Starting next academic year, aspiring law students will be required to take the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT) before they can be admitted to any law school.
This is according to a memorandum issued on December 29, 2016, said the Legal Education Board, in a statement on Friday.
The target date for the first PhilSAT exam to be administered is April 16, 2017, in 7 sites around the country:
- Baguio City,
- Metro Manila,
- Legazpi City,
- Cebu City,
- Iloilo City,
- Davao City, and
- Cagayan de Oro City.
They hope to let students register for the exam by March, LEB Chair Emerson Aquende told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.
There will be an examination fee not exceeding P1,500—this amount is not yet final, however, as the LEB expects to determine the final computation by the end of February.
This coming school year (2017-2018) will be the pilot year for the exam, so law schools will still be allowed to enroll students in Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor programs who do not meet the passing score of 55 percent, the LEB said.
Schools will not be allowed to enroll students who did not take the PhilSAT.
“Not all law schools really have an exam. Some have a so-called ‘open admission’ policy, that is why we are implementing a uniform test,” said Aquende.
Schools can, however, ask potential students to take complementary exams, if they want, as the LEB does not want to curtail academic freedom.
“The PhilSAT exam is essentially going to be multiple choice. What they can do is to have other exams to supplement it, such as testing the ability to write in English through an essay exam…or conduct na [a] panel interview,” Aquende said.
According to LEB Memorandum Order 7, the PhilSAT is a one-day aptitude test intended to measure the academic potential of an examinee pursuing the study of law.
It will test a potential student's communication and language proficiency, critical thinking skills, and verbal and quantitative reasoning.
Those qualified to take the PhilSAT include holders of a 4-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent, and those expecting to gain one at the end of the current school year.
Honor graduates granted professional civil service eligibility, who are enrolling within 2 years from their college graduation, are exempted from taking the PhilSAT. Those exempted from the exam will have to submit a civil service recognition to the LEB.
All law schools are required to comply. If they don't, they will be subject to sanctions, or a fine of up to P10,000.