Monday, December 5, 2011

When I took the NMAT

I got a couple of emails from a few readers asking me for tips about the NMAT (National Medical Achievement Test), the big qualifying exam for medical schools in the Philippines. The multiple-choice exam covers basic science subjects, language, and abstract reasoning, and is administered twice a year: every April and December. 

The pressure is for would-be medical students to score high in this test, so they'd get the desired cut-off percentile score for the med school they're eyeing. In the UP College of Medicine, for example, the cut-off is officially pegged at 90%.

Many undergraduates enroll in NMAT review sessions. These span weeks or months, and are generally expensive. The biggest utility for these classes is not the learning—one can only remember so much in so little time—but the practical tips, strategies, and sample exams that are given upon registration. If you took a science course that had a lot of math, chemistry, biology, and physics, I don't think enrolling in these cram schools is necessary. The exam questions are basic, and you only need to do a cursory self-review of those subjects. 

On hindsight, I should've paid more attention to the Practice Exams Set that was given after I got my NMAT exam permit. Some questions were directly taken from the Practice Exams! And I should have taken the social sciences and psychology part more seriously. I didn't take any such subjects in College, so I mostly relied on the tidbits I knew about Freud and Jung—which were practically close to nothing. I should've done some extra reading.

Yesterday I was surprised to see younger friends write about their NMAT experience in Facebook. That brought back memories of my own NMAT experience, and how the Lord has seen me through:

—The peer-administered review sessions with Monchi Goce, Coy Cabanilla, Joe Poblete, Melay San Luis, and the late Boom Jacinto. I always scored the lowest in the practice exams. My friends, on the other hand, were brilliant!

—The last-minute review and sleep-over at Coy's house in Antipolo, and the packed chicken sandwich that Coy's mother prepared for us before we left.

—This blog entry dated April 1, 2008, the night before the test date:
I don't understand why we have to learn and re-learn organic chemistry, mechanical physics, and all the structures we've memorized in biology. But the lesson is clear: I am not prepared--I do not feel prepared--to take the NMAT tomorrow. But, I realize, that it is precisely during our moments of helplessness when we are nearest God. I trust that tomorrow, every stroke of my pen will be guided by Him who promised never to leave me nor forsake me.
—The look on Bon Buno's face in that cold De La Salle classroom. He sat beside me. He would later remark how movable I was during the test, and how pressured he felt when he saw that I was already finished while he still had a number of items to answer. He didn't know I wasn't sure at all of my answers at all, and I just wanted the test to be over.

—The portrait of Philippine tycoon, Lucio Tan, on the halls of De La Salle University. Monchi pointed it out to me.

—The relief I got when I got my exam score months later. It was sufficient to qualify me for interview at UPCM.

—The joy of learning, after the long process, that I finally made it to UP. Overwhelmed, I wrote, "This is because of grace. If I say I made it on my own, that would be hypocrisy, for it was the Lord who helped me write the answers in the NMAT, gave me good grades, and convicted my heart to say what needed to be said during the interview process."

Any tips for or memories of NMATs past? Post them in comments. 

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Blogger Schubert said...

bumili ng 14-peso pamphlet/brochure-like reviewers ng physics, chemistry, geometry, trigo, calculus, social sciences and what-nots sa national bookstore. sobrang helpful

Tue Dec 06, 08:17:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Haha, never tried that one out, Scubs. 'Yan pala ang susi ng tagumpay mo: 99+!

Mon Jan 09, 08:01:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Unknown said...

hello! im planning to take the NMAT this coming march. i would like to ask help that maybe useful for me.... im having a hard time reviewing the subjects included in the 2nd part of the exams.. i am studying on my own. i really need to have a high percentile rank.. any tips please.. thank you and God bless! :)

Thu Jan 26, 06:08:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

1. See skoobs' suggestion above.

2. Practice on the practice exams.

3. Have fun while you're at it.

I pray everything turns out well.

Tue May 29, 03:24:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Unknown said...

hello im planning to take the NMAT, and im wondering if where i can have the copy of practice booklet??? t.y. for help

Tue Nov 20, 03:09:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! i will be taking the nmat this sunday. i am, in all honesty, an average student, and i have tried to study but there are concepts that are very hard for me to understand and really i am not ready. i tried surfing the net for some ego boost and i came across this blog. i love the part where you said that you weren't ready for thr nmat as well and u just entrusted everything to God. i guess i'll be counting on His promises just like what you did and if the exam won't turn out well i will still praise Him for i know He has a plan for me as He cited in the bible. thank you! this is very inspiring.

Wed Nov 28, 09:35:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

You're handed the booklets once you submit your NMAT forms.

Sun Dec 02, 05:34:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

I hope you had an easy time with the exam this morning (or afternoon?). Thanks for visiting!

Sun Dec 02, 05:35:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger page74 said...

same day ba ng exam ibibigay yung practice booklet??

Mon Jan 21, 01:55:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger page74 said...

same day ba ng exam ibibigay yung practice booklet??

Mon Jan 21, 02:04:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Nope. Bibigay 'yun 'pag nagsubmit ka ng requirements for NMAT.

Mon Jan 21, 04:02:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger page74 said...

same format lng ba ang practice exam saka ung sa actual exam???

Tue Jan 22, 10:22:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many times can you take the nmat?

Thu Jan 31, 02:57:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the pamphlet reviewers still available at nbs? Puro kc msa reviewers andun. Tnx

Sun Feb 24, 10:40:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a marketing management student, but I am really like to be a doctor any advise ??

Sun Dec 22, 01:37:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paano po ba makapasok sa UPCM? May entrance exam po ba ang UPCM? I need a reply.

Wed Apr 16, 02:45:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is many result really important to take admission in medical university for a graduate student?I have masters degree in Neuro science.I could not finish the portions.please help.

Fri Mar 20, 07:04:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Marian said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope my sister makes it, she is really dedicated and wants to be a doctor. She bought an MSA NMAT reviewer, reviews online etc.

Wed Apr 08, 04:11:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Unknown said...

goodevening...may solution set po kayo sa chem at physics ng practice set?

Mon Aug 22, 10:39:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Karess Avillo said...

Hi! What school did you graduate from? UPCM is my dream school so I really want to do great on my NMAT, my problem though is that my GWA is only 1.8 and my school isn't very well known :(

Sun Jul 23, 02:51:00 PM GMT+8  

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