of paper and list down the items that you left blank so you will know which are the items that you left blank.

3. Bear in mind that the test is easy so you won’t feel pressured.

4. Read all the instructions first before you answer.

5. Make sure that you read the whole question in each item.

6. Some items have very obvious correct answers but you must be ready to identify the trick.

7. If there are very difficult items, usually, the answer is placed in option D because most takers usually do not read everything because you are in a hurry.

8. Double check your paper. Make sure you do not leave any item blank.

9. Be mindful of the time for snacks or break. Don’t be afraid to remind the proctor of the time as the others won’t say something unless you bring it up.

10. Make sure you know where the restroom is located before the exam begins.

11. Relax and do not review on the evening before the test.

12. Eat protein rich foods instead of carbohydrates because it will induce sleep.

13. If you can do it, finish the test in advanced so you can reread everything and finalize your answers.

14. Be mindful of the STEM trick Analysis.

Always look at your NCBSSH TDNA because that is your guide. Also, the situations will call for the educational law, DepEd issuances, policies through orders and memorandum, CSC Memorandum Circulars, DBM and DOLE issuances or circulars, and acceptable ethical practices,

The STEM trick analysis is focusing on the heart of the question or the answer that will complete its idea or ideas. Read the questions twice or as much as possible but read the choices first prior to reading the questions for you to maximize your time.

The process of elimination should be as fast as possible because the choices have this nature. Do not fall to the A-trap.

a. most obviously wrong
b. semi obviously wrong
c. semi obviously correct
d. most obviously correct

15. Be ready to take note the negative statement NOT in the questions which will give the stem trick for the alternatives

If the alternatives are all correct, make sure that each has the same weight in terms of ideas then the answer is the first one to appear.

If the answers are combinations of the premised answers, read the choices and make mental combinations immediately.

If two or three alternatives are the same, then the first to appear is the correct choice. However, consider the specificity of the implied actions or effects.

In cases that the questions are too difficult, chances are the answers might fall to alternatives C or D and on the length of the choice.

16. Review the following:

1. DECS Manual (very important to have a copy of this)
2. RA 9155 – “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001”
3. RA 4670 – “Magna Carta for Public School Teachers”
4. EFA – Education for All
5. BESRA – Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda
6. EMIS/BEIS – Basic Education Information System
7. K to 12
10. Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers
11. Child Protection Policy
12. Anti Bullying
13. RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law)
14. DepEd Mission and Vision and Core Values
15. DepEd Orders (you may browse website of Deped)
13. Performance Based Bonus and other current issues
14. DepEd Memos (you may browse website of Deped)
15. Current issues on pedagogy, assessment, SHS application, teacher status


Remember that being a School Head will totally change your lives. Problems will be there – money, relationships, and attitudes to the point that you will be met by legal and petty complaints. There will be many ups and downs especially when you are starting, but the fulfilling thing is once you have transformed lives and have contributed to the systemic change of the organization through your visions and actions, that is the greatest victory.

You may also do self-review anytime and anywhere, as long as your cellphone is there through purchasing our android application.

We also invite Join Our Online NQESH Review or purchase our reviewer.

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For inquiries, you may email us at teacherph.com@gmail.com or text 09453959565.

Happy Reviewing!

Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, hailing from the Philippines, has made a profound impact on the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access crucial information and engage in meaningful exchanges of ideas. His contributions have significantly enhanced their instructional and supervisory capabilities, elevating the quality of education in the Philippines. Beyond his domestic influence, Mark's insightful articles on teaching have garnered international recognition, being featured on highly respected educational websites in the United States. As an agent of change, he continues to empower teachers, both locally and internationally, to excel in their roles and make a lasting difference in the lives of their students, serving as a shining example of the transformative power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the teaching community.

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