I’ve been busy editing some ancient posts (from as far back as 2006) which had some broken links, no thanks I’m sure to the many site upgrades my blog server has gone through the years. (Now if only they could ensure that all previous links relating to blog posts update when their system does.. that would have not made it necessary to go to each and every post..)
I was pleasantly surprised by an e-mail from a young lady in Manila who reported these broken links to me. Thank you, Camille, for bringing this to my attention. I have tried my best to gather all previous posts related to law school and here’s an additional piece on your question on a one-month preparation for the law school entrance exam.
It took me awhile but I’ve managed to gather the links to as many posts as I can on the topic. Over the years, I have been asked at least once a year on the blog or in an e-mail about gunning for law school. I am also heartened that I have seen some of those names appear in the lists of successful Philippine Bar examinees which did me proud.
Let me just say, though, that my answers to questions of this nature fall more under the expression of “Been there, done that” and are by no means a claim to being an expert on the subject matter. Like the blogposts I have written here, they are my opinions and thoughts on the matter which I am happy to share, more so in answer to a question from someone who strays into my corner of the blogsphere. I am grateful to those who ask — and it is my hope that the things I write help someone in some way somewhere along the way.
Law admissions tests, like any other entrance exam are not really things you can study for. They are administered in such a way that they gauge what you know and do not know, and what your aptitude for certain topics or subjects are. The simpler way to put is if you don’t know it by the time you apply for the entrance exam, even a good guess will not land you the right answer. A guess, however, based on what you already know, will show that bit of knowledge that brought you to a right answer and will work in your favor.
My own personal preparation spanned more or less six months at least (it has been ages!), and I systematically worked through several word power books at least twice through. I didn’t monitor my scores but saw an improvement in my response time. My word association also improved. The brain works like a muscle in this sense — the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Even when you hasten a guess, it’s like training yourself to trust what is instinctive. It becomes instinctive because you learn to take the first thing that comes to mind. Which is where it goes back to what you already know.
I would do word power exercises on a structured basis — do them in the morning for half an hour, middle of the day, and end of the day again. EVERYDAY. I advise against sitting down for 8 or 10 hrs doing this, because you need to give your brain the time to absorb what you are learning. You will absorb more if you concentrate. In this case, quality works more than quantity given your time constraint.
Does it help to enroll in a prep class? Unfortunately, I have little experience in that department because even my Bar review consisted of a four-week pre-week review only. Not out of choice, but more out of the fact that I made up my mind to take up the Bar exams last minute, and only upon the insistence of my mom.
You have to think of what your answer will be to the elementary question of why you want to be a lawyer. I don’t know what question they ask for the essay portion these days, but if you have that first question figured out, you should be good. There is no right or wrong answer here. They are not really looking at the nobility of your aspirations or your dream — this is a way for the school to determine if you can write. The legal profession requires a lot of written opinions and documents. And one’s writing, the substance of it and it’s actual form on the paper (i.e., your penmanship), shows a lot about a person’s state of mind. If you cannot write coherently, you will have a problem with tackling exams on a regular basis because everything has to be explained. Besides, if you don’t have your heart in it, you will substantially diminish your chances of making it for want of passion.
Finally, on the day itself, you have to make sure that you are relaxed and confident, that you have your pens and pencils as required, and that you are going to sit in on the exam knowing you truly, truly want this. Determination and all the years you’ve been alive are your best tools on that fateful day. Do not be disappointed if you find that you guessed more than you were certain about your answers — again, even your guesses will depend on what you already know. You have to trust yourself in that respect. And of course, you have to pray.
One month’s preparation to me is sufficient. The fact that you’re thinking of taking the exam shows that you’ve already thought about wanting to be a lawyer. You’ll never know if you don’t try, and if you don’t quite make it the first time or in your school of choice, that might only mean you were meant to be somewhere else — maybe another school. UP said no to me, but Ateneo said yes. If Ateneo said no and someone else says yes, if your heart is into becoming a lawyer, go where you make it. I have a lot of friends who started in one school and ended up finishing in another. That did not make them any less the lawyers that they are now, just as those who didn’t pass the bar examinations the first time they took it are no less a lawyer compared to those who passed with one take.
It’s your dream, and it’s up to you to make it happen. I have heard of a young man still in high school who wants to be a lawyer some day but whose father is discouraging him from being one because according to the father, lawyers lie for a living. I beg to differ. More so when we look at how we often resort to lies, white or not, on an everyday basis. I wish I could say to that young man that he could be whatever he wanted to be. So Camille, if you want to go to law school in Ateneo, then by all means, go for it! Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.
Good luck! Thanks again, Camille..
Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.