Supreme Court

More than 11,000 examinees in the 2020-2021 online bar examinations will know their testing sites on or before Oct. 24, barring “technical issues” in the Supreme Court’s (SC) Bar Personal Login Unified System (BarPLUS).

The SC, through the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC), could have determined the examinees’ individual testing site last Oct. 20 but BarPLUS, an SC-developed online application system, encountered some technical issues.

The online bar examinations will be conducted by the Supreme Court (SC) in 29 testing sites all over the country on Jan. 16, 23, and 30, and on Feb. 6, 2022.

The examinations had been originally set for next month, November, but the SC had to reset the tests “after considering the COVID-19 situation nationally and in all the testing sites, as well as receiving advice from various experts….”

The Bar Bulletin issued for the SC by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, chairperson of the 2020-2021 bar examinations committee, also stated:

“In view of some technical issues in the BarPLUS, the Venue Matching Module shall close on Oct. 24, 2021, Sunday, subject to further extension if the technical issues persist. This supersedes the original Oct. 20, 2021 deadline….

“We reiterate that venue matching shall not be on a first-come, first-served basis. The system will process all choices simultaneously. Earlier submission of venue choices shall not gain priority over the available slots in the local testing centers. All bar candidates will be given the opportunity to choose their local testing centers within the appropriate period.

“All queries regarding the selection of local testing centers should be directed to the Office of the Bar Confidant at”

The SC had decided to conduct the bar examinations in several testing sites all over the country to lessen the expenses incurred by examinees. Bar exams had been traditionally conducted only in Manila.

The tremendous increase in the number of examinees was attributed to the postponement of the bar examinations in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the holding of the tests simultaneously with the 2021 examinations.

In 2019, a total of 7,685 law graduates took the bar examinations; 8,158 in 2018; and 6,748 in 2017.

For the 2020-2021 online bar examinations, there will be no announcement on 10 topnotchers but those who get a weighted average score of 85 per cent will be recognized for exemplary performance.

The SC said that aside from recognizing exemplary performance of examinees, it will have a list of law schools ranked from the most to the least number of passers among first time examinees, and a separate list ranked from those with the most to the least number of examinees recognized for exemplary performance.

The SC’s decision is a departure from the traditional policy that 10 topnotchers are announced simultaneously with the release of the results of the bar examinations.