MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will allow examinees to keep reviewers in their laptops that they will be using for the Bar exams, according to an advisory released on Monday.
“Examinees are now allowed to keep reviewers in their laptops, which should always be saved in their local folders and not downloadable from their clouds,” Bar Exams chairperson Justice Marvic Leonen said in Bar Bulletin no. 35.
In previous bulletins, Bar examinees were advised to organize and offload their law-related files into external devices before taking the Bar examinations. They were also prohibited from using their laptops other than to use Examplify during the test proper.
The new bulletin allows examinees to access their files on the laptop for any last-minute studying once done with the security and health check.
Examinees may also review their own files during lunch breaks.
“In any event, examinees must close all reviewers and other law-related files 30 minutes before the first bell (7:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.) rings,” Leonen said.
The SC reminded examinees that they are responsible for the safekeeping of their laptops and it will not be liable should they spill anything on their laptops or do any damage that might render their laptops unusable for the succeeding exam.
“Examinees shall also not be allowed to avail of the back-up computers should such a situation arise,” it added.
The SC also said that talking to other examinees is prohibited, as well as sharing their computer screens or files.
“Silence and physical distancing will be strictly enforced,” it said.
“Those who will violate this rule may face disciplinary action,” it added.
The high court likewise advised examinees not to attempt any form of cheating even with the relaxed policy.
“As those who have completed the sample exams already know, Examplify is a secure delivery program, designed to prohibit examinees from exiting the application once the test proper has begun,” it said.
“Trying to access files during the test proper is a futile effort and a violation of the Honor Code,” it added.
Examinees are still prohibited from connecting to the internet at all times, unless authorized.
“Attempting to connect to the internet while inside the premises of the local testing center, other than to download the examination file and to submit the answer file shall be considered cheating,” the SC said.
The high court also reminded examinees that they are “absolutely prohibited from using their laptops for social media once they enter the premises.”
It also reiterated previous Bar bulletins that the bringing of iPads, tablets, or other gadgets is prohibited and will be confiscated by security.
Leonen warned that no second chances will be given to anyone who will be caught violating the rules.
“Any form of cheating will not be tolerated. Anyone who will be caught violating these rules will be automatically disqualified from the 2020/21 Bar Examination and future bar examinations. No second chances will be given for any breach of the Honor Code,” he said.
Leonen earlier urged Bar takers to strictly observe health protocols and go on quarantine before the exams.
Fully vaccinated examinees are required to undergo only one antigen test within 48 hours before the first examination.
“Those who will test positive under the antigen test shall be required to comply with the guidelines of their local testing center’s local government unit,” Leonen said.
Unvaccinated examinees, on the other hand, will be required to present negative nasal or saliva RT-PCR Test results taken within 72 hours before the first examination. Information about testing will be received through email by each examinees.
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 shall still be required to undergo an antigen test or RT-PCR test before the first examination.
Examinees who present a positive test result but have since recovered from COVID-19 up to a month before the first Bar examination day shall be required to present an affidavit stating under oath that they are considered by the local government units as a “recovered” case and they have completed the required isolation period.
“Any false statement shall be cause for outright disqualification,” Leonen said.