Monday, August 24, 2009

REVIEW CENTER WARS:

MERGE vs. CBRC (Carl Balita) vs. GAPUZ vs. SRG vs. PENTAGON


If you're a nursing student, nursing graduate, have a sibling/cousin/friend/neighbor who is one, have been to UBelt Morayta, Espana and the streets of Pureza or to just simplify things, a resident of the Philippines, I'm sure you've heard of them.

They are the top nursing review centers in the Philippines reviewing and producing thousands of registered nurses yearly. They may all look enticing and innocent enough, all having figures and pictures to boast to the world, but if you don't know what you're getting into, don't spend thousands of pesos on them yet. Do your research. More so, listen to reviewees who have actually experienced what it's like reviewing in the said centers. Look at the passing rate and the subscript commonly associated with them.

I don't know everything about these review centers. I've only attended one (Pentagon) and I will share my thoughts on them later. FEU-IN also has an In-House Review Program mostly made up of SRG reviewers so I can also share my experiences from that. Other comments are from my personal view of the center and what my friends have said about them.






MERGE REVIEW (Multi-Educational Review Group Experts Inc.)

I'll confess, I know little about this review center. Not a lot of people from my batch mates went here to review for the board exam. But I've scouted via the net almost all of the review centers available in Manila before and I've read pretty disappointing comments from their past reviewees. From what I've read, Trinity University of Asia is the only good thing with MERGE because non-Trinity reviewees achieve a much less passing rate. A batch mate also commented that the reviews are deathly boring and she happily transferred to Pentagon for the critical and final coaching phase.


CBRC (Carl Balita Review Center)

I cannot stress out how much I hate his face plastered all over the Ubelt. Come on, narcissistic much? And it's not like he's cover boy material, face brimming with charisma and bus loads of sex appeal. Argh. Okay, so enough about his looks. Is it worth reviewing there? Again, I don't know much about this review center besides the fact that they have tons of "freebies" (bags, lanyard etc.) which, I hate to burst your bubble, isn't free at all. You paid for it, believe me.

With regards to the actual review, I've heard testimonials which said that the discussions are okay and Carl Balita, himself, is actually pretty good. Oh, but since his center is obviously not a one man show, the other reviewers' sessions I've heard are not as good, a bit boring, which my batch mate sometimes walked out on without finishing the class.


R.A. GAPUZ REVIEW CENTER

I have no prejudices against Gapuz even though they were the main review center at the middle of the June 2006 Nursing Licensure Exam Leakage. I think he looks kind and quite fatherly to his students and he doesn't stick his face on his tarpaulins. One thing I can't understand though is what the heck does Boy Abunda have to do with nursing?

Even up to our review days, I've received tons of texts about the supposedly "5 points sure na" bullets which on the day of the board exam were nothing but useless saved messages occupying my cellphone memory. On a negative note, 2 of my 3 friends/acquaintances who reviewed there failed the board exam. I don't know what happened because those two were the kind of people who I thought would make it and at the day of the exam, they seem not at all frazzled , almost bordering on confident (based on their text messages since we all have different test taking centers). Don't ask me what happened, I have no idea.

Moral Lesson: Never rely on leakage promises. They always end bad and if you somehow managed to pass, I fear for the lives you are going to handle with your own incompetent hands.


SRG (Sultan Review Group)

I have a lot of experiences with SRG. Those reviewers they front line in their advertisements and websites were our reviewers for the In-House Review. They are fantastic, I must say. They will keep you engaged and active through out the 8-hour sessions. So why didn't I enroll here and instead went to Pentagon? Well, there are lots of reasons.

First, I hated the fact that they treat each lecture as Shameless Promotion Day. Especially at the last day of their assigned topics. One would wear a SRG shirt, one would say their catch phrase "Come and Follow Me..." over and over and over again and the other would bash, insult and blurt out unprofessional things defaming other review centers. I mean, if people really want to go and enroll at the center they will, if they don't they won't. These reviewers don't have to treat each person who doesn't enroll at SRG as an idiotic moron who will never pass the board exam because they've made the fatal mistake of not joining with them.

Second, as exemplary as the main reviewers may seem, its useless if they're not the ones who will be teaching your class. SRG has 25+ Reviewers in its system and there is no guarantee that those front liners you see in the ads are actually the ones reviewing you. Majority of my classmates confessed on going home and cutting classes because the lecturer that was assigned to their block was a comatose inducing machine.

There is the 2 week Final Coaching however, which I've heard is fun for everybody. Their statistics are also great which is a huge plus.


THE ROYAL PENTAGON REVIEW SPECIALISTS INC.

Now, I'm a proud Pentagonian so forgive me if this part becomes a bit biased but I'll try not to be. I just felt the need to alleviate everybody's fears and misconceptions about the Review Giant a.k.a. Pentagon.

Most review centers target Pentagon (obscurely of course) in their "Why-You-Should-Enroll-With-Us" Speech by stating highly misguided comments on how there are review centers with way to many students in one area, how it's hot and noisy, how you can't hear the reviewer because of all the chaos and pandemonium if you might.

Now, here's my rebuttal. In the social context, it's common knowledge that those who are at the bottom of the steps target the ones on top. The trick is, do not believe them because these are the insecure ones trying to benefit from associating their names with the most popular. With that out, let me tell you first hand, that Pentagon's style is an auditorium type review. It is expected that there are hundreds of reviewers in a single venue. But, the air conditioner works fine, the sound system's fantastic. You can hear everything even though people around you happens to talk (which rarely happens because reviewees become more serious as the countdown to the big day lessens in number).

Better yet, the 5 main brilliant reviewers that you enrolled for will definitely be the ones teaching you how to pass the board exam. Add 3 more guest reviewers for minor subjects like CD, Funda and Burns etc. and it's not a bad deal because you know you're going to get what you signed up for.

I really believe that Pentagon has the BEST reviewers in all the centers, hands down. They can keep hundreds and thousands (Final Coaching Week) of short attention spanned youngsters interested in even the most hated and boring topics of Nursing. Problem is, if you're easily distracted with crowds and is the kind of person who wants the reviewer right in his/her face, this review center is not for you.


In the end, it all boils down to WHAT YOU DO with the knowledge and strategies your chosen review center imparted on you. Notes and textbooks won't do you any good if they're not read and tucked in safely in that squishy stuff on your head.

Guess what that is and put it to work.

40 comments:

chow16 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chow16 said...

Well, review center IMHO aids in strengthening and recalling the skills and knowledge already learned by the student. Though wars may be inevitable, it's still up to the student on how he or she will adjust to it.

I already enrolled at merge but it doesn't mean that I like merge and the rest is craptastic. I tried to suit my self on how will they carry me along with their program. I should admit, I yawn at boring lecturers but if fate will bring me to the lowest pit by not giving them a chance then I should really adjust, even just for 2 months.

But anyways, nice post. It may be true that it's a little biased comparison but what's important is that flaws are magnified... and hey! it's an opinion so no questions asked :)

BTW, why do I feel that Carl Balita is "bi"? lol

Clarrise said...

Heya, thanks for reading this uber long post and respecting my opinion. All of these are based from experiences and hearsay and I admit, I really didn't do my homework with regards to the technical stuff like review hours, resources, programs etc. But those can be seen on websites anyway.

Good luck on reviewing for the boards! A little patience, hard work and sacrifice and it will all end well... :)

chow16 said...

Many thanks. I still have a lot of things to learn, and I'm not that prepared yet. However I will utilize all those things the review center of my choice has promised and get my butt out of the couch potato. This customer must be satisfactorily served... :)

Clarrise said...

LOL, you think carl balita is BI? I'm pretty sure he's GAY.. Haha.. I don't care if he has a family or whatever, he's so gay in my eyes...

chow16 said...

You'll know if a person is gay or not in his eyes.

That soft stare...

Like gazing at the clouds...

and pink butterflies...

all to know that it sticks to a man's heart.

Sooo... gay. :\

Bailey Baretto said...

This is a nice post.. i've enrolled to gapuz before and felt that i got the best type of review ever.

it's great that i stumbled upon this entry of yours. im looking for a review center for nclex naman :)

Clarrise said...

glad you like my post bailey.. :) hope you find the nclex review center for you and goodluck on your test! :D

haydanhthoigian said...

Hi
I see you on the blogcatolog, you have some show is good.
Nice to meet you.

ivy said...

I just have to comment on what you said for Mr Carl Balita. I came from the review center. CBRC, I must admit, has boring lecturers. But you dont need entertaining lecturers, if I may say. People have different teaching styles. At least we are learning from every bit of what they taught us. And I am proud to say that every penny that I spent on that review center is worth it. Review centers have different means of "communicating" to their public, so they might us well give those so called freebies. Come to think of it, people who were not even there don't whats going on our review. You said you'll never flag about your review center, but, with all due respect, I hope you should have just patronized your review center and stop bashing about other review centers.

Just my two cents.

Clarrise said...

@ ivy: Sorry, I got read your comment just now, didn't realize there are new ones. First of all, I didn't say that humor is an essential part of a review program. I might have mentioned it a couple more times than I would've liked because keeping the energy alive in a review session is important to me because I easily lose interest in the discussion.

Second, I didn't say that CBRC isn't worth the experience. Everybody has his/her own preferences and what might have worked for you will never work for me. If you believe that attending there helped you a lot, then that's great. I did mention that everything on the post is from my friends' testimonials and my own. I am aware that I didn't do my research. So I'm sorry if there are any discrepancies I might have written.

Lastly, I NEVER said nor implied that I would NEVER flag about my review center. I even wrote a semi-warning introduction that the following paragraphs may be a bit (ok, a lot) biased. What I wrote is that "I'LL TRY" not to be, which from the looks of it, I failed trying. I didn't mean it to be a Pentagon advertising stunt which it probably turned out to be.

Anyways, thanks for reading my post and I respect your opinion however different it is from mine. :)

ivy said...

I have appreciated it a lot that you took time to reply with my post. I just think the best way for you to do is (if you can) compare the review centers side-by-side, their pros and cons so those who will review for the nursing board could probably have a bird's eye view of the review centers that will be more suitable for their money and personality. We both know that each review center caters do different types of people so I hope your blog could help aspiring nurses to look for the suitable one for them.

I know you never intended to do so, but of course, unless someone had said something about your blog, you'll never see how it turned out. I know a lot from Pentagon because I have friends who had their review there and they enjoyed their experience, much as I did. CBRC worked for me, Pentagon for you, Gapuz for some and SRG to others.

Anyway, Im wishing you all the best for your blog and for your career as a fellow RN.
:)

Anonymous said...

baklang bakla si carl balita! eeeewwwww

Anonymous said...

IM FROM CARL BALITA...WE ARE IN AN INHOUSE REVIEW WITH THE CENTER.

THE CONS.

THE LECTURERS ARE NEW AND BORING...I GUESS CARL JUST HIRED THEM BECAUSE OF THEIR RANKS AND TOPS IN THEIR NLE WITHOUT EVEN CONSIDERING THAT FOR A NATIONAL REVIEWER TO BE ONE, HE/SHE MUST BE A FACULTY FOR AT LEAST 3 YEARS OR SO. SOME OF THE REVIEWERS ARE TOPNOTCHERS BUT HAS NEVER BEEN A FACULTY( IM SURE OF THAT).

THEIR COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS ARE NOT PERFECTLY OR PURELY ACCURATE. THE ANSWERS GIVEN ARE OBVIOUSLY WRONG. NO RATIONALIZATIONS EVEN FOR THE DIAGNOSTIC EXAMS. WE ASKED THE MANAGEMENT AND THEY JUST ANSWERED THAT IT IS A NORMAL THING AND THAT EVEN THE NLE ITSELF HAS ERRORS. WHAT A DUMB REASONING. IN ORDER TO EDUCATE, THEY MUST NOT COMPROMISE THE CONTENT OF THEIR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

AGAIN...THEIR REVIEWERS ARE EXTREMES...THERE ARE VERY YOUNG(THEY TREMBLE, FORGET THEIR INFORMATION, THEY CANT CONTROL AUDIENCE)...THERE ARE ALSO VERY OLD( LIKE, THEY KEPT ON JOKING VERY VERY OLD IRRITATING JOKES...REALLY IRRITATING)..THERE ARE ALSO VERY SMART(DOCTOR REVIEWERS)...AND NOT SO SMART.

I HATE CBRC POSTERS...YUCK.AS IF THE PERSON IN THERE LOOKS REALLY GOOD.COME ON.HE(CARL) SHOULD REFRAIN FROM DOING THAT.MANY IS DISAPPOINTED WITH IT. IT IS NOT PLEASING TO THE EYES.PROMISE.

THE PROS

THERE ARE REVIEWERS WHO ARE REALLY GENIUS. THEY ARE THE BEST IN PHILIPPINES. AND I AM SURE OF THAT. CARL DOESNT BELONG HERE.

THEY INSPIRE WITH THE STORIES. THEY REALLY DO. THEY SHARE THEIR LIFEEXPERIENCES AND IN THAT WE LEARN MORE.

THEY TREAT THEIR REVIEWEES REALLY PROPERLY. WORTH THE REVIEW FEE. REALLY PAMPER TO HEAVEN.THEY ARE GOOD AT THIS.ESPECIALLY ON LAST MONTHS OF REVIEWS, THEY TREAT STUDENTS LIKE PRINCES AND PRINCESSES LITERALLY. BELIEVE ME.
NO REVIEW CENTER KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN DOING THIS.

THEY ARE NOT THAT "MANIACS".YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. THEY ARE NOT AS VULGAR AS PENTAGON(TO MENTION).WITH MANIAC, I MEAN THE SENSE OF BEING SO VULGAR, SO OVERT. THAT EVEN A GAY PAGEANT IS BEING GIVEN PLACE IN PENTAGON(this is their option, i dont have anything against that).

CBRC HAS MORE CHRISTIAN VALUES I GUESS.

WE HAVE SCANTRONS PATTERNED TO THE ONE THAT IS BEING USED IN A REAL NLE. SO THAT WE ARE TRAINED TO SHADE AND FILL THE BOXES. I GUESS BIG REVIEW CENTERS DO THAT ALSO.
FREEBIES ARE GIVEN.THEY ACTUALLY DONT MATTER. AND WE PAYED FOR IT AS WHAT THE BLOGGER HAS MENTIONED.THEY GIVE IT FREELY...IT WONT HURT IF YOU RECEIVE IT ANYWAY.

CARL HAS GOOD BOOKS.REALLY GOOD(NOT EXCELLENT, BECAUSE OF SOME ERRORS IN SPELLING THAT PERSISTS TO EXIST DESPITE ITS MANY EDITIONS)
THE BOOKS THE UTG AND ULG ARE GOOD AND IF YOU HAPPEN TO MEMORIZE ITS CONTENTS, YOU'LL SURELY PASS THE EXAM.I AM NOT JOKING.SIR JEROME OF PENTAGON HAS AN EXCELLENT BOOK ON OBSTETRICS THOUGH.I READ THAT BOOK OF SIR JEROME EVEN INFRONT OF CBRC REVIEWERS.

WHOSESOEVER WILL REACT...

chow16 said...

Hi clarisse! it's been a while. I've got the opportunity of posting some points about my merge experience in your space before I resume tackling my review materials for the final time.

I may be stereotypical with my words but I can't do anything about it since I've only experienced reviewing there. Upon ending my merge cinema experience, I can say that my P15,000 out of P16,000 review fee has been put into a good place. I am also happy to say that the only bash comments I've heard from merge to the other review centers is "wannabes" and "RA (review assistant) na may sariling review center [RAGAPUZ]". They maintained their professionalism and they don't forget to ask bro for guidance.

In terms of boredom, it's inevitable to happen to us. We must accept that there's always a glitch in every software. Despite all odds, I adjusted to the point that my CSF already leaks but my brain takes effect in absorbing concepts like I don't need to take gingko biloba anymore. Moreover, kame ang bida. The entertainment part of the review is also done by us babies.

In focus on the lecturers, perhaps i've met one of the greatest lecturers existing. We call him our own mr. pure energy (yes fellow merge babies, you know who he is) and I'm proud to be his student. Whatever my result will be on the boards, I'm still very thankful for his way of sharing life-changing knowledge to us babies. Same goes to the others I've need not to mention coz andami rin nila :)

The quality of their teaching is at above average in overall. Review materials are provided adequately, but the only thing i don't like is their supplementary review material which i didn't even lay my finger on (no, not literally). Like I said, no review center is scratch-free, but they're considered promising. However, I felt like merge review center is not recommended for final coaching students since I've realized that they wouldn't even catch the previous comprehensive lessons at ease compared to those who took the full package. I know it's the bitter truth but the show must go on for all.

So that's it for my 2-month stay @ merge. :)

Clarrise said...

@ MR/MS. Anonymous and Chow16

Wow, I didn't realize how far this post and its comments have progressed. Thank you fellow bloggers and readers for expressing your experiences and opinions with your respective review centers. Again, I admit that I didn't do much research with my post but your comments makes it more meaningful for those people searching and trying to make the right choice regarding which center to put their trust (and maybe future) in. Thank you for these accounts and I'm sure future readers will also be grateful for what you have shared. :) Godbless.

Anonymous said...

my review center is somewhat new in the field,as they would say.i've enrolled to saint thomas review center near welcome rotonda.all of the review centers get info's from each other.i was shocked to stumbled upon this review center that they were using merge review materials.in the last day i asked a friend who is from merge and all the materials that budek use where the same thing that concepcion and bersabe used.bersabe's book is a bit helpful though than concepcion.review by heart.no one will help you,but yourself.disappointing yes.both merge and saint thomas were a disappointment.

Clarrise said...

@Anonymous: I was surprised by the information you presented. All the while I thought review centers have egos as large as the solar system to be using review materials from one another. Apparently, not. Tsk3. Anything for a few thousand pesos.

Anonymous said...

THANKS GUYS ABOUT YOUR COMMENT.. BUT I HEARD ABOUT NIGHTINGALE REVIEW CENTER ALONG P. NOVAL. MY FRIENDS PASSED BOTH LOCAL AND NCLEX FOR THAT CENTER, PROGRAM WISE AND CONTENT WISE NIGHTINAGLE HAS THE EDGE FOR IT. CALIBER REVIEWERS WHICH THEY ACTUALLY EXPLAIN CONCEPT ON A UNDERSTANDABLE WAYS. NEED TO CHECK THIS CENTER

Clarrise said...

@ Anonymous (2): Thanks for that insight. I hope future reviewers will continue to learn from this post and most of all from your comments.

Anonymous said...

uhm.. is there really a need to enroll in review centers? i mean, if i have chosen the right one, will it ensure a passing score?

actually i have no money for review centers..
X_X

Clarrise said...

I won't say there is a NEED, but rather it is a WISE OPTION to enroll in one because these institutions serve as a guide to students as they take on the grueling task of reviewing for the board exam.

And no, doing so does NOT ensure a passing score. Only hard work, dedication and a little common sense will.

If you have no money for it, my advice is to self-study and do the best that you can. I know a lot of people who have succeeded with just that. These centers are, after all, just REVIEWING what you already have learned. :)

Anonymous said...

carl balita is SO GAY. hate his posters so much.

Anonymous said...

how about SHIELD REVIEW CENTER?...have u heard about it?

Clarriscent said...

@Anonymous (Jan 25, 3:56PM)
Sorry, never heard of it before. Is it new?

Robert said...

I topped the November 2009 NLE because of Pentagon.

Anonymous said...

if i were u,try to be professional,even not a passer,u'r stil s profsnal,so try to respct the personality of others..so myabang naman kyo magslita against those review centers that u hated much..nakapasa n b kyo?para manlait kyo ng isang taong may mas ibubuga s inyo?remember,yan mga cinicraan nyo,cla ang successful ngyon at cla ang kailangan nyo para mkpasa kyo!GAY?so wat?!apektado kyo s pagkatao nla?kahit kuba pa yan at pilay,may mas narating na cla kaysa s inyo n d p nakakapasa at nangangailangan p ngtulong nla!mahiya nga kyos mga balat nyo!

Clarriscent said...

@Anonymous: I don't know who you are referring to, but in case the comment is directed to me (the writer of the article), here are my answers to your accusations:

1. I don't know where you got the idea that I didn't pass the board exam, but just to set things straight, I DID PASS the June 2009 NLE where I got a, I must say, well-envied percentage.

2. The post never meant to insult anyone. I think I delivered my criticisms (no matter how poorly researched) and opinions with grace and eloquence.

3. Yes, I did say I'm pretty sure Carl Balita's gay. So what? Is there something bad about being gay? Do you think so? Because it seems to me that you're the one AFFECTED, interpreting being called GAY as an INSULT. In my book, it is NOT and will never have a negative connotation because I don't relate sexual preferences to personal success or human dignity.

I hope I cleared up a few misunderstandings. Maybe next time, you can leave a less heated response. We can settle this like civilized people. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! I will be taking the nle this july 2011 and plan to review here in baguio. I'm considering pentagon or carl balita for my review center. Some factors I'm considering are reviewers, reviewee population, and venue. The good thing about pentagon is that, in the majority of the review, most of the time the magic5 will be the lecturers since thay are only circulating in their 5 branches. Yeah, Carl Balita also has good reviewers, however as what the previous comment said, some are not, while some are boring. And because he has so many branches, he has to divide his time between those 12 branches, i think. When it comes to population, Carl Balita has a maximum of 200 per class, which is a good thing, while Pentagon has a maximum of 500-600 reviewees because they will be occupying a movie thaeter. I know it is such a large crowd, but being in the cinema, it will surely have good audio and video. Any other factors I should still consider?

Anyways, lecturers who are a little boring are okay with me since I don't get distracted or bored easily. I like fun learning, but not too many jokes.

I'm really confused on where I should go. So any opinion on which review center will suit me?

Clarriscent said...

@Anonymous:

I can only speak for Pentagon since it where I reviewed for my board exam last 2009. All I can say is that you got the facts right. The "Magic 5" will be the ones conducting the reviews 95% of the time (with guest speakers thrown in occasionally). The venue is theater/auditorium type with hundreds of students but don't worry, the a/c works fine, so does the sound system and visual aids.

The lectures are a mix of vital information and humor (do NOT miss Sir Jimenez' Psych lectures they are absolutely fantastic). Just don't expect one on one support or tutorials as that is not possible with the number of students enrolled in the course.

Good luck future RN!

Anonymous said...

learnt a lot from your this:) guess it all boils down to one thing: review centers are just one of the ways to help one in preparing for the NLE.

By the way, I have heard something about the so called "double review"... the one that caters to those who will take the December boards. I mean it's like reviewing two times... I also heard that a particular review center in Recto, Manila offers that, East-West, if I can remember it correctly.

I don't know but I really think it's just a waste of time and money... to do it that way. Besides only SNs from schools with really bad track records are definitely engaged in that! They require their not so sharp students to do that practice. Even holding their students up to just take the December exams. I mean, it's the schools fault that their students were like that. They didn't teach them well. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

@clarrise
thanks for d post! Your awesome!

Clarriscent said...

@Anonymous; Thank you. Glad to be of service!

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure that 

Rhoel Vergonia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhoel Vergonia said...

Guys do you have updates about these review centers?? They moved the board exam from july to june.. and choosing between CBRC, SLRC, pentagon.. but my priority is the book.. carl has it... does pentagon offer a guide book...please help me

Rhoel Vergonia said...

I will be reviewing soon I mean.. sorry for that.. hate auto correct

Anonymous said...

Carl Balita's book has many errors. One said, ECT will last 2 - 8 seconds. He's gotta be kidding us. Also, he said male URETHRA is 40 cms long. Whoa.

Anonymous said...

NANINIWLA AKO NASA TAO PA RIN YAN KUNG GUSTO MO TALAGANG MAKAPASA DAPAT MAGSIKAP KA MAG ARAL AT SYEMPRE KUNG IN GOD'S WILL.

Anonymous said...

nasa foundation yan ! khit hindi ka mag review center !!!
-NLE2013passer

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