Cebu topnotcher: How he beat self-doubt to become No. 8 in civil engineer board exams

Cebu topnotcher: How he beat self-doubt to become No. 8 in civil engineer board exams

Engr. Michael Lyndon Chua

Sometimes, self-doubt hinders us from achieving the things we want. But that’s not the case for this newly licensed civil engineer.

Engineer Michael Lyndon Chua, a civil engineering graduate from the Cebu Institute of Technology-University, used his doubts to push him even harder to successfully place 8th in the recently concluded April 2024 Civil Engineering Licensure Examination.

He is just one of the four graduates from Cebu universities who made the list. Nonetheless, Ryan Sylvester Chan and Cedric Jerome Donguines, both from De La Salle University-Manila, clinched the top rank with a 94.30 rating.

Even so, the 8th-placer carries an inspirational story that some future test takers or dreamers might want to tune in to.


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In an interview with CDN Digital, Engineer Chua shares his journey from college towards taking the licensure examination. He candidly said that he was apparently “choosy” regarding his course loads as a student.

I was the type of student nga pilian og subject. Dili sa dili na nako sudlan ang klase if wa ko ganahi sa subject pero akong full effort ug focus adto nako ihatag sa mga subjects nga interested ko. Pero if interested ko sa subject, 100% jud akong attention sa lecture and effort,” he said.

(I was the type of student who is choosy with my subjects. It is not that I will not attend classes that I don’t like, it is just that I give my full effort and focus to those subjects that I am interested in. But if I am interested in the subject, I give my 100 percent attention to the lecture and effort.)

Being an interest-driven student, he focuses on what drives him to learn more, which invokes an ounce of discipline. This probably fueled him to stick to a strict routine during his review season.

Hailing from Minglanilla, he wakes up as early as 4:30 at dawn to avoid the heavy traffic on his way to the city to attend his board review classes, which start at 7:30 a.m. and end just before noon.

However, it does not stop there for Michael. After taking a lunch break, he goes the extra mile and returns to the review center to continue studying with his fellow reviewees until as late as 10 in the evening.

Coming home a few minutes before midnight, he takes a well-deserved rest and repeats the cycle for the following day. This was his typical day until the week before the boards, when he chose to slow down and prepare himself mentally for the exam.


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From the outside, some people may think that it is a perfect board exam story from a topnotcher but so much more lies beneath this surface of his discipline and study ethics.

Growing up, Engineer Chua thought of himself as an academically inclined student, perhaps performing well in class-related activities and getting good grades in his favorite subjects.

When asked whether he saw himself topping the boards, he said he used to think of it when he was young, but the thought got lost when he studied civil engineering at a university.

True to the experience of most academically inclined young students, things changed for him when he entered college, where he met diverse sets of people whom he thinks have more potential to excel and even top the boards compared to him.

Nevertheless, he did not let his perseverance wither, as he used these doubts not to feel defeated but to fuel him to stay disciplined as he aimed to secure a place in the top 10.

His self-doubt drove him to stick to his routine and stay disciplined in his review preparations for the licensure examination. He carried this drive up until he took the test.

Hearing the good news about the boards

Right after taking the board exam, he still felt overcome by self-doubt as he did not feel confident about his answers. He keeps flashing back to his memories of when his review scores were not that high for someone aiming to top the exam.

While, of course, ma-fix ra man good na siya kay there is still time before the boards, lahi ra god if mo-take ka og exam nga not ka’g performance sa among past exams,” he disclosed.

(While of course, it can be fixed because there is still time before the boards, but it is really different if you take the exam and you don’t have a good performance among past exams.)

Fortunately for him, all his negative thoughts cleared out five days after he took the exam as the Professional Regulation Commission released his exam results.

He details finding out the result when a friend called him to look at the list of passers. He initially looked at the full list and was overjoyed when he read his name. When he shared his joy, his friend told him to look at the list of topnotchers instead.

There, he saw his name, placing 8th on one of the relatively hardest board examinations in the country. At that moment, everything he worked so hard for was fulfilled. It became a fruit of his discipline and immense study ethics.

Engineer Chua dedicates his achievement to his family, friends, alma mater, and review center.

When asked what advice he would give future board exam takers, he said to always give full effort towards securing the things you want to achieve to leave no room for regrets in the future.

The only advice I can give to all future board exam takers is sa review pa lang, always give your 100% para after the boards, whatever the results, you know nga tanan imong kaya buhaton imo na gyod gibuhat for your dream of becoming a licensed civil engineer,” he conveyed.

(The only advice I can give to all the future board exam takers is always give your 100 percent while you are still reviewing so that after the boards, whatever the results, you know that you did all that you can do for your dream of becoming a licensed engineer.)


TAGS: board exams, Cebu topnotcher, CELE
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