FOR THE third consecutive year, a Thomasian topped the Physician Licensure Examinations given every August.

Thadeo Catacutan, a magna cum laude graduate, got the top spot with a rating of 87.92 percent while cum laude graduate Shaun Frederick Aure placed 10th with a grade of 85.50 percent.

According to Catacutan, whose first choice was to take a computer-related course instead of a science-based program, he did not expect to land a spot in the top 10, much less top the board exams “because the exams were very difficult and the competition was very strong.”

On the other hand, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery secretary Dr. Jose Blas said Catacutan’s notable performance in the board exam was not surprising since he was always at the top of his class.

“He is very conscientious and very hard working. Talagang magaling siya,” Blas said.

Back in high school at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, Catacutan said he was inclined toward computers and was more interested in taking a computer-related course rather than becoming a physician.

“Masyado ng competitive sa computers, kaya nag-decide kami na kumuha na lang ako ng science course since okey naman ako sa science,” he said.

He eventually enrolled at UST, taking up B. S. Biology where he graduated summa cum laude in 1996.

After getting his Bachelor of Science degree, he proceeded to take up medicine where he again excelled.

Last March 2000, Catacutan received the Rector’s Academic Award given to graduating students with the highest weighted average in their respective colleges or faculties. It was his second Rector’s Award, having received the same citation in 1996.

SOCC shows the way

Catacutan said UST played a vital role in preparing him for the board exams.

“The four-year training I got from UST really helped, especially my fourth year where we had our clerkship because you get to deal with patients,” he said.

In addition, UST improved its passing rate, registering a 94 percent passing rate compared to last year’s 90 percent. The national passing rate was 64.30 percent with 1, 502 out of 2, 336 passing the exams.

Blas attributed success in the board exams to the rigid screening of applicants before entering the University and the training the students got from the faculty.

He added that there could have been more Thomasians on the top 10 if some of the honor graduates took last month’s exams.

“They preferred to take the next board exam (which will be on February),” he said.

At any rate, he said they consider a higher passing rate more important than the number of Thomasians making it to the top 10. Teodoro Lorenzo A. Fernandez


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