On 24 May 2015, thousands of law graduates across India appeared for the All India Bar Examination – VIII conducted by the Bar Council of India. The bar exam qualifies the law graduates from India to practice law. Similar to its previous editions, the test was of moderate difficulty and the candidates should not find it much difficult to score the minimum qualifying marks of 40 percent.
Question paper features
- 100 Questions each carrying one mark,
- No negative marking,
- Candidates can carry books and notes with them inside the hall.
Distribution of Questions:
|No. of Questions
|Directly from Bare Acts
|Could be answered directly by looking into the particular provisions in the Bare Acts
|(In)directly from Bare Acts
|Could be answered by looking into the bare acts + little application of mind
|Require knowledge of law, legal procedures and legal principles.
|Related to history of law, particular years related to legal events.
|Based on the ratios led down in judgments by Supreme Court of India.
|Based on the ratios led down in foreign judgments.
|Based on or meaning of legal maxims.
Distribution of questions
The syllabus of AIBE VIII was same as that of AIBE VII. This syllabus is however different from that of AIBE VI and AIBE V.
|No. of questions
|Corporate Social Responsibility
|Professional Ethics& Cases of Professional misconduct under B.C.I rules
|ADR + Arbitration Act
|Company Law (2013)
|Public International Law
|Labour + Industrial Law
|Law of Tort, including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Consumer Protection Law
|Law of Contract, Specific Relief, Prop Laws, Spl Contract N.I Act
We talked to Sreetama Sen, a GNLU Gandhinagar law graduate – presently working at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Mumbai, who took the AIBE VIII. This is what she had to say:
Easy or tough?
Paper was theoretical and balanced. A part of it was difficult but not too difficult. I may put it in this way – people will pass but may not do well on scores. [Anyway there is no way to find out the score].
What was easy?
The questions which could directly be answered from the bare acts – especially Companies Act, 2013 and Constitution of India.
What was tough?
First and foremost the questions on professional ethics based on cases related to Advocates Act, 1961 and BCI rules. Also, this time the weightage given to case laws across different fields seems to have increased than what the sample papers or past years’ papers indicated. Secondly, the jurisprudence related questions asking for specific jurists or theories were not easy to answer as well. Lastly, would be the ample number of questions that came from CrPC – very specific and very tiresome to look for the answers.
Was the old AIBE study material relevant? (we may mention that BCI does not anymore officially prescribe the AIBE study material)
Study material definitely helped but they were not sufficient. A lot of the material is very much in brief and the exact portion they have not mentioned is what was asked in the question. (The review for AIBE-V also says that questions were asked from portions omitted in the study material).
Benefit of carrying Bare Acts
It would have been impossible to write the exam without the bare acts. The bare acts did help a lot in answering the Sections/Articles specific answers.
Three hours were enough because by the end of it we were sure we just won’t find answers to some of them and sort of lost patience hunting for so many answers through so many materials. However I feel that the paper this time was sufficiently lengthy compared to what I have heard about previous tests and people did take the whole of the three hours.
Recommendation for future aspirants
Do carry all the bare acts including the ones people generally skip like Specific Relief Act, Limitation Act and the Labour laws, lists of legal maxims. Try and find some material or compendium of sorts for case laws and some reliable and a little more detailed portions for jurisprudence than the Rainmaker material. And also, it is always better to register later than earlier or you end up with the worst exam centers.
For Future Bar Exam candidates
Our recommendations for future Bar Exam takers, based on AIBE VIII:
- Bare Acts: Carry bare acts related to all the subjects given in the syllabus.
- Study material: Please use them for the preparation. However as they were prepared for the first two tests and as BCI no longer officially prescribes them, they are not sufficient. Moreover we have had instances where questions were asked from portions not covered there. For example, if material covered A and C, question was based on B.
- Preparation: Use study material and carry bare acts. This should ideally get you through the test along with your knowledge gathered in law school.
- It is difficult to prepare for the questions based directly on judgments. Thus you are not aiming to top the tests, relax.
- Remember, it’s difficult to fail the bar exam. Don’t try hard.
You can read the AIBE VIII question paper from here: