Bar Exams to Have a “Pass or Fail” System

The Philippine Bar Exam is one of the most awaited assessments every year. Marvic Leonen, Supreme Court (S.C.) Associate said that he is looking to modify the way of admission to the Philippine Bar Exam. He said that he looks to propose a pass or fail system of the Philippine Bar.

Leonen pitching for a pass or fail system for the Philippine Bar
This image was taken from Yahoo! News Philippines |

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What is a pass or fail system?

A pass or fail system, based on its term, is a system that would distinct exam takers and just see whether they pass or fail. No scores to see which bar examinee got a better score; no more comparing of scores. So, there will be just two (2) results: either the taker passes or the taker fails.

Leonen said that he wants to somehow “reasses” or “rethink” the way on how the Philippine Bar exam goes. Since Leonen is the one to Chair the upcoming 2020 Philippine Bar Exams, he wants to really see the competency of all soon-to-be attorneys.

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It’s time that we rethink why we continue to maintain the status quo and whether this is the role which we should take within our current society, full of injustice, full of inequality, wanting social justice.”

Computerized Bar Exams

In addition to his proposal for the Bar Exams to have a pass or fail system, he also said that it would be a benefit if the Philippine Bar is computerized. Why? So that the assessments could be done and taken at the same time in various regions in the country.

Should the pass or fail system get approved by all Justices of the Supreme Court, bar examinees will be given the result whether they pass the bar exam or they fail.

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This simpler method is effective in comparison to the current method where examinees get to know their scores and see who has the highest score. With the pass or fail system, everything is simpler and more efficient.

Bar Examination History

If you will look at it, Leonen is really pushing for the simpler bar examinations for bar examinees. All of the things he is proposing is for the benefit of bar exam takers.

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To add to those, Leonen also said that he will immediately be proposing the uploading of previous bar questions and answers. He said that he will be discussing this with his colleagues and hopes to get the nod in giving “all bar questions and suggested answers submitted to us during the past 40 years in the Supreme Court website, searchable in the PIO’s (Public Information Office) web page.”

Why is Leonen pushing for these proposals?

Although Leonen refused to disclose his reason for these, he said that all intelligent lawyers want the bar exam to be simple; in fact, it is an exam which will assess the qualification of lawyers-not to see who will have the highest score.

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Any intelligent, coherent justice will want the bar to simply be a qualifying exam. It is not an exam to find out the most brilliant of lawyer, it is only an exam to add into our ranks those lawyers that deserve to practice.”

In his turn to Chair the 2020 Bar Exams, Leonen said that the pass or fail system would be reasonable and simpler than what bar examinees have experienced in the past.

He said that these reforms and changes are their own in terms of being justified. He said that he won’t be giving his reasons why he is eager to push for these changes.

These reforms have their own justification and I don’t think that this is the time that I will give my reasons. Suffice it to say given any forum I will be wiling to explain these justifications.”

What do you think of the pass or fail system for the Philippine Bar? Would this give drastic positive changes on how practicing lawyers are chosen? Can this have a huge impact on the saving of resources in choosing the future attorneys of our country?

1 thought on “Bar Exams to Have a “Pass or Fail” System”

  1. Status Quo.
    Changing the Bar exams to make it easier would be unfair for those who have taken it and are either too broken in spirit to retake it or too old.

    Hence, may I reiterate to follow the Status Quo.


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