POURING knowledge acquired over years of studying into a single exam is never easy. The thought of a looming licensure examination can relentlessly torture an examinee physically and mentally.

Some, however, welcome the challenge with open arms.

One of them is Dr. Patrick Leonard Co, who bested 2,696 applicants from all over the country by topping the Physician Licensure Examination with a grade of 86.83 per cent last August.

Co took his pre-med course, BS Biology, at the Ateneo de Manila University and finished Medicine in UST in March 2004.

At a young age, Co took pleasure in learning. He would often ponder on why and how things worked the way they did.

“I wouldn’t take ‘I don’t know’ for an answer,” he told the Varsitarian. “What you learn is directly proportional to the effort you put into it.”

He said that there really is no secret in preparing for the board exam.

“I just reviewed for it like I would for any other test,” he said. “I don’t believe in going to review schools and paying others to teach something you have already learned before.”

The 29-year-old doctor believes that cramming for an exam is never the answer. The concepts taught from the start of one’s formal education should not be disregarded. “A few months of review will never replace four or five years of quality education,” he said.

Co offered this last piece of advice for the aspiring passers: “Don’t just study for the sake of passing the exams. Otherwise, all you are learning will end after graduation.”

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Believe and survive

During her elementary years, Lorayne Ann Chua languished behind her peers academically. She performed unsatisfactorily compared to others her age, but this self-perceived mediocrity, however, motivated her to exert more effort in studying.

“I made it a point to always give my best, believing that in doing so, I can also achieve what others can,” Chua said.

This hope proved to be Chua’s passport to academic achievement. As part of the cream section in her high school, she pushed herself to see if she could match, or perhaps, outperform her peers.

Unwavering in her pledge to improve, Chua realized she could competitively challenge her colleagues. Her efforts paid off when she graduated magna cum laude from the UST Faculty of Pharmacy in 2006. “It was not impossible to reach the level that one normally think only others can reach,” she added.

Her journey to the top, however, was not without consequences. Because of her commitment to her studies, she spent less and less time with her friends, choosing to spend her spare time in the library.

The honor of finishing top of her class, however, did not pacify the uneasiness she had going into the licensure exam. Past board takers who mentioned the difficulty of the exam to her made her doubt the preparation routine she subscribed to.

Putting her worries aside, Chua topped the Medical Technologist Licensure Exam with a grade of 87.3 per cent last September.

Like Co, Chua did not put all her faith in review centers. She felt that it was simply an option, not a must.

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She believed that a well-managed self-study regimen may be just as effective as enrolling in a review course.

Setting one’s goals and objectives, Chua believed, is crucial in achieving success.

“You have to know what you want, then determine how much you want it, after which, do everything you can to attain it,” she said.

Despite all the praise Chua received after topping the exam, she did not forget the one who gave her the toughness to withstand the adversity that was placed on her: God.

Chua found her trust in Divine Providence, which she said is her source of comfort. She said that one’s relationship with God is the key to everything, from one’s health to success.

“Never forget to always pray and ask God for help and blessings,” Chua said. Paul Nicholas P. Dimerin

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