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The Philippines Physician Licensure Examination (the \u201cBoards\u201d) is given twice a year
(February and August) usually during 4 consecutive weekends (Saturday and Sunday) in 6 sites \u2013
3 in Manila and 3 in Cebu. Every medical graduate who has finished his internship in the
Philippines need to pass it in order to obtain his medical license and practice medicine in the
country.The Boards has 6 Basic Sciences subjects (Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry,
Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology) and 6 Clinical Sciences subjects (Internal Medicine,
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Legal Medicine and Preventive Medicine). 3
subjects are tested during each exam day. There are 100 questions for each subject.
To take the exam, you must personally register at the Professional Regulatory
Commission, located at P. Paredes St., corner Morayta St. Sampaloc, Manila. This is near the
area between the University of Santo Tomas and Quiapo. You\u2019re in the right place if you start
seeing all these review centers and vendors selling medical DVDs and books.
You need the following documents to register for the Boards: one original and one
photocopy of the following documents: NSO-certified Birth Certificate, Certificate of
Graduation, Certificate of Internship and Medical Transcript of Records. If you are going to take
the August exams, request for the last three documents as early as May from your school since
they take some time to process.
Aside from these documents, you also need the following: Four 2x2 full-face
photographs, with name tag (Last Name, First Name and Middle Name), postage stamps bought
from INSIDE the PRC compound, one government-issued ID, one long brown envelope,
pencils(Mongol #2), erasers, black ball pen and paste.
No one can truly be prepared for the board exams. And the answers to the board exam
questions can only be found, at the most, 40-50% of the time from even the most high-yield
reviewers that you can read. And don\u2019t even think about reading your big textbooks, like
Harrison\u2019s or Schwartz, for the Boards. You won\u2019t have enough time to read them or enough
brain cells to retain them in you memory.
You also cannot rely on stock knowledge for the Boards. Though passing the boards
may seem a daunting task, cheer up! More students pass the boards than fail it. (>50% overall
passing rate) If you\u2019re taking the August Boards, you have 2-3 months to prepare. It\u2019s actually
enough. Do your best and pray.
The Board of Medicine is composed of 5-6 doctors not affiliated with any medical
school who are appointed by the President of the Philippines to create all 1200 questions for
the Boards. The members of the Board of Medicine divide the 12 subjects among themselves
and submit thousands of questions to a computer which randomly chooses the questions for the
Are there any specific books where the Board of Medicine bases their questions on?
The PRC actually releases a guide containing suggested books (textbooks!) to read for exams.
Based on our experience and those who have taken the exams before us, the examiners get
their questions from\u2026 textbooks, reviewers, clinical experience, the planet Mars\u2026(some
examinees remarked that the questions are \u201cout of this world!\u201d)
1. Exam questions are printed on the day of the exam.
2. Members of the Board of Medicine are incarcerated inside the PRC Building during the
A grade of 75% on one subject doesn\u2019t mean you only had 25 mistakes out of 100. The
mean passing level (MPL) of the entire batch of examinees is obtained per subject. Your raw
scores are then transmuted based on the MPL. Because of the MPL, the passing rate may
change depending on how easy or difficult the exam is. Usually, the MPL is less than a raw
score of 75. You would probably still pass if you answer 50-60% of the questions right.
Start preparing for the boards as early as your medical internship. Buy your review
books early from vendors roaming the different Metro Manila hospitals. Expect to spend around
Study the book that you would read on your review while your rotation is on the same subject. This would serve as your first reading for the Boards and also as a review for the final exams of your rotation.
2. Pediatrics Rotation \u2013 Baby Nelson\u2019s and Peabrain
3. Ob-Gyne Rotation \u2013 OB NMS or OB BRS or OB Blueprints
4. Internal Medicine Rotation \u2013 IM NMS or High-Yield Internal Medicine
Congratulations! Enjoy the first two weeks of your freedom \u2013 party, sleep and watch all
the DVDs that you\u2019ve been dying to see. Afterwards, for one whole day, plan for your board
review. Do the following:
topnotchers? Set your goal, make your plans to reach this goal and execute the plan
with die-hard determination. Topping the Boards is not impossible \u2013 you could have
average grades in med schools and still top the boards by studying earlier (start during
internship) or longer. (take the February Boards) If you make this your goal in your own
board exams, don\u2019t think you\u2019re being too ambitious. Dream, plan and then execute.
A daily routine for the board exams depends on you and your learning style. Put
whatever you think would help you pass the boards in your daily routine e.g. exercise, going to
mass, yoga, answering samplex everyday. The rationale for a daily routine is to keep your body
clock as regular and as predictable as possible so that you\u2019ll be at your most attentive yet
relaxed state during your review and the exam itself.
The study schedule you have made, you\u2019ll realize soon enough, doesn\u2019t always go
according to plan and you would sometimes finish earlier or later than you have planned. Yes,
that\u2019s correct. You would sometimes finish earlier than you expect.
If you finish ahead of schedule, you could give yourself a day off to relax or you can
move on to the next subject. If you fail to finish a particular subject on the day that it was
supposed to be finished, my advice is to keep studying for the subject and lessen the time of
other subjects. Make your first reading a complete one \u2013 it\u2019s hard to go back to that particular
subject if you have to skip several chapters.
There would really be days when you would get burned-out. Relax, watch a movie or
sleep the whole day. Burn-out is expected, and you would really have to take a rest for awhile.
But bounce back as soon as possible.
Many people would recommend doing two readings of basic sciences subjects and one
reading of clinical sciences subjects. Some people would read lots of books for the board
exams including the NMS series for IM, Pedia, OB and Surg.
Personally, I\u2019ve decided to read as few pages as possible for the board exams and to
master these pages as much as possible. That\u2019s why I was able to do 3 readings of basic
sciences subjects and 3 readings of clinical sciences subjects.
Physiology is a subject you should definitely study first since it serves as a good
background for all the other subjects. Study Biochemisty and Anatomy after all the other
subjects since you would be more likely to forget these subjects if you study them in May or
June. Prev Med and Legal Med are crammable; study them last.
Go to your testing site a day before the exam so that you\u2019ll know whether you should
bring a mini-fan or a jacket during your Boards. (depends on the temperature of your room)
You are required to take the exams in your school uniform although in our experience this isn\u2019t
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