A dangerous experiment? (2)

THE conduct of the bar exams beginning this year will depart from the traditional practice…60 percent  of the bar questions, per bar subject, will be multiple-type questions. The remaining 40%  would still be the essay-type mode.

The initial public impression/reaction to such changes is that they may have lowered the standard  of the bar exams and in the process removed from them the luster and quality that distinguished them from the rest of government-initiated examinations. Many opine that with the multiple choice, candidates who may have “factory defects” in marshaling the English language and could hardly be considered an advocate in a court of law could become accidental lawyers. Passing the bar exams now becomes a matter of luck!

Not so. Non-familiarity with CORRELATED laws, doctrines and principles of law, maybe because the bar candidate was doing some other things during his basic law course, can give him away and invariably result in misappropriate choices.

On the other hand, the essay-type portion (40% of the individual exam) will be memorandum and opinion writing, based on a given set of facts.

Obviously, this requires both knowledge of  the law and/or jurisprudence to be applied to the hypothetical set of facts AND proficiency in the English language and/or communication skills. This has been the predominant Waterloo of  the majority of bar examinees since time  immemorial.

It is in this sense that the new bar exams format can be a dangerous experiment to many bar candidates this year. Especially to those only pretending that they are prepared for these grueling grueling written exercises.

The new bar exams format  will arrest a lot of  things.  First, it would expedite the correction of the examination booklets and consequently the release of the results, if only for the fact that the multiple-type answers are corrected electronically. Second, it will effectively monitor/check crazy bar examiners obsessed with nothing but to ask bar examinees matters they do not know about  and find ultimate thrill/satisfaction in flunking them. Finally, it will eventually deter those who are not really destined to become lawyers, whose grades in the multiple-type questions are incredibly low it would serve no purpose to still correct their answers to the essay-type questions, since they will be recommended for disqualification by the bar exams Chairman.

One remaining curiosity now is would the emerging topnotchers from these novel examinations be really deserving of such distinction?


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