March 3, 2024

On Dec. 5, 2023, the Supreme Court has released the names of successful examinees for the September 2023 Bar examinations. It was the first time that the result of a Bar examination is released on a December.
Traditionally, the result is released in March or April. Not this year. Tradition was abandoned for expediency although many thought that releasing the result on a December spells doom, especially for those who failed. Surely, it will be a gloomy Christmas for them. On the other hand, it will be the happiest Christmas for those who passed.
Aside from the month when the result was released, the past Bar examinations have seen an evolution of the qualifying test. It used to be that in taking the Bar, all examinees will have to travel to Manila since the Bar was only held there giving a distinct edge to those who are based and studied in Manila. It gave them better odds of passing since they needed no adjustment.
No wonder that in the past, most who topped the Bar were students from Manila. Now, the Bar has been decentralized and several cities outside Manila have been deputized to be the site of the examination. This change was made possible due to the development of technology. And, no other can be more thankful than the examinees who are based outside Metro Manila.
Despite the changes introduced in the venue and schedule of the Bar examination, one thing is constant. Regardless of when and where the test is held, it is most appropriately accompanied by pomp and festivity before and after the examination. Whole streets are closed to traffic and the atmosphere outside the venue is more like a basketball championship than a qualifying examination where schools whose graduates are taking the Bar cheer and jeer.
Then, the result is anticipated with fervor. A week before the result is published, there is excitement everywhere as if a prophecy is about to be fulfilled. Well, for those who pass, it shall but not for those of fail. Those who do not even hurdle the test feel the world collapse on their shoulder. Some even commit atrocious acts as if the world is coming to an end. They can always take the Bar examination a second or third or even a fourth time yet, there is nothing like the first.
Why is it that the Bar examination is so special compared to all other qualifying examinations? And why is it that is the only qualifying examination that is named differently? It is called the Bar while all others are called board examination. Is it really that those who pass are a cut above the rest?
In the recent Bar examination, we were told about the tales of fantastic accomplishments by those who passed and tales of sadness from those who failed.
For instance, what can equal the joy that was shared by the 62-year-old government employee who aced the Bar? What can be a more resilient story than the 75-year-old teacher who, after taking the Bar three times, made it? What can be a more successful tale than the security guard who persevered and attained his dream of becoming a lawyer?
On the other hand, what can be more devastating than the candidate who contemplated taking her life because she failed? What can be sadder than the candidate who had to sell all her belongings to finance her studies only to flunk?
There are many more stories, that are worthy of praise or sympathy, that are no longer told because they are too many to relate. Be that as it may, these are what make the Bar examination special and compelling.
Indeed, the Bar depicts the different stories of real people with whom we can easily relate with. It tells stories of success and failure, of victory and defeat, of joy and agony. It has all the elements of a drama only that, it is for real.