What you should know about the PRC board exams

Board exams are prepared by a panel of two to three people, chosen by the Philippine Regulatory Commission ( PRC)from the ranks of well-known professionals in the field, usually practitioners and/or former academicians. The general rule is that a professional with current teaching load is ineligible to become an examiner to avoid perceptions of favoritism.

An appointment is usually for two or three years, and individual terms of examiners are staggered to provided some degree of continuity over the years.

The chairman of the panel and the members usually divide the work of constructing test questions according to fields of expertise or interests. For example, in mechanical engineering, someone active  or with years of experience in power plant may be tasked to prepare test items in industrial and power plant design. Another examiner may be assigned to machine design, and another to do the engineering sciences portion. Examiners do not disclose among themselves what questions they had made

In preparing these items, examiners are asked to indicate whether an item is “easy,”  “moderate,” or “ difficult.”

The examiners put these questions and answers in a  diskette, and submit these on the appointed day. This is done to ensure that each examiner is responsible for taking all precautions to avoid leakages. On the appointed day, the PRC will assign one of its staff to put the diskettes in a computer, where a software will randomly select questions for the actual exam.

In determining what the passing mark should be, the examiners do not set, at the beginning,  a certain minimum level or percentage. The percentage of passing is something deliberated upon afterwards, and may be influenced by other considerations, such as the number of test takers, the examiners’ feel for the “market” or industry “supply and demand” situation, and  their own perception of how easy or hard the board exam was, based on the distribution of test scores.