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MESSAGE FOR THE 2020/2021 Bar Examinees

Warm greetings to you, our dear future Rizalian Lawyers. I hope you are all in good health. You are nearing the end of your long, long, long, long, long journey. Congratulations (in advance)!

Through the 2020/2021 Bar Examinations season, you have been flooded with words of encouragement from your families, friends, legal luminaries, and other legal practitioners. On top of them all is your own #BestBarEver Bar Chairperson, Justice Marvic M.V.F Leonen, who gently reminded you to “Stop posting” your notice of admissions “in any form (Facebook, Twitter, et al).” Oh, that’s a different quote. What I wanted to retweet is “Dear Bar Examinees, Chill. Do. Not. Panic.”

I believe the foregoing is sufficient for you, but, allow me, your fellow Rizalian, who, back in 2019, was a Bar reviewee, an aspiring lawyer, just like you, to join with the well-wishers and shower you with encouragement, and maybe a few pre-week tips.

It is less than a week ‘til your bar exam on February 4, so let me start with an experience I recorded on my handy journal around a similar time before the 1st day of the 2019 bar exam, viz:

“Less than a week before the bar exam, and I am experiencing bouts of dizziness. I cannot study well.

In the past week, my body felt so heavy. I cannot read for long hours. I feel lightheaded. I am worried.

I am worried about not finishing my review. Worried about flanking the subjects, particularly political law because I haven’t reviewed well for this.

But, despite all these, the Lord is giving me strength.

The Lord is reminding me to trust in Him. That is my weakness, He is strong. That His faithfulness will see me through.

I can do this with God.

I can even top the bar with God.


I can’t, but He can.

He can, and He will. Through Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.”

I shared this to remind you that you may be battle-weary, but you are far from defeat! You may be physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially exhausted, but the 2020/2021 Bar is yours for the taking!

While you are still in the tunnel, believe that God will see you through.  Believe that whatever you reviewed thus far whether or not you covered everything in the revised syllabus, is enough, more than enough for the February 4, and February 6 exams. Your faith will be rewarded, in whatever form that reward may be, which I pray and hope, is your name in that list of 2020/2021 Bar Examinations passers, your name in the roll of attorneys this 2022.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

- Isaiah 41:10 (New Living Translation)

As I close, let me share that every bar journey is unique, but yours is definitely one heck of a ride: First, you are reviewing in the middle of a pandemic (which comes with a lot of repercussions which I need not state); Second,  you experienced several exam schedule postponements (three times at that, taking almost a two-year run); and Third, you are the first-ever batch to have a “fully digital, but localized Bar examinations,” leaving your law school “handwriting” training to naught.

There are many other reasons, but probably the most dreaded of it all is that you are the first batch that needs to pass a test prior to the bar exam proper, the ANTIGEN test. To this I say to you, peace is still, leave the results to God. Your pre-week is stressful enough (and yes, I will not forget, your  “pre-day,” the first batch to have a “pre-day.” What in the world!). Let go of what you cannot control, and control what you can #Tonitalks.

To close my long long long story, may I tell you that I personally believe that you are smarter than most lawyers now. If I throw any legal question at you, surely you can catch it and answer correctly, if not, refer to your notes, on a specific page, or your recorded lectures. As it is, you can go and apply for a lawyer position, but rules require you to pass the bar first. #Sadlayp.

To actually end, here are some practical pre-week tips:

  • Have a pre-week/pre-day schedule (enough to cover all the exam subjects) and stick to it;
  • Run through your codals;
  • Supplement your readings with pre-week/pre-day materials, master your notes. Read whatever you can, given the time.
  • Read “Last minute tips,” if you have any. Last minute tips helped me a lot. But be discerning.
  • Though the Bar bulletin did not require a specific form to answer the questions

For case-based questions: Follow CRAC (Conclusion, Rule/Legal Basis, Analysis/Application, Conclusion). As Justice Leonen tweeted, “Prove that you are a lawyer”. CRAC/CREAC is one of the formats, along with IRAC, that lawyers follow in their pleadings. But make your paragraphs are short. I do not know how Examplify works, but in traditional bar exams, i.e., answering in an exam booklet: 5 or 6 words per, 5 or less lines per paragraph. 

For definitions: answer directly in one paragraph.

For enumerations: Provide a one-liner statement to introduce your enumerations

Having a uniform format in your answers, having a clear system of answering, will aid the examiners in checking your answers. Be kind to the examiners.

  • Answer all the question. Otherwise stated: Do not leave any question unanswered.

  • Review your answers over and over as long as you have time for a particular subject.

  • Lastly, this may sound “controversial”, but pray for a “divine leakage.” In more appropriate term, pray for wisdom. Many are the probable topics for exam questions, so tap on the one who already saw the exam questions, God, to direct you to read specific topics that will probably appear in the exams.

  • Try to sleep. Take Bath. Stay healthy.

  • Re-read your Bar bulletins, make sure that you observe all the instructions relative to the conduct of bar exams.

  • We (I and other Rizalian lawyers) are here for you if you’ll need other bar specific tips, or advice.

This is where I will actually end. I experienced my first ever terrible “vertigo” (A sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning) on the first day of exams. Particularly during the labor exam (got a rating of 78% for this subject). Just letting you know. Unpredictable things may happen during your exams. Keep your peace. Pray. Finish that exam.

I am with you in believing that JRU Law school will have a 100% passing rate in this 2020/2021 Bar examinations. I am believing for yet another momentous, and historic event for our dear alma mater. But in the end, not our will, but God’s will be done.

God bless everyone. Flunk that antigen test!

“We shall see your name in the Roll!”

All the best,

Atty. Rhowee Buergo

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