Review Center or Self-Review for the board exam? Pros and Cons

Your usual view of Morayta Street near PRC Manila, where board exam Review Centers thrive. Image source    

You're reviewing for the board exam, and now deciding whether to go to a review center or just do a self-review. In my opinion, whether you go to a review center or not, all review is still self-review. Review centers help a lot, but it will be useless if you don't have your own effort. 

Review centers offer a lot of advantages, though: they have resources, study materials, questionnaires, and lecturers. Since you paid, you will be forced to attend. The discipline of attending review classes and answering mock exams is helpful for those who are lazy. Listening to different methods of teaching and different explanations can help us retain and remember information.

One disadvantage is the expense since you pay the Review Center thousands of pesos, and if the review center is not in your province or city, you have to travel or stay in another place which requires additional expenses. For my board exam, I had to live in Manila for four months to prepare for the board and because there was no review center at that time in Iloilo for my profession.

If you want to make the most out of your Review Center, I suggest that you don't just rely on the review center. I suggest that before you enrol, you must have already studied and covered the basics of each subject of the board exam. As the name tells you, the Review center is there to help you review what you already learned. Don't just plan to start your Review there! Nothing beats mastering the basics while in school. The review doesn't start after you graduate, but in the college classroom.

In my experience, though, most of what we reviewed in the Review Center didn't go out of the exam!

Often, lack of cash or a full-time job is the reason why some don't enrol in a Review Center. But take heart, a lot of people passed and even entered the top 10 even while self-reviewing. If you study by yourself, you need a consistent schedule and discipline to study. You also need to be resourceful - get all copies of reviewers from those who have already passed, photocopy the reviewers of your batchmates in review centers, and avail of the free resources available in your school or local library.

As for me, being away from Iloilo City and focusing all my energy in reviewing helped a lot. I chose to review in UP because I also want to experience how they teach things and UP had a lot of topnotchers in the past. But one of my friends also was number 3 in the 2014 Licensure Exam even if she didn't review in UP! While there are people who may have reviewed in UP but didn't pass the exam.

So whether you enrol in a Review Center or study by yourself, it still boils down to your own effort. Just make the most of what you have and be resourceful. Be open to advice from those who have already passed the exam, but also listen to your own intuition.

Remember, nothing still beats faith, effort, and proper preparation. Best of luck and God bless on your review.

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Originally posted July 18, 2017, updated March 27, 2023

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