A dangerous experiment

FOR THE first time after so many years, the holding of the annual bar examinations for the license to practice law in this country  will revert back to its original schedule: the four (4) Sundays in the month of November.

This was the schedule we went through in our time – which was somewhat advantageous in more ways than one than when the Supreme Court (the entity that administers this government exams)  decided to hold the same several months earlier.

For one, the November sked spared us from the imminence of inclement weather (typhoons, floodings, etc.) which traditionally becomes a receding phenomenon after the months of July, August and September.

Imagine the physical inconvenience that examinees had to go through – even in their pre-bar review classes which normally start in April just after the usual law commencement exercises in the regular law program – during the months of July, August and September.

Here’s probably the bigger surprise, though.

The conduct of the bar exams beginning this year will depart from the traditional practice: the use of essay-type, subject-specific questions.

This time around, bar examiners are directed to ask multiple-type questions

meant to gauge the examinee’s knowledge of and ability to recall laws, doctrines and principles.

Sixty 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.

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