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General Tips

In preparing for the bar exam it is important to PLAN, STUDY, FOCUS, and
ENJOY.
It is crucial to have a plan or strategy when one is to take a monumental task,
such as taking the bar exam. It is a must to have a study schedule as it will guide you
during the entire period of your bar preparation. You may not be able to follow your
schedule strictly, but at least try to go back on track and catch up for the lost time.
Be physically fit. Exercise. Take vitamins. Eat nourishing food. Pray. Sleep.
Enjoy. The bar experience is a wonderful experience. Enjoy every single day of it.
Focus. My father died during the first month of my review. I took good care of
my pregnant wife during the entire review period. Those factors could have easily
distracted me. I was still able to focus. You can also.
Study Schedule
If you are a fast-reader, I suggest that you try to have four (4) or five (5)
readings. If you are the more deliberate type, two (2) or three (3) readings should be
enough. Do what worked for you during your years in law school. Do not change gear
just for the bar exam. Your study schedule should fit you. Hence, your assessment of
yourself is important.
I had four (4) readings excluding pre-week (hence, I had 5 readings in total). I
read the text books that I used when I was still in law school.
First Reading: Overdrive / Assessment
My first reading was quick and crazy. It was intended to put me in an overdrive
early. For my first reading, I gave myself only twenty-four (24) days to finish
everything. My plan was to test myself whether I am ready to take a bar exam on the
25th day. Hence, on 19 April 2010 (April 18 was our graduation day) I took my bar
exam. I used the questions in the past bar exams for this exercise.
When I objectively reviewed my answers, I felt that I should be able to pass the
bar exam but the quality of my answers will not be enough to give me a slot in the top
10.
Assessment: I may have a good chance of passing the bar, but if I want to top it,
then I must study harder.

Subject

Dates

Number of days allotted

Ethics

2 days

March 25 26

Criminal Law

2 days

March 27 28

Labor Law

2 days

March 29 30

Commercial Law

4 days

March 31 April 3

Political Law

2 days

April 4 6

Civil Law

4 days

April 7 10

Taxation Law

2 days

April 11 12

Remedial Law

5 days

April 13 - 17

Practice Bar Exam


(2000 Bar Exams)

1 day
(6am 11pm)

April 19

Second Reading: Cover to cover


My second reading was slow and deliberate. I read every page (from preface to
the last page). I encircled the page numbers (sometimes the entire chapter) of my book
that I felt I need not read again. This strategy helped me weed-out unimportant
pages/chapters of the text book or those portions which I already mastered during my
four years in law school and during my first reading. My subsequent readings became
manageable because of this approach.
Subject

Dates

Number of days allotted

Ethics

3 days

April 20 - 22

Political Law

12 days

April 23 May 4

Labor Law

6 days

May 4 - 9

Civil Law

12 days

May 10 - 21

Taxation Law

6 days

May 22 27

Commercial Law

12 days

May 28 June 9

Criminal Law

8 days

June 10 June 17

Remedial Law

10 days

June 18 - 27

Third Reading: Studying more


Only because I did not waste the first three months of my review, by the end of
July, I was already confident that I will pass the bar.
I encourage you to do the same. Take your first months of review very seriously.

Subject

Dates

Number of days allotted

Political Law

5 days

June 28 July 2

Labor Law

4 days

July 3 6

Civil Law

5 days

July 7 11

Taxation Law

4 days

July 12 15

Commercial Law

5 days

July 16 20

Criminal Law

4 days

July 21 24

Remedial Law

7days

July 25 31

Ethics

2 days

August 1 2

Practice bar exam


(2001 2008 bar exams)

1 day

August 3

Fourth Reading: Studying to top the bar


An officemate (who ranked 3rd in 2009 bar exams) once said that one should
prepare to top, not just to pass. In my fourth reading, I memorized case titles and
important provisions of law.

Subject

Number of days allotted

Dates

Remedial Law

4 days

August 4 7

Criminal Law

3 days

August 8 10

Commercial Law

4 days

August 11 14

Taxation Law

3 days

August 15 17

Civil Law

4 days

August 18 21

Labor Law

3 days

August 22 24

Political Law

4 days

August 25 - 28

Materials/books used in each subject


Subject
Political Law

Labor Law

Books/Reviewers
Bernas, Primer (3 readings)
Nachura (1 reading)
Jack updates (4 readings)
Bernas updates (4 readings)
Memorize important provisions
Azucena, Everyones (4 readings)
Manuel notes/updates (4 readings)

Civil Law

Paras, Obligation and Contracts (2 readings)


Balane, Succession (2 readings)
Sempio dy, Persons and Family (2 readings)
Sta. Maria, Family (1 reading)
De Leon, SecTrans (1 reading)
Jurado (cover to cover; 2 readings)
Memorize important provisions

Taxation Law

Mamalateo, Tax Law Reviewer (2 readings)


Mamalateo, Income tax (1 reading)
Co untian, Tax law reviewer (1 reading)

Commercial Law

Perez, Commercial Law Reviewers (3 readings each)


Villanueva, Commercial Law Reviewer (1 reading)
Catindig, Commercial Law Reviewer (1 reading)

Criminal Law

Reyes, Volumes 1 and 2 (1 reading)


Boado, Reviewer and Special Penal Laws (2
readings)
Memorize important RPC provisions

Remedial Law

Regalado, Volumes 1 and 2 (3 readings)


Memorize Rules of Court (at least try)

Ethics

Pano (1 reading)
Aguirre (1 reading)
Memorize code!
Forms Atty. Navas hand-outs
San beda notes

There is no shortcut to passing (or topping) the bar. If you want to pass on your
first take, then you will have to work for it. But if you want to top it, then you must be
willing to sacrifice more. You will not top the bar just because you are brilliant. There
are equally brilliant law graduates who will be taking the bar with you. The only way
you can out shine them is by being better prepared. Do not waste time. Study now.

FLJ, 2011