THE SUPREME Court (SC) has moved the bar examinations to January from November to prevent coronavirus transmissions, it said in a bulletin posted on its website on Tuesday.

The tribunal did not extend the application period for the exams.

Bar exam chairman Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen said magistrates reached the unanimous decision “after considering the COVID-19 situation nationally.” The court also received advice from experts.

The bar exams would now be held on Jan. 16, 23, 30 and Feb. 6. The preparation schedule for the exams would be followed, including the selection of bar applicants of their venue.

Mr. Leonen reminded bar applicants to treat the postponement as an opportunity and to “keep your momentum.”

“Remember that you study not only to pass the bar examinations but also, so that you will best serve others,” he said. “Study well, purposively and with passion.”

The High Court postponed the 2020 bar exams amid the pandemic to Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28 this year.

It also approved a digitalized, localized and proctored mode of exams, where examinees must bring their own WiFi-enabled laptops. Handwritten exams will only be allowed for those who have a physical disability that bars them from taking the exams using a computer.

Last month, Mr. Leonen said the High Court was working with an inter-agency task force to also prioritize bar applicants for coronavirus vaccines.

Court spokesperson Brian Keith F. Hosaka said it was unlikely for the court to require testers to get vaccinated first. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago