Just a short introduction, I am Architect Richee Genesis Tuason, rMP. I graduated from UST with a degree in BS Architecture. I just recently passed the Architect and Master Plumber Licensure Exam here in the Philippines, both in my first try.
A lot of my college friends and classmates have been asking for some tips that I think helped me on passing the said exams. So instead of giving redundant answers, I decided to make this entry for every aspiring architect to see. I hope this can help.
Master Plumber Licensure Exam
Upon knowing that Architecture graduates can actually take the Master Plumber Licensure Exam without any required number of OJT hours, I immediately took my shot and gave it a try. Perhaps, it would also be a good preparation for my plans in taking the Architect Licensure exam the next yr, I thought.
My target exam was on July 25&26, 2017. I’ve heard about how the MP exam was actually really hard with only 25% national passing rate that I’ve decided to enroll in a review center. I chose JPT because of the suggestions from the internet. Luckily, the schedule for the review was on weekends for 7weeks before the exam that I was still able to work on mon-fridays. The review costed me P7000 with reviewers.
Honestly, I never really liked plumbing during college. I actually hated it. I just conditioned my mind to force myself into it because I chose this path and there was no turning back.
The review center played a really huge part for me in passing the exam especially that I had no field experience or whatsoever in plumbing. Everything was entirely theoretical.
It was just really disappointing that there are some professors in the review center who were totally meh. One of them was Ar. J.S. who would just tell us unrelated stories for 4hrs. Another one was who was Ar. G. He was not quite sure of what he was saying because my review classmates would correct him most of the time pa.
TIPS FOR MASTER PLUMBER EXAM
- For those who don’t have field experiences in plumbing, I would suggest for you to enroll in a review center.
- If you are enrolled in a review center, always make sure to come early on class because being on the front seat is a major advantage.
- Fajardo Book. It is very very helpful.
- Make sure to memorize the important parts of the Plumbing Code.
- Bring a good calculator with you on the exam day especially in the arithmetic subject. Because there are questions which you would just literally let the calcu solve it. It would be so bad to miss these kind of questions just because you didn’t bring the right calculator. Ex. CASIO fx-991ES PLUS.
- You don’t really have to memorize the Drainage Fixture Unit or the Water Fixture Unit because they always give it in the questionnaire but you just need to familiarize yourself about them to at least have a sound idea of the pipe sizes equating to them.
- Join the Master Plumber Review group on Facebook because the questions from the previous exams are shared there and the members are really helpful. They also share downloadable reviewers.
- Don’t be worried if you weren’t able to have your exam pencils sharpened by a Licensed Master Plumber or have it blessed by a priest. Believe me, those won’t really matter cos I didn’t do those and I still passed. I guess its just something psychological but if you’re the type of person who would freak out about it, then go.
- Exam questions are really unpredictable that no matter how much you studied, there are chances that you can’t still make it and a person you know who didn’t even study that much still passed. That’s why you should never miss a chance to study or at least skim your notes every time you get a chance.
- When there are random questions popping on your head which you are not sure of the answer, make it sure to find out the answer that moment or write it down and search for it later. It happened to me many times that I was lucky that those random questions really appeared on the board exam questionnaires!
- Never leave a topic undone. Always try to finish the topic you’re studying. You won’t like it if that topic you didn’t continue studying would be randomly asked in the boards, right?
- Loosen up. Don’t pressure your brain so much. You can have fun if you feel like it. You can drink out with your friends but remember to set your priorities straight.
- Believe in your self. I almost gave up the thought of passing the exam because it was really that hard but I still got an average of 76.5 % (its high because the topnotcher got 81% during our time).
- Pray. Remember that nothing is impossible through him.
I needed to mention the part about my Master Plumber journey because it played a huge part in my Architect’s Exam.
ARCHITECT’S LICENSURE EXAM
After passing the Master Plumber exam, I immediately decided to take the January 2018 Architect’s Licensure exam because the “hype” was already there and the thing’s I’ve learned from plumbing are still fresh. So what I did was I resigned from my job and took a 1-month break from everything to prep my mind for the biggest 5 months of my life.
Working while Reviewing
I also talked to our company Architect, who was the one who signed my logbook and asked for his permission if I can just work from home and take light workloads for the next few months. He amazingly agreed but in exchange was a 60% decrease in my pay. It was still a good deal though.
There are 3 major review center for ALE in Metro Manila which I am sure you already heard of.
1. JPT Review Center in Galicia St, Manila.
I took my Comprehensive Review in JPT because of its location (I live in taft) and I was given a P1500.00 discount because of I reviewed there during my MP exam. I paid only P7500.00 (originally its P9000.00) without reviewers.
Rooms. The section I belonged to was scheduled MWFS, 6pm-9pm from August 28- December 2, 2017. I felt really lucky because they said our section was just an additional or special class for late enrollees which explained why there were just around 25-30 of us in our class and we were using the smaller room in JPT. Why is it an advantage? Because too much people in your class is a chaos and its in the bigger room! Going early in the review center is a competition because everyone wants to take the front seats because you won’t see the powerpoint from the back and all you would hear are noises and echoes out there. That’s the least thing you would want to think about when reviewing for the boards.
Instructors. The luckiness didn’t end there because the professors in our section are actually the best.
Building Laws, Professional Practice- This is the very foundation of everything in Architecture which is why I was very lucky that our professor here was Ar. Pedro Santos. Not being exaggerated but he was really good. Really. And his powerpoint presentations are very organized and easy to understand.
HOA- Our professor was Ar. Almo. She was okay and very knowledgeable but I chose to study HOA by myself. Well, I sat down once but she needed to fast track everything because she was given only 6 sessions. Imagine, 18hrs to tackle the entire HOA? Not possible. That’s why I had to rely on my own studying techniques. I just bought her HOA notes for P400.
Building Utilities– Our professor was Ar. Alli. He was my college professor in BU for like 3-4 semesters. I didn’t attend his class in plumbing to study in advance on electrical instead where I am really the weakest. I attended his class again after plumbing. He was fine but he didn’t budget his time nicely. He was given 7 sessions. He spent 5 sessions in plumbing alone, 1 session in electrical and HVAC and 1 session for mechanical and acoustics. I mean, he dragged plumbing that much and wasn’t able to discuss so much about the other topics. Nevertheless, I highly suggest for you to buy his book P350. Very helpful.
TOA and Principles of Planning- Ar Pedro Santos was again my prof and everything was better. Excellent powerpoints.
Structural- Our prof was Engr. Gero Dy. I could say that he was good. Very interactive also and his powerpoints are helpful too. He knows what to and not to teach. He would also give good advices and suggestions. He also talks spontaneously which sometimes are not on his powerpoint that you have to take down becos some of what he said actually showed up in the board questions.
BT- Ar. Jose Juson. He was actually really good and that is coming from a student who didn’t have much experience in heavy construction (meh). It was like I’ve experienced everything he taught us first hand. He’s very detailed! He doesnt give away his powerpoint so you should really take notes.
Design- Ar Annie Pugeda is just so so amazing. No words can describe it. However, she doesn’t give away her powepoints so you really need to take notes. She’s very spontaneous when discussing that you might want to record everything she says cos every bit is valuable. Believe me.
I was lucky to place top on my section’s overall preboard exams that I was given a 50% discount for the refresher. The original cost was P4000.00 People suggested to take the Refresher in JPT because they have this wide collection of the board exam questions from the past up to the very latest. I didn’t take the refresher course tho cos Ive spent too much already. Proceed to the tips to know what I did instead.
NOTE* Some instructors in JPT are not really reliable as we needed to recheck every answer they gave to us. Just a head’s up. Ex. Ar. F.
2. ATLAS-CPED at Kamuning, QC
I took my E-Design in Atlas. Well, I was gonna enroll in JPT but I wanted to experience a different review center this time and this was highly suggested by my friends. It was P4000.00 for 4 sunday sessions from 9am-5pm. I could say that this was the best decision that I’ve made during my entire review. I forgot the Architect’s name but he was in his early 50’s. (He is Ar. Rey Gabitan) He discussed everything in Rule7&8 detail by detail that I didn’t even have to review it again at home after that 3 sessions we had. But he doesn’t allow his students to take pictures of his powerpoints for us to really listen carefully and understand everything he says. Which actually really helped.
The other prof was again Ar. Annie Pugeda who taught us the same thing she discussed in JPT during my design class with her.
Note*** If you’ll take the E Design in ATLAS CPED, choose the last class before the boards. By then, the ideas will still be fresh.
3. CDEP at Diliman
A friend took her review there. I once had a review session with her and I could say that their notes are super nice and organized. They can be understood easily. Some of the people I know actually suggested to me to take the comprehensive there because they’re really good but I still chose JPT because of the location.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
- You don’t actually have to announce on social media that you’re taking the boards. It would just add up to the pressure you’re feeling.
- If you are enrolled in a Review Center, as I’ve said earlier, come early for the front seats. They have this strict no reservation policy in there so tell your friends to come early too!
- Be surrounded by studious people and stay away from people who’ll just slow down your progress.
- Its nice to have a buddy with you in the review center. They can help you catch up when you missed a class or record the missed class for you.
- Reviewing for the boards especially in ALE is very expensive. Don’t buy books that you know you would never open. Ring Binded books from the review center are quite overpriced so if you can just borrow a book from a friend who bought it, have it photocopied for half the price!
- Read the Visual Dictionary THRICE!
- If you got friends from other review center, tell them to exchange notes with you.
- For the refresher, you can also miss it like what I did. But you have to have a friend enrolled in it, borrow the refresher notes, have it photocopied and go group study with them for you to know the answers and explanations.
- Review Centers set as your guide when studying. I highly not recommend to study a different subject from what you’re studying at the review. Its going to be really confusing. You can just go back later after the review center season because it is the perfect time for that.
- If you’re incapable of working while reviewing, you can just quit your job but at least have enough savings that could sustain you for the months you are not working. I have friends who left their job just a month before the exam to do a full time review and there were some who didn’t. They still passed tho.
- For fresh grads, you can also do what I did; taking the Master Plumber exam first. It helped me so much in terms of time because I didn’t have to study the subject again considering the fact that Plumbing is a lot of things.
- We all have different studying techniques and mine includes posting important stuff on my wall. It honestly helped me so much.
- Do a study area make-over. As messy as it looks like (pic was taken after the boards), the above picture was actually a storage area of our house and I transformed it into my study nuke.
- Organize you reviewers. It would honestly clear up your mind. And its really satisfying!
- You can try memory enhancing supplements! Well, I didn’t because I guess it was just not for me. I tried memo plus gold and experienced a 3-day intense migraine after taking my 2nd pill that I needed to stop.
- Loosen up! Don’t drown yourselves with those reviewers. I had 5 travel adventures during my review period. You don’t have to feel guilty about it because you know you’re studying well. I just had my friend record all the classes I missed. Of course you should keep up right away and actually listen to the recordings!
- You can still drink to death or party! If you feel like you had enough of information for the day, you are allowed to go out and party with your friends. Just remember that you still have responsibilities the next day.
- Join the Architect’s Board Exam Review Group on Facebook. They share reviewers and random questions there. Just know that sometimes, the answers are not reliable.
- Prepare your Board exam requirements as early as possible! You wouldn’t want to have a problem occur few days before the deadline of filing.
- Do your logbook as soon as possible! It can be bought in JPT for P400.00 or at the UAP Office for the same price. Just take note that you cant have erasures in fillibg it up. I had to buy twice because my first one was a mess. You can consult in JPT’s admin on how to fill it up.
- Note that PRC doesn’t always allow everyone to take the boards especially if they find something intriguing in your logbook. What adds up to your chances of getting admitted is a signature from your College Dean! You can submit your logbook without your Dean’s signature but why wouldn’t you?
- If you don’t know it yet, you are allowed to bring the RULE 7 & 8 of Building Code on the Day 2 exam but WITHOUT HIGHLIGHTS. You can put bookmarks and write on it (the bookmarks) but not on the book itself. I highly suggest for you to buy the book from CPED ATLAS because theirs is simplified and more understandable.
- Familiarize your self of the Rule 7 & 8 because it is your tool in passing the Day 2 exam.
- Attend the WORLDBEX, PHILCONS or any construction expo. This would help you get familiarized with the different brands that are used in construction which is always asked in the boards.
- Few weeks before the boards, fix your body clock to normal. Who would want a 3-hr sleep (or even none) during the boards?
- You don’t actually have to worry if you weren’t able to have your pencils sharpened by a Licensed Architect. Look, I passed and I did not do it. I however, had all my board exam stuff blessed at Quiapo and St. Jude.
- On Day 2, which is Design, from 8am to 6pm straight, you will not be allowed to go out for lunch so I suggest to you to bring something that can be eaten easily (and not messy). No matter how long you think 10 hrs is, it will never be enough for design. I was lucky that I brought grapes that time cos I actually wasn’t able to eat my real lunch na.
- Bring everything that could be brought on the Day 2 exam! I brought triangles, protractor, highlighters, bookmarks, graphing papers, measuring tape, furniture templates, calculator and ballpens of different colors. I was told by the proctor tho that she wasnt sure if highlighters are allowed and that she would get back at me. Well she didn’t so I continued using it the entire time. Measuring tape or “metro” is super helpful and definitely allowed so don’t just bring an ordinary ruler! Also, bookmarks saved me so much time because the questionnaires are super thick.
- Expect that only 5% of what you’ve studied will be asked. That’s how the exam works. 100 questions for HOA, TOA, PP, PL and Building Code. 150 questions for BT, Structural and BU. 200 questions for design. That’s why you have to read, read and read. With that little possibility of what you’ve studied being asked, why not study harder to have a broader knowledge about everything.
- Pray. I am not a fan of going to church on Sunday’s or following everything the church says but my faith in Him is solid ever since. Tell Him everything. He never fails.
I hope one way or another, this post will help you pass the boards or at least gave you an idea about it. Note that these are my personal experiences and suggestions which I don’t know will apply to everyone. Good luck!
Just comment here for questions and I would be really happy to help. Good luck, Architect!
Disclaimer: I don’t proofread cos I write spontaneously hence you might encounter some typographical and grammatical errors. My apologies 🙂