Thursday, April 21, 2016

Statistics on the 2014 Bar (Part 1)

Statistics on the 2014 Bar Examinations
(Part 1)
 Thads Bentulan

If you obtained a grade of 79% in the 2014 bar examinations, what was your ranking? The Supreme Court does not tell you that, but the truth is, you ranked 85th place, among the top 3.06%, among the top 183 successful examinees out of the 5,984 who actually took the exams.

Now, that’s exceedingly impressive. Which is impressive - the score of the bar candidate, or the fact that we know his ranking details? The answer is: both.

Can you imagine being in the top 3.06% of what is probably the hardest bar examinations in the world? Yes, with a score of 79, you can claim to be a legal genius. Ah, yes, probably, this is the first time you ever heard of a ranking outside of the top 10. Yes, exactly right, you heard it here the first time.

In contrast, if you obtained 79% in the medical board exams, this grade would have been pathetic. See the difference in overall difficulty between the two post-graduate exams?

Look at your 2014 bar scores. Ah, you say you scored 80, and you want to know your ranking? First, I’m going to bet a peso that you didn’t get a score of 80. Why am I almost certain? Because only 114 examinees (1.91%) obtained a grade of 80.00 and above, and I don’t think you are one of those brilliant 114 out of all the 5,984. I bet you’re one of those exactly 5,300 who failed.

But you may ask, how did I know such ranking information? Probably, this is the first time in its 114-year history, since the first bar in 1901, that the statistical results is made available to an outsider. Continue reading if you want to know your rank.

In summary, originally, only 684 out of 5,984 (11.43%) passed the 2014 Bar Exam with a grade of 75.00 and above. And yes, you read it here for the first time, because the original success rate of only 11.43% was never publicly released by the Supreme Court. Yes, exactly right, you read it here the first time.

As had been the practice in recent decades, the Supreme Court lowered the passing grade from 75.00 to 73.00, thereby allowing an additional 442 (65% more) candidates to pass, totaling 1,126 (18.82%), one of the lowest in a decade. Think of this for the moment. The SC added, not 10%, nor 20%, nor 50%, but 65% more passers only to attain an upgraded success rate of 18.82%, the second lowest success rate in the last 14 years, next to 2012’s 17.76%?

In this article, I will compare some statistics between the Philippine and the American bar, between the bar and the medical board exams, and more detailed statistics of the 2014 bar exams results. Along the way, I will discuss why the 2014 bar exams was unusually difficult, and how algebra caused this distortion.  I will also discuss the pitfalls of the current bar exam format. And most importantly, I will share my discovery of the weakest link in the entire bar exam operational cycle that remains unrectified to this day, and may be have caused tremendous injustice to the examinees for over a century. As a sidelight, I will tell you what suggestion of mine was carried out in the subsequent 2015 bar exams. Overall, I will justify why the 2014 bar is the most physically exhausting, emotionally draining, and mentally exhausting exam in recent memory.

(End of Part 1)
- to be continued -

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6     Part 7     Part 8 

Part 9     Part 10     Part 11     Part 12     Part 13     Part 14     Part 15     Part 16