10 things to remember DURING the Bar exam

Here are ten (10) reminders issued by the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) of the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines for the information and guidance of Bar examinees.

The OBC of the SC issues bulletins and announcements relating to the Bar examination held every year. The Bar examination is a pen-and-paper essay test for those who wish to be ordained as lawyers after finishing a 4-year degree in law school.

[1] Before the start of the examination, the examinees shall only be allowed inside their assigned rooms upon submission of their Notice of Admission to, and upon confirmation of their identification through their color-coded assignment cards by, the head watcher. They are required to conduct themselves properly and avoid loud discussions and conversations with other examinees prior to the examinations. They must leave their books, notes, and food outside the rooms. Everyone is encouraged to attend to their personal toilet and other needs before the FIRST BELL (at 7:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.).

[2] At the sound of the FIRST BELL, no examinee shall be allowed to leave the room. Except for water and candies, light snacks are not allowed inside the rooms, but these can be accessed during the examinations with the permission of the head watcher or watcher.

[3] The examination booklets shall be distributed at the sound of the FIRST BELL. Pursuant to the Court's Resolution dated 15 January 2019, the examinees shall each be given one (1) Questionnaire ( containing Parts I and II) and two (2) conjoined booklets (marked Part I and Part II, respectively) where the answers corresponding to each Questionnaire shall be written. The Questionnaire shall have two parts, but the questions shall be continuously numbered. For example, Part I will contain questions A. l to A.10 while Part II will contain questions B.11 to B.20.

[4] The examinees may begin answering only at the sound of the SECOND BELL (at 8:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.). Four (4) hours shall be allotted for each examination.

It will be considered cheating if an examinee is caught with notes or "codigos" during the examination, or if caught copying or allowing another examinee to copy his/her examination answers. Conversing with or talking to other examinees during the examination shall be prima facie evidence of cheating. Communicating with another examinee may be done only with the prior permission and in the presence of the head watcher. Remember that there are CCTV cameras in the examination rooms.

[5] Rules in writing on the examination booklets:

[5.1] Write the answers to the questions in Parts I and II of the Questionnaire in the corresponding examination booklet - Part I and Part II. Answers written in the wrong booklet shall not be given any credit.

[5.2] Examinees shall begin writing their answers on the second page of the booklets since the first page of every booklet contains stickered bar codes for security. The bar codes are scratchproof, but the examinees must not write, stain, or fold them as this may render the bar codes unreadable by the machine scanner.

[5.3] Bar questions should be answered in the same order as printed in the Questionnaire. Answer each numbered question on a separate page; an answer to a sub-question under the same number may be written continuously on the same page and succeeding pages until completed.

[5.4] The examinees shall have the discretion on how to use the time allotted for answering the questions. They may opt to begin answering a particular part of the examination which they feel is relatively easier than the others, and just return to answer the more difficult questions initially left unanswered, provided that the order of the Bar questions as printed in the Questionnaire is maintained.[5.5] Only sign pens and fountain pens in permanent blue or black ink shall be used in writing answers. Changes in the color of the ink used shall not be allowed. Pencils are not allowed to be used for answering the questions. Changes in the style of handwriting within one booklet should be avoided.

[5.6] Answers should be written legibly and erasures should be avoided. In case of a mistake, simply draw a line across the word or words to be changed or erased. ERASURES OR TEARING-OFF OF ANY PAGE OF THE BOOKLETS IS NOT ALLOWED.

[5.7] Answers should be written on the face or the page on the right side of the examination booklet fronting the examinee. In case all the front sides of all pages have been used, the examinee may use the back/left pages of the exam booklet starting from the second page and every page thereafter. In case of any doubt in this regard, directions should be secured from the head watcher.

[6] The THIRD BELL (11:30 a.m.; 5:30 p.m.) signals that only thirty (30) minutes are left before the end of the examination. The FOURTH BELL (11:55 a.m.; 5:55 p.m.) signifies that only five (5) minutes are left before the end of the examination. The FIFTH BELL (12:00 n.n.; 6:00 p.m.) signifies the end of the examination.

[7] Examinees who shall finish the exam before the FIFTH BELL may immediately submit their examination booklets to the head watcher and shall leave the room at once.

At the FIFTH BELL, all examinees shall count the number of pages used in both booklets, and thereafter, submit the two (2) examination booklets to the head watcher, finished or unfinished. Failure to submit the booklets at the same time as required will result in the examinee's disqualification. Submission of only one booklet, either marked as Part I or Part II, shall likewise disqualify the bar examinee. Moreover, examinees who leave the assigned room for any length of time, however brief, without submitting their examination booklets to the head watcher, can no longer make a submission and shall be disqualified from the whole Bar Examinations.

[8] The Bar examinees can either bring home the Questionnaires or submit them together with the booklets. A copy of the Questionnaire in every Bar subject will be seasonably posted on the Supreme Court website. Although examinees can bring home the Questionnaire for every Bar subject, it is best for the examinees to clear their minds of the past examination and to move on to the next subject.

[9] After every examination and before leaving the room, the examinees should ask for their Notice of Admission from the head watcher, who shall accomplish the certification found at the back of the Notice of Admission as proof of the examinees' completion of the examination.

[10] However, at the end of the last Bar examination, i.e., after the Legal and Judicial Ethics and Practical Exercises examination on the 4th Sunday, the examinees' Notice of Admission shall be retained by the head watchers for submission to the Office of the Bar Confidant.

SOURCE: During the Examinations. Office of the Bar Confidant. Guide and Rules of Conduct to the 2019 Bar Examinations. Bar Bulletin No. 4 (No. 6 on http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/bar-admissions/bar-2019/).