TO SOME members of Batch 2007, graduation means rest, summer vacation, or job hunting. But to others, it means preparation for the licensure exams.

At first, former Accountancy Student Council president Jayner Cruz felt frustrated that while most of his batchmates were already scouting for jobs, he still had to study for the September board exams in order to obtain his license. “It is really nerve-wracking,” said Cruz.

In the case of intern Marc Abalajon, who graduated cum laude from Medicine in 2006, he has to review for the board while doing his internship.

“We barely have enough time to review because of our 36-hour shifts,” he said. “In busy wards, we try to study with the little time we have, because we barely have the opportunity to read books.”

Since the board exam is a make-or-break aspect of an aspiring professional’s life, it understandably makes Thomasians anxious.

Among those feeling the pressure is Law graduate Jaemarie Tablete. But she is confident she’ll pull through.

“I believe that Thomasians have an advantage compared to students of other universities,” said Tablete.

Secondary Education cum laude Leonardo Sanchez agreed.

“The University educates us well enough, and it is very apparent in the board exam rates,” he said.

Several University programs constantly excel in the board exams. Last year, Medicine posted a passing rate of 84 per cent, Occupational Therapy 95 per cent, Pharmacy 89 per cent, and Physical Therapy 98 per cent. These programs, alongside Medical Technology, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Architecture produced topnotchers as well.

To date, the University is considered the best-performing private school in board exams, based on rankings by the Professional Regulation Commission and Commission on Higher Education.

With the consistently impressive showing of the University in different licensure exams, Sanchez feels the pressure of passing, if not topping, the exams overwhelming.

“The pressure is not just from my organization I represent but also from myself,” said Sanchez, who will take the examination for teachers in August.

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Cruz agreed. “I do feel pressured because the passing rate of the University in the CPA board exams is impressive,” he said. “We have to maintain the tradition of excellence our college has.”

While some become stressed out at the very thought of the board examination, some view it in a positive way.

Tablete said her batch is challenged by professors’ remarks about the need to have a Thomasian topnotcher in the September bar exams. It has been five years since a Thomasian (Arlene Maneja) has topped the bar.

Would-be examinees employ different study strategies for reviewing.

For Medical Technology intern Josef Caneba, the key to passing is self-study. In preparation for his September board exams, he reviews his old notes and lectures. He recently bought a reviewer exam.

But for his fellow intern, Ronald Ramos, enrolling in a review class is the key to passing the board.

“I really need to refresh my memory about our lessons,” said Ramos, who admitted to having some difficulty remembering lessons due to his internship.

Several programs in the University, like those of Medical Technology, Medicine, and Nursing, offer in-house review classes, which are also open for outsiders. Associate and guest lecturers conduct these classes with limited slots. Reviewees are charged 2,500 to 7,000, a lot cheaper compared to commercial review centers outside the University.

Signing up for the review classes, however, is optional for a UST graduate.

For Nursing magna cum laude Hilarious De Jesus, a review should not be viewed as a teacher-dominated exchange.

“It is a two-way process. We see our lecturer’s desire for us to pass, but we must also have the drive to pass,” De Jesus said.

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And with this commitment, De Jesus, just like other reviewers, found himself exhausted, if not missing out on get-togethers and outings. His summer has become filled with eight- to nine-hour-a-day review sessions (that had started even before he graduated).

De Jesus said he considered the stress of reviewing as a necessary and even an integral part of his personal and professional growth.

“Everything starts with a license,” De Jesus explained.

However, performing well in the board exams needs more than just reviewing and studying.

Tablate and a batchmate regularly pay a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag, Pangasinan to ask for the Blessed Mother’s intercession so she could review well and pass the bar. One would appreciate Tablate’s efforts when one considered Tablate hails from Albay in Bicol.

Ramos for his part tries to take it easy.

“I don’t have weird rituals,” he said. “But I do believe that a good night sleep before the exams will help me a lot.”

Overall, Thomasians preparing for the board exams believe in a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy spirit.

“Prayer is important,” Abalajon declared. Raychel Ria C. Agramon and Rieze Rose T. Calbay

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