How to start reviewing for the board exam

The schedule for the 2021 Licensure Examinations is now available from the PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) website. Since this blog is about librarianship, I check the schedule from time to time to see if the latest one is up. This year's Librarian Licensure Exam will be on September 8-9, 2021. Even if it's still January, preparation should start as early as now for those who will take the exam.

Preparation for the board does not only involve studying. There are requirements that take time to process, such as transcripts of records, certificates, and other documents. Make sure to take care of these things as soon as you can so you have more time for actual reviewing, not running after offices for your papers.

A follower of the Facebook page messaged me and asked, how does one start in reviewing for the board exam?

The question actually made a lot of sense. When you just graduated and there's already pressure for you to pass the board, you may feel confused and overwhelmed. There's a lot of people giving advice. You may have a ton of review materials you don't know how to tackle. You want to start but don't know exactly how.

Here are my suggestions on how to start reviewing for the board if you are clueless. Everyone is different, so take all advice with a grain of salt, even mine. This is from my experience when I reviewed and in teaching review classes for LIS graduates.

1. Prioritize the subjects you need to study - start with the most important or have the most weight in the final grade. 

For example, the Librarian Licensure Examination has six subjects: Management, Reference and Information Services, Cataloging and Classification, Indexing and Abstracting, Collection Development, and Information Technology. Management, Reference, and Cataloging is 20% of your final score. Indexing/Abstracting and Collection Development is 15%, and IT has the least percentage with 10%.

You can start with the subjects that you know have the largest percent in the passing grade. However, you should also study other subjects with an equal focus... you don't want to fail the board exam because you didn't pass the subjects with the least weight.

2. Start with Practice Exams to know your weak areas.

For the board, you will be answering sets of multiple-choice exams. So it is not enough to just study your past lessons. You should be able to know how to answer the questions and deduce the right answer even if you don't know what the hell the question is about. The advantage of multiple-choice tests is that the answer is already there, you just have to choose. Even if you pick out one choice randomly out of four choices, it still has a 25% chance of being correct.

I suggest that before you start studying for a subject, try answering an exam as a pre-test. Here, you can assess yourself about the topics you are not familiar with and the subjects you need to put more effort into studying. After a pre-test and studying the subject, take the same exam again to see how you have improved.

When I was reviewing, I balanced my time between actual studying and answering mock exams. I retook the exams until I was scoring 90-100%.

3. Know what you need to memorize, but focus on understanding the concepts first.

There are some things you do need to memorize for the board exam. For the LLE, it is expected that you're at least familiar with the basic Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification schemes. However, I knew some test-takers who focused more on memorizing than understanding and they did not pass the exam.

In the exam, there will be situational questions that test your practical knowledge and judgment as a librarian. You will not find the answers in your reviewers. Some questions just require common sense. Also, expect that there will be questions that you will have no clue about. Understand and familiarize the basic concepts first.

Recommended Reading

Here are some books and reviewers that I've used in my own review and in teaching review subjects for BLIS graduates from my university. 


  • Bongalos, Florbella Sedillo. (2008). Librarians’ Licensure Examination reviewer. Quezon City: C&E.
  • Buenrostro, Juan C. The Complete Reviewer for Librarian’s Licensure Examination. Volumes 1-5. Quezon City: Great Books Publishing.
  • Ramos, Mila M. (2014). Facing the Librarian’s Licensure Examination Challenge.


  • Buenronstro, Juan C. (1996). Collection management for librarians and information centers. Quezon City: Great Books.
  • Buenronstro, Juan C. (2004). More than books: perspectives on the management of information resources and services in libraries. Quezon City: Great Books.
  • Cleveland, Donald B. & Cleveland, Ana. (2013). Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting. Sta. Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Gosling, Mary. (1999). Learn reference work. Bangkok: Book Promotion & Service Co.
  • Johnson, Peggy. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. Chicago: ALA
  • Moran, Barbara B., Stueart, Robert D., & Morner, Claudia J. (2013). Library and Information Center management. 8th ed. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Oliver, Chris. (2010). Introducing RDA: a guide to the basics. Chicago: ALA.
  • Pinto, Michael A. (2013). Layb Life: mga kwento at karanasan ng isang librarian. Quezon City: Great Books.
  • Shelly, Gary B. (2013). Discovering computers fundamentals. 8th ed. Andover: Cengage Learning.
  • Taylor, Arlene G. (2006). Introduction to cataloging and classification. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

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  1. Hi po. Gusto ko pong itanong sa inyo kung maaaring maghanap na ng job na related maybe sa librarian kahit hindi license librarian?