November 13, 2023 (10:01 AM)

4 min read

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Graphics by John Shenon Uy

Ateneo de Davao University Accountancy batch 2020 graduate Neshel Gustilo Sinco placed 10th among the 8,734 takers in the recently concluded September 2023 Certified Public Accountant Licensure Examination (CPALE).

Ranking among the top 10 passers with an 88.33% percentage in the licensure exams was something Sinco considered unrealistic, as he went through various setbacks and came a long way.

Given AdDU’s strict retention policy, some students transferred to other programs while others remained and maintained the required QPI. Sinco was among those students who struggled to pass his majors; a couple of accounting subjects earned a line of seven grades, which somehow almost jeopardized his status as a BSA student. 

“Fortunately, I was able to surpass those subjects and was able to stay in the program and graduate.”

He also noted that he was neither the best student nor among the top students in his batch during college.

“I was not a Summa Cum Laude nor a Magna Cum Laude graduate. There were also a couple of semesters where I was not able to make it to the Dean’s List. When Ateneo sanctioned its annual mock boards back then, I can remember that I would only rank around the 30th to 50th and never really close to the top. In my batch during college, there are 24 people who had a higher Cumulative QPI than me,” Sinco told Atenews.

During the review for the board exam, he struggled to stay in study mode for extended hours due to his short attention span.

“I can only manage to study 3-4 average total hours daily.  I also had doubts if I was ready to take the board exams since I had line of 6 and 7 grades for some subjects when I took the preboard examinations.”

There were also days when he couldn’t even flip a single page of a book for the entire day due to laziness. But with his preparation and study method, which he described as unorthodox, he made a routine and made sure to stick to it.

“Wake up in the morning at the same time everyday. Sleep in the evening at the same time everyday. Eat your meals during the same time everyday. Always pray everytime. Study your materials during the same time frames everyday. Consistency is the key when preparing for the board exams.”

With his consistency and resilience in continuing to move forward even after failing, he emerged as the only top scorer from Mindanao in this latest CPALE.

“I know several legitimate topnotcher candidates in Region XI and in Mindanao as a whole who had a way way better chance to top the boards than me based on the preboard examination performances so it was really a shock for me to be the sole and only CPALE topnotcher from Mindanao this recent board exam especially that I only prepared for like 3-4 months and studying 3-4 hrs a day.”

After passing his licensure exam, Neshel Sinco is finishing his Master of Science in Accountancy degree at De La Salle University in Manila.

“This is my top priority after CPALE since I am already nearing completion of the MSA program. I’ve been juggling my graduate studies with work for a couple of years now, although I left work a couple of months before the board exam in order to have ample time to prepare for it.”

Sharing his experience-based advice, he reminded everyone never to doubt their capabilities as anything is possible and not to fret too much about mediocre or low grades.

“What matters is that you rise again from all these setbacks and get better each and everyday. Prove yourself worthy of your goal as you come close to the 4th quarter. It does not matter how you start but it all boils down on how you finish the game.”

With 76 passers and a 47.73% passing rate for first-time test takers, Ateneo de Davao University’s overall performance is 64.81%, higher than the national passing rate.

The recent CPALE concluded with a 31.25% national passing rate and a 51.70% university passing rate. 



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