The topnotcher of the September 2021 Physician Licensure Examination (PLE) said "there's no secret" in getting the highest score.
"Pure hardwork and dedication, faith plus support from family and friends is what got me through. I also cannot deny that I have been blessed with intellect but I always go back to the quote: 'Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard,'" Maria Inez Sellado Benedicto told IMT NEWS.
"I still can't believe that I topped the board exams. I was contented with just passing because the exams were just difficult but indeed hard work pays off. I did my best and with the help of my family and friends, I was able to achieve my goal," she added.
Benedicto, a graduate of the West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Medicine, ranked first in the medical board exam with a rating of 87.83 percent.
The native of La Carlota City, Negros Occidental shared the top spot with Jude Philip Pozon Cebrecus, an alumnus of Cebu Institute of Medicine.
"I also had to deal with a lot of pressure being the class valedictorian of WVSU College of Medicine and also placing 7th during the Medtech Licensure Examination last Sept. 2015. But I just prayed, deleted some of my social media accounts for a while and just focused completely on my goal," she said.
Benedicto has been an achiever since she was a child, graduating as class valedictorian in elementary and high school.
She also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos with a degree in medical technology.
Benedicto's father, Richard, is a member of Board of Director of Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative, while her mother, Marie Sol, is a housewife and manages the family business. Her older brother, Richard, is a councilor of La Carlota City.
Currently, Benedicto is doing her internship at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City.
"I want to tell aspiring med students that I salute them for still considering to go into the medical field even during this time of the pandemic. I just wanna tell them to just reach for their dreams because nothing is impossible if you work hard, have faith and have people around you who are there to support you every step of the way," she said.IMT