Friday, July 18, 2014

How to Pass the Chemical Engineering Licensure Examination in the Philippines?

Your preparation for the chemical engineering licensure exam starts the moment you decide to take up chemical engineering in college.
While in college, see to it that you devote sufficient time of study to understand fully the concepts being taught in each subject area. Advance reading will help though, so that in case you encounter blur ideas or concepts, you can clarify it with your professor during classroom discussion.
Chemical engineering as a discipline is very easy contrary to what is commonly believed. Though it entails a lot of patience and perseverance when solving problems. In some instances you have to decide on the appropriate method/model to use and sometimes you have to grapple with lengthy equations or use one equation after another and just so much more data needed which you have to obtain from various books. An example that I will cite in this case is the Thermodynamics Problems on Equation of State. You have to choose the most appropriate thermodynamic model and you have to use lengthy equations.    
Bear in mind, that equations do not exist only for its own sake. There is meaning behind that equation and learn how and when to use it.
In some instances don't be intimidated by lengthy equations for there are ways to simplify it using sensible assumptions (say for example the truncated Virial Equation).
What I failed to use during my studies as well as when I was reviewing for the board exam was "heuristics" or the so-called "Rules of Thumb." This will prove useful when confronted with  Board Exam Problems wherein you are under time pressure.
While in college it is highly recommended to buy these two books:


Authors: Servillano S.B. OIano, Jr., Vergel C. Bungay, Carmela R. Centeno, Leonardo C. Medina, Jr. and Carlito M. Salazar
Title of the Book: "Reviewer for Chemical Engineering Licensure Examination"
Place of Publication: Manila
Publisher: Manila Review Institute Inc.
(Always obtain the latest edition of this reviewer.) 

This is a very helpful reviewer and it covers the entire scope of the licensure exam topics specified by the Board of Chemical Engineers. Try answering the questions in this reviewer as you go through your undergraduate studies. This will be helpful because you will know the topics you have not gone through in the classroom while you still have ample time for self study.

Authors: Don W. Green and Robert H. Perry
Title of the Book: "Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook" 
Year of Publication: 2007  
Place of Publication: New York   
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional   
Number of Pages: 2400   
Price: PhP 670.79   
ISBN: 978-0702040429

Familiarity with this handbook will prove useful for your success in the board exam. As we all know, Perry's Chemical Engineers Handbook is the bible of chemical engineering profession and it is the only book allowed to be used during the board exam. Usually, your professor will ask you to buy this book during your third year of study because at this time, you are already starting to take professional subjects. In some of the exams given by your professor, he or she may ask you to bring this handbook and use the data contained therein.
In using this handbook, be very familiar with the page where you can find the following:
  • Moody's Diagram
  • Fanning/Darcy Equation
  • Psychrometric Chart
  • Steam Table (Saturated and Superheated Steam)
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Organic and Inorganic Substances
  • Equations of State
You may put flags on pages where these things are found so that you can locate it easily during the exam. Additional topics that you may want to put flags on are the equation for relative volatility, equation for HETP, Clausius-Clapeyron Equation and similar equations, Table on Materials of Construction and various materials handling equipment.  
I am citing the above stuffs, because I believe, these are basic to chemical engineering knowledge and thereby has higher likelihood of coming out in the exam.      
Always be updated on the exam coverage specification by the Board of Chemical Engineers. You can access it through the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) website. In the same website, you will also know the exam schedule given yearly in the month of April and November.   
Of course, before the exam, you may want to enroll for a review or refresher course. What I knew of, it is only the Manila Review Institute Inc. (MRII) which offers both a review and refresher course in Manila. For November examination, the review course usually starts in May or June and end in September. The refresher course is conducted in October. Both are helpful in acing the board exam though the refresher course is more intense given its short duration.
During our time, Brains Training and Review and UP Los Banos offer review courses. In Cebu, Flores Chemical Engineering Review Center also offers a review course.  
In reviewing, focus on the following topics:
  • Fluid flow (Bernoulli's equation, Fanning/Darcy Equation, Pump Differential Pressure)
  • Thermodynamics (Equations of State, Carnot Engine, Solution Thermodynamics) 
  • Heat and Material Balance
  • First-order reaction
  • Know the functions of various unit operations equipment including solids handling equipments and conveyors.
  • Basic organic reactions.  
Again, I am saying to focus on these topics because these are very basic and every chemical engineering graduate is expected to know (unless you always sleep in your class. lol). As a practitioner, I realized that the board of examiners only want to know if a candidate has the basic knowledge and skills to practice the profession. They are not in the look out for Einstein or Newton who would someday revolutionize the field of chemical engineering. This makes sense for me because the topics I pointed out above are very useful in chemical engineering practice. Until now, I am still using some of the concepts and equations under the said topics.          

During the board exam, when confronted with problems or questions you really do not know, it is highly recommended that you apply "intelligent guessing" not "random guessing" for there is no disincentive for wrong answers. By "intelligent guessing," I mean of two ways. The first one is to eliminate the choices which are the unlikely answers. Then from the remaining choices, choose one which you think is the more plausible answer. The second way should be applied only if you are really clueless of the question. It is to choose "C" as the answer. The reason for this is that analyzing the answers in various selection type exams, "C" falls more frequent in the  normally distributed bell curve. Hence, choosing "C" as the answer, gives you higher probability that your answer might be right.    
It is also highly advisable to apply for the exam at the PRC early. This is to avoid the hassle and stress of long queues and also to provide you with ample time in case there are documents the PRC requires you to submit which you don't have yet.  
Before the Examination Day 
  • Visit the examination center and know your room assignment.
  • Visit a place of worship and pray for guidance and wisdom during the examination.
  • Prepare the things that you have to bring to the examination center.
  • Relax and if you want you may have a light study just to refresh your memory on what you have already studied. 
During the Examination Day
  • Arrive at the examination center early.
  • Ensure that you bring with you all the stuffs that you need (examination permit, pencil, pen, eraser, calculator and handbook).
  • Bring extra shirt and underwear, in case a need for these arise.
  • Bring food that is dry. Remember the exam runs past lunch time so you might need to eat while taking the examination.        
After the Examination Day
  • Rest and relax.
The examination results are released in two-day to one-week time. More or less, you will have a feel if you will pass or retake the exam. If you are confident that you will pass the exam, then you may plan for your next step, i.e. applying for a job. If you feel that you will not pass, then device a game plan so that you will be successful in your next exam.
If you are not fortunate to pass the exam, don't despair. It is just an exam, there is life after all. But, whatever happens, you should always have a game plan to capture opportunities which can lead you to success!
Good luck folks!


  1. Hey thanks for this.. Do you know where to specifically publish the reviewer by Olano =) maybe through online because I'm from Cagayan de Oro and I couldn't find this book around the stores here except the last time my friend was able to buy one.. but that was the last though..

  2. Sometimes it is available at National Bookstore or you can order from them. It is not being sold online.

  3. Thank you for this post! Very much appreciated. :)

  4. This is helpful. thanks! however NBS isn't too cooperative when it comes to printing out copies of this reviewer. :(

  5. Very nice and helpful post. It gives me courage to pursue my profession. Thanks a lot..

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