Brief History of The Bar Exam


About The Bar Exam

The Philippine Bar Examination is the professional licensure examination for lawyers in the Philippines.
It is the only professional licensure exam in the country that is not supervised by the Professional Regulation Commission. The exam is exclusively administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines through the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee.

Brief History

The first bar exam was held in 1900, with 13 examinees, while the 2008 bar examination is the 107th (given per Article 8, Section 5, 1987 Constitution). The 2001 bar exam had the highest number of passers—1,266 out of 3,849 examinees, or 32.89%, while 2006 had the highest examinees -.6,187. However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines' Office of the Bar Confidant announced that (a new and official record of) 6,533 law graduates will take the 2008 Bar examinations.

The most notable was the 1999 bar examinations which recorded the lowest passing rate of 16.59% or with a total number of 660 successful examinees. Also, the 2003 bar exam was marred by controversy when the Court ordered a retake of the Mercantile law due to questionnaire leakage. In 2005, the High Tribunal implemented the "five-strike" rule, which disqualifies five-time flunkers from taking future bar exams.