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Engineer Topnotcher Tips: Know Your Learning Pattern

He topped the chemical engineering board exam after he mastered his.

Engineer Topnotcher Tips


There are many ways that engineering students could learn. Study habits and techniques vary from person to person, and when you find the most convenient way that you could master the engineering topics, then you should stick to that.

That is what Jared Philip Condez, a chemical engineering topnotcher, believes in.

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“It is important for every engineering student to know what study or learning pattern is best suited to them like if they prefer to listen during class, jot down some notes, or write and rewrite whole lectures,” he said, when asked about the best engineering school advice he can give to students.

“Once these study habits have been established and refined, learning will be a lot more efficient and enjoyable,” the 21-year-old added.

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Jared has perfected his own studying and learning style to the point that it has yielded great results.

A graduate of University of the Philippine Visayas (UPV) in Miag-ao, Iloilo, Jared is one of the two first placers in the November 2017 chemical engineering licensure examination. He, along with John Cyril Claur from University of Saint La Salle, got a rating of 84.60%.

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The Bugasong, Antique-native also received several recognitions in college.

Other than graduating as Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian, he was given an Academic Distinction Award by the Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers, an Outstanding Engineering Graduate Award from the Council of Engineering and Architecture Schools – Western Visayas, and the Suheyla and Naci Ugursal Award, conferred to the top academic performer in the UPV BS ChE program.

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Engr. Condez is quite a gem. He revealed in an e-mail interview stories about his life as an engineering student and board exam reviewee, as well as his tips on how to ace the licensure exam.

Read the full transcript below:

Engr. Condez with his friends. Photos supplied

Topnotcher Student Life

Why did you choose this course? Who or what was your inspiration?

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Ever since I was in high school, I had already set my goal to earn a bachelor’s degree from UP Visayas (UPV), the nearest constituent of UP to my hometown.

As I browsed the list of courses they offered, the words “chemical engineering’” caught my attention. It was the only engineering course being taught in UPV and aside from sounding cool and fancy, I learned that it applies concepts from Physics, Math, and Chemistry. Subjects that I had affinity for in high school.

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My family is my inspiration.

From a young age, I can see the hardship and sacrifices that they made to do a living.

It even compelled both of my parents to work abroad to earn better (though only my mother stayed working overseas since my father decided to stay in the Philippines some years ago).

They served as my inspiration to finish chemical engineering because I want to show them that all of their time, effort, and money are not being taken for granted and at least in some form I can somehow repay them.

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

Some of my favorite subjects are Transport Processes, Quantitative Inorganic Chemistry, Fluid Mechanics, Engineering Mechanics, and Strength of Materials.

On the other hand, my least liked subjects were Thermodynamics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics.

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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?

I never got a failing grade of 5.0 but there was a moment that I almost had that dreaded “singko” (failing grade of 5.0).

It was on a GE subject on my very first semester that I got my one and only 3.0.

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After that disappointing experience, there’s nothing left I can do to change it so I did my best to just forget about it, learn as much as I can from that experience and move on.

I still had a lot of chances, 9 more semesters to redeem myself all with the thought to always do my level best in every encounter.

Any topnotcher study tips or tricks that you think others should emulate from you?

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As much as possible, always try to avoid procrastinating for an exam.

One of our instructors during the review quoted Franklin saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

In cases like this, time will be your friend, spend it wisely. Also, always practice solving engineering problems.

At first, some may seem hard to solve but eventually, you will start to recognize patterns that will simplify your approach in solving similar problems in the future.

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

It is important for every engineering student to know what study or learning pattern is best suited to them like if they prefer to listen during class, jot down some notes, or write and rewrite whole lectures.

Once these study habits have been established and refined, learning will be a lot more efficient and enjoyable.

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Don’t get me wrong though, engineering school is hard!

The pressure will either turn you into dust or diamond. To minimize the probability of falling in the former outcome, it is advisable to also allot time for leisure and fun!

Find an outlet to de-stress yourself, reset, and resume again and always remember to pray to God for guidance.


Engr. Condez with his friends. Photos supplied

Board Exam Experience

What were the greatest struggles that you experienced while preparing for the board exam?

What did you do to overcome them?

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My greatest struggle would be convincing myself that I am indeed ready to take the board exam.

Whenever I find myself thinking about the broad topics covered by the 3-day test, I always feel butterflies in my stomach wondering how I can possibly study all of those in time.

I overcame this by studying first the topics I know I’m weak at and then later review what I consider my strong suits.

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

Yes, I enrolled for review and refresher in Manila Review Institute, Inc (MRII). I highly recommend enrolling in a review center.

In my experience at MRII, they have very competent instructors, excellent review materials, and great tips and tricks in solving problems.

Although, you should also try to see other references aside from those given by the review center, like the books and notes you used in college.

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

Overall, I found the exam to be difficult, especially the topics under Physical and Chemical Principles (Day 1) and Chemical Engineering Principles (Day 2) since the two seem to encompass the whole world. Haha! The third day, General Engineering, is average.

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What were your expectations after you took the board exam and before the results were out? Did you have a feeling that you will be at the top?

After the review sessions at MRII, we had a post-test to somehow gauge our preparedness for the board exam.

Fortunately, I got a passing score which gave me some confidence to pass the board exam.

However, after taking the actual board exam, I felt pessimistic since there were plenty of difficult questions that I haven’t encountered during my review.

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In addition, after the exams I can overhear other examinees talking about the questions and what they thought was the answers.

I then realized that I may have made several mistakes.

At that point, I never would have expected to take a spot in the top 10, let alone top the hundreds of examinees.

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

I was eating burger and fries with my friend at the time.

We were joking one another that the results will be released soon so I browsed Twitter to see if there were any updates.

There really was one so I immediately clicked the link to see the list of passers and scrolled down to find our names. I immediately called my family to tell them that I passed the board exam.

I was only able to find out that I topped the exam when my professor in college called and I can hear the joy in her voice telling me that I was the Top 1

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Who do you owe your success to?

First and foremost, to God who has continued to guide and bless me with wisdom and strength and has made all of these achievements possible, exceeding even my expectations for myself.

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I owe this success to my family, friends, and relatives who has showed their continuous love and support.

To all of my instructors and professors from Saint Joseph Academy and the School of Technology, University of the Philippines Visayas, I am grateful to have been your student.

You have all taught, inspired, and honed me to be who I am today.

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I also owe this success to the DOST-SEI scholarship for their financial assistance during my college education. It helped me a lot.

What incentives did you get from your university and review center after your board exam success?

Manila Review Institute, Inc. will be giving cash incentives to the topnotchers.

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Share your most effective study habits.

Avoid thinking catastrophically especially if an exam is fast approaching.

Think positively. Study hard and study smart.

In tackling concepts, I found it helpful to rewrite notes from the review class into a neater notebook because it improves retention of new information (my secondary reason here is that I don’t like my handwriting, so it’s a win-win for me).

For some topics that require memorization, I made flashcards from index cards and a ring binder which proved extra useful when travelling far distances or when I’m stuck in traffic.

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In the case of problem solving, practice makes perfect.

Solve and resolve unfamiliar problems and if you get stuck, don’t be hesitant to ask help from your friends or classmates.

I would like to note that you should not forget to take your well-deserved break in between studying.

Eat healthy, pray always, and try to find joy in studying.

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Give 5 important tips (in bullets) for future board exam takers who aim to become topnotchers.

  • Know your goals and priorities. Discipline yourself to work for it.
  • Study smart. Be resourceful.
  • Get enough sleep. Reward yourself.
  • Pray to God for guidance and wisdom. Trust in Him.
  • Trust in yourself. As written on the plaque in our room, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
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Engr. Amy Aguirre
Civil Engineer, fashion model & GineersNow TV host. Speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently. Based in Melbourne and Manila. Follow me on Linkedin

Engineer Topnotcher Tips: Know Your Learning Pattern

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