Statistics on the 2014 Bar Examinations
by Thads Bentulan
Why luck is a huge factor in essay type
After each bar exam, if you survey examinees to comment on the bar questions. Among their responses would be: “Of the topics covered in the Bar Review, only 10% came out.”
This reveals their frustration about over-preparation yet only 10% came out. Is this comment valid?
My opinion? Their sentiments are reasonable but they got the percentage wrong.
The topics that come out is less than 10%, more likely, less than 1% of what the Bar Review covers. Yes, only 1% come out.
Look at Civil Law alone. There were 30 questions in the 2014 bar, but it is very possible to have about 5,000 questions on the ten law school subjects (yes, ten) under the umbrella of Civil Law. That’s 30/5,000 =0.6% only.
And of that 0.6%, you are required to have “20-year expert level” of mastery not merely “fresh graduate” level. Finding a needle in a haystack is utterly easier than passing the bar!
That’s why leakages, and knowing the “favorite questions” of Bar Examiners are extremely unfair advantages that could spell victory or disaster to entire legal careers. You have to be lucky that the topics in the 30 questions are the ones that you have “mastered.”
Please note that I have the used the word “mastered.” If you have not mastered the topics in each of the 30 questions, say goodbye to your lawyerly dreams. Why? Each of those questions are written by experts and can be answered only by experts.
The bar questions over the years are questions which do not ask for your “foundation of basics” but for your “mastery of the exceptions” and the “exceptions to the exceptions.”
There is no way that a “bare knowledge of basics” will get you over the bar. No way. You have to be an expert to get 75% in the bar. Even law professors would have difficulty getting that 75%.
Thus, the candidate has to be lucky to answer, (perfectly!), 23 out 30 questions (75%). Perfectly! Who can get perfect answers? Will the examiners give perfect scores for each question?
Unfairness of Manila-based Examiners
It would be safe to say 100% of the examiners are based in the NCR. Once their identities are revealed, advertently or inadvertently, either by the examiner himself to his frat or alma mater contacts, or revealed by his or her spouse or relatives, there is the obvious temptation to yield to pressure.
And then there is the “not-so-obvious reason” of unfair advantage due to “inheritance exams.”
By inheritance exams, I mean this. Once you know Examiner’s identity, you will spend all your bar ops team’s efforts in digging up copies of his old exams as a professor over the last 20 years. Each professor has his own favorite angle and this will show in his exams.