Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pre-Week Bar Tips

I really don’t know if I am of the authority to give these Bar tips and make all those who happen to read this follow and put the blame later on me for failing the exam. First of all, I am only doing this out of experience and on the basis that applying whatever method (sic) or perspective at that has seen me passing the bar, no sweat. I am not bragging about anything, please understand that such statement was made out of the afterthought that I came to the bar site and took the exam with only a fraction of legal concepts and jurisprudence in my memory and holy cow I passed. So without further ado, here are the practical, realistic and doable things you may want to consider to do before you take the exam, while taking it, and the days in between Sundays.

1. By now, most of you I know are cramming hehe. Most of you I am sure are bombarded ith different and varying assumptions and guesses and well, predictions on what the examiners will ask come the bar exam. Please shut your ears for a while to this hullabaloo. Listening to them will all the more distract you. What you need is focus! How to do this? Well, given the very very short time left for you to gather all what you studied in law school, your readings during the review, and the lectures and handouts if you attended a formal review program, the best thing to do is to find the perfect material to sum it all up. In my case, I find the San Beda Red Notes very, very helpful. It summarizes salient points, key concepts you can apply in every question imaginable on a particular subject. It is handy yet it allows you to be in the right perspective in order for you to answer every question on the topic/subject, if I my say, correctly or maybe close to that. Well, as you know for sure it doesn’t matter if your answer is right on the dot what really matters is that it makes sense to the examiner. San Beda Red Notes will allow you to do just that. UP Law Center Bar Review handouts are likewise a good choice. What I did is that with the voluminous handouts they give, I picked those which explain the fundamentals of a subject. Get down to the basics and you will never go wrong. It will be your salvation believe me!

2.Condition your physical, emotional, spiritual and what have you states. This is self-explanatory. However, how parsimonious the statement is it is rather quite difficult to accomplish. You know yourself better and I am limited to awakening you from whatever slumber you are in by telling you that the bar exam is here! Hey it’s here, wake up! Come on, the waiting period is over. In my case, a week before the exam I had this terrible stomach cramps caused by an overwhelming stress most of you have now. I temporarily got rid of this by taking Maalox. It eased the pain two days before the exam but it will always recur in the middle of the week. What I did was I prayed a lot. Hang on to whatever faith you have. When all else fails your spirituality really matters. We had this ritual of going to the Church of the Holy Sacrifice at UP Diliman every morning during Saturdays before the exam. It helped a lot because it gave me a boost and the reason to continue the battle. God will never leave you in distress if your intentions are true. Before taking the exam, ascertain to yourself that you will do your best whatever happens. Promise to yourself and to God that you will never give up and that you will finish the battle. Likewise, before taking the exams believe that you will pass. Tell yourself that you will pass it in a loud voice. Repeat it over and over. Clear your thoughts! What you have in mind right now should only be the bar and nothing else. Thinking of other problems or others’ problems is a no-no. Be positive even only for this period. If you’re already short on your finances call me and I will help you (just joking) don’t think much about it. Imagine that it will come by later through manna after you take the exam. If resources are really not at hand, pray for a miracle who knows the universe is really conspiring in your favor and will help you produce it, no sweat. By now, everything must be ready: IDs and permits, tech-pens (you know me and my friend who also passed the bar used blue Dong-a .5 tech-pens, you will never go wrong with blue especially when your penmanship is not that pleasing to the eyes), your clothes to wear (I don’t know if it helped me but I wore yellow during the four Sundays) be sure that you are comfortable with your clothes don’t dress up much because you’re not attending a party neither a formal event. You can wear slippers if you’re comfortable with it, your food during the exams and during lunch-breaks, having a chocolate bar while taking the exam is more than a sugar rush it maintained my focus and energy to answer the exam. Naku malaking tulong ito. Sinasabi ko sa inyo. Choco bar and Gatorade. Brain boosters! For lunch, our school provided a not so appetizing menu, but you know it helped because it didn’t make us full. You shouldn’t eat too much during lunch. Hwag nyong busugin masyado ang tyan nyo dahil makakatulog kayo sa hapon. I tell you, one of my seatmates literally slept in one of those afternoons without finishing the exam.

3. Me and my friend stayed in a hotel near the bar site. We managed to find a hotel along Malvar St. called Malvar Hostel. It is a three star hotel. The place is soooo conducive for studying a day before the exams and for having sufficient sleep. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel and you haven’t found one yet, I suggest you go to Malvar Hostel who knows it really gives luck to those who stay in it. Well, me and my friend were only the ones who stayed in the hotel who took the bar and we both passed. You wouldn’t go wrong there. Their rates are at Php 1,980 at that time, but you can haggle with the friendly manager that you will forego the free breakfast and have the rate slashed at Php 1,780. Me and my friend shared in the deluxe room upstairs so we only paid 800+ each for a night’s stay. We stayed at Room 204. Hehe

4. Be CONFIDENT during the exams. I told one friend that one of the things which helped me is that I am too, over, confident while taking the exams. If there’s a proper place, venue wherein you can go high with your pride it is during the bar exams and not during debates in law school. Pour all the pride you’ve got. You won’t believe me, but I always finish answering thirty minutes ahead the time. I tell you I am always the early bird in the exam room all throughout the four Sundays not because I know everything that are being asked and I am certain that what I answered are all correct but because of yabang. Hehe and of course of having the right perspective of doing all things I previously mentioned. Being mayabang during the bar is very appropriate if only to maintain your focus. Do it. I am sure you will pass.

5. How to answer? My answers are very direct and concise, ganun ba. If a question asks for a yes or no? I start my answer with a yes or no followed by the explanation which is rather based on a specific law/legal concept I remember or based on jurisprudence. My mastery of the fundamental laws really helped me answer the questions in a direct and concise manner. My answers are outlined in this manner. Yes or No – Legal Basis –Conclusion. If I am not really sure of the answer meaning the question is quite trivial to me, I think of a related law/legal concept related to the matter at issue and write my answer in the same vein. Yes-or-No- Legal basis – Conclusion. When I am confronted with a very very trivial question like what is a hard law or a soft law, I view it in the perspective of common knowledge and start from there. Hard meaning matigas. hehe. .How is hard usually interpreted in legal terms meaning strict or legalistic ang pagtingin yung ganun ba. When all else fails just answer what you know with all your heart and pray to God.

And now you’re ready. Slay the dragon. Dream, Believe and Survive as a popular TV contest properly puts it. The practice of law is just a stone’s throw away, IT IS waiting there at the other end. The promise of practicing law is knocking right at your doorstep and it is for you to open or have that door closed and wait for another point in time where it will be there knocking again but why wait when you can open the doors now. Di ba? Time is precious. Fear not the bar. Take it easy. Make the bar easy on yourself. Pretending may be inappropriate for you but it is rather an easy path to take, an easy option without having risks to take (because you’ve taken all the risks already and there’s no room for additional risks anymore hehe) when the bomb is about to explode. So try to pretend when the situation necessitates it won’t harm you.


  1. Excellent post, Dex. Could be a wonderful magazine article or a part of a book.

    What is mayabang? :)


  2. very true....I very much agree....

  3. Whew! I just remembered how we prayed hard just to survive the whole month of September!

    It is now our time to cheer for the next batch of lawyers! As long as you stay focused in answering the questions, you can never go wrong especially when most of the questions demand a logical answer. And by Holy Week of 2010, Atty. Det and I will welcome you as new members of the Philippine Bar! :) Godbless!

  4. my ordeal last year relived. those 4 saturdays before the bar last year,, i got no sleep. God completely robbed me of my self confidence to show me the real meaning of "faith". at 4:15 am still wide awake, i almost decided not to take the bar anymore. my faith was put into crucible test-i triumphed it. To God be the glory, and GODluck!

  5. nah, don't listen to bar tips! you cram only to find out the efforts proved futile. in the end, it's still what you learned in law school (if you learned anything)that matters. you're a diligent law student? hakuna matata! you're a happy-go-lucky in law school thinking you'd catch up in the 5-month review? don't have the nerve showing up for the bar exam! you'll fail! deal with that later? or now?

  6. I respect your opinion. I just want to tell you that these tips are made based on the assumption that law schools don't breed happy-go-lucky students. I am coming from my own experience in my humble school and without notice to diploma mills which actually have high tolerance to those students you are referring to. My school is not like that.

    Based from what I have seen during our review last year, I treat your comment as an unfair statement. Nobody in his right mind would go through that painful process without wanting to pass. I am sure of that. To all those who will take the bar which will start this Sunday, keep on. Think positive.

  7. @ Mom

    Mayabang is proud in Filipino :)

  8. i agree with the bar tips.memories are still fresh to recall when i took the Bar last year. the feelings i cannot explain but i manage to motivate myself to pretend that i am just taking the same exam at lawskul so i wont get a simple probinsyana became a lawyer "not by stroke of luck". i will never go back to the days where emotions are mixed, torturing me for the months of waiting the result hahahaaa gosh..thank God i made it...ayaw ko na magtake kahit bayaran ako ng milliones hehehehheee...solohin nyo na yan tapos naku nyan...anyway good luck sa lahat ng ngtake lalo na sa mga klasmates ko na ngayon lang sasabak sa gyera!!!

  9. nice post. gusto kita...thank you for sharing ur good ideas and tips. hope it will help me this years MCQs...hehe.