All your preparation, sleepless nights, and worrisome days are for these two days. Those practice tests are child’s play: this here is war.
EnP Jean Palma already gives the primary details and reminders about what to bring and what to expect during the actual Environmental Planning Board Exam. All reminders are also detailed in your exam permit.
I just want to emphasize some first-hand experiences about the physical and emotional aspect of taking the Environmental Planning Board exam. Part 1 and Part 2 also contain tips about preparations before, during and after the exam.
You must be prepared.
When I took the board exam in 2018, it was divided into two exam days. The first was a full day with a lunch break. The second was a half day that extended to early afternoon.
Your preparation must be complete. Of course, you trained in exam-taking strategies for the board exam itself. But, the little things can distract you from performing your best.
A list of Things to Bring is attached to your exam permit.
Make sure you have all of these things inside your clear, plastic envelope. Prepare your plastic envelope a day before the exam, as with exam anxiety, you might forget the essentials.
Make sure you have a complete exam kit: three pencils, a sharpener, and a clean eraser. Ensure that your calculator is allowed by PRC rules. Bring both a pentel pen and a ballpen for labeling and form-filling needs.
If you can, buy a PRC-prescribed white envelope in the PRC office. During Exam Day 1, vendors outside the testing center will be selling some. PRC proctors say these are fake! Buy one from the proctors inside the testing center to be sure.
Come in the prescribed attire (look at your exam permit!). Wearing the uniform instills courage.
You are taking the exam because you have the education and experience. You are courageous to take this licensure exam!
If you can, refrain from bringing your cellphone into the testing center. As I left my clear envelope in the front of our testing room, I made sure that it was turned-off.
One of my co-examinees was given a strong warning because their phone was continuously ringing. They were allowed to continue with the exam. However, your proctors may be stricter, so be wary of any hints of violation.
You will be uncomfortable.
You are taking a licensure exam. Its magnitude is far more impactful than the final exams you took in college. So, the strict implementation of exam rules is to be expected.
Permission to go to the restroom is difficult to get. So, minimize food and water intake. When you go to the restroom, a proctor will accompany you until you return to your seat. This prevents you from being tempted to cheat.
You may be induced into discreet cheating. I was entering the restroom cubicle when a fellow examinee asked me about a test question. Outside, I smiled; inside, I am thinking the worst of the proctors if they overhear the conversation.
Be strong! As an environmental planner, you will deal with worse temptations of compromise in future transactions with clients.
Your testing center may be a school. And, like me, you may sit on an old, small, and rocky chair. I have never sat in such discomfort since high school.
Moreover, you stay seated for at least one hour (unless you are a quick finisher?!). It is also awkward to stand even near your seat, so start learning some unnoticeable stretches.
Your seatmate may eat loudly and distract you from your multiple choice strategies. Take deep breaths and concentrate. Chips will not be your downfall!
You may be sleepy. The exam starts early in the morning. Good thing standing in line going into the testing center will wake your body up. Bring a lot of candies and chewables to give you quick sugar kicks. Just make sure to bring a small disposal bag also for your trash.
You may be disappointed.
Months and weeks of reading technical documents come down to a 400-item board exam. With the breadth of the exam coverage, it is understandable that questions will switch topics and themes after every two or three items. You are expected to be a generalist, so you are tested as one!
Because of time pressure and “imposter syndrome“, you may begin breezing through the questions.
Breathe and start reading the questions word by word. Refrain from frequent erasing, as marks can tamper with your score. You have prepared for this with practice tests!
During a long lunch break, I saw some friends who were also “secretly” taking the exams. We made a large mistake: we talked about the part of the exam we just completed and compared answers. Some questions consisted of nearly-identical choices, so some were bound to confuse! And, we were confused!
I tried to read on the different environmental laws deeply, knowing that these laws have various amendments. I got stumped when questions about the “ideal” structure of the local government were more numerous.
When this happens, your exam strategies can save you. A confusing multiple choice question is answerable with the right strategy. Answer the easiest questions first. You have plenty of time for dissecting each question later.
You are already a winner!
You were daring to collate the requirements and submit the application form.
You were patient to review a large array of concepts over the past few months.
You were brave to complete the board exam!
I hope you pass!
But if you do not?