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From an Accountancy Dropout to an Engineering Board Exam Topnotcher

Pompeii, who topped the Mining Engineering Board Exam, first studied accountancy only to fail the course’s qualifying exam.

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Board Exam Topnotcher



Upon entering college, Pompeii Nikolai Subingsubing dreamt of becoming an accountant.

So when he enrolled for the accountancy program at University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College, he was hoping that he could surpass all the challenges along the way, which includes the qualifying exam taken the summer after the second year.

Eventually, Pompeii took that make-or-break test.

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He knew he did his best. But it was just not good enough for him to proceed with being an accountancy student – he failed the qualifying exam.

He was so disappointed with himself about the result. It made him question his capabilities as a student, often asking himself, “Am I really that stupid?”

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Needless to say that the failure was one of the darkest moments of Pompeii’s life. But he had to move forward and make another choice for a college course.

Coming as a suggestion from his father, Pompeii signed up for the mining engineering course at Cebu Institute of Technology – University in Cebu City in central Philippines.

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He learned to love his geology and law subjects (but not really calculus) and was able to become a Dean’s Lister for the first term of his last year in engineering school.

He finished the course in March 2017 as a regular graduate, without honors.

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The 22-year-old braved the Mining Engineering Board Exam in August 2017.

He got a rating of 90.9%, enough to take the number one spot in the topnotchers’ list. It was an unexpected success, he said.

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I reached Engr. Subingsubing and got to ask about his life as an engineering student and a board exam reviewee.

He answered diligently, wanting to share tips to other students who want to become Board Exam Topnotcher as well.

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Here is the full transcript of our e-mail interview:

Student Life

Why did you choose this course? Who or what was your inspiration?

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My father chose this course after I failed to qualify for my accountancy degree qualifying exam the summer after my 2nd year.

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My inspiration has always been my family especially my parents who sacrificed everything in order for us to get a college education.

Photo via Engr. Subingsubing’s Facebook

What are your favorite subjects in your entire engineering study? How about least liked subjects?

My favorite subjects have been my geology and law subjects. My least favorite is still calculus.

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Have you had any subject failures or disappointing academic performance to the very least? If yes, what did you do about it? How did you cope?

I would say that my most disappointing academic performance was failing to qualify in my accountancy qualifying exam.

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It made me question my capabilities as a student.

That experience made me ask myself “Am I really that stupid?” It made me question whether I would amount to anything much and if I was really never good enough.

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Do you have any study tips or tricks that you think others should emulate from you?

Prayer is my strongest weapon. Always pray or meditate before doing anything so you would have a clear head when doing it and it would be easier for you to achieve anything you do.

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What is the best engineering school advice that you can give to other students?

Engineering is hard, the pressure is high. But there is always a light at the end of a tunnel.

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So when times get hard always remember that “this too shall pass” because it will, no matter what you do nothing is permanent in this world everything is constantly changing.

So whatever hardship you are experiencing right now, just lift it up to the Lord and remember that it will get better and that all your hard work will pay off.

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Board Exam Experience

What were the greatest struggles that you experienced while preparing for the board exam? What did you do to overcome them?

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The greatest struggle for me was the feeling of hopelessness. There came a time when I was asking myself whether I’m reviewing the right things and if what I was doing then would be worth it or was I just wasting my time studying for nothing.

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Did you enroll in a center for your review? Do you recommend doing so? Which one did you go to?

Yes I did. I highly recommend enrolling in a reputable review center. One which has produced Board Exam Topnotcher in the past. I enrolled at the review classes conducted by Philippine Society of Mining Engineers Visayas Chapter in partnership with CIT University.

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How did you find the board exam? Easy, average, or difficult?

It was difficult for me because the questions were tricky and needed strong comprehension and common sense in order to analyze them properly.

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What were your expectations after you took the board exam and before the results were out? Did you have a feeling that you will be at the top?

I thought that I would fail the exam because I erased and changed some of my correct answers in the last minute. I never thought that I would top the exam but I prayed for it.

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What did you do the first minute you discovered you topped the board exam?

I went to my mom who was having a meeting and told her the news. We were crying tears of joy because we couldn’t believe what happened.

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Who do you owe your success to?

First, to my Heavenly Father who have guided me through all of this.

Next, to my family and friends for their constant prayers and words of encouragement when I felt hopeless And lastly to my professors for imparting their knowledge and wisdom to me.

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What incentives did you get from your university and review center after your board exam success?

Cash prize, a MacBook Air and my name on the school wall of fame.

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Share your most effective study habits.

Whenever you have a vacant time study, whether it’s reading a book or solving problems or searching terms on the interne – grab every chance that you can get to study.

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Give 5 important tips for future board exam takers who aim to become a Board Exam Topnotcher.

  • Start and end your day with a prayer.
  • Study hard but also study smart.
  • Give yourself a break every once in a while and have a day off too. Go to the mall, grab a drink with friends, relax once in a while.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Believe that you can do it.
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More Board Exam Topnotcher Stories:

This Civil Engineering Topnotcher Tells Future Board Exam Takers to ‘Master the Basics’

DOTA Player Tops Mechanical Engineering Board Exam

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Engr Eva Allanigue
Chemical Engineering graduate with a passion in writing weird stuff at GineersNow. Official globe-trotter with luxury luggage, bags & accessories. Follow me on Linkedin

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