The post was updated in April 2020.
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Here are the most important lessons from my preparation and examination of the Environmental Planning Board Exam!
Before the Exam
Two years after completing my scholarship for an Environmental Science degree, I was qualified to take the Environmental Planning (EnP) Board Exam.
The exam was in June.
I made my decision to take the exam in January.
So I had 6 months to prepare for the Environmental Planning Board Exam. There was much to learn in a span of six months.
What was at first a casual attempt became a serious endeavor. I started to view the exam as a passage rite towards being a true teacher of Land Use.
I was teaching Land Use Concepts as a “nonprofessional“, so I wanted to test my capacities against professional regulation standards.
Every night at 21:00, after dinner, I read a scheduled topic for the day.
I kept notes on one notebook only. This notebook had an index (bullet journal style!) to reference the page with corresponding topics.
I tried to maintain a table of contents based on the exam themes indicated in the syllabus.
I also created a review plan based on the Ecopolis Reviewers that some friends shared with me.
The Land Use class that I taught in the second semester of AY 17-18 became an outlet for my review.
My lectures were central to land use laws because of my self-review sessions.
Devolution, the local government, and the local planning structure were mainstays in every class.
I was also excited about learning laws on indigenous peoples, protected areas, and mining that I inserted such discussions into my second semester syllabus.
Doing this, I found gaps in my current knowledge.
Sometimes students will correct me on figures and numbers of boundaries and limits.
My own experience in assisting the Municipality of Tiwi for the updating of their Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) was advantageous.
Since I only assisted in previous planning endeavors during past employment experiences, while being an Environmental Consultant for Tiwi, I had the opportunity to apply the theories and principles of environmental planning from the resources above into a real-world document.
I found that even though I started reviewing intimately six weeks before the exam, I had much to learn.
A week before the exam, my confidence level was low.
Only a few people knew I was taking the exam because for the first time in a long time, I was sure to fail.
The passing board exam grade is 70% – I was getting 60s in practice exams.
Even with low confidence to pass, I knew that having a stable university teaching position and an advanced degree already qualifies me as a success.
Passing the exam, however, will strengthen my value as a Land Use teacher and give justice to the evenings I spent reviewing.
During the Exam
I was in unfamiliar territory during the exam days.
For a year, I was giving tests to my students. Now, I was on the other side.
I was holding my future in a No.2 pencil.
It was great also that the test was multiple choice. My penmanship is bad and an essay test may have killed me.
During the exam, I was a recipient of a cheating attempt.
While at the restroom, a stranger asked me blatantly to answer an exam question.
It was casual for him – just like asking for the time.
We were accompanied by exam proctors when we go out for the restrooms, but these proctors stay outside of the restrooms.
With all my courage, I just smiled at him and kept my mouth shut. It was wise to hold back rebuke, as I do not know this person.
I did not care to know his name. I do not know if he passed.
All I know is that I understand him. His career may have been hanging in the balance. He badly needed to pass.
After the Exam
I focused too much on studying the different laws, yet questions were about practical planning implementation.
Reading more of the Local Government Code and the HLURB CLUP Guidebooks could have saved my exam scores.
But, I did not have time to think much about the exam.
I was handling a field work class in Bacacay, Albay and we needed to do preparations. I needed to be present in these activities.
After four working days, I found out that I passed!
When I passed, I felt satisfaction!
I can continue to teach Land Use with confidence, knowing I “pass” professional standards.
I plan to use the license for more extension work, like what I did in Tiwi and Bacacay.