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Dear Brods,!
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9 April 2014!

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Congratulations on graduating from law school! Like me a year before, you are now one
step closer towards becoming the person you have dreamed all your life (or at least, for the past
four/five years) - to be an Attorney-at-Law. The Bar Exam is yours to conquer! As the person
you mentored you, I am proud to see you take this most important step towards achieving that
dream. !

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Since I can no longer dispense advice on a daily basis, I hope this rather lengthy guide
to taking the Bar will suffice. I answer the most common questions you have asked me, and
reduce to writing the other points I have given you verbally. It is divided into three sets of
questions - During Bar Review, the Month Before the Bar Exams, and 3) The Bar Exam Month. !

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For your consideration. !


Good luck! Utopia Fight!!
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Brod Joseph D. De Jesus!


Lawyer, Brother, and Friend for Life!

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1.
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PART I:!
During Bar Review Season!

How do I approach the Bar Review season?!


I will say this repetitively all throughout this guide: !

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THERE IS NO FIXED RULE FOR PREPARING FOR THE BAR EXAMS. !


Your mindset, your strategies, and your study program will depend on a careful
assessment of your personality and study habits, and an honest appraisal of your
four years of education in law school. !

Be very honest with yourself as to what you can or cannot do. The bar review
month is not a time to indulge in reading every single material that comes your
way. It is also not the time to do leisure reading. !

HOWEVER YOU PREPARE FOR THE BAR, APPROACH THESE SIX


MONTHS WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY. TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE.!

FAIL TO APPROACH THE BAR WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY, AND YOU


RISK LOSING A YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.!

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Nevertheless, let me tell you frankly:!
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WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH THE FOUR WEEKS OF THE BAR EXAMS IS
NOT YOUR SIX MONTHS OF REVIEW, BUT THE FOUR YEARS YOU SPENT
IN LAW SCHOOL.!
I fought my way through the whole bar month by invoking the concepts and
principles I had memorized, understood, and mastered in law school. Much of
what I read throughout the six months, I could not recall. !

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The six months you have is simply your opportunity to REVIEW everything you
encountered in law school. It is not the time to learn everything all over again. Six
months may seem like a lot of time right now, but in the blink of an eye, itll be the
night before the bar exams. Time flies that fast. !
The good news is that you are not starting from scratch. You already know 80%
of the Bar Coverage, and you just have to recall it all again in time for the exams. !

Keep this formula in mind when planning your schedule:!

20% OF YOUR TIME SHOULD BE SPENT FOR REVIEWING THE 80% YOU
ALREADY KNOW. !

80% SHOULD BE SPENT ON STUDYING THE 20% YOU WINGED OR DID


NOT COVER DURING THE FOUR YEARS. !

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2.
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If you winged your way throughout Law School, adjust the proportion to a
60-40 distribution.!
THE BAR EXAM IS MORE OF AN EMOTIONAL RATHER THAN AN INTELLECTUAL !
HURDLE. THUS, LEARN HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS.!
Remember that it is impossible to know everything and master everything in six
months. Learn how to handle disappointment when you are forced to revise your
schedule, when you try to answer a sample exam questionnaire and you come
out with the wrong answer, and when others discuss matters you have no freakin
idea about. !
How many readings should I do?!
You can do five, four, three, two, or even one - there is no set formula. The rule of thumb
is:!

! EAD AS MUCH AND AS REPETITIVELY AS YOU CAN UNTIL IT STICKS IN YOUR !


R
!HEAD.!

! hen I assessed myself, I realized that I was strong in the morning subjects - Poli,
W
Rem, ! Comm and Civ. I was weak in the afternoon subjects - Labor, Tax, Crim, and
Ethics. So, I ! only did one reading each for the morning subjects, and at least two
readings for the afternoon subjects. In fact, I did three readings for Criminal Law. I also
read original cases for Tax. !

! lease note that one person can do five readings (as CLV recommends) and yet still fail
P
!the bar exams. Another person even did not complete one reading, but still passed. !
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!A person can brag about reading 300 ++ pages in one day, but could not recall a single !
!thing. Another person can read only up to 50 pages a day, but he knows and
remembers every letter of what he read. !

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!It all depends on your ability to process and store the information you read.!
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Nevertheless, here are some rules of thumb:!
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a. Set a personal quota for the day, whether 50, 100, or 200 pages. To me, 100
pages, at 8 hours is optimal. The next day, go through those pages before you
begin to move forward. That way, you reinforce your learning daily. By the time
you get to the end of a book, you would have read it three times.!

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b. While keeping up with the pace of your batch mates is fine, its not foolproof. If a
friend or batch mate needs three readings to master the material and you need
only one, then he is no less than you, and vice versa. Just check with one
another, but dont be pressured to get ahead or along with their pace. !
c. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO READING THE CODALS. IT IS YOUR FAILSAFE
MATERIAL AND IF YOU MASTER IT, I GUARANTEE YOU, YOU WILL PASS
THE BAR.!
d. MASTER THE LAW, AND NOT THE MATERIAL. In short, do not master the
Bernas Reviewer, master the constitutional principles enunciated therein.!
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e. PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE INTRODUCTORY PRINCIPLES OF
EVERY SUBJECT. THEY WILL SAVE YOU WHEN YOU DO NOT RECALL THE
PARTICULAR LAW OR RULE IN ANSWERING A QUESTION. For example, in
my criminal law bar exam, I answered a question by discussing the differences
between the classical and the positivist school of criminal law. A lot of difficult tax
exams can be answered by an understanding of the lifeblood theory, the
benefits-protection principle, etc. I answered a labor law question by invoking the
principle in remedial law that technical rules of procedure are not applicable in
labor cases. I PASSED. !
f.

MAKE A LIST OF POWERLINES" PER SUBJECT, AND MASTER THEM


WITH PRECISION. By Powerlines, i mean certain fundamental doctrines in
jurisprudence which you should be able to state with full clarity and precision in
your answers to the bar questions. Your ability to invoke them clearly is
impressive, and most likely, the examiner will give you full points as opposed to
always stating the doctrine in your own words. They give the examiner the
impression that you know your law. !

Sample power lines:!

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Powerline

Punchline

It is well-settled that certiorari is not a substitute


for an, as it lies only to correct errors of jurisdiction
and not errors of law, which are the proper subject
of the latter.

Certiorari lies only to correct grave abuse of


discretion, not errors of law.

"It is basic that technical rules of procedure and


evidence suited for judicial proceedings are not
applicable in labor cases. Therefore, labor cases
can be decided on the basis of affidavits and
position papers.

In labor cases, technical rules of procedure are


not required because they can be decided only
with the use of affidavits or position papers.

Well-settled is the rule that once a party consents


to an undertaking, he is bound to all the
consequences of complying with his obligations in
good faith.

Once a party consents, he must do all that he can


to fulfill his obligations to the other party.

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3.
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Both statements express the same point, but who do you think creates a better !
impression? List those doctrines down and be ready to invoke them with full !
conviction. !
g. THE BAR EXAM IS ALL ABOUT GENERAL RULES AND EXCEPTIONS, NOT
ABOUT EXCEPTIONS TO EXCEPTIONS. THERE IS NO NEED TO USE VERY
COMPLICATED MATERIAL. !

What materials should I use?!


Be guided by my answer to the preceding question. That being said, this is the ideal
formula:!

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!Bar Review Months:!
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ONE or TWO REVIEW BOOKS PER BAR SUBJECT + ONE


COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWER + CODE!

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Pre-Week:!
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CODE + RED BOOK / COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWER + AUDIO LECTURES


(WHEN YOU CANT BRING YOURSELF TO READ) + RECENT
JURISPRUDENCE!

There is only so much you can read in six months. !

AVOID PHOTOCOPYING THE WORLD. GET NEW MATERIALS ONLY WHEN


YOU HAVE MASTERED THE ONES YOU INITIALLY ACQUIRED.!

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I violated the above rule, and I ended up spending more than Php 20k for a lot of
materials which I eventually gave out to people. I also wasted so much time
hustling to and from Blessings to get materials I never even highlighted. The hour
or so you spend waiting at Blessings could be spent mastering the material you
already have. !

For your guidance, however, here are the materials I used (note the subjects I marked
as Unli-CODAL):!

Subject

Books

Reviewers

Pre-Week Reviewer

Political Law

Bernas Primer; !

Agra Admin, Public


Officers, Election Law
and Pubcorp
Reviewers; !

Jack Jimenez Recent


Jurisprudence
(2010-2012); !

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Jack Jimenez Political


Law Compendium; !

Sarmiento PIL Reviewer Candelaria PIL Outline;

Jack Jimenez Poli Law


Pre-Week Lecture
Recordings (Tips to!) !

Beda Red Book (BRB)


or Glenn Tuazon Notes
(GT)
Labor Law

Civil Law

Abad Compendium on
Labor Law; Chan Bar
Reviewer on Labor Law
Jurado Civil Law
Reviewer (be wary of
typos, and overturned
doctrines, but still, very
very useful); !

Marlon Manuel
Powerpoint Slides;
Marlon Manuel Lecture
Recordings

Chan-Pre Week
Reviewer; or!

Zuniga Sectrans
Reviewer

Albano Recent
Jurisprudence!

BRB or GT

BRB or GT

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Paras Pre-Week
Handbook; !
Unli-CODAL
Taxation Law

Mamalateo Reviewer on
Taxation (be wary of
outdated rates and
correct them, but still,
the sample questions
are golden); !

Tax I and II Originals (in


my case)

Mickey Ingles Reviewer


(since this is updated,
use this to correct
Mamalateo rates); !

Ortega Lecture
Recordings on
Remedies and VAT
(from Baste)

Domondon Star Notes


or !

BRB or GT

Commercial Law

Sundiang Reviewer on
Commercial Law; !

Jack Jimenez
Transcripts and Jack
Jimenez Pre-Week
Perez Quizzer and
Lecture Recordings
Reviewers (this is highly (Tips to!)
recommended - put
them together and its
like a Jurado of sorts for
commercial law)

Jack Jimenez
Jurisprudence
(2010-2012)!

Boado Notes of the


Revised Penal Code
(No need to read his
SPL Book); !

Ramon Esguerra
Jurisprudence Updates!

Criminal Law

BRB or GT

GT

Reyes I & II (If you


really suck at crim like
me); !

Unli-CODAL
Remedial Law

Riano Civpro, Crimpro,


and Evidence; !

Magdangal De Leon
Provrem, SCA and
Specpro Notes

Unli-CODAL
Ethics

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5.
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Antiquierra Comments
and Cases on Ethics

Albano Recent
Jurisprudence!

GT
Beda Reviewer;

Codal

Should I just study on my own, or should I study with other people?!


For your first reading, study on your own first, and STUDY SLOWLY. When youre done
with your first reading, feel free to study with others, especially by September. HINDI
PWEDENG KULONG KA ALL THE WAY, UNLESS IKAW SI JAKE TABORA AT ALAM
MO NA ANG LAHAT. !
Should I keep watch for rumored examiners?!
TOTAL BS. ITS A MONEY-MAKING SCHEME. TO ILLUSTRATE:!

Subject (2013)

Rumored Examiner

Actual Examiner

Tax / Comm

Dimaampao

Bunag (BROD!)

Crim / Comm

Esguerra

Blancaflor (BROD!)

Poli

Not Esguerra

Esguerra

Civ

Not Dimaampao

Dimaampao

KUNG AYAW MONG MANIWALA SA KIN, BAHALA KANG MAG-SAYANG NG PERA


KABIBILI NG LIBRO NG RUMORED EXAMINER.!

6. Which Bar Review Program is the Best? !

Here are the PROS and CONS of the Major Review Centers:!

BASTE:!

Pros: For 14k, you get a copy of all lecture notes, Mock bar exams is only
for P150.00, with discussion after. Good line-up of Profs, and Barrister
service is great. !

Cons: Library sucks. !

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ATENEO:!
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Pros: Great Venue.!
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Cons: Everything else.!
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UP:!
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Pros: Cheap enrollment fee, cheap food options, great and refreshing
place for those who love greenery.!

Cons: Ang layo sa Makati.!

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CHAN ROBLES:!
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Pros: Access to all review lectures and materials via the Chan Robles
Bar Review site, so you can study in the comfort of your home.!

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Cons: The Philippines has the worst and most unreliable broadband
speed in the world.!

BEST DEAL GOES TO: BASTE.!

7. Should I attend all the Bar Review Lectures?!


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NO. Attend only those lectures for those subjects you are weak at. In fact, dont attend at
all if you feel it will be a waste of your time. BUT ATTEND THE PRE-WEEK
LECTURES. !

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8.
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Where should I study?!


WHERE YOU FEEL YOU WILL BE ABLE TO BEST STUDY. !
! ou can study at the LSAC (if thats your thing), at coffee shops (if you can afford !it), !
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at the library (with the very noisy and inconsiderate law students), or at home (if you can

handle the monotony). In my case, I left the country to be away from distractions. The
money spent was worth it. !

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Rule of Thumb: !
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STUDY AT SCHOOL WITH OTHERS AS THE BAR MONTH APPROACHES. YOU


NEED TO ENGAGE IN DISCUSSION WITH OTHER BAR REVIEWEES.!

9. How long should I study?!

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IDEALLY, 10-12 HOURS A DAY.!


OPTIMALLY, 6-8 HOURS A DAY. TREAT IT LIKE A 9-5.!
RESPECT YOUR WEEKENDS. YOU NEED IT TO AVOID BURNOUT.!

10. Everything you said earlier can be summed up by saying Its up to you. But really, is
there any set of principles/goals I should keep in mind?!

In an ideal world, I would have done the following things: !

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1. Do at least three readings (read - repeat - master) for all subjects.!


2. One review book, one comprehensive reviewer, and UNLI-Codal.!
3. Take a mock bar exam after completing every subject, and get feedback regarding
the way I answer.!
4. Studied on my own for the first four months, and went out into the world only during
the last two.!
5. Avoided studying on the night before the exam.!
6. Match my prayers with the corresponding hard work (Nasa Diyos ang Awa, nasa
Tao ang Gawa").!
7. EVERYTHING I HAD PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, PARTICULARLY THOSE IN
ALL CAPS. !

See you in Part II.!