For a lot of the University’s graduates, the greatest hurdle that they will ever face in their undergraduate life is their profession’s board and licensure examinations. This is true for engineers, accountants, teachers, and many more professions. Last May, Lasallians topped the Chemical Engineer and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) board exams, with Jan Si (BS-CHE, 2018) placing second and Robert Arrojo (BSA, 2018) placing sixth in their profession’s examinations, respectively. In an interview with The LaSallian, the two graduates share their experiences preparing and acing their board exams
For Si, who scored 82.40 percent in the Chemical Engineer board examinations, martial discipline was the key to success. “I attended a review center from January onwards, but because I was still finishing my internship at the time, I couldn’t [really] start reviewing until late February. I studied for 15 hours a day during weekdays and attended review center classes during the weekends to make sure that I cover as many topics as possible. This was literally my life for three months,” he shared.
The newly minted chemical engineer also shares that topping the board exam was the goal from the very beginning. “The goal for me from the start was to top the board exam. But with the limited amount of time I had, I knew I had to work extra hard to achieve this goal,” Si expressed.
For Arrojo, who finished with a score of 90.50 percent, preparations were in the form of rebuilding his foundations. “I [rebuilt] my foundations in accounting through studying the concepts I have learned in undergrad [again]. Then, I exposed myself to every possible question and problems in the boards through answering and reviewing different materials,” he said.
In place of review centers, the new accountant shared that he joined contests to back up his studies. “[Joining contests] was also part of my preparation. It doesn’t only test what I know and improve it but it also made me aware of the possible competition I have in the upcoming board exams,” Arrojo disclosed.
Achieving such feats would not be possible without sacrifices along the way, something that the two achievers willingly paid the price for. “[In terms of sacrifices], reviewing for the board exam takes a lot of effort and time, and so some of the things that I had to let go of for the mean time were primarily going out with friends and family, playing video games, and most importantly, sleep,” Si shared.
Arrojo likewise had his fair share of sacrifices, mentioning that his course’ modular system already ingrains it in their lifestyles. “Being in a modular system already entails sacrifices. One must study almost every day and prioritize their goals. That’s also what I did during the board exam. I focused on what lies ahead. The main sacrifice I did was not being able to catch up with my friends and family. My time was mostly allotted to studying but I know even though I don’t spend much time with them, they are always there for me, ready to support and cheer me up since they understand the burden of taking the board exam,” he said.
The examination proper
One common denominator among students who take board exams is the high pressure to pass. The two, likewise, shared this same pressure. “In my opinion, the board exam is one of the toughest examinations a chemical engineering student will ever take in his or her lifetime for a number of reasons: the pressure to pass is high, the questions are tough, and the testing conditions are harsh. I remember always being confident at the start of the exam but always ending up slightly distraught after,” Si expressed.
Arrojo shares that he also felt nervous during the exam, saying “I was both nervous and excited. Nervous because I didn’t know what will happen even though I prepared for this exam for months and excited because this is what I have been waiting for years. During the board exam, I didn’t sleep because I’m used to studying all-night the day before exams and there were so many things to think about.”
For Si, placing second came as a pleasant surprise. “Despite my confidence and preparedness coming into the exam, I was not quite confident that I performed as well as I wanted to. Ending up as the second placer was actually a pleasant surprise for me,” he expressed.
On the other hand, Arrojo expected a better result given his performance in the past, but he is thankful for the rank he achieved nevertheless. “Honestly, I expected a better result from myself because of my past performances in pre-boards, competitions, and mock board exams. I’m still in the process of accepting that this is the place that was given to me, but nevertheless, I’m grateful that I’m part of the list of topnotchers,” he shared.
After the dust has settled and the applause dies down, life goes on for the two topnotchers. Si mentions that his current goal is to look for a job to learn and develop his skill set, eventually starting his own business in the future. “The next step for me is to look for a job that can provide an environment where I can continuously learn and develop new skill set. Right now, I’m looking at a career in the business side of things so that I can diversify my capabilities. In the future, I am looking to integrate these knowledge, skills and capabilities so that I can start my own business,” he said.
Arrojo, on the other hand, is still unsure of what his plans are, but one thing he’s sure of is his goal to be the best in his field. “As of now, I’m undecided [as to] what my career path will be. I will be choosing between taking law school or taking up different certifications. [But] at the end of the day, I just [want] to redeem myself with the result of the board exams and be the best in my field,” he shared.
Si shares that the key to success is preparation. He gives his advice to engineering students and future board exam takers, saying “as with everything else, preparation is the key to success. Start early and stick to your schedule to cover as many subjects as you can. In addition to this, don’t forget that the board exam is a multiple choice exam. Practice back-solving, elimination, and other multiple choice techniques as this will definitely help you in the exams. Last but not the least, pray (if you’re religious), make an effort to stay confident, and never forget that luck will come to those who are prepared.”
Arrojo’s advice to aspiring accountants ring similar to Si’s. He places devotion and foundation as the key to success, saying “give your life to it because it is your life. Remember [that] this is the culmination of your hard work and sacrifices for the past years and make sure you have given everything you have. Study every material you have, be resourceful and make sure you have built a strong foundation with the concepts you have learned.”
On the national level
The University continues to be at the forefront of academic excellence, demonstrated by high passing rates across many professional and licensure examinations.
In the recent May 2018 Chemical Engineer Licensure Examination, the University garnered a 96.55 percent passing rate. Jan Si finished at second place with a rating of 82.40 percent, and Juan Paolo Gonzalez placed third with a rating of 82.30 percent. The national passing rate stands at 46.54 percent.
For the May 2018 CPA Board Examinations, the University was ranked as the top performing school with a passing rate of 90.11 percent. Robert Arrojo placed sixth overall with a score of 90.50 percent. Monique Mujer also placed in the top ten with an 89.17 percent rating. In contrast, the national passing rate stands at 28.92 percent.
The University also has notable performance in other licensure examinations, such as the March 2018 Licensure Exam for Teachers, where DLSU garnered a passing rate of 100 percent for both the Elementary and Secondary level.