When pharmacist Lo Jen-chien (羅仁鑒) sits national examinations, he is given special attention by officials, because although he has passed the exam many times, he keeps coming back to repeat the experience.
When the results for the latest national special examination for pharmacists were announced in September, 76-year-old Lo again saw his name on the list of successful candidates.
He received his qualification in 2003 and has taken the professional examination 18 times during the past 10 years, passing 15 times.
Due to his high pass rate, the Ministry of Examination watches him closely whenever he takes an examination.
“I want to thank the Ministry of Examination,” Lo said. “It gives me hope and gives me a goal that I can achieve.”
Starting his career as a pharmacy student in 1980, Lo now works a consultant for a pharmacy.
He has also earned the distinction of being the oldest candidate to pass the national examination.
“Why does he love exams and keep taking them so many times?” asked ministry officials, who have tried to dissuade Lo from further attempts.
According to a senior examination ministry official who declined to be named, Lo and another individual are known as the “two oddballs” of national examination.
“Lo in the north, and Chang in the south, as the saying goes,” the official said. “In the old days, there was a man named Chang Shan-shui (張山水), who took the Higher Civil Service Examinations in many different categories. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Chang passed many of these examinations for the civil service. Every so often, he even scored the highest marks to become the top candidate on the roll-call.”
In the current decade, Lo has taken up the title of “examination expert,” the official said.
Lo said that he failed the examinations twice because he was busy preparing for his sons’ weddings, and once because he was unfamiliar with the new computerized format.
“That time I didn’t pass because I did not know how to take the examination on the computer,” he said.
According to the head of the ministry’s Professional and Technical Section, Su Chiu-yuan (蘇秋遠), examinees who pass tests are permitted to take examinations again.
“Qualification is based on a passing score and not a quota system. So Lo is not taking a qualification spot away from anyone,” Su said, adding that no matter how many times examinees pass the test, they would still only be issued one pharmacist license.
“We were surprised that Lo keeps taking the test, but he always takes them in a serious manner and answers questions in earnest,” one official said.
When asked why he keeps on taking the tests, Lo said that by participating in the examination, he can keep himself up-to-date and continue to study.
“This way, I can get acquainted with societal progress, which is expected of me as a pharmacy consultant,” he said. “It is not that I like to take exams, just that I have the urge to learn and a curiosity for new knowledge. The national examinations give me positive affirmation.”