A Topnotcher’s Advice for Board Exam Reviewees: Push Yourself To The Limits

Laurenze Estrada was a 4th placer in the 2014 Civil Engineering Licensure Examination in the Philippines

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Every engineer who has gone through their licensure examinations knows the struggles of reviewing. Imagine trying to review 4 years or more worth of of engineering formulas, terms and techniques, compressing it into a few months, and squeezing it into your brain. It makes you wonder how the topnotchers are able to do it. Laurenze John Estrada, who graduated as a Summa Cum Laude from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Lopez Campus, and is a 4th placer in the 2014 Philippine Civil Engineering Licensure Examination, shares his study techniques during his review.

Source: Laurenze John Estrada

Push Yourself To The Limits

One of the study tips that Laurenze can share is to push yourself to the limits when reviewing. “Especially during my review for the board exam, I drowned myself studying for a day, then relax for the next day, then torture myself again then relax. When I say relax, I meant chill, hang-out, do what you like doing. It kept me happy and alive even at the most frustrating moments, especially those days prior to the board exam.” He stated in an email interview with GineersNow.  “You will not appreciate a second of rest if you haven’t experienced a day of fatigue. Study, study, and study hard; and when you think you’re at your limit, study once more because you will never know your true limits if you will always stop at that moment that you think is your limit, then have rest like it’s already done, and repeat. It’s not really self-torture because, trust me, you’ll be surprised. There’s a balance in it.” He added.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

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Many students tend to isolate themselves when reviewing because they think they will be able to concentrate more. However, according to the topnotcher, you shouldn’t isolate yourself from others, especially those who can help you with reviewing and encourage you during your stressful review period.


Just like other students, Laurenze practiced solving numerous problems and memorized formulas to prepare for the board exam. However, what sets him apart is that he tries to push himself to the limits by surpassing his preset quota. For example, if he plans to solve 200 problems a day initially, he would stop when he finished solving 250 to 300 problems depending on his mood.

Source: Laurenze John Estrada

Replenish your Energy

According to Laurenze, it is important to regularly take a break after a stressful day of studying, so as not to burn out. “Whenever I felt like having a break, I go to the mall and do things that make me happy and replenish my energy. I call it sustainable studying; that is being able to use my energy in studying for today without compromising the energy that would require me to study in the next days; as to why I also regularly replenish them through recreational activities. (Student’s energy for studying is renewable, you must not use it more frequently than you replenish it.)”

His final tips for future board exam takers?

– Know your priorities

– Eyes on the prize

– Have yourself some lasting inspirations

– Push yourself to the limits

– Pray

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Cielo Santos

Engineer. Writer. Artist. Gamer. Musician. She dreams of building a time machine and help kittens take over the world. Is secretly the pink power ranger in real life.

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