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What Philippine Bar Review Course Is Best For You

Updated: Jan 13, 2020

By: Jez Charlemagne Arago

At the close of every school year, law graduates, as well as those who are planning to re-take the Bar exams, try to figure out what review course will work for them. Aside from the traditional review classes, reviewees may also opt for online review classes, avail one-on-one coaching, or a combination of these three. The cost and the schedule are not the only factors to consider in choosing a review course. Before enrolling, a reviewee must also consider his or her study habits and identify his or her strengths and weaknesses and the areas which need improvement.

Barrista Solutions made a roundup of the review courses available and which review centers offer them to help you in your Bar exam journey.

Traditional Bar Review Classes

Majority of the Bar Review Centers offer the traditional Bar Review Classes. Traditional review classes are held in review sites where lectures are held in a room of reviewees. When the subject is confusing, reviewees may ask questions to the lecturer during the break or after the class. Lecturers usually answer these questions by addressing the whole class for everyone's benefit. Some of the prominent review centers which offer this course are Albano Bar Review Center (ABRC) and Legal Edge Review Center.

ABRC has review sites in different parts of the country. They can be found in Baguio, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Manila, ensuring that one can have the same quality review wherever he or she is in the Philippines. For the 2019 Bar exams, the following are the tuition fee for ABRC’s pre-bar review program:

Handouts are also included in the tuition fee in all these review sites.

Legal Edge, on the other hand, offered three (3) packages for the 2019 Bar exams. The following are the Legal Edge Bar Review Packages:

Aside from the Bar lectures, Legal Edge also has codal rehash in between lecture sessions to help their reviewees remember the most important provisions of the law on each subject. Reviewees, through a group chat, also receive case doctrines of covered cases every morning for the duration of the review until the last Sunday of the exams.

A day in a month is also allotted for the Bar Exam Trial (BET), which simulates the actual Bar exams. The recent review followed the two-examiner rule where the reviewees were given two booklets for each subject, in preparation for the new rule on the conduct of the Bar exams set by the Supreme Court. These BETs are made and checked by their chosen examiners who are expert in the particular Bar subject. Assessment on the reviewee’s performance on the BET is also sent to each reviewee’s e-mail address two to three weeks after each exam.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Bar Review

As the traditional Bar review is a classroom type of review, reviewees will have no problem adjusting as this is just like any other class in law school. The only difference is that the classroom is bigger, with more people sans recitation. Reviewees may interact with their lecturer and even ask questions when they are having a hard time understanding the subject matter. They can also record the lectures and listen to them afterwards.

However, traditional Bar Review is not for everyone, especially when a reviewee is living nowhere near a review center. Going to and from the review center could be a problem considering the traffic situation in Metro Manila. Review lectures usually start early and coming late to lectures means missed topics. This review course is also not applicable to those who have full time job while reviewing as they have to skip work if they want to attend a weekday lecture. Moreover, as the Bar review season is held during the rainy season, typhoons and monsoon rains could also be a challenge since few hours of heavy rains cause flooding all over the metro.

Online Review Classes

Online review classes are most suitable for those who cannot attend the traditional review classes. It is the best option for those who have full time jobs because they can access the lectures wherever and whenever it is convenient for them. Those living in the province can also benefit on this review course for they do not need to stay in Manila to have a quality review. However, there are very few review centers which offer online review classes, among them are Chan Robles Internet Bar Review and the Ateneo Bar Review Program.

Chan Robles Internet Bar Review is an online review center where each reviewee is given an account to view the lectures and access the review materials. As early as now, Chan Robles accepts enrollees for the 2020 Bar exams. The following are the pre-bar review rates of Chan Robles:

Regular Review Rate (after December 31, 2019)- PhP13,500

Early Bird Rate (on or before December 31, 2019)- PhP12,150

The regular pre-bar review program of Ateneo allows their reviewees to live stream the lectures. With live stream lectures, reviewees can listen wherever they are, while it is being conducted at the review site. For the 2019 Bar exams, the tuition fee for Ateneo Pre-Bar Review program is PhP 39,200. This covered the pre-bar and pre-week, with one set of Summer Reviewer and Pre-Week Notes. Click here for more details.

Pros and Cons of Online Bar Review

Convenience is the purpose of the Online Bar review. All that a reviewee needs is a computer and a stable internet connection to access the lectures of the legal luminaries anytime and anywhere. With online Bar Review, a reviewee need not worry about waking up early, traffic jams and typhoons. He or she can also replay the lectures as many times as he or she wants until the subject is truly understood.

But this review course is not suitable for those who live in places which have poor internet connection. It will also be hard for a reviewee to be enlightened on unclear topics as there will be no interaction with the lecturer.

One-on-one Coaching

One-on-one coaching is an interactive mentoring where one will learn how to present his or her answers, in form and in substance. Coaches will check not only check the accuracy of the answer; they will also focus on the presentation.

With one-on-one coaching, the words used, the application of legal terms, the margins, the handwriting, the spacing between each letter and between each word and even the stroke of every letter and their sizes are all checked to make sure that a reviewee is ready for the Bar. Legal Edge and Jurists Bar Review Center are among those which offer one-on-one coaching.

Legal Edge introduced the Bar Exam Trial On the Spot (BOTS) or their one-on-one coaching to help their 2019 Bar exam reviewees. They initially offered it to only 100 enrollees for PhP 5,000. BOTS is a whole day activity scheduled few days before each BET, focused on improving the answering style and pointing out what other changes must be made by the reviewee before taking the BET.

Legal Edge employs the following process in making sure that enough attention is given to each BOTS enrollee:

  • Reviewees must answer two questions given by the coach before the scheduled coaching;

  • On the day of the coaching, the coach will discuss with the reviewee his or her answers to the questions and help the reviewee improve the answering style;

  • Reviewees are also given additional questions to be answered while others are having their one-one-one coaching session; and

  • The coach may either discuss the answers to the additional questions during one-on-one session or with the whole class.

Jurists’ one-on-one coaching, on the other hand, is included in their every package, whether it be the classic (traditional) or the online bar review. The coaches base their assessments on the mock bar submitted by the reviewees.

Below are the processes followed by Jurists in their one-on-one coaching:

For Classic Bar Review

  • Reviewees must take the mock bar on-site on the scheduled date and time;

  • Reviewees must write in their booklet their preferred coach; and

  • Two weeks after the mock bar, reviewees will have a face to face coaching with their chosen coach.

For Online Bar Review

  • Reviewee must take the mock bar at the scheduled date and time as those enrolled in the classic Bar review;

  • Answers must be sent to the Jurists’ email address; and

  • Two weeks after, the coach assigned by Jurists will email back the reviewee with comments on the reviewee's answering style.

Pros and Cons of one-on-one coaching

One-on-one coaching is highly recommended for every Bar reviewee. This is to make sure that every mistake during the Bar review is corrected come Bar exams. However, a Bar reviewee must make sure that he or she has properly plotted his or her schedule and allot a day for every coaching session. This is crucial as every day and every hour of a Bar reviewee is precious. One must not sacrifice his or her reading day for the coaching session and vice versa.

Combination Review Course

Combination review course offers both the traditional and online review with one-on-one coaching in one review course. This is for those who prefer going to the review site but also want to listen to the lecture just whenever they want. As of now, only Jurists Bar Review Center offers a combination review course which they call as Combo Review.

In this review course, the lecture is recorded while it is being conducted in the review site and uploaded in the Jurists portal. The access, like any other online review course, is through an account given by Jurists to their enrollees. However, the video recordings are not immediately uploaded after the lecture. The reviewee must wait a few days before he or she can access the same.

For the mock bar, the reviewee has the option to take it either on the review site or online. The reviewee may opt to take on-site mock bar at first then online on the next.

As early as now, Jurists is already accepting enrollees for 2020 Bar Review. The following are the tuition fee for each review course that they offer:

All packages include the handouts, pre-week lecture and last minutes tips for each subject. Click here for more details.

Pros and Cons of Combination Review Course

The combination review course gives a reviewee the freedom to choose what kind of lecture will best suit his or her study habits and may switch from traditional to online any time.

This review course may be overwhelming because of the volume of materials available. But a reviewee must learn how to prioritize and use the platform which benefits him or her more. This is especially useful when the reviewee is cramming and cannot go to the review site.

With all this information about the review courses and review centers, we hope that we helped you narrow down your choices, and made it easier for you to prepare for your Bar exam journey.

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