If you’re going to take a professional board exam in the Philippines, I’m sure it is a nerve-wracking experience. There’s the pressure from yourself, your family, or your school. If you graduated with honors, there is more pressure for you to land a spot in the top ten or even number 1. Topnotchers of board exams are always applauded for their hard work and schools are always proud to have them.
If you have this dream, I encourage you to pursue it and pray for it. Nothing is impossible for those who have faith! But I need to also warn you of its danger if you do happen to land the top spot, and you have to be careful about it as well. But I am not here to discourage you. Topping the board is a once-in-a-lifetime moment you should enjoy but it isn’t everything, you shouldn't get too attached to it.
Here are 5 reasons to motivate you:
1. It gives you an edge in job searching. If you're the topnotcher, there's little question about your knowledge and hard work. In your field, your name will be known and the potential employer will see it as an advantage.
2. The financial and other rewards from your school and community. Schools often reward their topnotchers, so that's also a good motivation. Some schools give away cars, jobs, and cash. When I topped the 2015 exam, I got more than 20,000 pesos from my school and some cash incentives from the city government. They do this to encourage more students to be in the top 10.
3. It also gives you more opportunities in graduate school. If you apply in graduate schools, the top spot is a good thing to put on your CV.
4. It gives your alma mater something to be proud of. If you loved your school, your success is also a good way to give back. If you landed a spot in the top, your school, classmates, and teachers are with you!
5. It gives your alma mater an edge over other schools. Sometimes, performance in the board exams also affects your school's standing in CHED and other accrediting institutions. Your results are proof that the course and the school are performing well.
That's all good, but there's also a dark side to success.
I read this comment by a topnotcher in a blog on board exam tips (I can relate, especially the part about high expectations):
As a board topnotcher, there is a disadvantage though. Your company and superior expects so much of you. Sometimes you are the subject of envy and insecurity of your supervisor and senior coworkers, pulling you down because they see you as their hindrance. That's why this new company of mine, I never declared that I was a topnotcher of Electrical Engineering and everything went so smoothly compared to my previous job.Expectations will affect you if you think about them too much. You need humility - yes, you topped, but the world of work is different from an exam that you took once. The exam results only show that you master the basics, but its not a good evidence that you will be an excellent employee. Your work is not only about how much you know but also how you deal with people - in all organizations there will be problems, conflicts, and politics.
Best of luck in the exam, but God bless you more after.