Wednesday, June 26, 2019

5 Mistakes test-takers make in board exams

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The September 2019 Librarian Licensure Examination is around two months away. I remember the nervousness the few months before the exam. For most, passing the board exam is an important stepping stone in one's career. Most professions require a license to practice, and your future can depend on the results.

The board exam can be the most nerve-wracking exam of your life! Unlike exams in school, there's more at stake in a licensure exam. That's why a lot of people really make an effort in studying and reviewing.

I took the board exam for Librarians last 2015, and I also teach review classes for those about to take the exam. In my perspective as both a test-taker and a teacher, here are the bad habits I've noticed that may negatively affect a taker's results:

Cramming
Sometimes, we really have no choice but to cram. Not all of us have the luxury of free time to spend on reviewing alone. Time is also an issue for those who have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities. However, unless you are so smart or you absorb information very quickly, it is better to study a little at a time than cram near the exam. If you are very busy, you can find a time to schedule your review even if it's only 30 minutes a day, or a few moments while commuting to work or during work breaks. If you really want to pass, you will make the time for it and find a way to do it. As the Filipino saying goes, "Kapag gusto, may paraan." (If you want it, there's a way)

Sometimes, knowing that you crammed makes you nervous in taking the exam. If you can, it's better to study in a relaxed pace for a longer period of time than rush near the event.

Memorizing instead of understanding
In the board exam, memorization is really necessary as there are some facts and knowledge in the profession we should know by heart. We need to memorize, sure, but we should understand the basic concepts first. It is easier to memorize when you understand thoroughly.

In the librarian's board exam, you may have to memorize key persons, concepts, and the basic outlines of the Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress Classification system for organizing library materials. But you also need to understand how this is used in the actual library situation. In the exam, there may be questions that test your practical knowledge with situational questions. For example, if this is the scenario or problem in the library, what is the best course of action among the choices given?

Not preparing
In a board exam, you don't only need to study for the exam itself. There are paperwork and requirements too. Documents such as the Diploma, Transcript of Records, Birth Certificate, Cedula, IDs, and sometimes Certificates are required. One must make sure that your records are complete and accurate. Some may have problems with their names in the Birth Certificate and it may take a long time to correct. School documents take time to process.

In my experience, PRC didn't state that a Certificate of Good Moral Character was required but they asked us for one. I don't know if this is still a requirement (kindly check the recent changes if there are). But since we prepared the other documents beforehand and applied to take the board exam as early as possible, we learned about this requirement earlier and still had time to process it.

Being Lazy
In the review, there are days where we feel lazy. It's normal. We also need to rest! In my advice to students, you should also set aside time to rest between studying and do something unrelated. That's why  I don't recommend cramming since you are pushing your brain too much and you won't have time to rest.

However, we should learn to control our laziness and have the discipline to study even on days we don't feel like doing it. Passing the board exam entails hard work and not magic. The earlier you study, the more effort you put in, you are increasing your chances of passing the exam.

Not taking the exam seriously
I've noticed that some test-takers don't really put in an effort in reviewing and have failed the exam several times. In my opinion, if you are going to take the exam, then use all the resources you have and do everything you can. I know that each person is different, and there may be circumstances we can't control that may affect our results. But if you don't really want to take the exam or prefer taking it later, then maybe other options are better.
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