Top medtech passer listens to Mozart

Many were expecting me to top the exams especially after leading our team to victory in the national Medtech quiz bee contest.

Kharam Molbog is flanked by father Jennirex and mother Josenia. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MOLBOG FAMILY

September 5, 2022

Exactly a week after topping the medical technology licensure examinations, Kharam Baricaua Molbog treated his friends in one inconspicuous bar on Morayta Street in Manila on Friday afternoon.

The celebration came a week late because of their hectic schedule in med school.

Fortunately, they found a short window toward the start of the weekend.

“We were dismissed earlier than usual so off we went to our usual hangout. Spent about P1,500 and went home before dinner,” said Molbog, the unassuming 23-year-old son of overseas Filipino workers.

Molbog obtained the highest mark of 91.90 percent during the exams that featured six subjects with 100 questions each.

Was he surprised with his accomplishment?

If you asked him this question three years ago, the answer is a resounding No.

“I had high expectations then because I graduated on top of my class. Many were expecting me to top the exams especially after leading our team to victory in the national Medtech quiz bee contest,” he recalled.

However, fate intervened. He fell ill just weeks before the exams.

“I felt weak all the time and had swollen lymph nodes on my neck. I was diagnosed with extrapulmonary tuberculosis for which I received treatment for a year,” he recalled.

Molbog put the disappointment behind him and moved on. He went to med school.

The missed opportunity, however, continued to hound him.

Last semester, he decided to fulfill an unfinished business. He signed up for the Medtech board exams and went to review school during the summer.

This time around, topping the exams is no longer in his mind.

In fact, two weeks before D-Day, Molbog was unable to get hold of his review books.

His plan to cram on the eve of the exams also did not materialize after he erroneously set the alarm clock for the next morning.

“I came home very tired at 8 p.m., set the alarm clock to what I thought was 9 p.m. I ended up sleeping through the night,” said Molbog who woke up at 4:30 a.m. and realized he set the timer at 9 a.m.
The rest was history.

Molbog comes from a middle-class family. His parents worked in Dubai. His father is a software developer while his mother is a nurse. He has a 10-year-old brother.

He grew up in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya where he had his pre-school, elementary and high school education.

Contrary to popular perception, Molbog said said he was just an average student growing up.

“But when I entered college, the things I was studying became more interesting, and that motivated me to study harder,” he said.

A dean’s lister since freshman, Molbog emerged as the No. 1 student in his batch.

Yet, despite his excellent performance in college, Molbog said he has managed to achieve a certain balance in his life.

He still plays video games and enjoys a round of drinks with friends. He watches Stranger Things on Netflix and reads Harry Potter novels.

And he loves to drink until he passes out.

What probably makes him different is his penchant for scheduling his daily activities using Excel. He also listens to classical music, preferably Mozart, while studying his lessons.

“Somehow it helps me absorb the subject better,” he explained.

Molbog said he lost his grandfather to lung cancer when he was a kid.

“During those times, I got a lot of exposure to the medical field, and I guess that piqued my interest,” he said when asked why he chose medicine.

“But it wasn’t really until a few years later that I decided to take that path.”

Molbog said he doesn’t consider himself extraordinary.

“I think I’m above average, but I don’t consider myself brilliant. I know a lot of people smarter than me. I think I get by with hard work and also because I have good recall,” he said.

Molbog is embracing the challenge of med school, although he doubts if he could repeat his accomplishment.

The future cardiologist offers one piece of advice to those taking board exams.

“Preparation starts on the first day of classes. Absorb everything you learn,” he said.

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