Rz Asks: “If today you meet yourself as a young medical student…”

Before doctors became who they are now, they had become medical students. As you see,no successful doctor can ever skip the tedious medical school package of fun and dilemmas. Hmmm, Ever wonder what they are thinking back then? Like them, you probably snapped, “If only I knew this and that…I would have..”

So I asked some doctors I know. Because of that, I received various reactions regarding this. Nonetheless, no one was hesitant to give their opinions. And for that, Thank you doctors for giving us your time and for imparting your words of wisdom:)

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The question goes like this :If today you meet yourself as a young medical student, what advice can you give to yourself to better prepare yourself for the boards and future practice?

Let us see and learn from their answers:)



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I diligently did the studying part so i don’t have to advice myself on that. I will tell myself to humbly ask questions on things i do not understand, to truly understand concepts and not just memorize facts. To go beyond the prescribed books and read more. To constantly update yourself on new things

-Dr. Jocelyn Quinto Gacasan, Department of  Pathology

Equally divide your time when studying the subjects. But the best way to prepare for the boards is during med school. The answers you will shedding out during the exam actually came from the knowledge you have acquired during med school which you stored in the memory bank of your brain cells. The purpose of studying prior to the boards is to review and be refreshed with what you’ve learned during the 3-year didactic period.

-Dr. Lylah D. Reyes, Department of Pharmacology, Dept of OBGYNE


I was fortunate to have great mentors who emphasized that medical life is ruled by numbers: NMAT score, medical school GWA and rank, board rating. So in 2nd year I read Robbins cover to cover, because i love patho. I did read other Mama books. Medical school is the time to read the big books because you will never have the time to read on it during clerkship and internship. I’m glad by doing so I had a good foundation. When I got into clerkship and internship it was all about integrating the theoretical part with actual patients.As for board review.. its all written in my article.

-Dr.Thad Hinunganan (Read more here )


“The only regret i have is that i studied only to pass the exams and be able to graduate which is short term only”

-Dr. J.Pablo


1) Start reviewing JI pa lang. 2 subjects per 2 months.
2) Review ulit during PGI. 2 subjects per 2 months.

-Dr. Ronald Allan cruz,Dept. of Physiology


Well. . .when I entered Medicine I am fully aware it is a tough course. But I didn’t know it is really “Herculean” if I may describe it. Graduating with Latin honor and with several other awards made me confident enough that I will land on one of those Latin honors. But as I hurdled my first few shiftings and my First Prelim. . . .I felt I know nothing. So, I devised a prayer inspired by The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. “Lord, let me remember the important things I will need to take care of and heal my patients.” This was inspired as well by the question when we were interviewed “Why Do You Want To Be a Physician?” And the answer is soooooo cliche’ “Because I wanted to help the people in need on medical attention.”

So How Can I prepare myself as early as first year for the Boards. . . .that is if you are really serious of becoming a Medical Doctor (M.D.)


  1. YOU SHOULD have that inspiration. . .(am not referring to your lovelife. Dig up on your real reason why you really want to become a MD) so YOU COULD always see difficult situations as a challenge and that it will make you a better doctor.
  2. YOU SHOULD never be afraid to tell yourself you do not know or do not understand . . . so YOU COULD always improve yourself and ask others’ help and by that you learn.
  3. YOU SHOULD NEVER be afraid of terror professors. . . .they wanted you to learn. . .so YOU COULD ask them things you do not know.
  4. YOU SHOULD always be inquisitive and never limit yourself on knowledge provided to you by your professors during lecture.. . .seek informations, the idea/s of your professors maybe obsolete and you can contribute in updating them. Just ask politely. . .SO YOU COULD enrich everybody’s minds.
  5. YOU SHOULD NOT depend on transes (transcriptions) they are just guide, they do not give all the ideas (transes are just a short term plan and that is to pass the semester) instead read from books So YOU COULD better understand them when correlated.
  6. YOU SHOULD always correlate basic (Physio, Patho, Anatomic bases, etc) and clinical (Pharma, Medicine, Surgery, etc.) sciences when discussing cases SO YOU COULD answer your board exams in the future. Remember questions on Physician Licensure Examinations outcomes – based now-a-days, so correlation are basic in test question constructions.
  7. YOU SHOULD not take all subjects (Major and minor) for granted (all of these are part of board examinations) SO YOU WOULD not regret if they are asked in the board exams.
  8. YOU SHOULD not frown and despise difficult questions. . .they are challenges if you really have understand your topic/s and besides patients are not MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) when they enter your clinics later on. . . .SO YOU WOULD not have hard time analyzing questions in the medical boards. . .remember . . .practice makes perfect, it is like doing appendectomy several times but with twists in every case.
  9. YOU SHOULD not forget SAMPLEX (sample exams) – YES SAMPLEX. . . but remember to answer them when you finished studying. They are hints on how questions are asked in different ways. . . .SO YOU COULD answer similar questions confidently.
  10. YOU SHOULD only stick on one book when studying. . .basic concepts are similar in all books, they would only differ in presentations and additional informations maybe given during lectures or discussion . . . SO YOU WOULD not get confused in the future.
  11. YOU SHOULD always listen to your proctor during examinations. . .it is a practice of listening skills during actual board exams. . .SO YOU WOULD not have issues on not following instructions in the boards. There are several examinees who contested on their scores on a particular subject to find out later on that they did not follow instructions.
  12. YOU SHOULD practice answering 100 item questions in 60 minutes (even if it is supposedly 100 minutes) SO YOU COULD practice yourself answering questions fast but correctly. Make sure it is not only fast but CORRECT. It is just a training in the field on medicine that you think fast in difficult situations so your patient may live.
  13. YOU SHOULD not forget to socialiize not only with your schoolmates but with other medical students from other universities as well SO YOU COULD get some hints on how does a certain board examiner make questions. . .remember that board exam questions are given by Board of Medicine who are not from your school of origin. If they are then you know how they make questions.
  14. YOU SHOULD not forget to have your leisurely activities / hobbies SO YOU COULD cope with the stress/es of TOPping the medical boards.
  15. YOU SHOULD aim high like be on the top 10 SO YOU COULD still pass even when you did not land in the top 10 places. Remember you studied to be on top.
  16. YOU SHOULD know how to budget your time and follow them. Discipline is one key to success not only in Medicine but in all aspects of life. SO YOU WOULD not cram every exams including your board exams.
  17. YOU SHOULD always review your notes the night after every lecture. . .reading them the 2nd, 3rd, nth times may mean differently. . . SO YOU WOULD not cram the night before your examination.
  18. YOU SHOULD attend on ALL cases and case conferences, they will provide you with informations the books may and may not provide you. SO YOU COULD end up browsing these cases fast when you are reviewing. You just wanted to refine your knowledge about these cases because as the saying in medicine goes “Once you see it, You will never forget it.”
  19. YOU SHOULD share your knowledge to everyone you know SO YOU WOULD not forget them. Remember . . .listening to lectures makes you retain 5% only but when you teach. . .it will make you retain >80%.
  20. YOU SHOULD always ask the assistance of the ALMIGHTY SO YOU WOULD feel you are not alone. When necessary. . .CRY, yes CRY to someone you know who will listen to you or SHOUT in an open field. It will help you vent out stress.


So . . . .In Summary 1. LOAD – learn as much as you can starting first year and do not forget them. 2. DISCIPLINE – set a time table and follow them. 3. VALOR – Fight. As the saying goes . . .”Ang Umaayaw ay Di Nagwawagi.” 4. Read one book per subject. Reading too many books will just confuse you and make you panic. 5. Test yourself by taking your SAMPLEX. Do not cheat on yourself by knowing the answers ahead. If you got low, review again. 6. Should I say. . .SLEEP? Sleep at least 4 hours before an exam. Remember Parasympathetic will rejuvenate your body and will make you feel relaxed on the day of examination. 7. PRAY. Just Pray. GOD helps those who help themselves.

-Dr. Leandro D. Vila, Department of Physiology

(This post is being updated from time to time:)


Study medicine for free?!:)


Are you aspiring to be a doctor but you have no money for tuition fee?

Good news. Just this week, I heard that the current government has allocated ₱317.1-million student financial assistance fund for 2017 through the efforts of CHED and DBM.(You probably heard it too.) After seeing the word “student”,which means attention is also drawn towards the education aside from the budget allocated to military and defense, I could not help but be delighted knowing that there is a also a good vision towards the support of doctor “wannabes” in our country.

I am not sure how will they choose the scholars to win the golden MD ticket but they said It is for the incoming and currently enrolled medical students beginning academic year 2017-2018.(Does that mean all of them?Wow! I wish this will be sustained.) These are the requirements they need to satisfy in order To qualify for the assistance fund:

1. Pass the admission requirements of the SUC

2. Enroll in an authorized Doctor of Medicine program of the SUC

3. Maintain a general weighted average of at least a passing grade(imagine that, they said it is just passing grade,if you know what I mean)

4. Carry a regular academic load and complete the degree within the period allowed in the university

The vision is not only limited to subsidize the tuition of medical students but also to facilitate their residency and practice in this country. CHED Commissioner Prospero De Vera De Vera said student-grantees will also have to render one year of service in the country for every year of cash grant received as part of their public service responsibility. It is not surprising to know that there are paybacks. Doctors after graduation and post graduate internship usually still stay in the Philippines to practice (unless they really have plans to go abroad right after. )

The fund will be divided among eight SUCs:

  • University of Northern Philippines
  • Mariano Marcos State University
  • Cagayan State University
  • Bicol University
  • West Visayas State University
  • University of the Philippines-Leyte
  • Mindanao State University
  • University of the Philippines-Manila


With this movement of the admin, we can see that there is an encouragement for young Filipinos to care for the health of the nation– to become doctors. Indeed, a healthy citizenry,which includes us, is important in nation-building as we become part of the productive workforce. I just hope the educational system per state university will not be substandard and that there will be no corruption so the budget will be properly allocated.


Some people hold the mentality that medicine are just limited for the rich, and “can afford” Even if the medicine tuition fee is sky high, it is surprising to know that there are still many applicants in medicine schools every year. There are people, company and community groups who are generous enough to offer sponsorship and scholarships. Good for them.

Sometimes there are those family who are not really poor but it is just that their money is not that enough to send their child to medicine. Some would be able to start but not able to sustain medicine. The Tuition fee subsidy is already a big help. Considering that there are also other things that need to be paid for such as books, uniforms, supplies for the various requirements. (Need not to mention the laptop, internet and medical kits). I hope that soon there will be more schools that will be under this .


Lucky are those who are able to get academic scholarships although they have to maintain a high grade to persuade their benefactor that they deserve the assistance. (This is one of the times you need to take care of your grades. See  GC KA BA?  for a related article.) I believe the geniuses won’t find this difficult. Lucky are those who are able to get some sponsorship with just a passing mark. The question now is what if the aspirant is just an average student or does not have grades that are high enough? If he does not know anyone even if he exhaust all his effort to find one? Will he just sulk in the room and cry?

With the added dilemmas of long-term return of investments, better paying opportunities abroad, personal problems,complex lifestyle and financial burden associated with med school and the real world of medicine, a college graduate who wants to be a doctor will most likely not be able to pursue his or her life dream.But because of this opportunity, there will now be a big hope.A big hope for the country’s future as well.


(I remember the time I was searching for medical schools that cost less than the others. I remember myself walking along Taft avenue from Vito cruz up to central station just to look for a school who would allow me to take a subject just to complete the units required for the school I am applying for. I remember how I went to different schools in valenzuela, fairview, in UN ave, Sta.mesa and intramuros just to know the qualifications for scholarship, submit the admission requirements, and attend my  interviews. I remember how I went after work just to take the qualifying exams.)

news source: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/06/16/CHED-free-tuition-medical-students.html


MedToBe: The “Coulds” Before Med

“This too shall pass.You’ll just have to go through it.”

This doesn’t mean that all of these are applicable to you. Of course, it depends on your disposition in life. For those who are contemplating, this may be a heads up to when you become a medicine student. This is not meant to scare you. It’s just one way of emphasizing what you can lose or what may lessen when you enter med school (if you are about to enrol) … Or what you may have already missed when you entered its doors. (I can relate.LOL)

“Before entering med, you could pass even when you are not studying or when you know you had studied enough. You could ace the test without repeating what you have read. You might not use mnemonics or acronyms. You were popular. You’re on top or at least not on the last. You were one of the best. Everyone was rooting for you.You were a dean’s Lister. You were never nervous, or let us say just a bit. You never bothered looking at the grading criteria of the subject. It was never your habit to look at the list of passers and failed. You could go through your report though effortlessly done.

Before med, you were healthy. You could prepare food on your own. You could eat three meals a day (and on time), plus you could grab more snacks. You could exercise and do your routine. You could sleep soundly for “N” number of hours. You could take scheduled afternoon naps.

Before med, you could talk all day with your friends. You could party all night, on fridays, or even saturdays, without worrying about anything. You could go for a vacation. You could spend time with your family: bond with them, do chores, or go shopping. You could attend reunions, weddings and even birthday celebrations.

Before med, you had a lot of money. You could still work full time and earn. You could afford all the things you want. You could treat your friends. You could save on your piggy bank. and you could even buy some stocks.

Before med, you could paint and draw;Internalize, meditate, stare at the void for minutes, hours. Read comics, pocket books or even write a story. You could bake. You could do gardening; Watch the latest theatrical plays and movies. You could sit back on a couch all day, watching Kdrama/sitcoms without delays, and even go for movie marathon(HAHAHA). You could wait for seat sales, travel anywhere may it be by foot or by wheels.


Before med, you were chill. you were full of hope and enthusiasm. You were strong-willed. You were determined. You were a human being… As of now, YOU STILL ARE because you know THIS IS YOUR CALLING. You may be momentarily heartbroken as medschool hurts your ego, or feel anxious because you don’t know how to finish reading transes, follow reports and the endless reqs.

Medicine entails sacrifices — sacrifices that many, including you, should be willing to take. While you’re enduring this beautiful and painful journey, you will slowly realize that everything around you will be changing. You’ll be missing in gatherings, family and friends will be leaving the country, and sometimes, some of them may even pass away. You will not be there to experience all of it with them, and this may drive you insane. But you’ll overcome it eventually. You’ll be able to catch up. You’ll still be able to allot time. When time permits you to do the things you want, you will do it as a person who has matured and leveled up in life.


God has planted the MD seed on your heart.  You will just have to trust Him. And you will manage to do this no matter how hard it may be.  Let that seed grow and that seed will bear sweet fruits of life not only for you but for others as well 🙂



As you go through the challenges and adapt to its culture, you may find your way to get back with the way you were or you may manage how to change your life accordingly with its demands from you. It depends on your ability and strategy.(Say diskarte is a better term). No matter what your reason is, this will mold a new person out of you. Whether you Like it or not, you will eventually change to someone you will be proud of. Fighting!!!


“It” is not just about being smart at all

14285232_10206870481628511_49427618_ogfdgdgMost of the time, we get to hear that those who are above intelligence will make it above anyone else. Bam! Blame it on society who only recognizes people with soaring high grades since preschool. But mind you, that is a different story, but there’s nothing wrong with that. When you were young, you’re whole life revolved only in school.

If there’s nothing wrong with that,then why still make fuss about it? The issue here is that if we have fixed the thought down to the deepest sulci of  our brains, it is them and only them who can make it in life. Seeing them from the viewpoint of the audience during graduation and recognition rites tend to make us feel small. Then we get sad and we resort to “matalino ka naman, kaya mo yan” attitude and “matalino ka, ikaw pa. Eh ako?” of some sort to glorify these kind of people. After that, we crawl back into our shells thinking that we can’t make it. We should remove that from our mentality. Even when you are smart, it doesn’t guarantee you success. So do not ever lose the spirit! That is the only thing that you have.

Based on what I’ve read, there are those who have sky -high IQ and yet are living plainly just like everyone else.  What must be the missing factor then? That’s why I alienate it to the things people have to be. Don’t strive to be a smart ass or a know-it-all, because eventually you’ll grow tired trying. It’s still best to be yourself, and the rest should follow through. But think smart, act smart and eventually you will be the best in your own field. Right now, I don’t have anything else in mind to translate this one Filipino word to. This, in my opinion, is the best tool or mantra that accounts why we strive everyday despite the hardships and troubles. Expected or unexpected, that’s what we are getting. This word is “Madiskarte”. I can probably say, become strategic rather than smart because being smart is just an understatement.

Diskarte is also a big word. But i can nearly equate it is as “matalino sa buhay” or smart in life, which is different from the kind of book-smart that we all know. Of course, I do not discredit intelligence as part of success since there are different kinds of intelligence. It will give you some leverage. While being smart is a bonus, it is not the only factor that will make you become who you want or get what you want in life. Most of the time, it is the belief on one self that makes us survive.

Too often, we belittle ourselves from our failures that we retract ourselves from the world and get depressed. Yes, it is okay to take your time to heal the hurt. But do not prolong it. Move on right away. Move on as fast as possible. Why? Because you are not a sessile being, You are designed to move to on one place to another. So, Move with your belief in yourself and from then, bring back the concept of “diskarte” or strategy within you, for it will not only make you book smart but “smart in life”.

You see, we are actually far stronger and even smarter than what we think we are. Yes, you have weaknesses. You may not have the trait of another person, but you have something in you. The key is to not forget that God gave us potential that no other people can take away.

We have “it” in all of us. “It” is not just about being smart at all. Whatever is the “it”, discover it, enrich it. Take “it” with you as your armor and weapon when you conquer life. “IT” does not have to have a label. “IT” does not have to a term for itself. But this “IT” will speak for your success.


Of scholarships and sponsorships







“Study hard.Do your best.Aim high.After all of these,you owe me nothing. Just find someone who you can help and pay for.”


These words echo in my head a hundred times that day up to now.This is from someone whom I really look up to. Not just because of the monetary support for my dream to become MD or doctor;but because of her genuine understanding for others. These words,though non-verbatim,will forever strike my heart. Ignited as I am,i would be much more willing to pass this message to other aspirants who i shall be meeting soon.

Life is indeed unfair.Every one knows that enrolling to Doctor of medicine costs a lot. But a lot of people fail to realize is how much the parents/relative of an aspirant,who is from a low to medium income family, sacrificing just to get him or her to medschool. Most of the times, the dreamer who doesn’t have the money, even the brilliant ones, will just scrap the idea off. Some will start but can no longer continue.

Some are insistent to find ways. Some who are bright enough will apply for scholarships. However, since there is a scarcity of financial resources from those who give it, there must be a qualification and requirement for the pool of the brightest applicants. With this, Some may fall short or some may fail to maintain or attain the grade. The question is:What will happen next to them? Will they just scrap off the idea as well? Just imagine how sad and frustrating it is to feel the desire to dream but you don’t have the means of attaining it!

Not everyone who has the capacity to help has the heart to extend himself to others. Not everyone who has opportunity are willing to take their time to empower others. Sometimes,those who have a lot seems to be more indifferent and neglect those who ask for their help. But still, even if there are millions of reasons that can make you believe that life here on earth is unfair and hopeless, there will still be people who will leave you in awe because of their kindness that emanate from the goodness of their soul. There will be people who care and are willing to help through sponsorship. I am very much delighted that there are those who initiate to raise funds for the aspirants.

If you happen to find this kind of person,consider yourself lucky. More than the pressure,take it as a motivation so you can also be of great help to someone when your turn comes. Do your best in your chosen field. Inspire. Make others believe that despite the worlds’s indifference and greed,there is still a  hope if they continue to believe. Be an instrument of God’s wonders. Be someone’s answer to their prayers.

I have No other words but “gratitude” to describe the overwhelming feeling i have. I can’t contain the tears of joy as I am already sure that I can enroll next sem.

To those who have the same dillemma of getting the MD’s golden ticket, continue on doing your best,exhaust all your effort and keep on praying that you will find a find a way. More than anything else,have faith and Trust His plans.

To those people who are helping others to make a bridge to their dreams, even outside medical field,let me say “thank you from the bottom of my heart” on their behalf. This means a lot to us. 

 Rewards await for those who do not seek for it and yet they help with all their heart. 

(This blog comes next after: …But in med, there are no “piso fares”, Student discounts, clearance sales, P10,000 off vouchers, and “Enroll in group of 5,get 1 full scholarship” promo )
Photo not mine.