Medical board topnotcher ‘struggled’ with test

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

HE walked on the hallways of the Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM) with a Canon camera slung around his neck, stopping once in a while to shake hands with a schoolmate.

John Karl Delgado Velasco, a photography enthusiast, visited his school a day after the results of the February 2012 Physicians’ Licensure Examinations were released.

Around 5 p.m. last Thursday, the 27-year-old CIM graduate was driving when a friend called to tell him he ranked second in the exam.


Velasco, who was then accompanying his girlfriend to the hospital, did not believe his friend until he got home later that night and saw the exam results on the Internet.

“I was ecstatic,” he said in an interview yesterday. “The exam was really hard. I was only hoping to pass.”

520 passers

Velasco, who lives in Talamban, Cebu City, took the exam last Feb. 19, 20, 26 and 27 at the University of Cebu Maritime Education and Training Center.

He was among the 520 passers of the exam, which 990 graduates of medicine took nationwide.

With a score of 85.92 percent, Velasco followed Ronald Ceriales of Our Lady of Fatima University-Valenzuela, who got a score of 88.50 percent.

“It was the hardest exam I’ve ever taken,” said Velasco, who got his degree in medicine last 2010. “When I took it, I thought I was really unprepared.” The exam covered 12 subject areas, each containing 100 items.

The anatomy subject was one of the hardest parts of the exam.

“I wanted to cry because it was so hard,” he said, laughing. “The questions were very clinical. They’re not what you read in the books.”

Velasco opted not to enroll in a review center. He started reviewing after he finished his post-graduate internship last August 2011.


“I started by asking people who already took it what books to read and how to approach the exam,” he said.

He stopped reviewing a week before the exam. “I was so tired I didn’t want to read anymore.”

Velasco, the son of a businessman, said his parents did not pressure him to top the exam. He is the first doctor in the family.

When he was in high school, Velasco said his grades were low. He recalled taking summer classes to make up for his low grades.

After he finished his second year high school in Cebu, he transferred to a school in the United States. That’s when he started to become academically inclined, he said. He lived with his aunt at the time and he didn’t want to disappoint her.

After graduating from high school in the U.S., he took up medical technology in Velez College. He opted not to take the Medical Technologists’ Licensure Examinations after he graduated.


“I didn’t take the board exam because I knew I’d be a doctor,” he said.

Velasco, second in a brood of six, said he pursued medicine because it involved treating people.

“I like to see people getting treated correctly,” he said. “There’s no greater joy than a patient returning to you to say thank you.”

When he was in kindergarten, Velasco recalled dressing up as a doctor during a career day.

“Around the end of grade school I wanted to become a marine biologist,” he said.

While in college, seeing medicine professors inspired him to become a doctor. “I wanted to become one of these people,” he said.

Velasco, who has a permanent resident status in the U.S., said he plans to take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examinations this year. He said he wants to train in the U.S.

But when asked where he plans to work, he said: “That’s an open-ended question.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 03, 2012.

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