There are many who are still undecided whether they should take the 2020/21 Philippine Bar Exam this coming November.
Here are some thoughts to consider that might hep you decide.
1. Many will likely pass the 2020/21 bar exam.
- Either it will be an easier bar exam or the passing rate will be lowered to hit a certain quota of passers. The quota itself will likely be higher since there is a gap year in 2020.
- Moreover, there is an ongoing shortage of lawyers in the Government service. This has been the case even before the pandemic. It is very noticeable in the CSC website and job boards. Try typing Attorney I and you’ll see a lot of vacancies. Notably, there is the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Local Governments (i.e. Municipalities/Cities), and other Government offices or agencies, who are looking for entry-level lawyers.
2. You get to use a laptop!
- This is reason enough to take the bar exam. There is no guarantee that the 2022 and subsequent bar exams will still be computerized. Ever heard of the 2011 MCQ Bar Exam? There was huge buzz around it from the Bar Chairperson going to the U.S. to learn how certain States conducted their MCQ bar exams, teaching senior law graduates in their last semester to answer MCQ, and to procuring the required machine/equipment (I think, not sure). It was a step towards modernization and, if I may say so, the right direction. But alas, it was just for that year. The next year’s bar exam reverted back to the handwritten essay exam. So, that happened. You can never tell.
- Do you have any idea how much of an advantage it is to take the bar exam using a laptop?
- One, you don’t have to focus on your handwriting and instead focus more on the quality of your answer.
- Two, you can easily delete, modify, or re-arrange your words, phrases, and sentences. If it were handwritten, there is no way you can do that. In fact, you are forbidden from making erasures. If you make a mistake, you can only strike through the incorrect words, phrases, or sentences. That’s a mess and will not look presentable to the bar examiner. Further, you cannot fold and just skip to the next page of the answer booklet because that is marking and that can get you disqualified. Yes, there have been those disqualified because of marking. All of these potential issues on erasures and marking are done away with in a computerized bar exam.
- Three, you are likely faster in typing than in handwriting – if you are at a certain age range (wink, wink) or a tech savvy (ahem) older person. That can mean a lot since that means you have more time and you can pace yourself well in answering the questions. If it was handwritten, you’d likely be conscious of constructing your sentences that this would make you use more time than is necessary.
3. No annoying discussions of answers after a bar exam subject.
- So, I used a strong word: annoying.
- Because it is.
- No matter how many times you and your friends are told not to discuss the answers because it will bring you no good and instead it will just give you anxieties or worries, there will always be those who will do that. And that makes it annoying.
- Since you will likely be prohibited to gather to comply with social distancing, you will likely be spared from these well, annoying, discussions after every bar exam subject.
4. Bar examiners might go easy on the questions and checking.
- You know, we have this thing called the pandemic.
- Just maybe, and this is a big may-be, the bar examiners might take this into consideration. You know, it is difficult enough to review for a bar exam. The pandemic just made it worse for many out there.
- I’m not saying it would be very easy questions like define an obligation or a contract. I’m saying it might ask for general principles or concepts as opposed to specific ones. There have been bar exams that this happened and it’s like level 1 or 2 type of questions.
- For the checking part, the bar examiners might just be more considerate (don’t want to use the word lenient). The standards should still be maintained. Also, they will not likely be more tired or angry as they will no longer be deciphering hieroglyphics for those who have seriously bad penmanship. Imagine if the bar examiner got so irritated checking 20 consecutive booklets with poor handwriting, and then your answer booklet comes up. (Cue in the music: Oh no…)
5. It will not be that noisy.
- Hmm… this can be a controversial statement.
- I don’t know how or when the tradition of cheering and loud shouts started every bar exam day. I haven’t observed it in other professional license exams.
- I mean, in law school, do you go to a finals exam through thunderous cheers and applause?
- Yep, thought so. It is best to keep things quiet as many are concentrating or focusing.
- Of course, there’s the other side to it who will say that it will give the bar examinees the “confidence” or the “spirit” to take the bar exam. Say, whuuut? This isn’t a UAAP or an NCAA basketball game, you know. Those who say those are the ones who are NOT taking the exam. If you look at it from the perspective of the bar examinee, it is a noise, a distraction, or dare I say, a nuisance.
On the flip side…
Then, on the flip side, there is Covid-19.
Well, by then in November 2021, you should already be used to the protocols. C’mon guys, it should already be basic to wear your mask and face shield, avoid social distancing, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face in public, and so on.
In addition, you might have gotten your vaccination. For sure, there are those who are in the priority list for age or medical reasons. By the fourth quarter,and hopefully, the priority list should have reached the general public.
Of course, let us be clear, Covid-19 should not be taken lightly. However, the world did not stop spinning when the pandemic happened. Life continued. You too should carry on.