# HOW TO PASS THE ECE BOARD EXAM?

```HOW TO PASS THE ECE BOARD EXAM?
--> INTRODUCTION
--> PREPARING FOR THE BOARD EXAM
--> GUIDES & TIPS
--> INTRODUCTION
you are ready to move on and face this new challenge in your life. Before starting your
review, just look straightforward - stop regretting and blaming yourself for not being able
to study hard enough in college (if you think you did not) and failing to acquire all the
knowledge that you are suppose to learn upon graduating from your dear alma mater. From
now on, you must be focusing on achieving these two important goals: to LEARN and to
PASS the ECE Licensure Exam.
Amount of Time Needed to Pass the Board Exam. You might ask, "How much time is
needed to pass the board exam"? Actually, you just need 3 days to pass the exam - 1 day
for the application (at PRC) and 2 days to shade the correct answers for Mathematics,
Electronics and Communications exams. However, asking "How much time is needed in
preparation for taking the board exam" will make it a little bit harder to answer. Asking
some individuals who already passed the board will surely result to different answers. But
taking into consideration an average ECE graduate and with the type of questions
appearing in the board nowadays, 4 months* is an absolute minimum for someone who
desires a 99.99% probability of passing.
*[I will explain this 4 months review later.]
Probability of Passing. To give you an idea, you need to answer correctly 35 out of 50
multiple-choice questions in Mathematics and 70 out of 100 for Electronics and
Communications. I can assure you that 4 serious months of review is enough to make an
average graduate capable of answering 60% of the questions with confidence. And since
each questions has 4 choices, by using all the knowledge you learned plus some techniques
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(such as elimination method), it is highly probable that you will be able to answer correctly
25% of the remaining questions (or 10% of the total to get 70%). As you may have noticed,
using the laws of probability, by luck alone, anyone is capable of answering 25% of the
remaining questions correctly.
Passing Without Reviewing. You may know someone who pass without or with very little
preparation. Those individuals passed because of pure luck. They are lucky because most
of the questions are based on the concepts which they have reviewed for a short period of
time or they have learned in college. But by having a longer time to prepare will allow your
chances of passing the board be more independent of luck and as you reach the 4 months
ideal preparation time your chances of passing will be ideally independent of luck.
Why Take the Board Exam? Have you ever asked yourself why should we first pass
the board exam before becoming a full-fledged Electronics and Communications Engineer?
It is because not all students who graduated even in prestigious institutions are competent
enough to handle the job of an ECE. Ask yourself now, "if I will take the board exam at
this very moment, in which case the questions are based from the most basic
concepts that a graduate of B.S. E.C.E should know, am I confident enough to say
that I will pass the exam?"
Topping the Board. If you think you have studied hard enough in college, and have
understood all the lessons from your major subjects, well, good for you - you may take this
review as a chance to summarize what you have learned for the past 4 or 5 years. You also
have a better chance of not just passing but also making it to the top. If instead, you think
otherwise, this is the best opportunity to study what you failed to learn during your
college days.
Review to Learn. During the course of your review, do not keep on asking yourself
whether you will be able to pass the exam, but rather ask yourself this way: "with this
review program I am taking right now, will I be able to LEARN all the BASIC
concepts that a new ECE graduate must know, just before the day of the board
exam?".
Be a Professional. If you really want to earn your license, you must first teach yourself
on how to behave like a professional. Learn how to be PROFESSIONAL enough in facing
your new challenge. Many of those who took the board exam fail because they consider
studying and preparing for the board exam a burden for themselves. They did not realized
that they have endured studying for more than 14 years; and reviewing for some more
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months should not be as hard as they think. All you need to do is to discipline yourself and
study hard for the next 4 months. Always remember that if you really love your degree,
LEARNING everything related to your profession will be a rewarding experience. You will
see for yourself that PASSING the board exam is inevitable because it will just be a
direct consequence of your hard work and dedication to learn.
Not Everyone Deserves to Pass the Board Exam. If at this point, you feel, you are
not willing to study hard but instead base your chances of passing to pure luck and worse,
from leakages (if there's any), then you deserve to fail the board exam! Because if you
do pass, you will not help but instead be a burden to your future company and to the
society. What you just want is to use your profession to find a job and earn money.
Your not thinking of what you can provide to the company but rather what the company can
provide to you. Well, it's not too late for you to change that attitude. If in college you are
a lazy student and you have developed the habit of cheating then start changing for your
own good and for the goodness of our society. I must add that preparing for the board
exam is not purely mental; it includes social, physical, emotional and most importantly
spiritual preparation.
--> PREPARING FOR THE BOARD EXAM
Whom To Seek Help. During your review, you will be needing the help and support of
never fail to seek the help of our Almighty Creator, which is of course, the most
important thing to do. But you should also not forget to seek help from the individual who
can help you the most - yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can prepare &
discipline yourself to become a competent licensed Electronics and Communications
Engineer.
Choosing Your Review Center. If you believe in professional integrity and you really
have the desire to learn, you should find a Review Center that will help you learn almost
everything you need to become a competent ECE (although it is impossible to teach
everything in detail). A good review center must have (1) a well-planned program (it
includes systematic scheduling of topics to be discussed) and (2) instructors who are
highly competent to discuss their assigned subjects and who are truly committed in
helping the students pass the board exam.
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I am not in the right position to discriminate against other review centers but I
strongly suggest that you enroll in ACER (Asian Center for Engineering Review) and/or
EXPERTS (EXcellence in Professional Engineering Review and Training Solutions). Among
the best instructors for ECE are teaching in these centers: ACER: Engr. Perfecto Padilla,
Engr. Alejandro Ballado, Jr., Engr. Arnold Paglinawan, Engr. Marloun Sejera, Engr. Glenn
Avendaño, Engr. Emma Ruth Tiong, Engr. Mercy Manila, Engr. Jenny dela Cruz, Engr. Yves
Rilloraza; EXPERTS: Engr. Alex de Jesus, Engr. Elwood Avena, Engr. Edwin Gozun, Engr.
Donald Bautista, Engr. Dindo Esplana, & Engr. JR Umipig. If you was lucky to be under
these instructors during college, surely, you won't have any doubt about their competency,
but would rather recognize their utmost abilities in their own fields of expertise. Just for
All review centers provide two separate courses: the REVIEW COURSE and the
REFRESHER COURSE. The Review Course is like an ordinary lecture class while the
Refresher Course (which usually starts 2 months before the board) may include a Question
& Answer type of discussion or it may be a whole day exam for the students.
Attending 2 Review Centers. What about attending two review centers for the Review
Course? The advantages of having 2 centers are first, lessons are discussed twice and with
2 different approaches (from 2 diff. instructors) - it really aids retention and better
understanding especially for difficult topics. Second, if one of the center unintentionally
fails to include some lessons, the other one can make up for that. The disadvantages are
lesser time to study on your own and higher tuition fees; but with proper time management
and some financial aids from the centers, it is really advantageous two have 2 centers.
On the contrary, attending 2 centers for the Refresher Course is more of a
disadvantage. During this period, you will need more time to study on your own.
Nevertheless, I do know some persons who attended 2 refresher courses and pass the
board.
Always remember that whichever review center(s) you choose, their effort in helping
& guiding you in your review is just 30% - 40% of what is needed; you have to provide the
remaining 60% - 70%.
THE 4 MONTHS REVIEW PROGRAM
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[Each entry in the table represents the total no. of hours per week you should spent for a particular activity [row] vs. a
particular week [column]. For example, Reading for Week 17 should be allotted 35 hours per week - equivalent to 5 hours
daily.]
You can see from the graph 5 different activities you will do in preparing for the
Licensure Exam. Take note of the relative amount of time you should allot on average for
each activity so that you can use your time efficiently and learn as much as possible.
The 4th and 3rd Months Before the Board Exam. Within the first 60 days of your
120 days review program, all you have to do is to READ books & reference materials,
LISTEN to the discussions in your review center & PRACTICE solving computational
problems in Math, Electronics and Communications.
1. READING. If in college you failed to develop the habit of reading books, then you
better start reading now. The following list enumerates the basic reasons why it is
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1. Reading allows you to understand all the principles and concepts - from the
most basic to the most complicated topics.
2. Finishing a book boosts up your self-confidence.
3. Even if you did not memorize all the objective type of information such as
dates, definitions, enumerations, you have a better chance of recalling it
just in case it is asked in the board exam.
Usually, instructors based the principles they teach from the books they have read. In
just a matter of years, who knows, you could be one of them; so what hinders you from
being able to learn by just reading on your own, as those instructors were able to do.
What to read. The following are my suggestions on how you can maximize your 4 months
of review and learn as much as possible. It worked for me, but I don't think it will work
for everybody; at least, you have an idea on how and where to start.
For MATH, you don't need to read books. But if there's some formula that you feel
you need to know the concepts behind, and if you have more than 4 months before the
board, then reading won't hurt you. What you must do is practice solving problems.
For ELECTRONICS, finishing first Grob's Basic Electronics gives you a good start.
vacuum tubes - Mehta is a good one. You must also read a very good reference that
discusses motors, and it can be found at http://www.tpub.com (Module 5 - Motors &
Generators) . Finally, read some references about synchros, servos, & gyros; it can also be
found in www.tpub.com (Module 15). These books/references covers 90% of what you must
understand about electronics. The remaining 10% includes miscellaneous topics which the
review center will provide you during discussions.
For COMMUNICATIONS, books written by Blake, Frenzel, Tomasi, Miller are just a
few. I suggest that you start with the book by Blake because it is relatively easy to read
and pm especially if you answer its end of chapter questions. It also provides a good
discussion about modems, microwave tubes (magnetron, klystron, etc.) and microwave
semiconductors (gunn diode, tunnel diode, etc). I suggest that you read topics in Frenzel
which you did not find in Blake. Tomasi is very difficult to finish for a limited amount of
time. I suggest that you skip chapters about AM, FM, Noise, Transmission Lines, Antenna
and proceed to the chapters about Digital and Data Communications, Satellite and Mobile
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Communications. For this chapters, avoid wasting your time on different formulas because
they can be found in most communication reviewers which you will soon use in your review.
You must otherwise focus on important information such as dates, numbers, enumeration,
definition, etc. Finally, read a reliable communications reviewer that summarizes most of
the important formulas in communications: Communications Engineering Principles &
Allotted Time. You should read the suggested materials for 5-7 hours daily for the first 2
months. Expect that you will need to reduce this allotted time to 1-2 hours daily once you
reached the 60 days review period.
2. LISTENING. If you plan to attend only one review center for the Review Course, you
must attend every meeting, avoid coming late and do your best to listen attentively. There
are times that you will feel sleepy and you can't control it, well, it's ok. As long as you
understand the lesson for the day either by reading the modules on your own or by making
an extra effort to read the specific topic from your books, you are on the right track.
However, if you always feel sleepy, you have to do something about it. Take at least 8
hours of sleep the night before each review session.
If you plan to attend two review centers, avoid intentionally missing sessions from
either review centers. Even if you think you know the lesson for those sessions, you could
still possibly miss some important concepts that the instructor may include in the
discussion.
Allotted Time. You will be listening to the discussion in you review center for an average
of 12-20 hours per week for each review center.
3. PRACTICE SOLVING. In the board exam, Mathematics will be and should be the
easiest subject. And for Electronics and Communications, the questions that require
computations will be the easiest part of these exams.
There are 2 requirements to be able to solve problems that require computation: (1)
you should know the correct formula to use, and (2) you should know how to use the
formula. And the only way to memorize and learn how to use those formulas in Math, Elec
and Comms is to let them become a part of your daily activities. Practice solving problems
problems daily for the first 2 weeks then increasing it to about 50 problems. You must also
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plan where to get these problems so that you can cover all major topics. For Mathematics,
ECE Board Exam Guide in Mathematics by Padilla is suggested. For Electronics, basic
computations taught in the review center is more than enough. For Communications, the
reviewer by Ballado mentioned above provides most of the basic types of problems. By
doing this for the first 2 months of your review, you will be able to answer at least 2500
questions. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Allotted Time. You should allot 2-4 hours daily solving different types of problems for the
first 2 months. Allotted time for familiarizing in different types of problems for the last
2 months should be reduced to 1-2 hours daily; however, this will become a part of the
activity - Self-assessed Exams.
2 Months Before the Board Exam. 60 days before the board is the most critical
period of the review. By this time, you should have finished reading books and have
familiarized yourself with the different types of problems and formulas in Mathematics,
Electronics and Communications. The Refresher Course, most probably, have just started
at this point. You must have accomplished at this point the following:
For Math, you can answer the basic problems easily; and for the hard ones, you can
solve it by just recalling the necessary formula and constants from your notes, or at the
very least, understands how it is solved, step-by-step, while looking from some sample
For Electronics, you can answer problems requiring basic equations easily; and for the
hard ones, you know where from your notes/books you can find the necessary formulas to
solve it. But more importantly, you must fully understand the basics of electronics - I'm
pertaining to the WHY's and HOW's of electronics and not the WHAT's. For example,
"How does an electron flow inside a BJT during normal operation?", then a follow -up
question would be "Why does an electron flows that way?".
For Communications, you must know what and how formulas and constants are used in
different types of problems. And like Electronics, you must understand the important
principles and concepts, and at least, be able explain it to yourself. For example, "How
does an electromagnetic wave propagates in different mediums and how does it
differs from longitudinal waves such us a sound wave?".
The 60 Days Review Program. If you are at least 70% confident to say that you have
achieved the above requirements prior to starting this remaining 60 days review program,
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then you can maximize the benefits of the following guidelines on how to spend the
In choosing the schedule for your refresher course, I suggest that you choose the
weekend section (Sat & Sun) especially if you are far from your review center, so that you
will have a longer time reviewing on your own.
Since at this point you already understand most of the basic principles (the answer to
the WHY's and HOW's) in Electronics and Communications, and you at least know what and
how formulas and constants are used in solving different types of problems in Math, Elecs
and Comms, you just need one more step before you can confidently face the Licensure
Exam - and that is to MEMORIZE.
4. MEMORIZE. Yes, for the remaining 60 days, the only task left to you is to memorize
everything that could possibly help you on the day of the exam. There are 2 sets of
information that you need to memorize: the first is a set of Question-Answer pairs and
the second set includes all of the formulas, constants, definitions, tables, laws, standards,
dates, and a lot more.
For the second set, here is my suggestion: For formulas, write all important formulas in
a clean sheet of bond paper, one page:one topic. For example, one page of formulas
related to Acoustics, 1 page for Solid Geometry, etc. Write only the formulas that you
understand how it is used in a problem . As much as possible, avoid including formulas
which could be easily derived from other formulas. Box each formula. But please, avoid the
temptation to include all formulas you find in different reviewers. Include only the
formulas you used in solving problems for the first 2 months of your review.
For constants, tables, standards, laws, just have a list of what pages of the books you
can find these information. Or if possible, you may photocopy those pages. Don't waste
your time rewriting all of them.
Allotted Time. The 60th day before the exam is the ideal time to create your own
compilation of formulas. Why? Because at this point, you encountered most of the
different types of problems, and you know which formulas are worth memorizing. Spend 12 days preparing this compilation. Also, for 1-2 hours daily, memorize tables, constants,
laws, standards and some formulas.
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5. SELF-ASSESSED EXAMS. The first set of information I mentioned, the QuestionAnswer pair, can only be memorized in the most effective way through self-conducted
exams. I will later discuss how to conduct it in the most effective way.
Again, prior to this 60 days all you have to do is to UNDERSTAND all the Principles
and Concepts and to STRENGTHEN your Analytical Skills in different types of Problems.
However, at this point, you don't need to understand everything. This time, the situation
will be: 'If this is the Question, what is the Correct Answer?' You should not waste
time asking how come it happened that this is the correct answer to this particular
question. If the Question-Answer pair comes from a reliable source, just accept it.
particular questions. If you really studied hard for the first 2 months, most of the
Question-Answer pair would be familiar to you. That's why it is important that you
understood the basic principles in Electronics and Communications so you will not feel like
memorizing answers for questions from Nursing or CPA Licensure Exams...
If you will read some users' comments from websites providing online-exams such as
www.onlinereviewer.com, the users usually thank the website for really helping them pass
the exam. In these websites, the user will be given a set of Question-Answer pairs from a
database containing thousands of entries. It is really effective to memorize or at least
familiarize to as many Question-Answer pairs as possible through online-exams. But
aside from the cost, the main flaw in this set-up is that it is hard to encounter all the
questions in the database especially those questions that the user has a little or no
knowledge at all. Most of them generates the questions randomly, lacking the ability to
EMPHASIZE ON QUESTION-ANSWER PAIRS THAT THE USER PERSONALLY
NEEDS TO EXERT EXTRA ATTENTION TO. Each user is unique in his assessment on
which Question-Answer pair is easy, average or difficult for him. However, with this
proper approach to conducting self-assessed exams that I will suggest to you, I am sure
you can memorize Question-Answer pairs in the most effective and time-efficient way.
Conducting Self-Assessed Exams . There are 2 key factors to be able to get the
maximum benefit of conducting self-assessed exams: (1) reliable and updated sources of
comprehensive and relevant Question-Answer pairs such as reviewers, end-of-chapter
questions of various books, modules, and hand-outs & quizzes provided by your review
center; and (2) a well-planned and systematic approach in dealing with this Q&A sources.
For the sources, some of the best reviewers are those written by Padilla for Math, by
Asubar for Electronics and by Ballado for Communications. I am sure that your review
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center will provide the necessary materials for you. The problem is how to memorize or
familiarize yourself to thousands of Question-Answer pairs in the shortest possible time considering that you will also spend time practicing solving problems and memorizing the
2nd set of information I already mentioned.
Steps in Conducting Self-Assessed Exams:
1. Plan which reviewers and modules you will use. Remember that your
ultimate goal is to memorize or at least to be familiar to as many
Question-Answer pairs as possible, especially those which you lack or
have a little knowledge of.
2. Plan when and how-frequent you will conduct your self-assessed
exams. If you will attend the Sat&Sun Refresher course, you have 5
straight days to study. To give you an idea, to finish a 1000 Q-A pair
reviewer having objective type of questions such as Electronics will
require 10-20 hours. For a 1000 Q-A pair reviewer containing primarily
of problem solving such as a MATH reviewer will require you 30-60
hours.
will save your time. I have here the answer sheets I used in my own
4. Use a stopwatch. Answer the Exam in batches or sets. Record the
duration of the time you answ er each set. It is important for your own
performance check, especially if you will answer an entire reviewer at
least twice (I suggest that you do so). It is a great confidence-booster
to know that you are able to answer the reviewer with greater
accuracy and speed as you keep on repeating your exams. What about
aiming to get at least 95% correct for a (100 questions - objective
type - for 15-30 minutes) or a (50 questions - problem solving type for 30-60 minutes) after answering it on your second try?
take note on which of the following types the Q-A pair belongs:
• You are sure that you know the correct answer.
• You are sure that you know the correct answer, but after
• You are not sure but you feel you have a high probability of
• Through elimination and/or some hints from other related
questions you can determine the correct answer.
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It is a problem solving type, and you can answ er it correctly if
you only recall the needed formulas and constants.
• You encountered similar questions in the past/previous exams,
but you always forget or you always feel confused on which is
• The question is new to you; you don't have any idea.
•
Then using some marks (i.e. *,**,***,#,etc) at the side of the question
no., you can easily review your exam later. What I did is that I did not
mark the questions that I am sure of the correct answer, * for
question I think I have a high chance of getting it correctly, ** for
those with 50-50% chances, and *** for those that I completely
guessed. I also group (using brackets) numbers with related questions
(i.e. nos. 8-12 are questions about the different types of motors, etc.)
What's the benefit of doing this? First, if you get 60/100 and 50 of
them are unmarked (meaning, you are sure that you know the correct
the remaining questions that you either guessed or are confused at.
6. List the Answers in a Clean Sheet of Paper. Would you agree if I
claim that for most Q-A pairs, (after encountering it at least once), if
you were given the correct answer you can easily recall its partner
question, but not the other way around? For example, in Electronics, I
give you 'Valence Shell' as an answer, what's the question? If you
agree with me, then let's use this fact to our own advantage. How? For
each reviewer, for each set, write the answers of those marked nos. in
a clean sheet of bond paper. If you think it is necessary to add 1-2
words hint for some answers to aid you in recalling its associated
question, do so.
7. Retake the exams. I suggest that you answer each reviewer twice,
especially those sets where you get below 70%. You may repeat it 3 or
more times but I think it would be a waste of time. The list you
created in the previous step would be enough to aid you in memorizing
the Q-A pairs.
8. Final Step. After you retake the exams, I am sure that you was able to
reduce that reviewer containing thousands of questions to a set of 2-3
and try to recall their associated questions in your mind. After doing
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so, you know you are confident to say that you can answer ALL of the
questions from that particular reviewer.
Take the Board Exam with Confidence. For the 4th and 3rd Months you READ books,
LISTEN attentively to the discussions in your review center, and from then on
continuously PRACTICE SOLVING problems of different types. Starting the 60th day you
MEMORIZED formulas, constants, laws, standards, and conducted SELF-ASSESSED
EXAMS to be able to memorize thousands of Question-Answer pairs. To make sure you
miss nothing, you reviewed those SHEETS of PAPER you created that contains formulas,
answers to Q-A pairs, etc., 2-3 days before the day of the Exam. Aside from these Mental
Preparation, you have also prepared your self Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually. Then
you said to yourself: "with this preparation and with GOD's will, I am really afraid of
the days to come... afraid of making it to the top, and delivering my speech in the
Oath Taking Ceremony!"
before the Licensure Exam, expect yourself to experience a higher level of self-discipline
and perseverance. And I am sure you will have your own experience of FEAR - not because
you think you will fail, but rather because you feel you have a very good chance of making
it to the top. You will feel so excited to take the exam to see the positive results of your
hardwork and dedication. Good luck and GOD Bless your review - future Engineer!
--> GUIDES & TIPS
Sorry, this section is still unavailable...
Some useful articles(in pdf) and applications(in exe & zip) are available in the following
Download Board Exam Materials, in the boardexam folder. If you experienced some
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problems logging-in, just click sign-in as a different user then click this link again. I opted
to use yahoo briefcase so that the materials can be downloaded faster. The following
shows a brief description of the files available in the yahoo briefcase:
Filename:
Type:
Description:
IC Manufacturing
pdf
Antenna
pdf
Explains the stages of IC Design and
Manufacturing
A tutorial about the basics of antenna design
reflections in
transmission line
pdf
Transmission Line Basics
Transmission Lines
Uconeer
pdf
zip
Eeref15
zip
NTSC
zip
Discusses how EM-wave travels in a TL
A Units Conversion Software for Engineers
An application containing a compilation of several
electronics formulas, lists of constants, & tables
An application summarizing all NTSC standard
parameters and providing a graphical
representation of several VIDEO FORMATS and
TEST PATTERNS
Fourier
exe
ECE Challenger
Applications Installer
v1.01
exe
An application that provides a graphical approach
on discussing Fourier Synthesis of Sine, Triangle,
Sawtooth waves, etc.
A software installation package that includes a
Batch Compiler, Encoder and a Flash-based
application that randomly selects from about 4000
Electronics & Communications questions. This will
help if you want to simulate an online-exam while
reviewing for the Board Exam
Last updated: 18 January 2006
Author: micmejia
For comments/suggestions, feel free to post on my Message Board
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