Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reason & Concern

by Ronquillo C. Tolentino
New Bar Exams Format
Starting 2011

Bar examination in the Philippines started in 1901 with 13 examinees. As of June 2008, there were 49,639 listed lawyers in the Philippines.

After a century and a decade of essay type bar exams, the Supreme Court 2011 Bar Examination Committee had considered an innovation to the bar examinations format.  The proposed bar examination’s new format to begin in 2011 has two parts. The first shall be multiple choice. The second, the essay form. Sixty (60) percent multiple choice is designed to test examinees’ knowledge not only of codal provisions but also comprehension and analysis. 40 percent will be essay type.

The new format had been proposed by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, chair of the 2011 Bar Committee after a reported consultation with law deans from various law schools. Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales chairs the 2010 Bar Committee.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that the new bar examinations format which shall initially commence in the 2011 bar examinations is a departure from the traditional bar exams as it is always the essay type. Marquez further said that the multiple choice part of the exam will focus on codal provisions. Apparently magistrates and law deans realized that the essay exam does not adequately test the prospective lawyers’ knowledge on specific provisions of various laws, he said.

"The essay type exam may be difficult for an examiner to determine if the examinee really knows his codal provisions. In a multiple choice exam, there are no ifs and buts.  Either you know it or not." Marquez concluded.

The results of the bar examinations are always big news. In previous years, bar exams results occupy banner headlines in all national broadsheets. This may be so because before a person is admitted to the practice of law he must first pass the bar examinations. Thereafter, he takes the lawyer’s oath before the Supreme Court, signs the roll of attorneys and receives from the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court a Court certificate of the license to practice. After his admission to the bar, a lawyer must remain in good and regular standing. /MP

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