The Bar Exams

Well, bar reviewees, this is it. We’re not even talking pre-week anymore.

We’re talking tomorrow, you’ll be taking the one test that would define your career, your destiny, your life. The bar exams.

Again, whatever you did or did not learn this past months you cannot possibly cram between today and tomorrow morning. So don’t.

For today, take care of your self. Your mind and body. If you have the resources, go to the spa. You have to be relaxed as possible tomorrow because…

To the first-timers (hopefully you won’t go through this again), I will give you an idea of what it will be like tomorrow.

Taft Avenue will be closed to traffic so you have to approach DLSU from the parallel roads. I’m pretty sure you’ll have to walk at a certain point unless you come way early, like 2:00 a.m. But they may have closed Taft even at that time.

You start with the line going into the main gate of DLSU and the sounds of your well wishers cheering you on. You may even see streamers wishing you (or probably the school they are from) luck. It’s a fun day, if you’re not taking the bar. The sounds of drums, of school cheers (and jeers) certainly brightens up the spirit… again if you’re not taking the exams.

I know when I was in bar operations, there was this one streamer from a particular law school ( I won’t tell you what) saying “WE WILL TOPS THE BAR!” I don’t know what happened to their examinees. Probably one or two “will have been passing” the bar.

If you’re taking it, you’ll hardly notice all the activities while lining up at the entrance gate.

Oh, by the way, be sure you are not bringing anything electronic (except probably your watch). They’ll be checking for cellphones, etc. When I took it, they did not even allow a pocket fluorescent light. If you have one, you’ll have to check them in at the gate. If you have one during the last exam on the last day (Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises), you can only claim them back in the Supreme Court the day after.

Find your room at once. I’m pretty sure they have clearly marked the buildings by now so even bar examinees could not miss the names (believe me, with all the tension, you’ll even have problems remembering your own name). My building was the Gokongwei Building, conveniently located fronting Taft Avenue, where you can set your clock by the sounds of the MRT trains passing by…

The only good here is DLSU classrooms are air-conditioned so you don’t have to literally sweat it, unlike those who came before us.

Make sure you have your permits and sit according to the seat plan. The proctors will (if I remember correctly) will even have you sign a seat plan sheet.

Make sure all your writing instruments (before, only fountain pens are allowed but now they allow sign pens) are in good writing condition. And carry spares (not a spare). You don’t want to fail these exams on the very least technicality, of course.

If you can and have one, read your tips as discretely as you can. To those who want to borrow our tips and think the examinees are selfish, please understand them. Letting someone else read them is cause for forfeiture of these tips for the rest of the exams. Sorry, we did not make these rules up…

Then there will be a period of time (about 10 to 15 minutes) where all your stuff is in front of the room and you cannot read anything anymore.

For me, this was the longest 10 to 15 minutes of my life. And here, I really felt all the tension. Imagine, all those years of preparation all came down to this. And poliical law (the very first exam) being my weakest subject did not ease my tensions.

But it helped (and I’m serious here) me a lot when I prayed during this period. Believe me, it eased my tensions from then on. From that point on, I used that period to say my prayers. As my Muslim friend said at that time, “Tawagin mo na lahat ng Santo, pati si Santa Claus!” (Time to call all your saints, even Santa Claus!)

The exams and the other collaterals will be handed to you after this period and all of you open them at the same time.

Take a deep breath and begin.

Remember, the first question is, almost always, a shock question, because it it designed to shock you. You’ll wonder what planet that question came from…

But don’t be daunted, the rest of the questions you can already answer according to what you have studied. Attend to them first and attempt that shock question if you have the time.

Time management is the key. Be mindful of the time and just allocate the right time for each question. Don’t dwell on one question too long because there may be other, easier questions there where you can reap more points.

There will be 20 questions, each with 2 to 3 sub-questions. Each question is 5 points each, distributed among the sub-question. I guess you know that by now since you’ve seen past bar exams already.

I have no idea on how that “multiple choice” thing will go. If I would venture a guess, all the choices would either be equally correct or equally wrong. They’re that cruel.

Remember, minimum points you have to get is 50 on any exam. But getting 50 on all exams is not a passing grade. You have to average 75 for all 8 exams, so if you’re weak in one or more subjects, try to make up for it in subjects you feel you are stronger.

Bar tips, you ask? Again, just look at my lectures, conveniently located in the side bar.

Good luck. I’ll be praying for all of you.



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4 responses to “The Bar Exams

  1. Grabe ang “cyber classroom” procedures mo ah, feel na feel ko na law student na rin ako šŸ˜€ Good luck sa mga bar examinees natin ngayong taon!

    Oh yeah! No more spammers! Thanks sa “word verification thingie” Atty. Punzi! Maraming salamat talaga! Yey! šŸ˜€

  2. Punzi,

    Your vivid description will give me nightmares tonight when I sleep. That is one experience that if God gave me the chance to do my life all over again that I will not do.

    You should come out with a how-to-pass the bar exam booklet. No one has done it yet, I think. It’s all verbal. Someone has to document it. And your articles will do it.

  3. kuya punzi, siguro ang hirap talaga ng bar exams na yan. good thing you passed sa tulong din ni lord šŸ™‚ galing talaga ni kuya!
    ayaw ko na talaga makakita ng exams. tama na yun natapos kong degree. sumasakit ang ulo ko kaka-memorise *hehehe*

  4. Paul

    Ten years, Punzi, that was such a long time ago.

    Ang pinagusto ko paring bar ops send-off gimmick ay yung Igorot dance ng mga SLU boys.

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