Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BOARD EXAM TIP: I Can’t Afford to Enroll in a Review Center

As mentioned in the preceding article, although review centers can help a lot with regards to passing the board exam, it's not the primary determinant on your actual performance in the exam. 75% of all factors are in YOU. Yes, you yourself. So for those who cannot afford to enroll in a review center, there is a hope that you can equalize or even surpass the performance of those who take review classes. I have here lists of tips that will help you do that. Most of these tips are applicable to everyone, not just those who can't afford enrolling in review centers.

TIP No. 1
Build up your motivation.

Examine yourself first. How strongly do you want/need to pass the board exam? If you don't have enough motivation, you will easily give up as soon as you encounter difficulties. But if you're really determined, you will be surprised on how easy it is to smash the obstacles that lie along the way to passing the board exam. What if you are not motivated? We'll, I can't help you with that problem. It all depends on you. But meditating on the benefits on having a license and receiving your dream title "Engineer" may be helpful. Also, look for inspiration—your family, maybe your fiancĂ©, or anyone whom you can draw motivation.

TIP No. 2
Be resourceful.

Even though you don't enroll in a review center, it doesn't mean that you can't have board exam review materials. I'm pretty sure that most of your classmates or batchmates have enrolled. Seek help from them. Ask for copies of their review materials. In this way, you can keep up with what they are reviewing; the more materials, the better. Also, don't limit yourself from what your classmates are giving. You may also do some research. If you have textbooks, use it. You college notes are also important so you have to take care of it. When I was taking my board a few years ago, I sometimes pass by a bookstore, look for Mechanical Engineering review books and take a look at it. Just spend a few minutes, say 15 minutes scanning the books. Another thing you can do is to borrow books from those who already took and passed the board. Yes, having a lot of friends is very important.

TIP No. 3
Have a balanced review.

The advantage of enrolling in a review center is that they provide a balanced review program. We all know that the board exam has three divisions: Mathematics (including Engineering Sciences and Economy), Machine Design, and Power Plant Engineering. You have to keep balance on these three to be able to pass the board. Also, there's a need to keep balance between practicing computations and memorizing "elements" or terms. If you take a look at previous board examination, as much as 70% of questions are terms.

TIP No. 4
Scheduling and prioritizing is a must.

When you already have enough review materials, it's time to put it in a proper schedule. This is in harmony with Tip No.3. Make your own review program. Of course, if you collected a lot of materials, you can't manage to learn them all in 4 to 6 months. You have to select the best materials and put it in priority. How to know which material is to be prioritized? That's the tough part of it. For me, start and prioritize with the basics. For example, before memorizing mind-boggling complex formulas, you have to start with the basic. Complex formulas were founded basic formulas. The best thing to do is to memorize the basic and learn how to derive the complex. It will take some practice for you to be able to do that.

TIP No.5
Stick to your schedule.

Making a schedule and sticking to it are two different stories. The latter requires discipline and diligence. Although, it varies from person to person, I personally advise to review early in the morning, if possible, during the dawn, when the surrounding is silent and your mind is fresh from sleep. You must make sure that you are having enough rest and eating nutritious foods to have a fresh mind.

As a conclusion to this article, I would like to invite everyone to please regularly visit this site. I will post review materials that will help everyone to prepare for the board exam.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

BOARD EXAM TIP: Which Review Center?

First of all, I would like to apologize for a long time I haven't posted anything but introduction. The reason for that is I'm busy optimizing the design of this site. I'm hoping that the make over is good. Anyway, I would like to dedicate this article to those who are going to take/retake the board exam this coming October. My sincere wish that you bring out the best among yourselves and may the deserving ones pass the exam.

Going back to the One-Million-Peso worth question: "Which review center should I enroll?", I would like to answer that in the most unbiased way I can. Of course, I'm only human and I had also my preferences but I will try my best to hide it.

To start with I will enumerate some of the prominent review centers that offer board exam reviews for mechanical engineering in the Philippines.

1. Alcorcon (Cebu & Manila)
2. Excel (Cebu & Manila)
3. Linx Engineering (Manila)
4. MERIT (Manila)
5. PRIME (Cebu)
6. RLB's CDTC (Manila)
I'm sorry for those review center's I haven't mentioned. Please post a comment to include you on the list.

What to look for?
My personal answer to this question is summarized in a single word-REPUTATION. Yes reputation is a prime consideration when choosing a review center. Reputation gives you a glimpse to the quality of review you will get. Where can you find this information?
Do not trust promotional schemes like flyers, banners, and passing percentage claims. Who really knows how true their claims are, anyway? Ask information on persons who experienced reviewing on a particular review center. Do not ask the passers alone, of course they'll tell you all the positives, ask also those who failed. Ask them information about the quality of review sessions, review materials, and tests.
I will put my emphasis on review materials, for me that's the most important thing. It's not about the quantity alone, but also quality. Yes, quantity matters for it widens your coverage on what the actual board may ask, but quality also matters. Is it well balanced when it comes to the three main subjects-Math, Power, Machine Design?

 Give 'em 20 max
Board exam, for me, is not about how good your review center is but how prepared YOU are. I'm sorry but its YOU who controls the majority of factors that will determine your fate on the actual exam. Preparation is the key. My personal partition is...

review center - 20% Max

The remaining 5% is "luck". This is the element of random events like
"the type of questions given are exactly what you have prepared." I'm sorry again but you cannot control this one.

Batch Review
I would like to give personal advise to those who would like their school batch to review in only one review center. For me this is not the optimum choice. The principle you have to remember is
"divide and conquer." If you divide your batch to at most 2 or 3 different review centers you can easily access more review materials. The key thing here is a "sharing" attitude. Though some may say that even your own classmate is a competitor in the board exam, isn't it more joyful if all your classmates passed?

I Can't Afford
What if your circumstances cannot afford enrolling in any review center? Don't lose hope. Remember the 75-20-5 ratio? Yes, you still hold the 75% and there are ways you can do to get the remaining 20% without attending in a review center. I know a lot of experiences like this. Success stories that really inspires me. This will be the topic on my next post.

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