Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wednesday Massacre: 2012 Bar Exam Disaster

Wednesday noon was a blur for me. It all started when I was on my way home from the Quezon City Hall to pick up my Voter’s ID. I went to St. Peter Parish to light up some candles and to pray. When I hitched my ride to home, I received a text from my classmate that our grades for this semester had been released. I freaked out and decided to go straight to SM Fairview instead of my home in order for me to check my grades as soon as possible.

At that moment, little did I know that it wasn’t my semester’s grade that would shock me.

I received another text again from the same classmate that the 2012 Bar Exam Results were released. I was doubly nervous. I know some friends from my old law school who took the Bar last year. As soon as I had access, the first thing I checked was my grades which were all good. I say they were good because my grades this semester were a lot better than my grades last semester. I called my Dad to tell him my grades but as soon as he answered my call, he asked if were there anyone from my school who passed the bar.

I went, “Huh?” then I continued, “Daddy, do not think about that first. This is my moment. I am pleased to announce to you that I passed all my subjects this semester…”

While I was enumerating my grades, I logged in to Facebook. Yes, I know that I wrote that I quitted Facebook but circumstances dictated me to reactivate my account for school purposes. When I logged in, I finally get what he means by his initial question. The first story I read on my timeline is our Office Administration status saying, “17.76% 2012 Bar Passing Rate… God bless the UE College of Law!”

17.76%! My heart suddenly froze for a minute and throbbed heavily like gongs. I quickly tried finding the list from the Supreme Court’s website. I personally do not know any barristers from my present law school because I never had any one of them as classmates so the moment the list was loaded, I tried looking for my two friends in my law school. When I saw both of their names in the list, a wonderful feeling magically filled my heart. They are finally lawyers!

But still, I want to know what is the story behind that 17.76% passing rate. First, Ateneo is exuberant as the dominated the top 10 of the bar, including the first and the second places. University of the Philippines have 4 people in the top 10, regaining their glory for not being able to send any person in the top 10 on the 2011 Bar Exams. Also, Aquinas University surprised everyone for one of their graduates made it in the top 10. Second, the Supreme Court pompously announced that they even lowered the passing rate from 75 to 70 otherwise only about 361 persons would have passed. Justice Villarama, head of the bar committee for 2012 said, “The Court, following history, and in the spirit of the Lenten season, decided to be liberal this morning. Out of liberality – may puso rin naman yan,” Wow. Liberal? Really? Thirdly, this “Wednesday Massacre” as my future professor in Remedial Law, Atty. Riguera, baptized this Bar Exam fiasco, came about because a lot of students miserably failed in Labor, Criminal and Remedial Law subjects. University of Santo Tomas’ official publication, The Varsitarian, added in their report that only 2% of the examinees passed Remedial Law which consumes 20% of the Bar Exams. Fourthly, this year is the fourth lowest bar exam passers percentile not second as the reports initially says.

Everything I enumerated above is what we learned from media. These additional statistics is what is being whispered in the legal community. Let us start with the not-so-secret stats of my former school UST. They garnered an average of 48%. In my school, UE, it was 36%. In San Beda, I heard that their passing rate is about 70%. Usually their passing rate is almost 100%. Top-notch school Ateneo is not as happy as we ought to be because although they dominated the list of top 10, they have 41 students who failed the bar exams and usually they only have about 2-3 bar flunkers per year. Still, these passing rates all doubled at least the current national passing rate of 17.76%.

Then again, I want to ask this question: Are the bar examinees in 2011 Bar Exams necessarily better than those who took the 2012 Bar Exams?

2011 Bar Examination posted a remarkable 31.95% passing rate. At first glance, the statistics pronounce it like that because 2011 Bar almost doubled the 2012 passing rate. However, let us go some statistics of the bar exam years back and you will easily notice that there seems to be a trend created. It keeps on going up and down every year curiously.


Ups and Downs
Yoyo. I gathered the bar percentage for 13 years. Notice the pattern in the line graph?

This bothers me because following this trend, I could predict that this year’s bar exam results will play somewhere within 25%. But in 2014 wherein I shall take my bar examinations, it will suddenly plummet down again to 20% or perhaps, God forbid, lower.

I really am nervous. What would become of me when I take the bar? I have no other dream but to become a lawyer. I studied for twenty years (and counting) straight just to prepare for the bar. However, I also thought of those who already failed the bar. What would become of them? I know some people immediately left their dream to become a lawyer. For those who are willing to take another chance, they could freely do so especially now that the Supreme Court lifted the 5-take bar rule. Still, if you fail but you are still willing to take the bar again, how will you do it? It is bad enough to gather all the pieces of your broken pride and morale. However, to take another year or half a year of to prepare is another story. For sure the 949 bar passers in 2012 bar exams are now somewhere on top of the world but how about the 4,737 people who did not make it and had shattered their dreams?

I completely understand that passing the bar is hard. However, to obtain that law degree diploma is also a great struggle. The hours are wasted in finding those assigned cases alone and just imagine how many more hours are needed just to read them. There are days where you cut off your connection with your old friends because you are too busy or too depressed to face them or any other people for that matter. There are days wherein you just want to cut your connection with the world and deactivate your social networks because you feel like you are going nowhere with your miserable study life while the rest are getting hitched, travelling the world and having the time of your life. I have classmates who immediately quitted law school after just several days in it because they can’t handle the pressure. Some call it quits after a year. I am even kicked out of my first law school though I now completely adjusted to my new one. Surely, ask any student or any lawyer for that matter, about law school and brace yourself with all the stress stories they would share. Or maybe they would be completely quiet about it just like me.

Yes, don’t try talking to me about school. I completely hate it.

Nonetheless, I want to take that 2014 Bar Exams no matter what happens. Although there is now that fear that more heads would roll on that year based on statistics, I take it as a challenge. After all, I believe that God backtracked me in order to prepare more of the bar. Had things went in my life smoothly, I should be taking the bar this year but I really feel raw and unprepared.

All in His time.

And when that day comes, I swear I’ll make Him proud and all the people who believed me.