Part I. Why I took the NMAT twice
Contrary to popular remarks, the National Medical Admissions Test is not an old T-shirt you could scavenge out of your high school and early college “stock” knowledge, so please oh please don’t take it for granted. Well, unless you’re a genius with an eidetic memory of some kind, it’d be lemonade on a sunny day. I’ve had friends telling me, “kaya ra jud nang NMAT, Tal. I-run down ra ang high school lessons sa Bio, Chem, Physics ug Math (the NMAT is manageable, Tal. Just review what was tackled in Bio, Chem, Physics and Math back in high school).” I appreciate their words of encouragement, but if I were that friend I would give you the blunt truth, hence this blog.
DON’T EVER DARE TO TAKE THE NMAT WITHOUT REVIEWING AT ALL, with exemptions for geniuses who know Biology, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Sociology and Psychology like the back of their hand. However, for average people like myself, I had to take it twice to fully condition myself that the NMAT does not go easy on Medical School applicants.
The first time I took the NMAT was last October 2016. I was fresh from our board exam so my brain was still recovering. But the NMAT doesn’t care about that. My biggest mistake was playing with the illusion my friends gave me– that I could hurdle the test with the aid of mere logic and stock knowledge. As per necessity, I bought the MSA NMAT set along the roads of Recto (it’s cheaper there. I bought mine for only 750 while in NBS, it costs 1115 php. You’d save like, a celebratory meal for Pepper Lunch after the NMAT exam). Some may do a full-grilling of the questions in the MSA, but as old as the reviewer is now, I’ve learned that it serves as a mere guide than actual study material. I didn’t enroll for a review center because I didn’t want to spend much knowing that some of my friends were able to get a percentile of 90+ from mere “self-study”. But of course, with “mere self-study” comes great discipline.
So what did I do with my “self-study”? A month and a half before the test, I skimmed through the MSA reviewers, got discouraged by how much I’ve forgotten the most basic concepts, and decided to watch “Crash Course” on YouTube; which wasted my time but was fun, nonetheless. I basically took the first test for granted, recklessly cramming two weeks before the test. I wont even blame it on the fact that I worked at the laboratory 600 hours a week because I had all the time to review. I cram-read the rationale of the reviewers, memorized the formulas a night before, and held on to the information like dangling on a cliff.
And ended up falling during the exam day.
Fifteen working days later, the mail arrived and read “66th percentile”. It was okay, but not enough for the schools I wished to apply to in Manila. Telling you about the struggles of my applications would be a different novel. Synopsis: it’s not “chill” especially when you’re not from there and when your college is waaaay over in Visayas. I had to have recommendation letters mailed to me.
I finally had a firm resolve to retake the test on March 26 because I lacked 4 points to be admitted in UERM. I had to take it seriously. Well, not too seriously because I still finished a couple of anime series and fanfics. But I finally made a review schedule and sticked with it, though I still didn’t enroll for a review center because work and poor. Haha. Jk.
I wont get into the details of how I reviewed for the test because of course, we all have our ways. But I’ll be giving you a few tips, dos and don’ts, and the topics to focus on, so tune in for Part 2.