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A bar examinees answer should be a total package.

Meaning, it contains all the necessary


ingredients. This is when the 4Ls come in: law, language, logic, and layout. His answer
should be legible and neat without the irritating erasures observing the proper margin and
space between paragraphs with correct composition, grammar and spelling coupled of
course of the knowledge of the law principles and its application to the given set of facts
responsive to the issue or question at hand.

The examiner will be looking and expecting for the following from your answer:

1. Proper understanding and appreciation of the facts, particularly of the components or details that can
be material in resolving the given problem;
2. Appreciation of the applicable laws that may come into play;
3. Recognition of the issues posed;
4. Resolution of the issues through the analysis and application of the law to the given facts; and
5. Presentation and articulation of answer.

In essence, your answer should clearly indicate:

1. the relevant facts;


2. the applicable law;
3. your analysis; and
4. your conclusion.

To expound it further, a Bar examinees answer should clearly demonstrate:

IDENTIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM

Your answer should demonstrate your ability to identify correctly the problem(s) and issue(s) of law
presented in the question. Your answer should demonstrate your ability to articulate and classify the
problem presented, that is, to state it in a lawyer-like fashion and to place it in its proper category or
categories of doctrine.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW

Your answer should demonstrate your knowledge of legal principles and your ability to repeat them
accurately on the examination as they relate to the problem presented by the question. You should state
concisely the principle(s) and rule(s) governing the issue(s) presented by the question.

APPLICATION AND ANALYSIS

Your answer should reveal your capacity to reason logically by applying the appropriate rule or principle to
the operative facts of the question as a step in reaching your conclusion. This involves making the correct
preliminary determination as to which facts in the question are legally important and which, if any, are
irrelevant.

The line of reasoning that you adopt should be clear and consistent without gaps or digressions. This is the
most important element in your answer and, therefore, carries the most weight in the grading process.

CONCLUSION

You should address yourself to the task that the question asks you to perform. For example, if the question
calls for a specific conclusion or result, such conclusion should clearly appear in your answer and should be
stated concisely and without equivocation.

An answer that consists entirely of mere conclusions unsupported by any statements or discussion of the
rules or reasoning upon which it is based is entitled to little credit. Clarity and conciseness are important,
but make your answer complete. Do not volunteer irrelevant or immaterial information.

ARTICULATION

Articulation is expressive of the following basic fundamentals: good language, impressive presentation,
logical reasoning and substantial background knowledge of law and procedure. Impressive answers
showing the candidates reasoning faculty is what the examiners want to read in your examination
notebooks.

Your answer should demonstrate your ability to analyze the facts presented by the question, to select the
material from the immaterial facts, and to discern the points upon which the question turns. It should show
your knowledge and understanding of the pertinent principles and theories of law involved and their
qualifications and limitations. It should demonstrate your ability to apply the law to the given facts, and to
reason logically in a lawyer like manner to a sound conclusion from the given premises.

You must also be aware that the Bar questions are not all case or situationer problems. There are other
types of Bar essay questions you ought to know so you will be able to prepare and answer them properly in
case you encounter one. The usual types of Bar essay question are enumerated below:

1. Enumeration;
2. Distinction;
3. Definition;
4. Reason behind the law/concept/principle; and
5. Case Problem.

CASE PROBLEM

This type comprises an average of 80 90 percent of the questions in every subject, hence, it is imperative
that you are well-versed in answering the same.

Given that you know already the law; that you know how to apply it to the set of facts; that you write legibly
enough; left you with one problem that is how are you going to present or articulate it in an impressive
manner.

A ready outline or structure of your answer will tremendously help you to answer faster without missing an
important part. By constant practice in answering this type of question with the outline/structure in your
mind, you will be amazed how it easy for you to start outright and tackle the question and come up with an
impressive answer.

Below is the suggested outline/structure of your answer for a case/situationer problem question:

1st Paragraph Positive/Negative/Qualified Answer

2nd Paragraph Applicable Law/Jurisprudence

3rd Paragraph Correlation of the Law/Jurisprudence with the Facts of the Case

4th Paragraph Conclusion (this may be part of the 3rd Paragraph)

Okay, you already have an outline but isnt it boring for the examiner to read in your answers the same
words or phrase at the beginning of your paragraphs? For example you will use these words in every answer:
the contention is untenable; the law provides; therefore. The examiner will spot this and might not be
impressed to you at all which will result to a lesser points.

You will agree that the hardest thing to do is to start. We want that the first sentences or paragraph we will
write will impress the examiner and more often we cannot find the right words to start. Would it be easier
if just like the outline you have already a pool of words waiting to be used?

Knowing First Liners or introductory words will greatly help you to quickly and smoothly string your
thoughts and effectively convey your answers. The following first liners or introductory words can be used
interchangeably to begin every paragraph of your outlined answer.

The following Useful Introductory Lines are mostly taken from the article of Atty. Rey C. Tatad, Jr. with
the same title.

ANSWERING IN THE POSITIVE

1. The petition is meritorious.


2. The contention has legal basis.
3. The case will prosper.
4. The argument is proper.
5. The provision is perfectly applicable.
6. The action is tenable.
7. The motion should be granted.
8. The Judge is correct.
9. The petition is impressed with merit.
10. Yes. It is a (i.e. patent violation) of the
11. There is merit in the petition.
12. The petitioners contention is sustainable.

ANSWERING IN THE NEGATIVE

1. The decision is not in accord with law and jurisprudence.


2. The decision is erroneous.
3. The contention is totally misplaced.
4. The doctrine of.. does not apply in this case.
5. The petition is not meritorious.
6. The evidence presented deserves scant consideration.
7. The contention has no legal basis.
8. The argument is bereft of merit.
9. The petition is devoid of merit.

10.Petitioners/Respondents/Complainants/Plaintiffs/Defendants/Accused reliance on the (i.e. doctrine


of) is inappropriate.

11. It is a futile gesture on the part of the respondent to invoke the rule on
12. The theory/argument has no ground to stand upon.
13. The contention has no leg with which to stand on.
14. The position of the petitioner runs counter with the doctrine of
15. The case will not prosper.
16. The case is not tenable.
17. The act of the accused in is of no moment.
18. The assertion lacks substance.
19. The (i.e. respondent) cannot rely on (i.e. mere alibis) to aid his cause.
20. The court cannot countenance the (i.e. inconsistent postures of the petitioner)
21. The testimony that, cannot be given credence.
22. The evidence presented has no probative value.
23. The allegation is belied by the fact that
24. To put it otherwise would be to render the law on _____________

useless/futile.

25. The actuations of the accused in (i.e. fleeing and hiding) negates (i.e.

innocence)

26. While it is true that _______________ is a (i.e. constitutional guaranteed right

of a person), it does not, however mean

27. It is not correct to say that


28. It is not proper to state that
29. It is not accurate to conclude outright that
30. A contrary conclusion would erode the rule that provides in part that
31. To sustain the contention would be to render the law on ____________
nugatory.

32. It would be absurd and incongruous to sustain the argument that


33. It is not enough that
34. The fact that is immaterial since
35. The fact that is irrelevant since
36. In itself, mere is not sufficient (i.e. to warrant conviction).
37. The petitioner cannot give any additional meaning to the clear and plain

language of the law.

38. The Supreme Court, in several cases, has struck down the (i.e. defense of alibi)
39. The attendant circumstances of the case are contrary to the petitioners

assertion.

40. The evidence does not support the theory of the petitioners.
41. There is no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of the (i.e. Court of Appeals)
42. The claim for (i.e. moral damages) must necessarily fail.

ANSWER THAT REQUIRES QUALIFICATION

(But if the facts are complete in itself, do not attempt to add facts or assume anything.)

1. We must distinguish. If (or As far as the __________ is concerned)


2. It depends. If(or As far as the __________ is concerned)
3. The question requires a qualified answer. If
4. I will qualify. If
5. On the assumption that
6. My answer must be qualified.

CITING LAW PROVISIONS

1. No less than the (i.e. 1987 Constitution) provides for the


2. The (i.e. Rules of Court) substantially provides in part that
3. Under the broad principles of (i.e. due process clause)
4. Under the all-encompassing doctrine of (i.e. incontestability clause)
5. Under the law
6. According to the (i.e. Family Code)
7. The law is explicit on the matter.
8. The law explicitly expresses in part that
9. By express provision of law,
10. By operation of law
11. As a matter of law
12. Worth remembering is the rule on _______________ which provides in part that
13. Decisive on the matter is the pertinent provision of the (i.e. Law on

Property)

14. The law prescribes certain rules on


15. By legislative fiat

QUOTING SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

1. The Supreme Court in one case, had the occasion to rule that
2. In a long-line of cases decided by the Supreme Court, it has always been

(consistently) held that


3. In a litany of cases decided by the Supreme Court,
4. In a long-string of cases decided by the highest court of the land,
5. According to several cases decided by the Supreme Court,
6. In a series of cases decided by the Supreme Court,

* Do not use the words series, litany or long-line if there is only one

decision/jurisprudence for that topic.

7. In one case decided by the highest court of the land, it was held that
8. In one case, the Supreme Court ruled that
9. It has been said that
10. In a recent case, the Supreme Court has laid to rest the issue of whether or not
11. It is well settled in this jurisdiction
12. It is well settled in this country
13. The Supreme Court has steadfastly adhered to the doctrine which states

that

14. In a case with similar facts, the Supreme Court ruled that
15. In several notable Supreme Court decisions, the highest court declared that
16. The Supreme Court has often stressed that
17. In the landmark case of _____________, (if the case is so famous) the

Supreme Court laid down the doctrine which substantially provides that

18. In the leading case of


19. As enunciated by the Supreme Court in one case,
20. The court has repeatedly ruled
21. A case in point is a case already decided by no other than the highest court of the land, where the
Supreme Court held that
22. There is likewise an array of cases in this jurisdiction where the Supreme Court has consistently
declared that
23. Deeply rooted is the jurisprudence which provides that
24. In one case, the Supreme Court was emphatic when it ruled that.

EMPHASIZING CASE DOCTRINES / JURISPRUDENCE

1. It is hornbook doctrine in (i.e. Civil Law) that


2. Immortal is the rule that
3. Well settled is the rule
4. Well entrenched is the principle that..
5. Elementary is the rule that..
6. The cardinal rule in (i.e. labor law) is that
7. It is a familiar canon in (i.e. political law) that
8. By well settled public law
9. Basic is the rule in (i.e. Criminal Law)
10. It is an elementary principle in
11. It is a fundamental doctrine in
12. Well accepted is the rule that
13. It is axiomatic in (i.e. Civil Law) that
14. Enshrined in the 1987 Constitution is the rule that (i.e. no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process of law)
15. Consonant with the rule on
16. It is a recognized doctrine in (i.e. Civil law) that
17. It is a basic tenet in (i.e. Commercial Law)
18. Consistent with current jurisprudence
19. It is a legal presumption, born of wisdom and experience, that
20. It is an oft-repeated rule that
21. The Philippines adhere to the principle of

REFERRING BACK TO THE CASE

(correlating the facts with the law/jurisprudence)

1. Applying the said law/doctrine in the instant case,


2. From the facts given, noteworthy is the
3. From the facts of the case, it is readily observable that
4. In the instant case, it may be observed that
5. It is crystal clear from the facts presented that (i.e. the crime of treason) is present (or was committed).
6. In the present case, it is immediately noticeable that the element of

__________ is wanting (or lacking).

7. Under the circumstances, the proper remedy would be


8. The case obtaining indicates a case of (i.e. B.P. 22)
9. It logically follows
10. It goes without saying
11. Even assuming arguendo, for the sake of argument that
12. The situation in the case at hand
13. The situation presented evinces a case of
14. The facts sufficiently indicated
15. In the given facts, it is immediately apparent that
16. It is evident that
17. In the same token
18. Under the facts stated in the problem,
19. In the case under consideration,
20. Worth stressing is the fact that
21. Worth emphasizing is the fact that
22. The facts would reveal that
23. A careful perusal of the facts of the case would reveal that
24. A careful scrutiny of the actuations of the accused would reveal that
25. A careful reading of the (i.e. Deed of Absolute Sale) would reveal that
26. A cursory examination of the

CONCLUDING WORDS

1. From the gamut of evidence on hand, it can be gathered/deduced that,


2. Taken all together,
3. Finally,
4. Hence,
5. Therefore,
6. From the foregoing, it can be deduced that there is really (i.e. a violation of)
7. From the foregoing, it is now safe to conclude that.
8. Lastly,
9. Consequently,
10. As a necessary consequence
11. The logical implication is that
12. At any rate,
13. In view of the foregoing,
14. As an inevitable conclusion,
15. In the light of the circumstances,
16. Undoubtedly,
17. Indubitably,
18. Clearly, the case at hand falls squarely within the purview of
19. Verily, he/she has committed
20. For this/these reason/s, it is unavoidable to conclude that
21. Based on the facts obtaining,
22. In this light,
23. This being the case
24. Clearly therefore, applying the aforecited ruling in the case at hand,
25. In light of the foregoing, it is beyond cavil (doubt) that,
26. There is no doubt that
27. To the unprejudiced mind, the actuations of the three, when analyzed and taken together, leads to no
other conclusion except that (i.e. conspiracy

among them existed)

28. Inescapably, therefore,


29. All things considered,
30. It follows therefore that
31. As a logical result
32. In sum,..
33. In view of the fact that,
34. All told,
35. Given the prevailing facts
36. Having stated the foregoing premises,
37. One final point,
38. Accordingly,

Using the outline and the first liners above, make a format or model of your answer and use what you
deem is applicable in a given question. You may make your own models as many as you want but it is
suggested to have at least 10 models. Here are some examples (taken from my 2007 Bar Tips to NEU and
INC Bar Examinees):

No/Yes. He can/cannot..,

The law provides that/The Supreme Court has held in a line of cases

In the case at bar..

Hence..

Xs claim is not meritorious, hence the case should be decided against him

According to the law/The Supreme Court, in many cases, has ruled that.

Based on the facts of the case

Therefore/Consequently . . .

The. . . . is proper/tenable/untenable

It is a well settled rule/As provided for under the

Moreover . . ..Hence/Therefore

Under the provisions of RA/Constitution/Law/Statute. . . .

On the problem at hand..,..Consequently


On the other hand.

As such it should be ruled

ENUMERATION

The real secret in remembering the matters contained in an enumeration is the use of keywords. Make your
keywords on enumerations you consider important. Never leave a blank in an enumeration! However, if
you use the letters a, b, c, etc. for numbers in the enumeration, so much the better. Ten to one, the examiner
may not count his fingers. Make the first four in the enumeration definitely good.

If you can enumerate all, write it in bulleted or numbered form to highlight the fact that you know all of
them and for more convenient-reading

purposes.

1.

2.

3.

If you cannot enumerate all, write it in paragraph form so that it would not easily be noticeable that you
missed something.

1. In capsule form, the following are the elements of the crime of _______
2. In a nutshell, the following are the elements of the crime of _________
3. The following elements are generally considered in the determination of

the presence of (i.e. employer-employee relationship)

4. Among the (i.e. defenses/remedies) available to (i.e. Mr. X) as provided for by/in the (i.e. Civil Code)
are:

(1)

(2)

5. The following are the requisites for


6. In order that a case for (i.e. B.P. 22) to prosper, the following elements must be attendant/present:
7. To constitute (i.e. homicide), the following requisites must concur:
8. (i.e. Legal compensation) requires the concurrence of the following conditions:
9. To establish a persons culpability under (i.e. estafa), it is indispensable

that

DISTINCTION

When being asked to distinguish, do not state its definition. If you give its definition, you are in effect asking
the examiner to extract out the differences of the two [or more] from your definition. Do not also give their
similarities. You are asked to differentiate and contrast, so similarities are not included. The number of
distinctions you will give must also be proportionate on the points allotted for such. If it is only worth two
points, do not give 8 distinctions. The examiner cannot give you 8 points for that. For a two point distinction
question, perhaps, three would be enough (four is not too much).

1. The (i.e. two) may be distinguished from each other in the following

ways:

a.

b.
2. In the first, it is necessary that there be.., whereas in the second it is sufficient that there be .
3. In the former, while in the latter
4. The former requires while the latter
5. on the other hand ______________ is

DEFINITION

1. ________________ is a comprehensive term used to describe _______.


2. _________________, in its generally accepted sense, refers to .
3. It is a safeguard and guarantee provided by the 1987 Constitution..
4. It is a kind of relief granted to a ______________ by the
5. ________________ is a branch of public law (or private law) which deals with..
6. It pertains to
7. It connotes a .
8. is a doctrine in (i.e. Civil Law) which refers to
9. is a principle in (i.e. Criminal Law) which states that
10. It presupposes
11. Its principal identifying feature is..
12. It is akin to
13. The function of which is to
14. The office of which is to

REASON BEHIND THE LAW/CONCEPT/PRINCIPLE

1. The purpose of the law is


2. The law is designed to
3. It is intended to shield
4. It is primarily aimed at protecting ____________ from unwarranted ____
5. The rationale behind the law is
6. The spirit of the law is to the effect that

ADDITIONAL TIPS ON HOW TO APPROACH BAR ESSAY QUESTION

1. Finishing is the key. Many fail the Bar exam because they dont finish the exam. They spend so much
time on an early question that they cant finish the later ones. Or they work on all of the questions at
once, but without finishing some or all of them. Either way, these Bar candidates are writing too
slowly, and it costs them their ticket to a law license. Focus on one question at a time. Dont bother or
think of another question while answering one.

2. Budget your time according to the number of questions and length of problems. Check the point
percentage allocation for each question. This will be your guide on how much time you will spend for
a question. Of course, you will devote more minutes to questions with a big or higher percentage (i.e.
5%; 10%) than questions with a minimum point percentage (i.e. 1%; 2%).

3. Set a time schedule. Its easy to waste time by getting carried away by a single question or by getting
stuck on a question thats giving you trouble. Make a general allocation for each question and adjust
the time depending on their percentage weight. Monitor your pace so that you stay calm and will be
able to answer all questions on the exam.

4. If the question is lengthy, read first what is required at the bottom of the question. By doing this, you
will be able to determine what facts do you need and what facts are immaterial. This will save you time
from re-reading the question. You can also start formulating your answer in mind while reading the
question, thus, it will be easier and faster for you to write your answers since you are already guided
by your earlier analysis. It will also minimize errors and erasures.

5. Be reminded that one of your tasks while preparing for the Bar exam is to become an expert fact
pattern reader. So what do you do if you arent very good at reading facts? You need to experiment
with different ways to get better at reading facts. Practice answering past Bar questions as many as
you can. Analyze the suggested answers and take note how the answers used the facts in the problem.
Remember, you wont get all the possible points if you dont understand what the Bar examiners are
asking you. You must become an expert fact reader in order to write a complete exam answer.
6. Before answering, formulate on your mind what will be placed on your first, second and third
paragraphs. Mentally apply your outline. The first paragraph normally contains a one-sentence direct
to the point answer to the question. The second paragraph commonly contains legal basis (provision
of law in point, jurisprudence, co-relation of the jurisprudence/provision with the facts of the case and
application). Third paragraph normally contains the conclusion. When you are already decided of your
answer, write it according to your thoughts. In this approach, you will not only be avoiding
unnecessary revisions and erasures, you will also maintain the cleanliness of your booklet. Bear in
mind that, a dirty booklet is irritating to the eyes of the person checking the same.

7. Use logic or common sense when you do not know the answer. Ask the question, What is the best
solution or resolution for this case? or If I were the examiner how do I want the question answered?
Do not just guess, make a smart guess. Your best guide is to think what is most just and equitable since
these are the purpose any law seeks to achieve.

8. If you really have no idea on how to answer a really difficult question, or a borderline case, or you do
not know what the answer is, the use of inverted pyramid of answering question may be helpful. This
may be done by inverting the usual answer format. Initially, present your knowledge of the law and/or
jurisprudence, then make your smart guess. With this, you may be able to show or convince the
examiner that you know something about the issue but you were merely incorrect in your conclusion,
you may get a credit for your answer.

9. Number your answer accordingly. Dont make the Examiner search for your answers. Make your
answer look professional. Dont use textspeak and dont abbreviate. Answers which look professional,
are well organized and which use paragraphs and indenting where appropriate make the Examiners
job easier.

10. An answer to one question in one problem requires a separate page. Answers to sub-questions may be
presented continuously in a page separated by space/s. It is suggested, however, that even answers to
sub-questions be presented on separate page, unless your answer is very short, so that in case you
want to change any or in case you have missed a sub-question, you can still insert your answer in the
remaining spaces of the page.

11. Dont submit your test booklet too early. Theres no prize for early finishers. Budget and utilize all the
time allocated for you to: (a) compose good answers; (b) review your answers; and (c) write legibly.

12. Practice, practice, practice. Practice is vital to your success in the Bar exam. You must get used
answering Bar essay questions. The only way to know if you can (or if you know the law) is to practice.
Answering Bar questions regularly will help you learn the law as well as become a better tester. There
are many sample bar exam essay questions and answers available on the internet. You may also find
the Q&A published by the UP Law Center helpful.

13. The key to success in any endeavor is preparation. Familiarity with the structure of the essay questions
and how you respond to them will go a long way in alleviating your anxiety on test day. You job is to
practice the approach weve just outlined so that it becomes so automatic by exam day that you move
from one step to the other without missing a beat.

14. At least twice during your bar prep (ideally four), do a simulated Bar exam day. Do a mock version of
it. The key is to practice under conditions similar to the actual Bar examinations. This will make you
mindful of time constraints and more comfortable when you approach the real test, the Bar exam.

15. Finally, PRAY!

The task ahead of us is not as great as the Power behind us.

May the Force be with you!!!