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PROPERTIPS: Top interior design board passer ‘designs’ her destiny

Obtaining a license in the competitive field of interior design comes down to more than just knowledge; it’s a journey that combines faith, expertise, and practical experience.

For Interior Designer (IDr.) Jena Carla De Guzman, the top-ranked board passer in the 2023 Licensure Examination for Interior Designers and a current design associate, her journey to passing and even acing the exam was a testament of her faith, rigorous training, and a strong support system.

IDr. Jena Carla De Guzman

“For the most part, my faith, competitive training ground, and good support system were among what really pushed my name up the top 10 list.”

Jena pursued a BS in Interior Design at the University of the Philippines (UP), graduating in July 2022. A year later, in July 2023, she took the board exam, outperforming 442 candidates (she tied with one examinee) with an 87 percent pass rate.

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List of successful examinees who garnered the 10 highest ranks in the 2023 Licensure Examination for Interior Designers. (PRC)

Her preparation for the examination was no breeze in the park. She dedicated five months to the task while balancing a full-time day job and without the aid of a review center. Three of those months were exclusively devoted to the intensive review.

Now, Jena shares her valuable insights with Manila Bulletin Property Living, offering guidance on how to not only pass but excel in the licensure examination.

1. Master the exam’s requirements and structure

Understanding the exam’s structure and requirements is paramount. Jena stressed the importance of knowing the subject breakdown percentages. For her, interior design accounted for a substantial 40 percent of the exam. This knowledge should be integrated into your study routine.

“Knowing this information alone could be useless, but incorporating it as part of the study routine was, for me, strategic,” Jena said.

2. Address weaknesses, capitalize on your strengths

Candidates must identify their strengths and weaknesses early in their preparation. Jena focused on strengthening her skills rather than dwelling on her weaknesses. This approach allowed her to boost her overall score.

“I practiced on drawing drills, developed an identity for my drafting style, and made sure attention to details would highlight my drawings from the rest. As planned, I gained my highest rating from this subject area.”

3. Gain practical experience

Jena’s success wasn’t solely due to academic preparation. She worked with small companies, receiving invaluable feedback from industry experts. Practical exposure to the industry provided her with insights beyond what textbooks could offer.

4. Seek a disciplined study partner

A study partner is valuable, but finding one who is disciplined is crucial. Jena’s study partner, IDr. Mark Laurenz Garcia, was not only an accountability partner but also offered constructive feedback, enhancing their mutual growth.

“Mine is a former UP batchmate, Mark, who placed 10th in the same licensure exam. We shared opposite strengths and weaknesses. Our test outputs would differ in feedback, each one contributing invaluable insight on each other’s work. His proficiencies would be a learning opportunity for me, and vice versa. It is a bonus when this buddy is not selfish and sees his own success from generously helping others.”

5. Find a mentor who believes in your potential

Jena attributes a significant part of her success to her mentors. Personalized one-on-one coaching made a significant difference, instilling a culture of excellence and ambition in her.

6. Build a support system

A stable support system is vital. Friends and colleagues can provide comfort during challenging moments. Knowing that family and colleagues fully supported her decisions gave her the resilience to overcome setbacks.

“Times of distress would cripple you, with self-doubt as its compass. If your confidence is reliable, this shouldn’t be a hindrance. Otherwise, robust social connections are helpful,” Jena advised.

7. Have faith

Jena battled self-doubt but found strength in her faith. Praying for strength and a calm mind became an essential part of her exam preparation, helping her navigate the toughest moments.

“For two weeks, I dedicated a specific time of the day to solemnly ask for the same thing in prayer, without miss. I prayed wholeheartedly before sleeping and leaving my hotel room on actual exam days — ‘God, make Your presence known to me.’ And He did!”

After securing the top spot, Jena is poised for an exciting career ahead. As she continues on her path, she generously shares her advice with those aspiring to become future interior designers. The journey may be challenging, but with the right blend of determination, discipline, and doses of design, one can determine your destiny.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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