Start your self-review now! 8 Self review tips for the board exam

Every time the schedule of the licensure examination is released, I always get questions about review centers. Questions like, "Where is the best review center?" or "When will the review center open?" always end up in my inbox. I am happy to answer these questions, but if you are waiting for the review center to open before starting your review, then maybe you are starting your review wrong.

    Read all my board exam tips on this blog or view the Board Exam Tips playlist on my Youtube channel

In all my board exam tips, I always emphasize:

  • All review is still self-review. If you solely rely on the review center and don't take time to study or review on your own, then I don't think you will be successful. Not all topics covered in the review will go out of the exam. Some even say nothing was covered in the review center at all. Even if you enrol in a review center, you should also take time to review on your own. You could enrol in a review center, but even enrolling in one is not a guarantee that you will pass the board if you don't exert your own effort.
  • The review is there to help you REVIEW. In essence, the review is there to complement what you have already learned in school. Ideally, you should have understood all your subjects while you were in college, and the review is just there to guide you in the exam.

I am not saying that review centers are bad, I myself enrolled in a review center and it helped me a lot. There were some topics that were not explained well by my own teachers, or where my own research was inadequate. If review centers have competent instructors, they can answer your questions or clarify some topics that you find difficult.

But the review center was only there to complement my own study and research. I did not just rely on them but used the materials they provided to the full.

    Read: 2023 Librarian Licensure Examination: what you need to know

If you want to start reviewing now, then here are some things I found helpful in my own review:

Set a schedule

Every week, try to set a schedule on the topics you will study and the time allotted for studying. Since I had months to study before the board exam, I would schedule to study one subject every week. I would usually study the subjects I find difficult first, and those subjects with the highest percentage in the board exam. I would try to allott 1-2 hours for study, and also set breaks.

Having a consistent schedule sets your mind and prepares you for studying. If you have other people in your house or where you are staying, inform them that you are studying on that date and time.

This is my usual study session:

  • Answer a mock exam, check my answers, and review the topics I'm not sure about
  • Read and review books and reviewers
  • Research on new trends and find other sources about the topic

Prepare your study setting and environment

It's ideal to have a space for studying with minimal distractions. If you already have a study area, you may arrange it to make it more conducive for learning. You may place objects that inspire you.

Sometimes, I change my setting and go to another place to study. If you don't have your own space or if your place is too distracting, try studying in libraries, coworking spaces, or coffee shops (not for everyone, since some are distracted by people or noise). I usually go to the University library or a cafe. I make sure to bring all I need when studying: my readings, notebook, tablet, water, pens, and pencils.

Have an organizing system for notes and materials

When you are studying for the board exam, you will be barraged with a lot of review materials. Have a system for organizing the information to avoid being overwhelmed. I had six paper folders for each of the subjects in the board exam. I also had a tablet for studying, which is more convenient to bring than lugging around tons of paper.

I had a Google Drive where I save the materials I find online and what I can get from other people. I prefer storing these online since you can access them on any device. I also organize my files by subject for easier searching.

Minimize distractions - deactivate or schedule social media

In 2015 (when I took the board exam), the popular social media apps were Facebook and Instagram. But since I found it too distracting, I deactivated my Facebook account for months. I avoided social media since I knew that I would lose my focus. If you can't totally deactivate, then try to minimize the time you spend on these apps.

Fast forward today, there are even more distractions on social media. Now, we have Tiktok, Facebook Reels, and more sophisticated algorithms to keep you hooked.

I recommend this tip since social media can sap the mental energy you could use in studying. Social media isn't bad but too much of it is the problem, especially if it distracts you from studying. Many people who have passed the exam also practiced avoiding social media to focus on studying.

Focus more on practice exams

The librarian licensure exam has six major subjects. There are 100 items of multiple choice questions. 

Before starting to review any subject, what I did first was to answer a mock exam. This was to gauge my own knowledge first, and to test what I know and what I don't. Even if you have a low score in this pre-test, that will give you an idea of the topics you need to study more on. I analyzed my own mistakes and reviewed those topics again. I will take the exam again after some time to see if my knowledge has improved.

Practicing answering the exam also improves your deduction and analysis skills. In the exam, the correct answer is already given in the choices and you only need to find out the correct one. Elimination of unlikely answers and deciding among the best answers will take up most of your time when answering.

Be resourceful

I tried to exhaust all my resources when it comes to study materials. I bought or borrowed all the reviewers I could find. I asked previous board passers for tips and what questions appeared in their exams. It's good to listen to other people's advice, but just take what you know can help you. What worked for someone else might not work for you.

Research on your own

This is related to the previous tip. If I had time, I would search for online resources or read some books in the University library of the topic I was studying about. If I didn't understand anything, I try to research and study it myself. If I needed more clarification, I sought an expert or someone more knowledgeable. 

Get practical experience

If an internship or on-the-job training is part of your course, try to learn everything you can, observe the daily work in the library, and take notes. During my review, I was also volunteering in libraries if I had time to get practical experience.

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

In the exam, there will be many practical or situational questions. For example, you will be given a situation in the library and you will be asked for your decision or solution to the given problem. For these questions, having actual experience in the library can help.

For more technical subjects like cataloging or indexing, there may be questions about the actual practice of cataloging or indexing. Common sense, stock knowledge, and analysis skills can save you if there are topics that come up that wasn't covered in the review.

Watch this related video on my Youtube channel on how to start self-reviewing. Subscribe to get updated on my next videos. Suggestions for future videos are welcome!

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