Passing the B.L.E.P.T. (Part 2)*
Last summer, it was my turn to sit in a class for a whole day and listen to the reviewers lecture. Like any class I have been to, I was in a range of emotions. From wide-eyed and “hungry” for more information and learning to down out almost a dozen coffee candies just to stay awake especially when the lectures were after lunch. Still, I kept on. I took notes and faithfully listed what the reviewers’ tips were. You could probably say I followed them almost to a T except when the things I followed did not work for me.
To the one reading this, you’ve probably searched for the key words or tags in this post because you’re preparing for the LET September 2017 exam. And if you’re like me, I want to be informed FIRST before I dive in. I’m cautious like that. I want to study first and know what I’m getting into before plunging in. So I’ll write 10 things that worked for me in this post and feel free to add your top 5 or top 10 for you that worked for your study sessions.
Know. Position yourself. Download. Show up. Prepare. Answer tests. Take notes. Read. Pray. Team up.
1. KNOW – After I enrolled in a review course, I searched the net using key phrases like “how to study for the LET”, “how to top the LET”, “tips for studying the LET”, “tips for topping the LET”, “tips to top the board exam” and similar topics. I’m a geek so what works for me is information. I listed tips that appealed to me and something that I could work on and bookmarked articles and blog posts about passing and topping the LET. I searched for the TOS (Table of Specifications) for the Licensure Exam as well as the topics.
One important sub-topic to KNOWING was knowing one’s self. What I mean by this was after listing the topics I needed to study, I took note of the topics I was still familiar with from my basic education and college years and took note of the topics that I know I am not good at and usually have a hard time studying them. One of them is Math. That said, I searched the net for sites that simplified Math topics and lectures. I answered quizzes and read the rationalizations. One website which was very helpful to me was Khan Academy. I logged in on Khan and watched several Math videos and solved problems with the help of their “clues” and prompts. I took the long road because I knew it was an Achilles’ heel of mine.
2. POSITION YOURSELF — Look for a place that is conducive to studying for you. If you’re a learner that can absorb knowledge well in a silent place, look for a public library or a study cafe. Since I’m a mix of a learner, I came up with places that I knew worked for me. If on that day, I wanted to study with the buzz of the crowd, wanting the crowd’s energy and company to motivate me, I’d go to a Starbucks (I liked their Escario, Colon and SM branches) and study there. The Cebu City Rizal Public library is also a good place to study and it’s free.
If on a certain day, I wanted to study in a place that was quieter along with other students who craved the silence, my go-to place was Omou Think Cafe at Raintree Mall. They also have a branch in Ramos where Dessert Factory is located. It’s right across Velez Hospital. For P15.00 per hour, I would study there for 3-4 hours depending on my attention span. After 3 days of studying there, I learned that paying them good for a week was more pocket-friendly and saved a few pesos and came with a locker too.
3. DOWNLOAD — Download productivity and timer apps as well as LET Review apps. I have a very short attention span. The first time I really sat down to study, I only lasted for 30 minutes. I could not study for 3 hours straight. After reading a few blog posts for tips, I noticed that some of them mentioned some productivity and timer apps like Pomodoro and there was this one app (the name I forgot) that recorded your work sessions and gave you stars when you clocked in a certain number of minutes. Seeing the number of work sessions and hours I was clocking in spurred me on. These apps helped me study for 3-4 hours straight with 5-10 minute breaks on the net, on Facebook or Twitter.
4. SHOW UP — Attend review classes, take notes and list tips. This one worked for me during the summer time (May 2016) when I wasn’t too overwhelmed with the paperwork and requirements of being a teacher. I took notes from my classes especially in the afternoons so I’d stay awake. Almost after review session, reviewers would give some of their tips and I’d list them all and see what worked for me.
5. PREPARE — When I say prepare, this is not only about studying. Most of my reviewers told us to prepare for the board exam emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. If you had test anxiety like me, you’d have to make a firm resolve to let go, give your anxiety to God and trust in Him. It was a conscious decision on my part especially after the pre-board and mock exams since I got failing marks in my Gen. Education and Prof. Education tests and got only a passing mark in my major which is Social Studies.
It was after I took these mock exams that I decided that I’d have to let go or else the fear would eat me up. I started to change tack after this. I concentrated on answering test questions with a timer, READ (I followed the reviewers’ tip) and read a lot and, most of all, I relaxed. I found out that I absorbed the lessons more when I wasn’t that pressured that much.
6. ANSWER TESTS AND TIME YOURSELF — This one I did a month and a half before the LET. I realized that I was still a long way from finishing all my topics in the TOS so I did what I could with the limited time I had. I answered questions with a timer. I did this especially for my Waterloo: Math. I timed myself to answer 20 questions in 10 minutes and recorded my scores. I told myself that in the next test I’ll take, both the time it took me to answer and the score I had should have improved. It was discouraging at first but if you keep on doing this, you’d see results and see your scores improve. If there wasn’t any improvement in the series of tests that day, I’d study the rationalizations again and answer another group of questions on another day. I’d switch to another subject to help avoid “subject boredom”.
7. TAKE NOTES — I’m old-fashioned so that means I like taking notes not electronically but writing notes on notebooks and index cards. The latter I would usually bring during commuting from Liloan to the city because it helped one forget the heat and the traffic while sitting in a multicab or in a jeep. I chose index cards because it was easier and lighter to bring and easier to flip and organize by subject. I usually used this for the Professional Education topics like the NCBTS and the RAs (Republic Acts).
8. READ — One of the reviewers told us that during the LET, it was imperative that one be able to read as fast as she can and answer. Read with comprehension and answer quickly because of the time given. She told us to read not just our reviewers and readings but mostly books and to read them with comprehension and critical thinking. This was one of my favorite tips. I faithfully followed this using it as an excuse to read novels like James Patterson books and other novels from the school library. 🙂 If in the past I read for leisure, in this period, I made sure to read at a shorter time than my usual reading time.
I also read the textbooks I was using for my Grade 7 & 11 classes in Asian Studies and Understanding Culture and Society. I read the lessons and also scanned test questions that came out in my Grade 11s’ Filipino, Personal Development and Statistics subjects just so that I’d get an idea how questions in these subjects would be formulated.
9. PRAY — I cannot overemphasize this enough. As I wrote in the first part, preparing for the LET made me a more prayerful person and I could say humbler from that experience because you know it was something you could not control. There were a lot of factors involved. Once I learned to humble myself, ask God for guidance even in studying (for grace to have a longer attention span), I was not as afraid as I was during the first few months of the review.
10. TEAM — Like anything in life, you need a “life team” in your LET journey. By team I mean people who pray for you, encourage you and give you tips. Those that have gone before you. I was blessed to have a very supportive family. I mean really supportive — emotionally, through prayers, sometimes even financially and sometimes through gentle rebukes and reminders to study.
I had teacher friends and friends from work and church who lent reviewers (like teacher Jane and miss Bea), cheered me on and prayed for me before, during and even while waiting for the results. Even my boss, Dr. Po, prayed for me one day as she called me aside and asked if the results had come out. I told her I was still waiting and told her I might not make it. She prayed for me and she prayed for mercy and peace.
*Notes for a review session for LET September 2017 and written for the batch of examinees this coming September