It was back in 1998 I decided to pursue civil engineering. It was my desire after graduation to pass the Civil Engineering board examination. I had a burning desire to pass the exam in one attempt. It is important to have an overview of the course, which means you are likely to attend major classes such as steel design, timber design, reinforced concrete design which consists of working stress design and ultimate strength design, construction materials and testing and many more. And the most important thing is to ensure you do what you can to graduate and receive the diploma.
In addition, you will have to have a review, which will take 6 months more after graduation.
Passing the board exam is one of the biggest ambitions for everyone. If you can make it the first time, it is far better for you, because if not, some may become too lazy for their second attempt and others find jobs already, at which point they will become uninterested in retaking because they are probably earning already. But that is a big mistake.
In this blog post, I’m going to show what the “5 top secrets to pass the civil engineering board exam” are, even if you are an average student like me.
1. Focus on studying during college
Focus: it means that there should be no time for you to waste. The notes that you have should be reviewed immediately, even if you have just got home. Do not settle, and keep learning by reviewing your notes.
There is a reason why I got a passing average grade in all the major subjects. Here is what I did in school: I always reviewed my notes in the library, and in the rest area on my study table at home, continuously. And you should too.
2. Associate with studious classmates
Find a group or classmates that can help you grow, classmates that will motivate you, and that have the same goals. This was what I personally experienced first hand. It makes a great impact when you associate with a group of friends or classmates with one common goal—to succeed.
We studied as a group for the board exam in a friend’s house, in Intramuros (a historic place in the Philippines), in my house, and many more places.
3. Have a 6-hour sleep every day
Immerse yourself in your studies. Make a habit of spending time on practice, by solving problems about mathematics, hydraulic engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and everything else related to the course. When I got home, I continued my studies then I went to bed at 12 am because I had to wake up at 6 am. That was my routine every day during school. It was a strict school-home routine and that was what I knew. I was maintaining 6 hours of sleep a night.
4. Do your assignments and projects
Class projects such as designs (steel, timber, and reinforced concrete) are important supplements as a daily practice. Once you do design exercises as a daily practice, you will be able to retain the information in your mind and it will be easy to recall once you are in the exam. Make it a habit of doing your assignments; it is kind of like an advantage, putting yourself onto the winning side of the game.
I consider doing my assignments and projects as an advance review. I thought it was an advantage for me, and so can you.
5. Eat healthy foods
In terms of a healthy diet, eat foods that can retain your healthy mind and healthy body—those are our investments. Maintain a healthy diet every day if you can. I used to eat bread and coffee in the morning, rice with meat at lunch, and salad for dinner. When I maintained that diet, I felt stronger and healthier and retained a longer memory.
Do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes—both will diminish your memory retention capabilities and can kill the cells that maintain your healthy mind. You need a healthy mind, especially during the rigors of the Civil Engineering exam.
6. Enroll in two review centers if possible
After you graduate, there should be a review prior to the Civil Engineering exam. At this stage you will not tackle anything—the review is all about design, math, hydraulics, and Geotech. So, in six months’ time, you will be bombarded with hundreds of solving problems. This is to ensure you are prepared for the upcoming battle.
There are review centers in which you can choose to enroll. If I were you, enroll in two review centers, just like I did. My schedule was: morning in the first review center and afternoon for the second. So it’s kind of like you are always going to the normal school, like what you were doing before. And after reviewing, you continue to have a self-review process at home. This is what I was doing.
7. Solve 200 sample problems a day
Now, this is the best one. Can you imagine how many 200 problems are?
Well, that is the toughest secret. It’s more challenging and interesting. If you use this secret and do it diligently, I don’t think you will have a problem passing the examination. The key to this is that if you practice and solve almost all the sample problems in the review stages, it is most likely to be easy for you to answer the questions because you have had so much practice at that. Think in terms of the saying: “The more, the merrier.” Your enemy in this regard is what we call “laziness.” Well, my suggestion is to overcome that laziness, because you cannot get to the top with it.
The above secrets are the reasons why an average student got a passing average grade of 83.9% in the board exam. It all started with dreams. If you dream and put passion into your dream, you’ll succeed. Even though it was hard for me and there were many challenges, I know that as long as you have passion you’ll never stop. Just like me.