And then you're only allowed a day, a week or two to celebrate because guess what? You need to prepare for another exam just to get your license to practice what you have been studying for what seems like a lifetime. Like what most of the blogs have been saying, there is no standard formula for passing the Bar. It's a combination of studying your brains out, praying your heart out and a little bit of luck. :)
What rarely one writes about are the technicalities. So I'm here to write about them - from getting your bar permit to the time you receive your test booklets and questionnaires.
1. Filing a Petition to Take The Bar Examinations
Yes, you do have to file a petition to take the Bar. It's usually in pro-forma so all you have to do is fill out the blank spaces and have it notarized. You can ask your school if they have a sample form for you to copy. Also, you need to pay P3,500.00 for the filing fee and an additional fee of P200.00 for every time you take it again. You also have to submit three 1.5x1.5 I.D. pictures with your full name on it and a self-addressed stamped envelope. (Why an envelope? Because the Supreme Court (SC) is going to snail mail your Bar exam results.)
If you're lucky your school is going to take care of the rest of the requirements but for posterity's sake, I'm going to list them all down here:
- Birth Certificate ( NSO or Local Civil Registrar)
- Marriage Certificate for married female applicants (NSO or Local Civil Registrar)
- Two Testimonials of Good Moral Character executed by a member of the IBP
- Pre-Law Transcript
- Law Degree Transcript
- Certificate of No Derogatory Record
- Certification by the School Registrar executed under oath and noted by the Law Dean that the applicant graduated law and his/her name is included in the LEB Certification
Note: These are all requirements for new applicants. For those with special concerns, please refer to the SC website for additional requirements.
Where do you submit all these requirements? At the Office of the Bar Confidant. You can just go directly to the SC entrance and the guards will direct you to where it is. Upon submission of these requirements, you will receive a slip of paper containing a date and a reference number. Note that this is NOT your Bar Candidate number.
2. Getting Your Bar Permit
On the date indicated in that slip of paper, you have to call the OBC to ask if your permit's ready. Pro-tip: you can always ask someone to call for you, just don't forget to give that person your reference number. After the go signal, you need to personally go to the SC to get your permit. Accompanying it are your building and room assignments, a map of the venue and sample instructions for the exam's questionnaire.
At this point in your life, you are going to realize that it's really going down, so I advise you to just focus on studying and keep calm. You can read the sample instructions at a later time.
3. A Day Before D Day
The day before the first day of the examinations is the second most nerve-wracking moment of your life. First being, the day of the release of the results. This is important because it will set the tone for the rest of the exam days. Before sleeping or attempting to sleep, check that you have your permits with you, at least two sign pens, and read the instructions that the SC has previously given. Write your name on the room assignment. Don't worry, there's no format for writing your name on such.
And don't forget candy or any kind of brain food because the exams are four hours long for each subject! Eat your breakfast too!
4. Inside the Examination's Venue
Once you're inside the venue, it's pretty easy from there. Just follow the hordes of people going towards one direction, enter the building and find your room assignment. The I.D.s are usually color-coded for each building assignment.
You can study outside (or inside) your room until 30 minutes before exam time. The proctors will have you place your bags outside the room and only your ballpen, permit, snacks and water will be allowed inside the room. You have to submit your permit to the proctor upon every exam. For the duration of the 30 minutes, no one is allowed to go out as the questionnaires and your exam booklets are distributed. Your questionnaires are placed faced down. You are not allowed to peek at them but you can count the number of pages of your questionnaire just to be sure you are not missing a page. The exams start and end on time unless the Bar examiner announces an extension (because of the difficulty of the exam.)
You can write on your questionnaires and have the option to keep them after every exam. BUT do not forget to get your permit from the proctor. As for bathroom breaks, you are allowed to have them but you will be accompanied by a watcher. After taking the last exam (Ethics, woohooo!!!), the proctor will not return your exam permits. CONGRATS, you can finally breathe! Now go and enjoy the Salubong! :)