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Saturday, September 1, 2012

How I Passed the Philippine Physician Board Exam Part 1

I just saw my name on the PRC List of successful examinees of Philippine Physician Board Examination. Soooo happy!!! Words can't fully describe what I am feeling right now.

Anyways as I've told myself, I'll write a blog on tips to pass the board exams.  This post is only about how to   PASS, if you wish to top the boards, then I don't think this post is of much help. hehe

I'll just share to you what I did in my review.

First of all, I'll introduce myself, I'm a proud UST graduate.  Both BS Biology & Medicine, I also took up internship at UST.  So I'm 100% UST product.  So I think fellow thomasian doctors/med students will be of most benefit for this post (in my opinion only).

As advised by mentors, you should be studying during your rotations in the hospital.  Well, I didn't do that, because by the time I get home, I'm tired & I sleep.  The only rotation I was able to study was Family Medicine, I think I was able to read 3 chapters of anatomy (Baby snell) & 3 chapters of OB gyne (blueprints).

At the end of internship, this is what I felt, "tapos na! now what?" Should I study? But but... I just finished.. can't I rest? Tatamarin ka talaga. haha.

Reviewers to buy/got to have:
Complete Physician Guide To Philippine Licensure Examination (2005)Board Exam Primer <- these 2 files are the guides I used in reviewers I have to read.

1st month of review (May):
Anyways I took up UST review for boards, for 3 reasons:

  1. Security blanket
  2. I don't want to study on my own yet, not in the mood, so para d ako maguilty I took the review, that way, even if you're not in the mood, at some point you wont feel that guilty since you took a review class
  3. I prefer the 1 month review & 2 months review on my own, as compared to other review centers, & it's near our place.
As a thomasian graduate, I personally think that you could do without the review.  Pero hindi ako nagsisisi that I took up UST review.  Although most of the time I slept during the review, but I think what I learned most from the UST review is your attitude towards approaching the board exams. During this time, also you'll be having make-ups from your internship rotations, doing chartworks etc, I also went out of the country during this 1 month.  So you'll eventually miss some topics discussed. 
Another review center famous during that time was the Topnotch Board review, I can't say if it's good or bad since I didn't review there, but others say they're good! Either way it's your choice =D

Topics NOT TO MISS in UST review:
  • Testmanship
  • Dr. Montenegro's lecture (any topic, basta si dr montenegro)
  • Legal Medicine
I'm also advising that you read the UST review handouts on the day that topic is discussed or read before, it's more effective. ( I wasn't able to do this, but I still think this is the best, because you won't be able to touch those handouts again in the next 2 months.)

Most important advice in this month: Complete all deficiencies & go enjoy yourself! Don't pressure yourself on studying this month, it's OK not to be serious in studying. Go to churches also, if you plan to go to Manaoag etc.

2nd month of review (June):
This is the month when you'll be forced to make your study schedule, kasi wala ka ng choice.  If you listened to Dr. Montenegro's lecture, his advise was to enjoy this month also.  But I know myself, I know I couldn't do what he taught us his schedule.

Study schedule:
In creating your study schedule, take a look back at yourself, remember during your medicine days, what are your study habits? Are you the type who learns best at night? Or are you a day-person? Then you'll pattern your study schedule to when you learn best.  You should know also where is your "study place" if you can study at home, then study at home, if you can't & can only study at starbucks, then go to starbucks, etc.

I'm a day person.  So my study schedule is from 8am to 9pm.
My sample schedule:
6am: wake up
7am: eat, prepare self, condition self to study, chores etc.
8am: answer samplex of subject for the day (yeah, even if hindi mo p naaral, para malaman mo yun pre & post review scores mo.)
9am-11am: start reading review books
11am-2pm: craft break, lunch break, siesta time
2pm-4pm: study
4pm-6pm: break, walk the dog etc.
6pm-7pm: study
7pm-8pm: dinner
8pm-9pm: study
  • In the board exams, you have 12 subjects. I set a goal that I should have my 1st reading in 1 month.  So I divided the 30 days into 12.  So each subject you have 2-3 days each.  Know which subjects are your strength in med school, one of mine is physiology, then set those strength subjects into 2 days only.
  • If you can't finish the subject in 2-3 days, leave it, (like pharmacology, haba nun, tska patho, mahaba din) move to the next subject. 
  • You should give equal priority to each subject, they're equal kc in grading, so if leg med was easy, don't disreagard it, because it will be the one to pull your grade up
  • This is just first reading so it's ok not to pressure yourself for not remmemberring what you just read.  Yeah! it really happens!
  • Take 1 day off. You deserve it, (I personally can't study if I don't have 1 day or 1/2 day off)
  • Apply to PRC. Submit all your requirements.
3rd month (july):
  • This is cram time, by this time you should have done your 1st reading, this will be the time for 2nd reading.
  • I did the same sched as before, yup I still do crafting.  Only this time I've shortened my breaks, 11am-1pm, & 4pm-5pm.
  • I also take 1 day off 
  • Yup, you'll still have this feeling of not remembering what you've just read.
  • I only have few sample exams, so during the 2nd month I only answered 1 sample exam for each subject on 1st day, no answering on 2nd or 3rd day.  During this month I answered 1 pre-review on day 1, then 1 sample exam post review on last day of that subject.  Then I compare my grades (actually in my case they're of the same range, no change, sometimes lower). 
1 week before the exam:
  • Whether finished or not, answer sample exams during this week.
  • You'll feel really nervous during this week, palpitations, lack of sleep etc.
  • Now also is the best time to read topnotch reviewers "pearls" (yes, get copies from your friends who reviewed there.)
  • Don't open any review books, just read the reviewers & answer sample exams

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  1. hi! thanks for this post. it really helped me. Im so nervous with the upcoming boards in february cause id be taking it then cause im just about to finish my post grad internship this month. Im even kind of pressured cause my batch got a high passing rate this august 2012 boards. Im from lasalle btw.
    thanks again for the tips. hope you can write more tips.

  2. tnx =D

    Good luck on your upcoming board exams =D Kaya yan

  3. Hi,

    I came across your post regarding UST review. I am from St Lukes College of Medicine and I would like to know if UST review accepts students from non-UST Med school. How do I apply for UST review? Thanks

  4. Sorry for the late repy, yes, UST accepts non-UST students for the review

  5. If I much for the review fee...

  6. thanks for blogging it, would be helpful for students...

    mbbs in philippines

    1. Thank you! It’s a surprise even after several years this post is still able to help thos who will take the exams