This Topnotcher Has Zero Tolerance When It Comes to Cheating in Exams

Not saying that other topnotchers have cheating habits, perhaps this is his ultimate secret in topping the September 2017 EE Board Exam.


For many engineering students, cheating in exams is a habit. When there is an opportunity to commit such academic dishonesty without being caught, they would grab it immediately for the sake of saving their grades. This cheating culture is becoming common in engineering classrooms which is alarming – because cheating, in any form, discourages real learning.

This is the core principle of Edilbert Tandaan, now an electrical engineer in the Philippines. Perhaps his zero tolerance when it comes to cheating in exams is his ultimate secret in becoming the first placer in the electrical engineering board exam given on September 2017. He got a rating of 91.80%.

Edilbert believes that independence during exams is a critical trait for learning. If one fails, then he or she should face the consequences and learn from the experience. For him, cheating is not a good or effective way to acquire knowledge.

Even if that means that he had to be the only one not to cheat in his class. This incident already happened in one of his classes as an engineering student at Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, where Edilbert’s classmates got an exam leakage. Being a man of principle, he did not get a copy of the leakage and instead took the exam with all his might. It did not end well for him – he got a low grade compared with the rest.

But that did not stop him from being an honest individual. This valuable trait has been maintained by the 22-year-old electrical engineer even up to today.

When asked about the best engineering school advice he could give, he said, “It is normal to have mistakes but you have to learn something from them. Do not let your mistakes be mistakes forever, instead do something to make them lessons learned.”

I got to talk with Edilbert through Facebook and he shared pieces of himself that others can definitely learn from:

Student Life

Why did you choose this course?

I am curious with electricity. Also, my scholarship was a factor because it is one of the programs that the sponsors are supporting.

Who or what was your inspiration?

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God first and then my family [Edilbert is married, blessed with a beautiful baby girl].

What are your favorite subjects in your entire engineering study? How about least liked subjects?

My favorite subjects would be Transformers, AC/DC Circuits, Analytic Geometry and Chemistry. My least liked subject is Engineering Materials.

Have you had any subject failures or disappointing academic performance to the very least? If yes, what did you do about it? How did you cope?

Yes. It was when my instructor did nothing the whole semester and gave an exam to which my classmates got a leakage. But I decided to answer the exam on my own. For not going after the leakage, my instructor gave me a grade of 2.75. I talked to him about the situation but the grades were already submitted to the registrar’s office and there was nothing that I and my instructor could do about it anymore. I just let it be. I moved on and focused on learning more.

Do you have any study tips or tricks that you think others should emulate from you?

They should connect the significance of one subject to another.

What is the best engineering school advice that you can give to other students?

Never cheat and copy from your classmates. Be independent!

It is normal to have mistakes but you have to learn something from them. Do not let your mistakes be mistakes forever, instead do something to make them lessons learned.

Board Exam Experience

What were the greatest struggles that you experienced while preparing for the board exam? What did you do to overcome them?

It was when my daughter got hospitalized on my last month of review. I just prayed and left everything to God because nothing is under my control.

Did you enroll in a center for your review? Do you recommend doing so? Which one did you go to?

Yes. I went to Powerline Review Center.

How did you find the board exam? Easy, average, or difficult?

Overall, I can say that our exam was kind of difficult because of the objective-type questions that need deep analysis and the others questions which were new to me.

What were your expectations after you took the board exam and before the results were out?

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If there is no machine error or my papers are marked unnecessarily, I know I passed the exam because I counted my sure points. For 2 subjects, there were 85 sure points and 80 on the other one.

Did you have a feeling that you will be at the top?

None at all. I was not expecting anything to avoid hurting myself. I was just expecting the worst.

What did you do the first minute you discovered you topped the board exam?

I cried.

Who do you owe your success to?

To God, my parents, my wife and daughter. Also my school Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, the Department of Science and Technology, and Powerline Review Center.


After topping the EE Board, Edilbert received a cash incentive from his school. Photo via Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges

Share your most effective study habits.

Answer every problem with full effort. Answer each problem in different ways during review and find the most convenient solution for you.

Give 5 important tips for future board exam takers who aim to become topnotchers.

  1. Be independent and believe in yourself that you can.
  2. Treat every quiz or exam exams as your last. By thinking that way, you know you will do your best to understand and answer all problems.
  3. Collect books. Books are very important in studying if you forget something that have been discussed. They are reliable sources of information.
  4. Stop complaining about your life. Let it be because all you can do is to make something about your life. Perseverance attracts blessings.
  5. Pray. Always pray no matter how short it is but never forget to pray for He is always listening. And don’t just pray, live a life with the will of God.

You might also want to read:

This Civil Engineering Topnotcher Tells Future Board Exam Takers to ‘Master the Basics’. Click here

Being a Topnotcher is This Electronics Engineer’s Way of Redeeming Himself from Failures in College. Click here

How to Top the Engineering Board Exam According to This Topnotcher-Review Instructor. Click here

Dion Greg Reyes
A young civil engineer finding his place in the industry. Pilipino.

Comments 2

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  1. “Cheating, in any form, discourages real learning.” Not that I’m justifying cheating, but in the first place, it is the goal-oriented or grade-based school system that discourages “real”, process-oriented learning. So, it’s partly the wrong of the student, and, partly, the grade-based school system.

    Anyway, kudos to this guy for topping the recent REE board! 🙂

This Topnotcher Has Zero Tolerance When It Comes to Cheating in Exams

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