University of Philippines Manila

Seizing Success: UP Manila Doctors Among Topnotchers in April 2024 Physicians Licensure Exams

“They say that the best time to prepare for the PLE is during med school, and I found that true. There were many questions in the exam that I could answer because of things I learned from small group discussions (SGDs), bedside rounds, and patient encounters.”

These were the words of Dr. Fatima Ericka S. Vista, an alumna of the UP College of Medicine (UPCM) and one of two topnotchers in the April 2024 Physicians Licensure Exams (PLE), wherein 20 UPCM alumni passed. Vista ranked 7th among topnotchers, while Dr. James Patrick P. Ocampo placed 5th.

Asked about how he felt upon seeing his name on the top 10 of the list. “It felt surreal. I hurriedly ran downstairs to share the good news with my family. It was one of my most joyful moments, especially seeing the happy and proud faces of my parents,” Ocampo said in an interview.

He also imparted that the road to becoming a doctor was not easy. “There were moments of self-doubt and burn-out during [those] times, but I constantly reminded myself that these will all pass, and if I just keep my preparation going, everything will fall into place. Most of the credit goes to my family who were constantly there to support me along this journey.”

For her part, Vista attributes her success to “early preparation” and “consistency.” “While I did enroll in a reputable review center, I already started using other resources even before the start of their program. I also tried my best to actively learn from the cases that I encountered during my clerkship and internship days. During the review season, I made sure to stick to a consistent study and sleep schedule.”

Vista also paid tribute to the College of Medicine and how it helped in her journey. “I’m very grateful that our training in UPCM allows us to have a lot of exposure to actual cases because it helped me learn by heart many important concepts that were asked in the PLE.”

When asked about their plans, Dr. Ocampo replied, “I plan to do moonlighting here in Metro Manila and, if possible, in Tarlac. This will enable me to gain experience and will allow self-assessment on clinical skills I need improvement in. At the end of the year, I will apply for residency in a public hospital here in Manila.” 

For her part, Dr. Vista plans to go into medical research. “As an MD-PhD graduate, my training makes me inclined towards a career path involving medical research. I hope to build on previous research work that started during my medical school years and focus on infectious diseases prevalent in the Philippine setting. I am still mulling over whether this would be in the context of academic work or clinical training, depending on what opportunities will be available,” she said.

UPCM continues to maintain an excellent 90.91 percent passing rate in the PLE.

Text by Martin Racza

Photo by College of Medicine

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