I arrived at De La Salle about an hour earlier (6am) and already the examinees seated in the benches were filling up the rows from end to end. So yes, if you would be taking the exam, come early. CEM probably had us line up about 7am, checking the identification sheet and admission slip. I went to CEM a week ago to pick up my admission slip because the one they mailed never came (a likely story considering how reliable snail mail is in the Philippines). If you don't receive yours a week before, consider going to their office for the duplicate copy, or you can just get it from them on the day of the exam (they bring all the duplicate copies on the testing venue).
Okay, so about the exam
The exam started at around 8am. The first part is given for three hours, which is apportioned for the different subtests. My plan was to finish the easy parts first, which meant jumping from English to Perceptual Acuity, Inductive Reasoning then Quantitative exam. I pretty much sailed through English, finishing it about 10 minutes earlier than the alloted time. Feeling quite perky about this, I decided to push with Inductive Reasoning--and until now I can't reckon if it was a good or bad decision. Well it didn't help that we weren't allowed to write on the test booklet , considering how the exam is highly 'challenging'. There were some items that you can take less than a minute answering, but there were some that would just contort your brain to forms you have never imagined. It's a mental exercise really.
There's nothing much to say about Perceptual Acuity. All you need to have is a good set of eyes, and well, highly sharpened perception. After I was done with the three exams, blanks and all, I think I had 40-50 minutes left with Quantitative. As expected I didn't finish it. I tried the practice exam under real time conditions, and I thought this would be the most problematic section for me. (Math had never been my forte) Well at least I was right. I probably was only sure of 15 items, and the rest of 40 were left to the grace of fate and my mighty Mongol pencil. Better any answer than none at all.
The second part was given after lunch. My baon saved me from the trouble of hunting down a place to eat. RJ's advice was really helpful to note. Most of the food establishments around La Salle are closed during Sundays, and there are quite a number of examinees too, so it would save you from the hassle if you would just bring packed lunch. The line in the canteen extended from the cashier to the outside of the cafeteria door (so just imagine how many people are lining up).
If the first part was Apocalypse, part two was Redemption. I finished the exam within the alloted time, plus it wasn't that stressful because you can have an inkling of the answer as long as you have sentido comon (common sense).
Bits of Advice
So what could I say that would be helpful for you. First answer the practice exams. I overheard some examinees answering it the day before, and some others leaving out some subtests altogether. Don't do it. If you're aiming for a decent score, the practice tests would lend you a good grip of what will be given during actual exam. There are even some items that were just rehashed from the practice tests.
For the first part, I think the more substantial thing to focus on is time management and sharpening your analytical skills. And you can't sharpen your noggin if you only do it once, so I believe practice is the key here.
As for the second part, all the things you need to study for is IN the practice set. So you can't leave it to the wind and put off answering the practice exams if you find the questions unfamiliar. Everything is in there, you just need to brush up on the topics especially if you don't have a strong Chem/Bio background. The concepts are very basic, and the computations are not very difficult since they do not allow calculators. I don't think I can emphasize it that much: answer and review the practice set.
As for the MSA NMAT reviewer, I think it is too difficult. Too difficult compared to the actual exam, especially in the Qualitative and Physics part. I am just echoing what many of previous NMAT takers have said, don't get yourself too down if you can't even get past the first question in the MSA reviewer. It's not going to be THAT hard. Well on the plus side, I think it would be quite helpful for the Perceptual Acuity, Inductive Reasoning, Sociology and Bio subtests.
Lastly, unless you feel quite confident with your Math, Physics, Bio, Chem and other subtest skills, try reviewing. I would probably have a better time answering the exam if I had just graduated from High School. But since I am a not-so-fresh college grad, I pretty much forgot most of what I had taken up five years ago. So try brushing up on your HS books. Truth be told what I reviewed was my brother's 4th year Physics and Chem books. And man, I'm glad I did. I don't know what my score would be yet, but I found the second part more tolerable than the first one. (You would be surprised by the things you have forgotten.)
According to our proctor, the results would be released by mail after 3-4 weeks. I do not have high hopes about my score, considering how I might have as well played Russian roulette with my Quantitative subtest. Anyway I'm just glad its over. Well if the reason you're reading this is because you will also be taking the NMAT, I wish you good graces. It was a fun carnage for me. :)