THE UNIVERSITY recorded lower passing rates in the recent “off-season” licensure test for civil engineers and in the May board exam for certified public accountants (CPA).

UST got a 72-percent passing rate in civil engineering with 18 of 25 examinees making the cut, lower than last year’s 78.26 percent.

“Our passing rate is not low if we use the national passing rate as the benchmark,” said Rodelio Tiburcio, civil engineering department head. “Regularly, the civil engineering passing rate ranges from 70 to 90 percent, and most of the time, the 70 percent passing score is from the May takers.”

The national passing rate went up to 38.34 percent after 1,195 of 3,117 examinees passed the exam. Last year’s national passing percentage was 36.28.

“[Civil Engineering] graduates of UST normally take the November board exams. After graduation, they would attend review classes for six months before taking the test,” said Tiburcio.

Those who normally take the May board exams are repeaters, “Octoberians” or those who failed to graduate the previous school year, and those who are “daring” enough to take the exam right after graduation, he said.

Of the 25 Thomasian examinees, 15 are repeaters, and 10 of them passed, Tiburcio said.

“The problem with the re-takers is that, aside from their shortcomings, most of them are already working so they cannot focus [on their studies],” he said.

Despite the low passing rate, Tiburcio is confident the Quadricentennial batch would get a high mark in the November board exams.

“We have some students who graduated with Latin honors, and I think they are going to maintain the same passing grade,” he said.

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In the November 2010 board exams, UST emerged as the second top-performing school with an 83.96-percent passing rate, higher than the 40.57-percent national passing mark.

Meanwhile, UST obtained a 71.76-percent passing rate in the recent CPA licensure exam as 122 out of 170 examinees passed. This was lower than last year’s 77 percent.

“We are not expecting to get a high passing rate since this is an off-season board exam,” said UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy Dean Minerva Cruz. “Yet we still regard it as a high mark because we sometimes get 50 or 60 [percent passing rates] in the previous exams.”

This year’s national passing rate was 40.5 percent, slightly higher than last year’s 39 percent, as 2,130 out of 5,259 examinees passed.

There was no top-performing school this year, under the new criteria set by the Professional Regulation Commission last year, which requires 50 or more examinees and at least an 80-percent passing rate.

Last October, UST ranked as second top-performing school in the CPA licensure exams.

Cruz said the college was aiming for a spot in the top 10 of the October exams.

“We have five [students who had graduated] magna cum laude and 40 cum laude last May. So we are hoping [that] some of them will land in the top ten, and the batch will have a pleasing passing rate this coming October, “ she said.

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