FAST FACTS: Philippine Bar examination
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - For 2015, some 7,146 Law graduates were admitted to take the annual Bar examinations.
This year's examination is chaired by Supreme Court Associate Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, and is the 114th exam since it was first conducted in 1901.
For this year, the examinations were moved from October to November in consideration of the academic calendar shift of some law schools in the country.
Also, essay questions constitute 100% of the examinations. (See the Supreme Court rules and guidelines here.)
Here are other interesing facts about the exam, all obtained from various news reports.
- The 2008 Bar exams admitted the most number of examinees -- 6,533. Only 20.58% of them passed.
- The highest percentage of exam passers was in 1954 with 75.17 percent, while the lowest was in 1999 with 16.59 percent.
- Former Supreme Court (SC) associate justice Florenz Regalado has obtained the highest Bar exam average to date, after geting 96.70 percent in 1954. Regalado died in 2015.
- Former senator Tecla San Andres-Ziga, who got 89.4 percent in 1930, is the first woman to top the Bar exams.
- Former senator Jose Diokno topped both the 1940 CPA exams and the 1945 Bar exams. He was the only Bar topnotcher not to have graduated from law school. He was home-schooled by his father, former SC justice Ramon Diokno.
- Francisco Noel Fernandez failed when he first took the exam in 1993, but topped the 1994 exam with a grade of 89.2.
- The very first Bar exams in 1901 only had 13 examinees.
- All Philippine president-elect lawyers were Bar placers: Sergio Osmeña (2nd place, 1903), Manuel Quezon (4th place, 1903), Manuel A. Roxas (1st place, 1913), Jose Laurel (2nd place, 1915), Elpidio Quirino (2nd place, 1915), Diosdado Macapagal (1st place, 1936 Bar Exams), and Ferdinand Marcos (1st place, 1939 Bar Exams).
- Only 14 law schools has so far produced Bar topnochers, wih the most coming from the University of the Philippines College of Law and the Ateneo de Manila Law School.
- The most recent Bar topnotcher (2014) is Irene Mae Alcobilla from the San Beda College-Manila. Three out of the 10 top passers came from San Beda College-Manila, while UP had the most graduates in the list.
- In 1982, the passing grade was fixed at 75 percent, but was lowered to 70 percent in the 2007 exam due to low exam results. If this rule wasn't changed that year, only 5 percent of the 5,626 examinees would have passed.
- The “five-strike” rule (wherein a Law graduate can only take the exam 5 times) was first applied in 2005. This rule was lifted this year due to last year's low passing rate.
- Also implemented in 2005 was the "three-failure" rule (wherein a 3-time Bar flunker needs to attend a one-year refresher course before retaking the exam).
- The exams used to be largely essay-type until the introduction in 2011 of the multiple-type questions. On that year, 60 percent of the exam consisted of multiple choice questions, while only 40 percent was left for essay.
- Since 2013, the exam has 20% muliple choice questions and 80% essay-type questions.
- Prior to 2011, the exams were held every September at the De La Salle University, but was moved to a different date and location after violence rocked the last day of the 2010 Bar exams.
- Reports of exam leakage surfaced in the 1979 and 2003 Bar exams. - Rappler.com
Editor's Note: We earlier mentioned former SC associate justice Carolina Aquino as another bar topnotcher who did not graduate from law school. In fact, she transferred to the UP College of Law and graduated from there. We regret the error.