Reverse Engineering and Combinations for the Board Exam Review

videokeman mp3
Step by Step – Whitney Houston Song Lyrics

(Take the board exam Step by Step and turn up the speakers while reading this. LOL)

Honestly, I am still hibernating, but I feel so bad not having updates especially for those who subscribed for the board exam tips. So I am posting this very important board exam review tip for those who will be taking multiple choice questions, in particular. I think it works more for Math-related questions than concepts, but just the same, it will do you a lot of good to know that this technique is something that most passers and topnotchers do during the board exam to save time. The idea was not mine originally. I still thank our sensei Dhax for actually giving us this tip, although our review instructors in Review Innovations have been just as generous in training us in doing this thing.

This might not be a new concept to most people. But for those who do not know what this is, I will use a simple example to illustrate how it works.

Suppose you have memorized a formula for getting a value of something. I am going to use a very basic math formula, the Pythagorean theorem. I leave it to my reader to find how this will apply to his particular situation.

The correct formula is this:

a² + b² = c²

Problem: Given that a=3 and b=4, what is the value of c?

Choices:

a. 8

b. 10

c. 12

d. 14

Supposedly the answer is 5, right? And it’s not in the choices. I am not saying that it is like that in the actual exam or that it always happens. But the main point of this post is this: watch out for the worst case scenarios and know how to deal with them.

Here is the thing about exams and pardon my crude language: shit can happen. A typo error may pass by unnoticed and at the examinees’ expense, most of the time. You don’t want to suffer all that. Your goal is to pass, and be proactive while you are at it.

You can do three things in such a scenario:

One, wail and panic and lose all your momentum in answering the remaining questions. Tsk tsk tsk.

Two, approach the test proctor and tell him or her that something is wrong with the question.

Number two is actually good. But it will not help you save time. The proctor will just eat up the precious minutes that you could have spent on solving other problems. It is not like in the university where you can raise the questions and your classmates will chime in: “Bonus question!” There are no bonus questions in the board exam. Remember that.

Finally, you can simply WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. And forget whose fault it was that the question had no correct answer. You can whine and all, but the clock continues to tick anyways.

For the example I gave, you can, for one, try to do stuff with the original formula.

If in case you tried using 2a + 2b = c instead of the original formula, you will actually arrive at 14, which is choice letter D.

And write D for your answer.

Crazy, right? But it can happen, and it is a skill you have to master. Trial and error with troubleshooting a wrongly typed formula is just one of the many instances where you work your way backwards to get to the right answer. It’s like finding the key that fits.

It can happen, you never know. It is best for you to prepare yourself by using what you have. At least, you will not return a blank sheet of paper at the end of the exam. In cases where you need to guess, GUESS intelligently.

And this is where the review centers come in handy. They will give you questions that may have intentionally wrong choices in them so that you learn to work with what you’ve got. You will not be able to do that easily on your own.

They call this reverse engineering because you use the answers in the choices and you work your way back to the given. Aside from using it to troubleshoot problematic word problems, it can serve as a good check or when you forgot a formula of something. Forgetting a formula will require you to either DERIVE (read: time consuming!) or to IMPROVISE. It’s up to you to choose which it will be during the exam.

Combinations occur when three to five items in an exam are linked like a chain. Suppose the example I gave earlier had three follow-up questions. These are VITAL for passing or topping. You need to get the combination of problems correctly. If you lose the first item in a complex problem, you lose all the succeeding items linked to it.

So when you are stuck in one item, MOVE. Better to spend your time with the problems that are worth more. It’s like in life, a short resource we all have. It is useless to spend time on the worthless stuff. You need to assess immediately which questions are worth giving time, and devote yourself to them.

I am sure more people have their own shortcuts and mnemonic devices to get through their respective exams, but I hope these things help. I have said enough about them already.

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I am also taking this time to share why I am so open about these techniques I used for the board exam. For one, the information has been freely given to me and I see no reason holding it back for people who really aspire to do well in the board exam. If you are really determined, you will not just be feeding yourself from my tips, but you will make your own strategies that will work more specifically for you.

One more reason why I share these things so openly is that I have seen so many broken dreams, disheartened exam takers and unpromoted (but technically competent!) people because they do not have their license. I have seen really excellent people passionate about their course but unable to pass their board exams. If you have seen them, met them and studied with them, you actually feel so bad even when you have succeeded in passing the difficult exam. You will want to help them with whatever you can give, regardless of affiliations or whatnots. So I give my readers what they deserve: true information and tips that actually work.

Even when I have a job as an editor and I want to become a writer, I still have this inner obligation to use my course during weekends, at least. Because only 37% passed the board exam for our course last year, and I was one of the lucky few. Even if I am not totally in love with my course, I feel bound to practice it because 63% of the exam takers would have done so if they were in my place.

I often find some intellectually elite people scoffing at the board exams and not taking them, and I understand them. Board exams are sometimes hyped too much, just like the cum laudes in the universities and colleges. Or the high IQ societies, for that matter.

Just because you topped the board exam does not mean you are better than everybody else in the whole industry itself. Sure, for that exam, you are the best. But it takes a lifetime to prove that you are worth that license. It takes a lifetime of practice for an engineer by title to be an engineer by deed. I said that to keep things in check, lest some ambitious folks might be so consumed by the thought of being better than everybody else through this.

I am not afraid to admit that I am still quite new to the practice. And I am open to learning from people, licensed or not, for as long as I can see that they are really good and passionate about what they do. That matters more than any title that can be bestowed to an individual.

I hope many people can be helped by the tips. That’s the goal, really. So feel free to share these tips to those who might have use for them. And you can only thank me and the people who helped me succeed if you pay everything forward in the common good cause of helping the country have more professionally licensed people in title and in deed. 🙂

Operation Hibernation

Apologies, dear readers and blogmates, for the sudden lack of updates on this site. I just realized that while I already turned into an INFJ Myer Briggs personality type, my natural INFP tendencies still get the better of me. I need some hibernation phase (for an undefined period of time) so that I can realign myself with my priorities and keep producing useful content here. It’s also something I need to do to get my stagnated writing skills out of a rut and hopefully, evolve into something better.

Coming Soon:

A post about an ultra cute story book

Black Swan review

Acel Bisa with Daddy Simpli

Reverse Engineering Techniques (board exam tips)

Review Center Tips for Your Board Exam Preparations

Something about public transport (vehicles or urban inanimism)

Infinity Pool (Urban Inanimism)

whew. SEVEN.

I’ll be doing my blog readings (yes i don’t just hop; i read!) and whatnots as soon as I get back.
Thanks so much for continuing to visit my online lair. Love y’all.

P.S.
My globe number is not working at the moment. Please just email me@helenmarylabao.com if you need anything. T.y.

Documenting Raw Sadness for Mental Safekeeping

Part of soul searching is unleashing the emotions, positive and negative. You can’t find your soul if you are not real with it. It’s the last stretch of my weekend, pretty much a time where I am entitled to do anything. I decided to get a good cry after so many days of being out of my element and out of the orbit. Not attributable to hormonal changes, these tears are wrought by something else. But I continue to be optimistic that this phase, just like many others in the past, shall pass and the rainbow is on its way pretty soon.

There are no outlines when you document grief. It’s just a whole mass of intense feeling where all the words go muddled with the tears streaming down your cheeks. Hello, Helen Mary Waterworks… I can actually rival Manila Water’s tanks at this rate…

It’s been three months since I ended a relationship that meant so much to me. And I cried so little the whole time. I have been busy with work and stuff that I actually managed to shove everything down. UNTIL last week, where I started acting weird and I knew I had to let this out somehow. It’s better to cry now than tomorrow, when I am at work and all those nasty tears will fall on the manuscript I am editing. I cannot afford to put tear stains on the Statistics and Integral Calculus projects I am working on, you know.

I officially document this moment that I am crying, because I want to REMEMBER this day very well. I am very good at forgetting the pain. I just have this eraser inside or something. It just does not register. I forget. And I believe I should not forget that there are still people who like to lure you into jumping off a cliff but they will later on leave you to smash your head in the rocks. Worse, they will laugh at you as you make a complete fool of yourself.

I am giving my sadness a face, a face that will haunt me and warn me in case I decide to put my foot in my mouth again sometime today or in the future. At least I will hesitate before I decide to risk my stupid self again.

This documented sad face is a result of me taking yet another risk for somebody who I thought was worth it. It’s a very painful situation. But this is a potent reminder to improve myself and make damn sure the decisions I will make in the future regarding opening myself up to certain people and things are worth all this trouble, pain and suffering. Otherwise, it’s best to shrug my shoulders and forget all about it.

Idealists abound. They always want to have a first and last love. I am genuinely happy for the ones who are able to pull that off and marry their first sweethearts. I find that really awesome and have such high respect for those who tell me about these inspiring stories. Who does not want that, right?

But you know what? People on their second, third, fourth, fifth, nth love, who had their hearts badly broken at one point or another in the past, are quite heroic in their own ways. They deserve props, too. You know why? Because in spite of the immense heartaches they have gone through, they still managed to risk themselves to get hurt over and over again. They give second, third, fourth, fifth, nth chances to the new person who offers the possibility of a love that lasts…

I don’t know how they do it. Heck, I don’t even know how I do did it…

So if you find yourself feeling insecure or insanely jealous of your loved ones’ past, be thankful instead. Because in spite of all the negative experiences, the emotional tsunamis that could have transformed him or her into a full-blown cynic, he or she actually took his or her chances with you. It means he or she thought you were worth all that risk, worth all that trouble of exposing one’s self again to the danger of puncturing the just-mended heart or shattering it to smithereens.

Oh, and so many people don’t know the vulnerability of the person who already had his or her heart mangled in the past. It’s like heading to the lion’s den after you have just lost your limbs from the same. And the friends and family of the person who repeatedly risks a lot for love get so affected too, because they are either super hoping that this is already the right person or bracing themselves for another heartbroken phone call. When you damage a person’s heart, you also hurt an entire circle of family and friends who truly care about him or her.

Some people take that for granted just for the sake of keeping appearances. Some people just like to keep their pride intact and watch out for the details they can tell their straight-minded friends. And so we have many more broken hearts in this world than necessary. You might think that a person who pursues you will not engage in mud-pelting like the criticizing ones who do not know you, but in fact, that very person is more capable of drawing ten daggers straight to the center of your heart with just one word because he or she is so frigging close.

When that time comes you got broken after taking yet another unworthy risk, you find it so difficult to forgive yourself. Because you let him or her come close. Because you let him or her be able to hurt you in this way and in this magnitude. These thoughts can torture you. “I wish I had not given my number to that arrogant schmuck. I wish I had not picked up that phone or answered that text message he sent the first time. I wish I dropped dead or tied my shoelaces when he passed by. I wish… I wish…”

Heartache is never something you really get used to. It just gets worse each time it happens. Sure, you get to hide the tears and save it for bedtime. Outwardly, you improve. You hassle your friends less, because you are already getting embarassed in another failure.

You can go out and have fun for a few hours. You may even get a Ph.D. In flirting or a certificate in exchanging pickup lines with another possibly equally broken stranger. I have met so many individuals who stay in mediocre relationships because they are afraid of having to deal with the ruins of a 100% broken heart. I can’t blame the people who cannot unchain themselves in relationships that are tearing them apart. It takes lots of courage to let go of the familiar, established and comfortable. And once you take that first courageous, you don’t know what comes next and that’s more than enough for even the manliest man to get that ants in the pants, anxious feeling.

You may take the plunge of unchaining yourself. But at the end of the day, even when you have been freed from the grip of a toxic relationship, you face that nagging fear of having to go through that kind of hell again if you decide to open yourself up to another person in another time. You get gripped by that fear day by day, and sometimes you just don’t know where to frigging put yourself, much less put yourself together.

In spite of these salty tears falling off my cheeks, I still believe in Love. I still believe that there are people worth waiting for and fighting for. I still believe that God can bless people in marriage and in celibacy. And I do not want to make a choice between the two because I am averse to one or the other.

Mistakes are inevitable in this imperfect world. Casualties in the altar of genuine love are unpredictable. And at the expense of ourselves, if I may add. My humble bank account has an insurance policy, but my heart, more valuable than money, sadly does not operate like that.

My tears have already dried up as I type this last line. My resolve has become renewed and made firm. It hurts, but I am certain of late that I have made uncomfortable decsions, but they were necessary given the current circumstances of my life.

There are no rewinds, only moving forwards. And forward we go.

Lord, Thank You!

There is nothing special about this post. No pictures, no metaphors. I just want to write it as soon as possible. I have every reason to celebrate because I already have both my parents’ blessing to make any decision regarding the outcome of my soul searching and eventual vocation.

But the thing is, I just need to help my mom and my sister a little for a few years… My mom, who initially opposed things that involved this, finally opened herself up to the idea. The first time I told her about it, she had chest pains.

I guess she now sees how unhappy I am not to be given her blessing as I consider another pathway for my soul. And somehow, she said okay… I have been praying for this…

Now I just need to raise the funds I need within a few years…

I am excited to be finally given the freedom and my parents’ blessing to whatever decision I make in the coming years. Thank you so much, LORD.

The Pearl Shuts Down on Unthinkable You

Note: This is an urban inanimism on the emotion of disappointment. 🙂

This world is an oyster in my aloneness. The crushing waves may try to penetrate, but I refuse, all edges tightly clamped and warding out unwanted elements. As a publicly lauded piece of jewelry, you might think you already know everything about me. You might think that the shiny exteriors are all there is to it. Sure, it looks good on a friend’s arm, maybe in your opinion I am some eye candy for you to while away the time with on an otherwise unescorted event. I am no member of vanity fair, although I tend to exude that impression with my smoke and mirrors. I have no beauty secrets. I just have myself, and my shell when strings are not being pulled to tie me to another individual’s whimsical fashion and desires.

You think you already know me from what you have seen on the display? You are so, so wrong, for there is a depth in the bottom of the ocean of these appearances that you need to transcend before you can truly say that you know me. And if you think we are getting close, think again. We are not. Although for a few days I considered trusting you considerably enough, later on I have firmly decided not to let you come any nearer. For a few days, you have gained my confidence. But now, you cannot fool me any longer.

You feel offended, miffed, and betrayed that I kept my distance all of a sudden, you ocean irritant, oh so necessary to help the oyster make a pearl out of me. You were right, I dropped you in mid-air because I sadly found that you are not worthy to be trusted. Your favors were ill-intended, with an invisible string attached to it, ever ready to prey on me and snap me out of my peaceful reverie.

It seems, you do not know yourself too well. You do not know the harm you to do to precious pearls with your unruly way you treat them. You think you are nice. But in reality, you are not. I may not be much in size, but I see things more clearly in the crystal clear waters that wash away your shady intentions. If you can only take time to see your reflection in the water, you will know why I am so disgusted with you, that I cannot even civilly hide it.

Much as I despise the disappointment you have caused, irritants like you are what makes pearls the pearls that they are today. You are not unique. There is so much of you in this world that it actually makes all the numerous silt in the ocean shy away in embarrassment.

I am one of the few who see through all your exterior gestures. It is sad to find that you are one of those earthly presences who hide their deadly daggers in the cloak of goodness. I wish you were more real.

You hit on all pearls like you do basketballs in an arcade. You hope that after wooing all these pearls, one of them will decide to run to your court. The world’s best pearls are meant to be treasured, not crudely lumped together like some form of ornaments for your collection.

My shell is a protective layer that can shut you out anytime, no matter how close you are to getting me. I can let you in one day, and clip your fingers out the next. But I only do that to the people I disgustingly discover to be unworthy of the trust I give them. Most people who get to stay in the oyster zone is embraced for life with a fierce military-like loyalty.

My boundaries are there for a good reason. It refuses to tolerate the slightest bit of taking advantage, explicitly or implicitly. It signals trouble from afar, and does not let the most emotionally harassing ones linger in. Your ostentatious kind gestures ceased to hide the ill intentions you cannot even admit to yourself. No hand washing will take that away unless you take a good look at yourself and actually admit it…

I was born, reared and forced to live a life of pressure from all sides. I already know unnecessary trouble when it rears its ugly head somewhere in my crusty and waterproof fence. I have learned most things the hard way, and I will not let you make me uncomfortable in this oyster of my choosing just because you want me to punish for not dancing to your tune.

If I need to stay 100 feet below the ocean forever just to wait for the diver who will go through hell or high water just to unearth me for the real me, I will do it.

And if I perish for believing that I totally deserve the best and not some artificially squandered show of emotion, then let me perish in that oblivion than have to bear each day putting up with the likes of you.

I am solitary, not desperate. Not like you.

And until you have learned to stop being like that, the shell is clamped shut. I shall endure all external pressures you will place on me while I am here. But you will never get to me.

This world is an oyster in my aloneness. An aloneness that has been firmly chosen in favor for the fake and artifical offerings of an unthinkable you.

New Toy for the Little Miss

I.T. is love, at least for today… They just installed In Design and Photoshop on Jehleen (my work PC). I needed In Design for creating an automated index for a particular title that I am editing. They have this really neat function of making indexing so much easier. It’s also a feature present in MS Word but here at work, it is better to do it in In Design to complement the layout artists’ files and paginations on each book.

Photoshop installation was just a bonus. It just so happened that the I.T. guy’s installer was a package containing the In Design software and Photoshop. I was so fascinated with the illustrators’ creations in Photoshop and I am a little, just a little, curious about it.

The installation took so long, but just like finding a nice woman you can spend the rest of your life with, it was worth the wait…

And my reading list just got increased anew. I managed to get 100+ e-books from a friend here and I have not yet finished my bedroom reading list! I am super swamped and swimming in books. And add to that around five pending movies to watch. I truly wish I had 50 hours extra this whole week just to cram them all in.

Now that I have all these things in my computer, the possibilities of learning are endless. But I still have herculean editing tasks in my midst and time is something I am struggling to manage better. I still have to figure out how to achieve all these goals.

Here I am again, wanting so many things. And at the same time, wanting to be all Zen and calm.

I hope the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde split on the things I want be settled very soon.

(I can’t go on pining for many things and living like this, this is already so inhumane.)

Meanwhile, I resume my editing and hope that time management improves and life simplifies, eventually.