After being delayed thrice amid the pandemic, the Supreme Court has announced that the 2020/2021 Bar Exams will push through this January with reduced exam coverage due to rise of new COVID-19 infections and the effects of Typhoon Odette.
As opposed to the usual four-day affair, the "digitalized" exams will happen on two separate days on Jan. 23 and Jan. 25.
"In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by its new dominant variant (Omicron), and the effects of Typhoon Odette, the Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of the Bar Chairperson, has resolved to (a) reduce the coverage and (b) shorten the duration of the 2020/21 Bar Examinations pro hac vice,” the Supreme Court's Jan. 4 bulletin stated.
“The court noted that the bar examinees for this coming bar have reviewed for longer than all the other batches taking the bar exams under very difficult conditions.”
More than 11,000 examinees have been awaiting the Bar Exams since its postponement in 2020, reportedly the largest batch in bar exam history.
The SC shared the coverage of the two-day exam shortly after, with Associate Justice and Bar chairperson Marvic Leonen sharing some words of encouragement for the aspiring lawyers.
"Focus ONLY on the basics of the topic listed. You can do this," Leonen said.
The 2020/2021 Bar Exams will also see the introduction of a "digitalized" and "localized" test-taking, meaning examinees will have to take the exams using their own laptops at over 24 local testing sites in the country, a departure from the traditional handwritten exams.
“The Philippines has produced no new layers since the pandemic,” the SC added. “But while the Bar Examinations may no longer be postponed, it can be held in a way that is more humane.”
“With these changes, the Court strikes that balance.”
All examinees are also advised to do home quarantine starting on Jan. 9 to prepare for the examinations.