You’ve probably nursed an age-long dream of becoming a lawyer as you were growing up. Fortunately, taking that big leap is extremely possible!
But what exactly is the PhiLSAT? And why do you need it to pass before you can get to law school when this exam didn’t even exist before 2017?
Where did PhiLSAT come from?
The Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT) is a one-day aptitude test that was established by the Legal Education Board (LEB) to assess any aspiring law student’s overall academic ability to pursue the course. It happens twice a year, with one every April another every September.
Before the PhiLSAT was established in 2017, law schools were allowed to admit students under various circumstances, as long as they already had an undergraduate degree.
According to LEB Chair Emerson Aquende in a 2017 interview, some law schools required entrance exams, while others followed ‘open admission’ policies, hence the demand to create a more “uniform exam.” Since then, the PhiLSAT has become a national qualifier for any student who wishes to become a lawyer.
During its initial year, the PhiLSAT had an easier transition for its applicants, where students were still permitted by law school deans to enroll, even without meeting the 55% cut-off grade. But after the implementation of LEB Memorandum No. 18 in 2018, law schools in the Philippines are no longer allowed to admit students without a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
Fortunately, the PhiLSAT is not as rigorous as the Philippine Bar Exam. But your overall performance in the exam is crucial if you still want to get into a good law school!
Who can take the PhiLSAT?
You can opt to take the PhiLSAT as long as you are any of the following:
- Someone who has completed a four-year bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) in any recognized higher education institution in the Philippines;
- A student from a four-year bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized higher education institution in the Philippines, who is set to graduate on the same school year the PhiLSAT will be held;
- A graduate from a foreign higher education institution with a degree equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree, as mandated by the Commission on Higher Education.
Exemptions are made for honor graduates who are also granted civil service eligibility, as long as they are enrolling within two years of their graduation. So if you’ve graduated summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude during your college years, you only need to present a certificate of recognition to the LEB.
What are the requirements?
Of course, before you can get your hands on the test, you’ll need to have the following requirements before you can register:
- A valid email account;
- One unretouched 2×2 photo of yourself with a white background, taken within the last six months, which must be in JPG or PNG format;
- P1,000 testing fee, which is non-refundable;
- One passport (if you’re a foreign applicant).
How can I register?
Before anything else, you’ll need to register online by creating an account.
From there, you’ll be prompted to fill out a registration form, along with a Student Information Questionnaire. Once you’ve filled both up, you’ll be asked to select your mode of payment, be it via credit card or bank deposit. Pay your P1,000 testing fee via your chosen payment method on or before the deadline for registration.
Once you’ve done this, wait for an email that will confirm both your registration and your payment. Your email should also contain a printable copy of your PhiLSAT ID; print that out and bring it on the day of your exam.
Where do I pay?
If you opt to pay via credit card, you’ll be taken to the BPI SecurePay website, which will guide you along the process until your transaction has been successfully made. Take note that all major credit cards can be used.
In case you intend to pay through over-the-counter bank transactions, you may do so by filling out the following on your deposit slip:
Account Name/Merchant’s Name: Center for Educational Measurement, Inc. (CEM)
CEM’s BPI Account No.: 1881-0450-24
Policy/Plan/Reference No.: (reference number on your PhiLSAT ID)
Policy/Plan holder’s Name: (your full name as indicated on your PhiLSAT ID)
Give your deposit slip to the bank teller along with your payment, then keep a copy of the deposit slip for reference. Expect to receive an email confirming your payment within two (2) business days since your transaction.
How do I get my examination pass?
Once you’re done with the application process and settled your payment, make sure to check the PhiLSAT Online website two weeks before the exam. Your test site and room assignment should be found on the Room Assignment option in the website, which is important since it also contains your PhiLSAT Examination Pass. Download and print your PhiLSAT Examination Pass; you’ll need to bring it on the day of the exam.
In the event that your room assignment or your PhiLSAT Examination Pass is unavailable, contact the PhiLSAT Secretariat as soon as possible.
How do I prepare for the exam?
Now that you’ve completed all these things, here comes the next step: the exam!
First of all, make sure you’re in the venue of your exam before 7 AM. Once your documents have been processed by the CEM, make sure that you’re in your testing room before 7:15 AM.
Also keep in mind that you are not allowed to leave the testing room at any point during the exam once the test starts, so make sure that you’ve already used the restroom before taking the exam!
What items should I expect in the exam?
The PhiLSAT is a one-day exam that is mostly composed of multiple choice, with each category lasting for three hours. Expect the PhiLSAT to test your communication and proficiency in communications and language proficiency, critical thinking, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.
Communications and Language Proficiency quizzes your ability to identify grammatical errors, along with your ability to insert the right choice of words in any given sentence.
Critical Thinking tests your analytical skills, along with your ability to draw conclusions out of any given piece.
Verbal Reasoning tests your ability to understand any given text and derive conclusions based on whatever is presented to you.
Take note that the passing grade for the PhiLSAT is 55%, but some law schools prefer law students with a higher percentage rate, so best to aim higher than the passing grade.
What attire should be worn?
Any comfortable attire is preferable, though it highly depends on the testing site, since some rooms might be warmer or colder.
What should I bring?
Make sure to bring all the following requirements on the day of your exam:
- Valid school or government ID (e.g. passport, driver’s license);
- PhiLSAT ID Form, which must also have your signature;
- PhiLSAT Certification Form
- For college graduates, you may opt to bring this or your Certificate of Graduation issued by the school.
- For graduating college students, you can either bring this or your Certificate of Candidacy to Graduate, which you can get from your school.PhiLSAT Examination Pass (download it from the PhiLSAT website two weeks before the exam)
- PhiLSAT Examination Pass (download it from the PhiLSAT website two weeks before the exam)
- Pencils (preferably No. 2 or HB) and erasers
- Transparent plastic envelope (for you to place your files and/or valuables, such as cellphones and wallets)
- Your PhiLSAT Examination Pass and Certificate Forms are especially important since they will be collected by the exam watchers, so make sure to have them ready!
Also take note that the exam watchers will also verify your ID on the day of your exam, to ensure that you really are the person who’s taking the exam. They might also ask for your signature and take your photo on the spot to make sure that you’re the same person who’s taking the exam.
What items are not allowed during the exam?
You’re not allowed to bring certain items during your exam, particularly:
- Books and other printed material
- Electronic devices (e.g. tablets, smartwatches, MP3/4 players)
- Recording or photographic devices (e.g. cameras, voice recorders)
Certificate of Eligibility and Results
Once you’re done with your exam, the only thing you’ll have to worry about are your test results!
There are two ways to retrieve your PhiLSAT result: through electronic copy and print.
If you pass, you’ll be able to get your PhiLSAT score in the Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which is what you need for admission in any law school. Three copies of your COE will be mailed to the address you’ve placed on your PhiLSAT ID Form 45 days after your exam. Your COE, however, will only be given to you or to any authorized representative, who has to present a valid ID, along with a photocopied form of your valid ID and a signed authorization letter.
But if you haven’t reached the passing grade, your Certificate of Grades will only be sent through your email instead.
You may also access your test results online, which you can retrieve after 21 days since your initial test. Check your grade on the Test Results link (found under the Online Options menu on the CE website) for you to view. You may also download your results, but note that the downloadable version can NOT be used for admission purposes. The results are there for you to figure out what law schools you can apply for and determine whether or not you should retake the test.
Overall, the road to law school is a tough one and is definitely not for the faint of heart. But the result is incredibly fulfilling once you’ve reached the finish line! So once you’re done with the PhiLSAT, get started by picking your law school at Edukasyon.ph!
Philippine Law School Admission Test Online Registration System. (n.d). Retrieved on November 22, 2018 from https://www.philsat.com.ph/