Bar examinees are now allowed to keep reviewers in their laptops for "any last-minute studying" on the day of the 2020/21 Bar Examinations set next month, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
In its revised rules on the use of laptops during the Bar exam proper, the Supreme Court said the reviewers should be saved in the local folders of the examinees and not downloadable from their clouds.
"Once done with the security and health check, examinees may open their laptops to access their files for any last-minute studying," it added.
Examinees are also allowed to review their own files during lunch breaks, the Supreme Court said.
All reviewers and other law-related files should be closed 30 minutes before the first bell rings, which will be at 7:30 a.m. for the morning session and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon session.
The Supreme Court earlier advised bar examinees to organize and offload their law-related files into external devices before taking the Bar exams. They were also prohibited from using their laptops other than to use the testing software Examplify during the test proper.
Despite the relaxed policy, the high court advised examinees not to attempt any form of cheating.
"Trying to access files during the test proper is a futile effort and a violation of the Honor Code," it said.
Examinees are still prohibited from connecting to the internet at all times, except for downloading questionnaires and uploading answer files, the Supreme Court said.
"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," it said.
"Anyone who will be caught violating these rules will be automatically disqualified from the 2020/21 Bar Examinations and future bar examinations," it added.
The 2020/21 Bar Examinations are set to take place on Feb. 4 and 6, and will have a reduced coverage in consideration of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.
The Supreme Court earlier announced that due to the "extraordinary circumstances" posed by the pandemic, the 2020/21 Bar Exams would break away from the tradition of announcing top 10 passers and would instead recognize all examinees who will record "exemplary performance."