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7 Tips on Passing the Bar

MARCH 10, 2012 02:16 PM

When I took the Bar examination in November 2011, topping it never entered my mind.
All I wanted was to pass. Until now, the reality of having placed Top 6 in the Bar
examination mystifies me. I do not know how I did it. What Im only sure of is that I did
my best during those four Sundays of November 2011. During those months of
preparation for the Bar, my parents, Judge Rosendo B. Bandal, Jr. and Dr. Hope Maxino
Bandal always gave me the support and encouragement which allowed me to hurdle the
Bar examination successfully. My brother, Atty. Jason, always got in touch with me to
give me tips on how to prepare for the exam.
Now that I have already passed the Bar exams, I realized that I have learned a lot of
things along the way. Here they are:

Do not rely on yourself. Trust in GOD. Pray for His guidance. To pass the
Bar exams, you also need some amount of luck. As you prepare for the Bar
exams, youd realize that there are just so many things to study. At some
point in your review, you have to choose which things to study. Youre lucky
if what you study is also what would be asked during the examination. Pray
to GOD. Pray for guidance.
The best law school to prepare for the Bar Exam is the school where you
are currently enrolled. If you really want to pass the Bar exam, you can do it
no matter which school youre enrolled in. I have been to three different law
schools: San Beda College of Law, University of the Philippines-Diliman
College of Law and Silliman University College of Law. They are all the same.
All of these schools teach us the same laws, the same jurisprudence. Passing
the Bar is simply a matter of attitude. By that I mean that one should have
the determination to pass the Bar exams. So no matter which school you are
enrolled in, just make the most out of it. It is up to the student if he or she
would want to pass and excel in the Bar exams. More than the school, the
attitude of the student or examinee towards the Bar examination is really
what would determine if he or she can successfully hurdle it. But I do
acknowledge that my success with the Bar examination was because of the
training I got from the San Beda College of Law, the UP College of Law, and
from the Silliman University College of Law. All these three law schools are
very good. The same is true with the San Sebastian Recoletos Review
Center, the place where I enrolled for my Bar review. They prepared me well
for the Bar exam. And all of them played a big role in my passing and
topping the Bar exam!
Prepare for the Bar exam the very moment you enter law school. The time
between ones graduation from law school and the actual date of the Bar
exam itself simply is not enough to review everything that was taught during

ones stay in law school. Imagine, it usually takes a student four years to
study all law subjects. But for purposes of the Bar exam, a law graduate only
has about five (if September is the schedule of the Bar Exam) or seven (if
November is the schedule of the Bar exam) months to review everything
which took him or her four years to learn. Moreover, during the exam itself,
stock knowledge of the law is very useful. When you only have about a
minute to answer every question, your mastery of the subject matter would
enable you to correctly spot the answer in a shorter period of time. You
cannot master a subject if you study for it only during the months leading to
the Bar exam. You should try to master it while youre in law school.
Find time to enjoy as you prepare and review for the Bar exam. Preparing
for the Bar examination is so stressful emotionally, physically, mentally, and
psychologically. It is mentally and emotionally draining. Youd not know what
to do so you can finish reading and reviewing everything. The enormous
amount of data and information youd have to absorb is sometimes too
much for you to handle. At times you get depressed because you feel that
no matter how hard you study, still it seems that your efforts are not yet
enough to be able to pass the Bar exam. Many times youd realize that
nothing of what you read is actually being absorbed and stored in your
memory. All these can make you go crazy if youd stress yourself too much.
Youd be stressed out. To preserve your mental state, youd have to find time
to relax and have fun. It is impossible to study straight for 10 hours or 24
hours. You need to pause at times and relax. When I was reviewing, I went to
the malls to relax. Me and my girlfriend watched movies and went shopping
frequently. This re-energized us. It enabled us to survive the very very
stressful situation which each Bar reviewee underwent during the months
leading to Bar exam.
Choose quality over quantity. A Bar reviewee would get and receive so
many materials during his or her review -- books, reviewers, memory aids,
and all sorts of materials. The volume of materials to read is so massive and
enormous. Youd not have enough time reading all of them, no matter how
much youd want to do so. You really have to choose which materials to
study. Sometimes, reading so many materials can only confuse you. In fact,
during the pre-week, one would not have enough time to read a lot of
materials. As for me, during the review, I only chose two materials for every
subject one book, and one reviewer or memory aid. I mastered these two
materials. Although sometimes I had doubts if these two are enough, I just
had to trust my judgment. And I was not disappointed because sticking to
two materials per subject enabled me to be more familiar with the materials
and enabled me to answer faster during the Bar exam itself.
Take care of your health during the exam week. Ones fitness to take the
exam is as important as the review process itself. Remember, it would take
you four consecutive Sundays to complete the Bar exam. Everything would
be useless and all your efforts would be put to waste if youd not be able to
continue taking the exam because you are sick during the exam day itself. I
realized this during the first Sunday of the exam. The night before the exam,
I was not able to sleep because I got very disturbed by the fact that I was
not able to finish reading everything I thought I had to read. On the day of

the exam, as I was answering question number 30 of the 100-item multiple

choice exam in Political Law under extreme time pressure (with only about a
minute to analyse the situation given, and choose the correct answer among
the four choices given), I almost fainted. I felt very cold. I felt I was about to
vomit. My mind stopped working. I felt so weak and tired. I was in extreme
fatigue because I was not able to sleep the night before. At that time I really
felt I would not be able to continue taking the exam. I paused for about 5
minutes and took deep breaths. Thankfully I recovered. During that brief
period of time, I opted not to inform the proctor about how I felt. My
objective was clear: to pass the Bar exam. During the fourth Sunday, I was
having loose bowel movement (LBM). That was really very challenging. But
after so many months of preparation for the Bar exam, giving up was simply
not an option.
Just do your best. On the day of the exam, no one can assist you as you
answer the test questions. You cant rely on anyone but yourself. So no
matter how you feel about how you prepared for the exam, and even if you
feel you have not done enough to prepare for the exam, just do your best in
answering those questions. Be the best that you can be. As I was answering
the Bar exams, I constantly remembered and applied this quotation: To be a
winner, all that you need to give is all that you have.