Bar examinees warned: Posting ‘prayers’ is cheating
To the 2022 bar examinees: Digital prayers won’t earn you graces from the “Gods of Padre Faura.”
The Supreme Court has warned aspiring lawyers against posting a prayer, a Bible verse or an outright plea to gain extra points or sympathy from the examiners in next year’s first online bar exams, saying having such “extraneous text” as part of their answers would be considered cheating.
“Do not write a mantra, motto, prayer to deities or saints, special plea addressed to the examiner or the bar chairperson, or any other such extraneous text,” said Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chair of the 2020-2021 bar exams committee.
Putting any distinguishing mark in a submitted answer “is classified as cheating” and can “disqualify the examinee from the whole bar examinations,” Leonen said in a 14-page bar bulletin.
The magistrate earlier pointed out that bar exams are intended to determine the “minimum skills” required of those seeking to become members of the bar.
Honor and excellence
“The bar examinations test both honor and excellence. Remember that it is not worth passing the exams when you do so by being dishonest or by making others suffer,” he said. “Start your legal career with the nobility, capacity for leadership, and empathy that our profession deserves.”
Only 2,103 or 17.36 percent of the 7,685 takers passed the bar exams in 2019. They took their oath as lawyers via an online video conference in June 2020, or about three months into the pandemic.
The Supreme Court had been forced to postpone the exams twice since 2020.
COVID testing required
After deferring the exams in November last year, the justices also decided to cancel the tests that were scheduled for last month due to a spike in COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
In another first in the history of the Philippine bar exams, all examinees must present a negative test result for COVID-19 before entering the testing facility.
Those testing positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to take the exams and will undergo quarantine based on the existing protocols of the local government units, Leonen said.
Unvaccinated individuals taking the exams would have to pay for their own COVID-19 test within 72 hours before every exam date.
Fully vaccinated examinees are also required to undergo antigen test 48 hours before every exam day.
Leonen reminded law graduates to take care of their health and make sure to read the high tribunal’s advisories on the country’s first-ever localized and online bar examinations, which will be held in various testing centers nationwide on four Sundays—Jan. 16, 23 and 30, and Feb. 6, 2022.
He said each of the eight bar exam subjects would have 15 to 18 “straightforward” essay-type questions, which the examinees will have to answer on their laptops using the testing software Examplify.
According to Leonen, they should have a good grasp of the fundamentals of law and the latest jurisprudence to make it through.
They must also have a sufficient command of the English language, which, he said, “comes from the examinees’ accumulated study of and experience in communicating in this language.”
“To pass the bar examinations, the examinees need to exert effort to be as precise as possible in communicating their knowledge of the law in their answers,” the justice said.
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