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TIPS & TRICKS IN THE BOARD EXAMINATION

Prepared by ARCHITECT RAISON JOHN J. BASSIG 1st Placer June 2006 PRC Architect Licensure Examination 10th Placer March 2007 PRC Master Plumber Licensure Examination

So you are about to take the board exam. Nervous? You should be. A few months before I took mine, I have experienced what every board examinee goes through: Unexplainable nervousness. Butteflies in the stomach. Catatonic looks. Am I ready? For one thing, it's better to be nervous NOW than to feel your sweat dripping and your veins popping ON the day of the exam itself. Imagine yourself staring blankly at those test questionnaires. 45 minutes have passed. You are already at question number 31, yet your answer sheet remains blank - a complete mental blackout. Your mind then wanders. As you look along the walls of the quiet classroom, you begin to reminisce your days in college. How you wish you remembered what that professor had taught you. You gaze up the ceiling and wonder about the future of your career, hanging in the balance, through these test questions you are holding right now. You inhale deeply and pour out a sigh of air. You pray for luck, hoping the next question would be something that you have read in your 1-week review. You turn the next page. Tsk. Where in God's name did they get all these questions??? Mi... ni... mi...ni... mai... ni... mu. This is a typical story of what could go through a mind of a board examinee. A board examinee who did not prepare, relied on luck, and had no idea how to go about answering the board exam questions. Thankfully, that did not happen to me. When I took the Board Exams for Architects in June 2006 and for Master Plumbers in March 2007, my confidence was sky-high. All because I was prepared. This leads me to my conclusion: "Talo ng preparado ang matalino.". So for almost 12 months now, I have been sharing to others through seminars, lectures and informal discussions, how I prepared for the board examination. Allow me to share with you some tips and tricks based on my own experience that can help you prepare for your own review. SETTING YOUR GOAL The first and most important tip that I would give you is SET YOUR GOAL. Whether you just want to pass and get a license, or maybe land a place among the top 10, or probably get a grade of 90+ on the most dreaded subject, it helps if you have direction. The more specific your goal is the better. Try to write it on paper and feel committed to it. Mine was to top the board exams - and I did. Now in order for you to work on that goal, you must have the RIGHT MOTIVATION. This is the second and equally important tip. Your motivation is your drive in achieving your goal. It could be anything from a person that inspires you (an idol, a crush, or a loved one) to a material promise (like an all-expense out-ofthe-country trip or a brand new car). It's up to you! Use this to keep you going everyday. Use this to get you up early in the morning when you normally wake up late. When you are motivated, you feel like you can do anything. Yes, ANYTHING! So, this gives you a psychological advantage. The board examination, just like any other sport or competition, is all about how you prepare for a fight. It is all about setting your mind, body, and emotions straight before the main event. During the preparations, YOU ARE YOUR OWN ENEMY. The less you know about yourself, the harder it is to succeed in this undertaking. That is why you have to train hard. What you do to your time is all up to you. You could sit back and relax if you want, but keep in mind, all the others might have already gone far ahead in their reviews while you are still sitting pretty waiting for that right moment.

DECIDING WHEN TO TAKE THE EXAM Time is one of the most critical resources in your entire preparation. Once time goes by, it can never be brought back. So speaking of time, the first question you have to ask yourself is: "WHEN AM I GOING TO TAKE THE EXAM?" It may sound simple but believe me, this simple question will determine how much extraordinary effort you may have to exert throughout the rest of your review. I know some people who spent 4 months studying, paid a lot of money for their review classes, only to back out 3 weeks before the exam. For some unexplainable reason, they found themselves "not yet ready" and would just opt to take the next board exam, which is scheduled 6 months or 1 year later. Uhoh. Now that's a lot of time gap until the next exam. You would easily forget most of the topics discussed in the review center and you would be forced to take refresher courses again later on. If they were unsure, they should have not enrolled immediately. It's a waste of time and a waste of money. In my opinion, the only logical explanation for their backing out is that they were half-hearted with their review. You know, once you have decided that you are going to take the board -- GO FULL-FORCE!! As the saying goes, "Todo Na 'To!". Never ever be half-hearted. That's why the sooner you decide, the better your chances of making the most out of your time. In my case, I decided to take the June 2006 Board Exam for Architects as early as November 2005. I had 8 months preparation. PRC REQUIREMENTS: ALL THE HASSLES INVOLVED Completing the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) requirements for filing a board exam application is a total hassle. You are lucky if you don't encounter any problems here and there. Depending on the board exam you are going to take, the PRC requires certain documents you have to submit to their office (which is located in Morayta) before a certain deadline (usually 3 weeks before your examination date). Check the PRC website for the required documents. Please. Please. Please. Submit the requirements ASAP! Don't cram. Getting all the documents consumes a LOT of time (and money). Filing for a board exam application should be the least of your problems once you are already studying for the board exam. YOU DON'T WANT THIS TO INTERFERE WITH YOUR STUDY SCHEDULE. Imagine yourself already 4 months deep in your review, and in the back of your mind, you are still worrying if you going to beat the deadline for application because you havn't got your documents ready yet. Believe me, it would take WEEKS sometimes MONTHS to complete the requirements, what with all the red tape involved. The diploma and transcipt of records usually takes 2 weeks minimum. NBI clearance can be from 1 to 3 days. NSO-issued birth certificates can take 1 day to 1 week (depending where you were born). And expect long lines in the PRC building when applying. It's not going to be a breeze. You will have to go from one place to another to buy metered documentary stamps, take a picture, pay the cashier, etc. By the time you are finished, expect yourself to be all tired and sweaty. KNOW THE COVERAGE OF THE EXAM YOU SHOULD KNOW what subjects you are to tackle in your review. The PRC board usually issues a curriculum showing the coverage of the examination. You have to know how many days the exam is and what subjects would be taken in which days. For example, the Architects board exam is scheduled for 3 days. For Day 1: we have the subjects History and Theory of Architecture, Principles of Planning, and Architectural Practice. But these subjects are compressed into one exam only. It is a 125-item exam that starts 8:00am to 5:00pm. Unlike the subjects in the first day, Day 2 is divided into three exams for each three subjects. The 1st exam is Building Utilities, a 100-item exam that starts 8:00am to 12:00nn. The 2nd exam is Structural Design, a 40-item exam that starts 1:00pm to 2:15pm. The 3rd exam is Building Materials and Methods of Construction, a 60-item exam that starts 2:30pm to 5:00pm. For Day 3: we have the subject Architectural Design and Site Planning, a drawing-type exam that starts 8:00am to 5:00pm. Given all these data, I knew how to balance my time and create some strategies in answering come exam day. I knew I have less than 5 minutes to answer one question in Day 1. For Day 2, it becomes tighter with a little above 2 minutes per question.

But going back to your review, you should determine which subjects covered by the exam are you most comfortable with and which subjects are you having problems with. It's a good strategy to study your favorite subjects first. These subjects are usually the ones you are really interested in. The idea is to get you "IN THE ZONE". Think of yourself as a car that needs a jump start. Once you get going on one subject, then that's the time you absorb the other subjects along the way. KNOW YOURSELF The key to a successful board exam preparation is knowing one's self. Find out your strengths and your weaknesses. Are you a fast reader? Do you easily comprehend anything that you read? How good are you at numbers? Can you memorize dates well? Would you appreciate a book by looking at illustrations or by reading the article itself? You have to know yourself and seek for self-improvement. There are a lot of ways for you to improve. Use your strengths to concentrate on building up your weak points. TOTAL CONDITIONING Believe it or not, preparing for the board is not just a walk in the park (especially if you have set high goals in the beginning). If you really want to make the most out of your review and achieve the goals you have set, then you must be prepared in all aspects, and I really mean ALL: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, mental and even financial :) Most of us are night-owls, we begin to study at night until the wee hours of the morning. This is our comfort zone. This is where we feel we are more progressive studying. That's ok as long as you still have 6 to 8 hours of sleep. I usually study from 11pm up to 6 am the next morning, then sleep and wake up around 2 pm. Whatever your comfy zone is, feel free to use it as you please. But as the board exam nears, there is a need to re-adjust your study habits. About 2 to 3 weeks before the exam, you have to practice waking up early and studying in the morning - not at night anymore. The idea here is to get yourself comfortable "thinking" in the morning because the board exam starts in the morning. Else, you'll feel sleepy and nauseaous during the exam. Also, be conscious of the food you eat 1 week before the exam. Nobody wants to have an upset stomach on the day of the exam. The hard-core reviewing should end at least 2 weeks before the exam. By this time, you should have studied what you needed to study. The 2 remaining weeks should give you time to relax and psych yourself. Ideally, a week before the exam, you should just be browsing through your notes to refresh your memory. No more all-nighters. No more burning your eyebrows. So don't stay up all night exhausting your energy cramming for more information. That was my mistake when I took the Board Exam for Master Plumber last March. Since I only had a month's preparation (because I was also working), I had to exert more effort in my studies - more than what my body can take. Come board exams, I was on Tylenol because of a fever. Sleep early the night before the exam. A board examinee must also expect pressure from a lot of people. There are pressures from your family, there are pressures from your relatives (especially those successful ones), there are pressures from your friends and barkadas, from your office and even from your girlfriend/boyfriend. The moment you decide you'll take the board exam and tell it to someone, word really travels fast. They would be greeting you 'good luck', but others would also expect you to do really good. I know some people who did not tell a single soul that they'll take the board exam. Maybe they were too pressured or shy. You don't have to be mum about it. Besides, whether you pass or fail, in time, everybody will still know that you took the exams. TAKE ALL THESE PRESSURES AND PUT IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. If you are motivated, these pressures would even help propel you to study harder. Depends on your religious belief, it's already a habit that board examinees be going to Baclaran or celebrate Holy Week in Manaog or complete the midnight mass during advent. We would even buy paraphernalia and bring our pencils, rulers, and books blessed. Prayers help a lot. Ask for His divine

guidance. And pray for others too. But always remember all these will be useless if not complemented by studying. As the saying goes: 'genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.' TO ENROLL OR NOT TO ENROLL? Enrolling in a review center is NOT a guarantee that you will pass the board exam. But review centers offer a lot of advantages. For one, they have a schedule. So you are 'forced' to pattern your self-study with their schedule. Another advantage is the review materials. You'll have access to books and other references (if they have a library) or photocopied handouts (which they sell for a price). But I think the best advantage in review centers is you gain a lot of contacts. Students from other schools have different lecture notes and different methods of reviewing. You could exchange ideas with them. Through these contacts, you will be able to create study groups. You may also be able to borrow review materials from their friends who are enrolled in other review centers as well. The only disadvantage is the financial aspect. You have to shell out A LOT of money. Remember, review centers are businesses. Aside from helping you prepare for the boards, they are there to get your money. So you have to be sure you are getting your money's worth. Scout for possible review centers to enroll. Ask previous board examinees the advantages and disadvantages of the review centers they enrolled into. Know the centers' strengths and weaknesses. In my case, I enrolled the basic course in one review center and the design course in another. The best strategy to make the most out of the review centers is that YOU STUDY BEFORE YOU ENROLL. The idea is to learn the subjects ahead before they even teach them. Don't start the day in the classroom all shocked and awed about the topic the lecturer is teaching because it is the first time you heard it. Review centers should help you familiarize again - not learn everything from scratch. TRIPLE-CHECK TWICE AND ORGANIZE This might still be a bit of an understatement, but check, check, check, check your review materials again and again and again. Be wary of misinformation (errors on handouts, outdated information, etc.). It happens. Nothing is more sour than spending a lot of time memorizing a table of information from a code or law only to find out that it is already amended by a newer one. Equally damaging is reviewing notes you photocopied from your classmate only to find out that it was a typographical error on his part. The only way to be safe from this is to triple-check your review materials. Counter-check every information from other sources. DO NOT RELY ON ONE REFERENCE ALONE. Try to check other books and crossreference it. Search the internet. Have discussions with some professors or friends about inconsistent info. During the course of your review, it is true that you have to make the most out of it and grab as much information as you possibly can. But it is also true that you can only take as much information for a certain period of time. This happens a lot. We borrow and photocopy a lot of books and handouts only to find itself stacked up on your bedroom floor. The index card would be your best friend in your review. Put information that you need to memorize in index cards and always keep them handy. You could browse through them while riding the bus or jeep. Use color-coded pens for highlighting old and new data. Use post-it on books to help you keep track of notes and points of discussions. PRIORITIZING THINGS An effective board exam review relies on discipline on the examinees part. There are so many temptations around: your favorite TV shows, the billiards hall, online gaming, etc. Learn how to prioritize. Think of the board exam as a one-time deal (although if you fail, you can take the board exam again - but nobody really wants to fail, right?) YOU WILL HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD AFTER THE BOARD EXAM. Use your time wisely. Instead of watching TV for 3 hours, you could have understood and memorized a large portion of the book your reading already.

MEMORIZATION TECHNIQUES If you have good photographic memory, you have an advantage. Equally advantageous is if you are a fast reader with good reading comprehension. Try using play of words and numbers through word association. Example of questions in our review: "Who was is the architect of Greenbelt 2?", "Who is the architect of Greenbelt 3?". Through word association, I know that the architect of Greenbelt 2 is "Recio + Casas" because they are two (2) individuals (note the number 2 in Greenbelt). For Greenbelt 3, I know the architect is G.F. Formoso because I associate the 3G phone (note the G in G.F. Formoso). Use letters as symbols. Here's another example that appeared in the Master Plumber exam. "Which is denoted by its Inside Diameter? a) Pipe or b) Tube" I know that the PIPE is denoted by its Inside Diameter because I always write it "pIpe" (note the capital I, meaning Inside). I know the the TUBE is denoted by its Outside Diameter because I always write it "tubO" (tubo is tagalog for tube, note the capital O, meaning Outside). Get the idea? If your having trouble with numbers (like dates and laws) but good in memorizing visual patterns, try using the cellphone keypad as a guide. You'll remember the pattern you create while typing in the numbers more than the date or law itself. Rearrange information found in books. Most of the time what is printed in books is not the best way how you would read and memorize it. Take the case of the National Building Code. I was memorizing 30+ types of pipe and their colors. In the book, it is arranged alphabetically by pipe type. What I did was I arranged it by pipe color. I found out that there are only 4 pipe colors so its easier to memorize. So I got 4 pieces of paper, painted them Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green respectively, and wrote in each paper the corresponding pipes. Voila. Easier to remember and understand. There are lots of other tricks like forming Acronyms or Creating a Song or Story. Try to create your own memorization tricks up your sleeves. BOARD EXAM: IS IT JUST MEMORIZING? Most people would say that the board examination is not really a gauge on how good a person is. They say it only reflects how good a person can memorize. Well, they are partly correct. But then again, memorizing is not as easy as A-B-C. It takes hardwork and a lot of patience. The most common mistake of board examinees is that they memorize just for the sake of 'enumerating' it. If you ask them what it's all about or how it works, they could not fully explain. The basic trick is: DO NOT MEMORIZE; BUT FAMILIARIZE. When you are familiar with the topic, you try to understand. When you fully understand, you try to analyze. You ask questions, "Why is this so?" and "Why is that so?". Then after you have achieved all this, you'll find it easier to memorize. The board exam is about setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. It's not just about memorizing. Nor is it about mi... ni... mi...ni... mai... ni... mu. So are you ready?

Most of us na kukuha ng board exam iniisip kung paano pumasa. Thats a very pathetic way of thinking. EVSU product tayo! We dont just pass..we TOP! Thats why I will share some inspirational words of Engr. Padilla..Inalter ko lang ng konti para personalized ko. Na uplift talaga ang pagkatao ko nung narinig ko yun. Sabi niya, in order to top the board exam, one should follow the P.A.S.S. mentality. Ano ang ibig sabihin nun? P - patay kung patay Sabi nga ni Rocky Balboa: It aint over till its over! To what implications? Karamihan sa tin, porket isang buwan nalang ang natitira for the review at board exam na, umaatras. Wag ganun! Ano ngayon kung isang buwan nalang? Mahaba pa nman yun ah..Take this as an example..Do you know why nakilala si Robert Jaworski as a very good coach? Kasi magaling siya sa encouragement sa players. In one game, 26 points ang lamang sa kanila ng kalaban. The problem is 5 minutes nalang ang natitira. For a typical basketball team, kadalasan nadedemoralized na yung mga players. But not for Ginebra..nilaban parin nila. At the end of the game, nanalo sila with a lead of 5 points. Another example..naaply ko na rin yan sa paglalaro ng Yugi-Oh cards game with a friend. 600 life points nalang ang natitira sakin, sa kanya 5,800 pa. I have the option to surrender pero hindi ko yun pinili. Believe it or not, nanalo pa ako. Big deal para sa akin yun kasi P200 pusta ko sa laro eh. Masyadong malayo ang mga examples ko para sa inyo pero sakin ang buhay ay isang komplikadong laro. Kung minsan pa nga eh sugal. Ang dapat niyo lang tandaan, hindi natin alam ang posibleng kahihinatnan ng lahat ng ginagawa natin. Kadalasan kailangan nating magtiwala nalang sa kakayahan natin. Ano ngayon kun isang buwan ka lang nagreview?..diba mas masarap pakinggan yung natalo ka pero lumaban ka hanggang sa huli kaysa sa natalo ka kasi sumuko ka. Think about this. A - aim Magset ka ng goals mo. Magkaroon ka ng mataas na pangarap sa buhay. Pagkatapos i-achieve mo. Mali yung pag-iisip na sapat na ang simpleng buhay, sapat na ang kumain tayo ng tatlong beses sa isang araw, at iba pang kasimplehan sa buhay. Palagi nalang simple. Yan ang tinatawag nating MEDIOCRITY. Let me give you some background in history.Natutunan ngmga Pilipino ang mediocrity sa mga Kastila nung sinakop nila tayo. Ano ba ang sinabi nila? Sinabi nilang masama ang maghangad ng sobra at kasalanan ito sa Diyos. Sinabi nilang masama ang maging mayaman dahil nakasulat din sa bibliya na mas madaling makapasok ang isang baka sa butas ng karayom kaysa sa isang mayaman sa kaharian ng Diyos..Eh kung hindi ba naman sangkatutak na sira-ulo ang mga Kastilang yun..Hindi naman talaga yun ang gusting ipahiwatig ni Jesus sa salitang yun eh. Nabasa niyo ba yung parable of talents? Diba ang lesson dun eh kung anong meron ka, pagyamanin mo..? dahil sa mga maling turo nay un ng mga Kastila, anong nangyari sa mga sinaunang Pilipino? Nagiging mga tanga,mahirap pa sa daga, at higit sa lahat, nagiging sunod-sunuran sa kanila. Yun ang dahilan kaya nila tinuro yun sa atin. But now Im opening your eyes to reality. Sige nga..Magbanggit nga kayo ng bansang sinakop dati ng mga Kastila na nagging maunlad. Philippines, Mexico, Cuba, Peru, etc..? diba third world countries ang mga yun?, see? No progress at all because of that mentality. Minsan pa nga meron tayong mga narinig na ganitong scenario. Anak: Nanay, tatay..mag aabroad po ako para magkatrabaho. Para umasenso po ang buhay natin. Tatay: hindi ako makakapayag anak.kahit magdildil na lamang tayo ng asin para may pagkain, amg importante, buo ang pamilya natin!

Minsan pa nga sa mga probinsya, uso rin yung may luluwas ka nalang ng Maynila para mag-aral, isang barangay na yung nag-iiyakan sa araw ng pag-alis. No offense sa mga tinamaan ha..Cute bang tingnan? Yan ang realidad ng buhay natin sa ngayon. In relevance to the board exam, mag aaim ka nalang, lubus lubusin niyo na..Aim for the top. S solve Syimpre hindi naming pwedeng panay pangarap lang tayo tapos wala namang gagawing paraan para makamit ang mga yun. Kelangan din nating kumilos. In that way? Diba gusto niyong magtop sa board? Then review.solve problems Its common sense to say that to be on top, we should review. Ang gusto kung sabihin eh kung magrereview na rin lang kayo, magfocus na kayo dun. Best explained ang principle nay an sa analytic geometry. Bakit ang headlights ng kotse parabolic at hindi circular? Gets niyo kung bakit? Pag circular ang headlight, kalat ang direction ng ilaw..Balak niyo bang ilawan ang buong kalsada? Kahit gamitin niyo ang pinakamataas na wattage ng bumbilya na pwedeng gamitin sa kotse, 50% efficiency pa rin ang kalalabasan niyan. Nagsayang ka lang ng pera. Whereas pag parabolic ang headlight, 100% efficiency dahil ang parabola ay may FOCUS.. As a result, isang direction lang ang ilaw. Ganun din sa pagrereview. Kahit ikaw na ang pinakamatinong tao sa buong mundo, kung wala ka namang focus youre not 100% efficient. Sayang ang talino mo. Kung sasamahan pa ng focus sa pagrereview, my golly! Baka ma perfect pa natin ang board. S schedule To complete the set, we should also learn how to make a schedule. Mali naman yung wala kang nang ginawa sa buhay mo kundi mag-aral. Kung ganyan ang gagawin mo, balewala rin ang lahat. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Sabi yan ng student catalogue natin. The one that was given to us when we were still freshmen. Theres a time of joy, a time of peace..etc. yan naman ang Jubilee song noong year 2000. Anyways, ang point ko ditto is we should learn how to balance our time. We should make sure that we also have time for other things but not affecting our focus in our study. Masama bang mag Counter Strike habang nagre2view? Hindi ko gusting patamaan si pareng Bob dito OK? In a study conducted by experts in sociology, it was found out that there is a common habit on most successful people. Alam nyo kung anu yun? Meron silang TO-DO-LIST. Im not joking on this..I-try niyo. How? Just make a list which should be done the previous night or at the beginning of the day. It should contain the things that you should accomplish for the day; for the week; for the month; o kung gusto niyo for the whole year na..With that list, u can assess yourself kung naaacomplish mo ba yung mga dapat mong gawin. Paano kung gumawa ka nga nun tapos nakita mong ang dami mong hindi naacomplish? Dont give up! Diba nga meron kayong patay kung patay mentality. There is always time. And there are always people around who can help you achieve your goals.