The first day of the 2020/21 bar exams will start on Feb. 4 at 1:50 p.m. instead of 2 p.m., the Supreme Court (SC) announced on Tuesday.

The 10-minute adjustment was made to avoid rush-hour overcrowding, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said in a bar bulletin.

Leonen said the adjustment was also prompted by the religious needs of one of the testing centers whose Sabbath starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

“Out of respect for the religious activities of the local testing center’s personnel and to avoid any conflict between the secular activity of the court, the best negotiated solution has been to move the afternoon examination earlier by 10 minutes for all local testing centers,” Leonen added.

Days two and three of the exams will not be affected by the schedule adjustment.

The SC has reduced the coverage and shortened the duration of the 2020/21 bar examinations.

It earlier said it was taking note of the situation of the 2020/21 bar examinees, who have been reviewing “for longer than all the other batches.”

The 2020/21 examinations will be composed of four sets: (1) The Law Pertaining to the State and Its Relationship with Its Citizens (formerly Political Law, Labor Law, and Taxation Law); (2) Criminal Law; (3) The Law Pertaining to Private Personal and Commercial Relations (formerly Civil Law and Commercial Law); and (4) Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics, and Practical Exercises). John Ezekiel J. Hirro