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This blog is dedicated to all my friends who are taking the 2016 Real Estate Broker Board Exams. Guys, kaya niyo ‘yan! Before I start to write, I’d like to say that I know how it feels. We all have this one shot. We also used to believe last year that our exam is the last for the non-Real Estate Management graduates. I felt the pressure too. But because we did it, and with only limited time, I believe that you can do it too. So start believing.

Here are my tips. Feel free to comment and suggest additional things. Also, feel free share to your friends who are taking the board exams.

BEFORE THE EXAMS

1. Ride the pressure. Some people say ignore the pressure or don’t feel the pressure. I say, ride the pressure. I mean, use it to propel you upwards. I believe that any form of energy is a gift from God. How you respond to it is what makes the difference. So you feel pressured because you only have one shot? You feel like you only have very limited time? And then you feel the tension inside your stomach rising up to your chest? Guess what? You can use that pressure to buckle up and study more. In fact, if you can handle it well, it can be more effective than coffee. What’s important is that you study and that you give it your all. And while the board exam is not yet on your face, your job is to stop judging yourself or make false predictions that you won’t pass. Your job is to study as hard as you can and to review as much as you can. You’ll be surprised how the whole process can change you. Because of the study habits I formed during my review, I felt more disciplined, organized with my time and I felt like a college student again wanting to get excellent grades. It’s a really good feeling. Strive hard to achieve it. It will do you good.

2. Study the moment you wake up. I’d like you guys to take a good look at your schedule. For those who have the luxury of time, good for you. For those who have limited time, no sugarcoating here, you need to strive harder. One of the best things I did during the review and the one that I enjoyed the most is to study the moment I wake up. There is scientific backing up as to why we should study right after waking up and I made a research about it. You can google it. The reason is obvious though. Our mind is most relaxed after waking up. After praying and after brushing your teeth, bury yourself under your reviewers right away. Forget about breakfast. Forget about taking a bath. You can do all those things after studying. Not only that it’s good for the mind, for me it’s also habit-forming. You have something to look forward to after waking up and that’s when you start enjoying the whole process of studying. For those who have the luxury of time, this is not a problem. But for those who have full time jobs, it’s alright. If you really want to do this, then it means you should start waking up earlier to accommodate this activity. You can give 2-3 hours for this. If you have more time, then by all means, do more.

3. Check out my 5 Senses Memory Enhancement Program. Call me obsessed but truly, the 2015 Real Estate Broker Board Exams pushed me to my limit. I was even able to formulate a program that will help me enhance my memory by using my 5 senses – hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. This is one of the things I did to enjoy the whole process of studying. To know more about the project, please click here.

4. Create your own reviewers. Too many dates, laws and measurements to memorize? Compile them in one reviewer and go over them whenever you have time. Compiling them in one place doesn’t only make you feel organized about them, it will also allow you to recognize patterns or order that will help you in memorizing them.

5. Take the familiarization trip seriously. A few days before the exam, you will know your exam venue. Some review centers advise their reviewees to take a familiarization trip to their respective exam venues. I was one of those who took the exam at Manuel L. Quezon University in Quiapo. Good thing I spent four years of my high school life in San Sebastian College – Recoletos which is just near. So to speak, I don’t need the familiarization trip. But I still did and reminisced the good times I had during high school! My familiarization trip turned out to be an enjoyable activity that I became more excited about the exam. But for those who don’t share the same experience with me, I say take the familiarization trip seriously. I mean, don’t just drop by and take a selfie in front of the university where you will take the exam. Really, make yourself familiar with the place and acclimatize yourself while at it. If you can enter the school, know where the comfort rooms are as well as the canteen, the stairs, the floors and etc. Where will you park your car? Where will you wait before you can enter the exam room? Where will you eat your snacks? Visualize the whole thing and visualize yourself passing the exam.

DURING THE EXAMS

6. Be early. Although this does need no telling anymore, a little reiteration will do no harm. If you took your familiarization trip seriously, it means you also knew how to find your way to the venue while adding the factor of possible traffic jams and other unforeseen events. Being on time is not enough. You have to add additional hours for things that may come your way without unnecessarily carrying the additional burden brought by it. Remember, you need your full energy and focus for a whole day of exams.

7.  Browse your notes if you feel like doing so. I know review centers discourage reviewing during the last minute but this just doesn’t really work for me. Admit it, we’re used to doing it even during high school. In fact, the night before the exam, I was still studying. The morning right before the exam, I was still browsing my notes. The only thing is that I am not necessarily cramming. I believe thi is s what the review centers want us to avoid. So if you feel like browsing your notes during the last minute, I say go! Just don’t cram.

8.  Resolve to never ever complain about your exam venue. You should have been able to promise this to yourself during your familiarization trip. (Yes, that familiarization trip has so many benefits.) Whatever room and table is for you, bless it. They are your alliances, not your enemies. As I said, I landed a spot in Manuel L. Quezon University. I would say those were not the best room and table for exam-taking but I never did complain! Complaining will only do you more harm than good. Give yourself a favor and resolve not to complain about your exam venue.

9. You have enough time. One of the common misconceptions about the exams is that you may run out of time. Although this mindset can be beneficial as you will take the exam time seriously, I’d like to point this out to the people who are feeling a little bit more stressed about having only 2 hours for the first 2 exams and then 4 hours for the third exam. You have enough time, don’t worry. The exams are all in multiple choice format and all you have to do is to pick the best answer. The best technique is for you to mark your answers first on the questionnaire and then transfer your answers on the answer key during the last 20-30 minutes of the exam.

10. Hydrate throughout the day. One of the things I may have been taken for granted during the exam is that I wasn’t able to bring more water. In my case, the exams made me more thirsty than hungry. It was amazing that I actually just needed a few pieces of banana and some bread during that day! Too bad that I did not bring more water though. So yeah, bring more water. Just don’t drink excessively as you are not allowed to go outside if you’re not yet done with the exams.

More tips may be added on this list. Stay tuned!

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deepest intelligenceOne of the perks of being in a small group in a local Christian community like ours, Victory Ortigas, is the gift of being in close relationships with fellow believers. Every Sunday, I meet a group of young men to talk about our lives and God’s faithfulness in it and also to pray and encourage one another.

As a leader, I feel responsible to know each of my members deeply. This is why during my first few meetings with them, I asked them one of my favorite questions in the world: “What is your deepest intelligence?”

I can’t explain the deep satisfaction that I get whenever I get to ask this question and whenever I see my interviewee taking a deep breath as he/she carefully unfold the answer to my question. This is when I realized that I love helping people discover their greatest strengths. The realization was so profound that I professed that my greatest passion in life is to motivate people. I claimed that I have the gift of encouragement.

This passion was never new to me. I just never realized that it was the one that gave me the greatest joy. So encouraging others is my deepest passion and it is not to be confused with what I consider as my deepest intelligence. Being strategic – the ability to predict patterns – is what I believe as my deepest intelligence.

Your deepest intelligence is something that you must be aware of or at least you have a clue of. I was glad that someone – actually something, a book – helped me discover it by giving a name to it. Strengthsfinder 2.0 is the book that gave the name to my deepest intelligence – Strategic. According to the book, being Strategic is not a skill to be taught. It is a unique way of thinking. I validated this when, looking back, I remember that as a kid, I was so good in predicting movie endings. When I was in high school and college came, remember myself excelling in abstract reasoning and flowcharting. In the current times, I use this strength in making strategic plans for business and for my career as a whole.

I have so much fun listening to what my groupmates think are their deepest intelligences. One of them answered positivity. The other one said it’s perseverance. Another said that he’s the person his friends naturally go to for wise counsel. The fun part, I realized, is that I get to help my groupmates unearth something that is very valuable to them and at the same time, something that flows abundantly from them.

I believe that the things that we consider as our deepest intelligences are our gifts from God. It is just right for us to discover them and to use them to the best of our abilities. Above all, we must use our deepest intelligences for the greater glory of God.

How about you? What is your deepest intelligence? What are the instances that that strength made itself known to you? What can you do to further hone that gift? How can you use it in the mission that was entrusted to you by God?