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Bar Exam Preparation Courses Compared – Cutting Through the Clutter of Thirty Six Company Offerings

Since you have got landed right here, I’m assuming that you’ve got both efficiently completed regulation faculty or will likely be graduating quickly. Understanding the pains you have got endured, congratulations is actually so as. However like me, after ending regulation faculty, I’m certain you might be considering “okay, I efficiently jumped that hurdle, now I want to leap the following and most essential one – passing the Bar.”

Taking the Bar examination is way totally different than taking an examination in regulation faculty. Placing apart the logistics, time constraints, and two day depth; the Bar examination is put collectively by the state bar regulatory companies in an try to check for whether or not an individual could be a reliable legal professional. Thus, the examination is totally different in some ways as to what you have got been uncovered to.

Because of this alone, taking a Bar preparation course is important. And be aware, if that is the primary time you’re taking the Bar examination, it will be significant that you just select a full service course which prepares you for all points of the examination together with the a number of alternative, essays and the efficiency examination.

For a lot of of you, passing the Bar examination the primary time is important. For some, you have already got a job lined up which might disappear for those who did not move the primary time. Others could have needed to take out substantial pupil loans which now, that you’ve got graduated, would require compensation.

Both manner, a Bar examination preparation course is important. To additional complicate issues, as I’m certain you have got heard, and as amply reported in publications just like the Los Angeles Occasions and the ABA Journal, Bar examination move charges have been on a gradual decline for the final a number of years. To compound that drawback, many states, like California, are refusing to decrease their examination move lower traces to lift the move charges.

In different phrases, the state bar licensing companies are refusing to grade the Bar examination on a curve, citing the necessity to protect public safety. Because of this, as we speak’s Bar exams are simply as troublesome to move as these given twenty years in the past after I took mine. So then you definately may be questioning, “why are the Bar move charges steadily reducing, it’s not as if as we speak’s college students are much less clever than these from twenty years in the past?”

You’re right, as we speak’s college students are simply as clever, however there’s something else happening. An evaluation was accomplished and the researchers discovered that the decline was not as a consequence of decrease scores on the a number of alternative portion of the examination (often known as the MBE). It was decided that the decrease bar move charges have been as a consequence of the next failure fee on the essay questions.

It was discovered that due to societal modifications (together with that college students as we speak examine in a distinct method than prior to now) and modifications in the best way many regulation faculties are administering their classroom exams, a lot of as we speak’s college students taking the Bar are having problem following the decision of an essay query; they don’t seem to be recognizing a adequate variety of points within the reality patterns; they’re having bother making use of the regulation to the details and analyzing them; and their grammar and spelling is less than par.

Sadly, the lengthy standing conventional Bar preparation programs haven’t tailored their curriculums to compensate for this transformation. Previously, the MBE was thought-about essentially the most troublesome and tough portion of the examination to move. Consequently, the main emphasis, within the firms providing full service Bar overview, centered on the strategies of mastering MBE.

These full service firms offered essay questions with mannequin solutions and had some dialogue in regards to the primary IRAC method (Situation, Rule, Evaluation, Conclusion, a cumbersome, outdated technique not likely suited to handle as we speak’s timed essay questions containing a number of points and cross over topics). The businesses assumed the abilities required to really break down and analyze essay questions have been realized throughout the regulation faculty curriculum. Mainly, the methodology for these firms in preparation for essay exams was the previous axiom, “observe makes good.”

At the moment, though the total service giants within the Bar prep trade like BarBri, Flemings, and Kaplan, and the smaller ones like Bar Max, AmeriBar, and Themis, proceed to supply full service programs and dominate the market, their curriculums have remained the identical for a number of years.

When selecting a Bar examination preparation course, keep in mind that not all programs are alike. Many of the Bar overview programs are usually not full service programs, as they concentrate on one explicit side of the Bar (often as a complement). For instance, programs their programs could solely concentrate on the MBE portion or the essay portion or simply the efficiency portion. Then there are firms which concentrate on a specific kind of examination or jurisdiction, for instance, a course focusing simply on the California first yr examination or the New York examination. Different firms are centered on these college students who’ve beforehand failed the examination, and thus their method with the second time takers is way totally different than if you’re a primary time taker.

If you’re a primary time taker, these restricted programs is not going to fulfill all your wants and shouldn’t be thought-about as your main Bar preparation course. Should you discover that you just want some supplementation sooner or later, then, after all, you need to take a look at what they provide.

As a result of it’s important that as a primary time taker you are taking a full service course, I can’t be together with these restricted curriculum centered firms throughout the comparability under. The businesses, that I do know of, which have the restricted centered curriculum embrace: Adapti Bar; Bar Graders; Bar Made Straightforward; PMBR; Bar Outlines; Bar Secrets and techniques; Bar Assessment Options; Bar Prep Hero; Good Bar Prep; Omni Prep Patent; Web Bar Examination Assessment; My Bar Prep; Cross the Bar; Pieper Bar Assessment; Marino Bar Assessment; Bar Examination Physician; Supreme Bar Assessment; Skillman Technique; and The Writing Edge.

Along with these restricted focus firms, there are a number of firms which offer Bar overview in a tutorial setting, whether or not one-on-one or in small teams, however principally face-to-face. These are often regional firms, requiring your attendance and have very restricted enrollment. As well as, as a result of they’re so hands-on private tutorial programs, they primarily cater to these Bar takers who’ve beforehand failed the examination.

Due to the small capability, the regional concerns and that the course curriculums usually concentrate on the coed who has already taken the Bar examination, I’m of the opinion that these firms also needs to not be thought-about by the primary time taker (however after all, that may be a private alternative). Thus, I can’t embrace the businesses that target a tutorial format within the comparability under. The businesses, I do know of, on this class embrace: Bar None Assessment; Bar Plus Assessment; Bar Assessment; Bar Winners; Legislation Tutorial; Legislation Tutors; Open E book; Southwest Bar Assessment; The Bar Coach; and The Bar Code.

That leaves the total service firms to your overview and comparability. The total service firms, which I’m at the moment conscious of, embrace: Facet Bar; BarBri; Bar Max; Kaplan; Themis; Flemings; and AmeriBar.

Earlier than we start the comparability, I wish to say a phrase about printed Bar move charges and printed pricing for these particular person firms. Of the seven full service Bar Prep firms, three (Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings) publish Bar move charges. BarBri doesn’t formally publish Bar move charges, nevertheless it has been reported within the press that their gross sales folks verbally tout an 80 p.c move fee.

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The publication of a Bar move fee, by a Bar prep firm, has all the time left me in a quandary. How exactly do these firms set up a protocol to precisely assess the share of these individuals who have taken their course after which handed the Bar examination?

It appears to me to be enigmatic to make such a willpower after which publish this as a promoting level. The person state bars administering the exams actually don’t acquire any information regarding whether or not an individual took a Bar prep course, kind of a specific model. As well as, many states don’t publish the names of these individuals who handed the examination.

Thus, the official arbiters of the exams actually are usually not the supply of this info for the Bar prep firms to publish. There may be just one option to set up this sort of info which might be unreliable and thus produce inaccurate outcomes. That will be after the six months of taking the examination after which receiving their outcomes, every particular person pupil must contact the Bar prep firm they used and inform them whether or not they handed or failed the examination.

For a move fee to be dependable and correct, 100% of the those that bought the Bar prep course must voluntarily reply to the corporate and be truthful about whether or not they handed or failed. If even a fraction of these (allow us to say 20 p.c) didn’t reply to the corporate, the outcomes could be removed from correct and thus deceptive to publish.

Somebody as soon as instructed me that at the very least one of many firms set up their move fee based mostly upon those that took the examination, failed after which contacted the corporate requesting to retake the course at no cost. Right here once more, this could by no means be an correct portrayal of a move fee as a result of usually, those that fail on their first attempt determine that the Bar prep course they took was not ok they usually then have interaction a distinct firm to arrange them for the second go round (and as talked about above, there are a number of firms solely centered on that market area of interest).

Due to this fact, in my view, any printed Bar move fee proffered by a Bar prep firm is misleading. In utilizing this as a standards in your analysis of the businesses under, think about this; there’s a Civil Jury Instruction in virtually each State which principally says: “Should you determine {that a} witness didn’t inform the reality about one thing essential, you might select to not consider something that witness mentioned in her different testimony.” There may be a lot knowledge behind that jury instruction, and based mostly upon that standards, I personally can’t advocate any firm which publishes Bar move charges.

Should you agree with my opinion regarding printed move charges, that may remove Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings from severe consideration (and if the BarBri gross sales representatives are additionally instructed to tout these move charges, they need to be eradicated as effectively).

That leaves 4 full service firms (Facet Bar, BarBri, Kaplan, and AmeriBar) to guage and examine. Nevertheless, to be truthful, all seven firms will likely be included within the comparability under.

Now about printed pricing. Right here once more, not all firms are alike and have totally different and generally complicated pricing constructions. For instance, Flemings has totally different tiers of pricing: Quick Time period is greater than $2,000, Lengthy Time period is greater than $3,000 and Final is in extra of $6,000. Every tier has a distinct degree after all and preparation supplies offered. AmeriBar has the same tiered pricing construction.

I query this sort of pricing, as a result of how is a primary time Bar examination taker going to know what degree or tier is true for them with a view to move the examination? Frankly, if the primary time taker truly knew the reply to that query, they might be so clairvoyant and educated that they might not want a Bar prep course in any respect.

However, different firms, like Facet Bar, present 100% of all course and preparation supplies, that may be required to move the Bar, for a single value.

Thus, it’s troublesome and complicated to aim to check an organization that gives tiered pricing, versus an all inclusive payment firm, as it could be making an attempt to check apples and oranges. Thus, I counsel that after getting settled upon two firms to select from, and a type of firms has tiered pricing, that you just then delve into these pricing tiers and try and make a subjective analysis for your self.

Nevertheless, if you’re like me, and easily remove out of your consideration these firms who have interaction in publishing Bar move charges and those who have tiered pricing, that leaves three full service Bar prep firms to your overview that are as follows: Facet Bar, BarBri, and Kaplan.

On your comparability, these are listed first after which the opposite 4 full service firms will observe. A very good place to start out the comparability is the beginner on the block – Facet Bar.

Facet Bar web site: SideBarPrep

This full service Bar prep firm was just lately established to handle the declining Bar move charges. With their system, the coed isn’t left on his/her personal to determine what to do and the place to start out. It’s all specified by a progressive plan which the coed follows inside his/her personal schedule.

There aren’t any lectures to attend or watch, no flash playing cards and no hype about customization to the coed’s explicit strengths or weaknesses. What’s introduced are particular strategies, strategies and suggestions to reach each the essay questions and the MBE questions, coupled with tips about learn how to move the efficiency examination, mated with observe exams and optimum solutions.

The MBE part not solely offers the coed the strategies of learn how to method the questions and the way they’re developed, but additionally 170 particular suggestions separated by topic to sort out the troublesome questions. Additional, 2000 observe MBE questions are offered not solely with a solution key, however with explanations that are a part of the system’s regulation reminiscence reinforcement.

Because of the declining Bar move fee, cautious consideration is given to the essay exams. College students are taught, by way of a step-by-step technique, learn how to method, break down, analyze and write clear essay solutions. The Facet Bar technique acknowledged that the Bar examiners are searching for totally different approaches within the totally different topics, and the corporate addresses this. The strategy is system pushed and as soon as the coed learns the formulation, they will count on to enter auto-pilot in answering essays. To hone their essay expertise, the corporate offers virtually 60 observe questions with solutions.

As well as the corporate has a reminiscence system for the black letter regulation taught in the entire core programs examined on the Bar. This contains a number of course outlines, for every course, which progressively turn into extra condensed as the coed progresses by way of the course. These are matched up with a program of integration of the essay and a number of alternative questions, which improve reminiscence reinforcement when coupled with the detailed rationalization to the solutions.

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The corporate offers all course supplies. There may be nothing else to purchase or take a look at. Every part is on-line and accessible by way of desktop, laptop computer, pill or good telephone irrespective of the platform. There aren’t any scheduling constraints as the coed progresses at his or her personal tempo and at any time of day or evening.

The common value is $2495. The corporate at the moment affords a reduction value of $1995. The worth is all inclusive with no further charges. In addition they present reductions and rebates for referrals and amount purchases.

They’ve a a reimbursement assure inside fifteen days of the acquisition. The subscription value contains entry to all supplies for eighteen months, thus irrespective of when the coed is taking the Bar or in the event that they need to take it once more, the coed has entry to all course supplies. That is additionally a bonus to these college students of their final yr of regulation faculty who want to get a head begin on making ready for the Bar examination.

BarBri web site: BarBri

BarBri pioneered bar examination preparation fifty years in the past and their popularity continues to draw the overwhelming majority of regulation faculty college students annually. BarBri has what they name the MBE Immersion, constructed upon an experienced-based method to enhance regulation pupil efficiency on the MBE portion of the bar examination. This two-day class kicks off the bar overview course and is designed to speed up the tempo the coed learns the regulation and, in flip, efficiently reply MBE bar examination questions.

The corporate additionally offers what they name BarBri Amp which they describe as an efficient option to grasp the black letter regulation and maximize the coed’s MBE rating. Primarily based upon the supplies proffered, I used to be not in a position to decide the distinction in methodology between the BarBri Amp and the BarBri Immersion. Each are linking MBE questions and solutions with studying the regulation. The corporate offers a 200 query simulated MBE examination.

Moreover, BarBri offers what they name the Legislation Grasp Examine Keys. The primary secret is to have a manageable and memorable framework to study the regulation and perceive the place the entire guidelines match into that framework. The following key to really studying the regulation is to have the ability to carry collectively guidelines, the weather that comprise the rule, and a narrative to really apply the principles and components to actual world eventualities.

Additional, BarBri offers what known as the Essay Architect software which offers instant suggestions for greater scoring essays. They declare that it enhances the coed’s skill to write down the lawyer-like solutions that the bar examiners are searching for on the bar examination. The software is on-line and through the use of the drag-and-drop options, the coed practices essay writing following the usual IRAC format. Fast suggestions reinforces group and construction.

The BarBri system requires lectures whether or not accessed in a classroom or on-line. These are offered in a structured format inside schedules and entry limitations. The lectures are given over a seven week interval. Thus, the coed is constrained to the course construction and has little flexibility in scheduling. There isn’t a info on the corporate web site, aside from offering the simulated 200 query MBE examination, as as to if precise MBE and essay questions, with solutions are offered to permit the coed to observe on their very own. Apparently, from analyzing the web site, the corporate doesn’t present any help, course supplies or simulated exams for the efficiency take a look at.

The worth is $3695. As well as, there’s a course supplies transport payment of $30, a course registration payment of $250 and a refundable course supplies payment of $250 as soon as the course supplies are returned. They supply an ABA premium low cost.

The corporate doesn’t present a a reimbursement assure, nevertheless they do say that if the coed fails their Bar examination that they will repeat the identical jurisdictional state BarBri overview course on-line when it is provided subsequent – with out paying further tuition. Apparently, not one of the in-person providers can be found to a repeat taker.

Kaplan web site: Kaptest

The Kaplan course could be very primary. The corporate offers course lectures whether or not in a classroom or on-line, after which offers essay and MBE observe questions with solutions. The corporate states, that their syllabus adapts to the coed’s wants, strengthening weak topics with homework assignments designed for the coed. The corporate motivates and engages the coed by dwell streaming the classroom to their residence. And as soon as the coed’s overview course ends, they analyze the coed’s efficiency and create a personalised Remaining Examine Plan. They declare that this helps maximize the coed’s factors, and serves as a bridge between the final day of sophistication and take a look at day.

Their reminiscence reinforcement method is flash playing cards. The corporate claims to have whole flexibility for accessing the lectures and different supplies on-line, nevertheless, they supply no info as to how lengthy the coed has entry to those supplies and whether or not their “syllabus” is structured logistically and with time constraints (which is typical). In fact the classroom lectures would have scheduling constraints.

Outdoors of the course lectures, the corporate doesn’t point out whether or not they present particular approaches, strategies and tricks to reply each the MBE and essay questions and it doesn’t look as if they supply any. Nevertheless they do present observe essay and MBE questions and solutions, they usually declare that with doing observe questions the scholars’ scores enhance over time. Actually the corporate states, “an important part of take a look at prep, it has been proven that Kaplan college students who submit extra essays see enchancment of their scores.” In addition they have a really giant information base of observe MBE questions, cited to be 4000 and problem college students to finish all 4000. Apparently the corporate doesn’t present any help, course supplies or simulated exams for the efficiency take a look at.

The common value is $2999. They at the moment have discounted value of $2399. There may be an extra $250 registration payment.

The corporate does present a a reimbursement assure for individuals who fail the Bar, nevertheless there are a number of restrictions that are as follows: Be a primary time taker; have a JD from an ABA accredited faculty; be enrolled within the Kaplan Full Bar Assessment course; attend 90 p.c of all lectures previous to taking the Bar; full all assigned exams, quizzes and homework previous to taking the examination; and take the very subsequent scheduled bar examination after finishing the course supplies.

The next are the 4 remaining full service Bar preparation programs. Nevertheless, all of them have both “printed” Bar move charges or tiered pricing or each, which in my view are disqualifiers.


Flemings is jurisdictionally particular to California solely. They’re the costliest product in the marketplace and have six tiers of pricing, with the costliest being $6400.

Flemings makes use of the normal lecture technique, nonetheless principally based mostly inside a classroom setting in California, with some accessibility on-line. The lectures are all inside a structured format and inside structured time limitations for the course.

The corporate web site claims to offer all California particular regulation lessons with outlines. As well as, they supply a number of alternative, essay, and efficiency examination instruction coupled with offering observe a number of alternative, essay and efficiency questions and solutions. As well as, they supply simulated exams and personalised service from their attorneys. This technique has been the normal technique/mannequin for Bar prep programs for over twenty years.

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Given the a la carte nature of the choices from the corporate, it’s troublesome to check costs of what they provide to the opposite full service firms. The closest could be their Lengthy Time period Assessment which has a value of $3245 plus a $250 deposit. There aren’t any cancellations, refunds or ensures offered. There aren’t any reductions offered for the precise programs, nevertheless the corporate claims that with a primary course buy, a pupil could obtain a reduction on further merchandise in future purchases.


Proper on the prime of the house web page and inside a number of of the opposite again pages, Themis advertises their Bar move fee. They emphasis this as a promoting level. To me, as defined above, that may be a huge crimson flag. As well as, they make an announcement on their web site, claiming that they’re “the one main bar overview course developed to be fully on-line.” Clearly, as you’ll be able to see from different firm choices, that is an inaccurate assertion. Personally, it doesn’t matter what the trade or product, I avoid firms which make unfaithful claims.

As with the entire different Bar prep programs, apart from Facet Bar, Themis is lecture based mostly, nevertheless, they declare that they supply extra flexibility for attending the lectures (all on-line) than the opposite firms. Provided that most of the different firms additionally provide the lectures on-line with versatile accessibility, that is one other inaccurate assertion. The corporate states that with their Built-in Studying System, the coed will get complete outlines, observe multiple-choice questions, observe essay questions, on-demand lectures, and corresponding interactive handouts. College students who would slightly examine at their very own tempo have that choice with their Flex Examine mode.

The lectures are regulation course materials based mostly and thus, apart from working towards essay, MBE and efficiency take a look at questions, the scholars are usually not instructed on learn how to method and analyze these questions in a manner which can produce outcomes. The coed is left alone with the hope that observe makes good and they’re going to study from their errors.

The worth for the course is $2095. They supply a $100 low cost to lively and retired army and in addition to lively members in Phi Alpha Delta Legislation Fraternity, Worldwide and the Army Partner J.D. Community. They don’t present a a reimbursement assure, nevertheless if you’re a first-time Themis taker, and fail the bar, the corporate will present the coed with a free repeat of the course for the following administration of the identical bar examination for free of charge.

Bar Max

That is one other firm which advertises their Bar move charges. Actually they make the declare that, “We launch our move charges whereas different bar programs refuse to.” Not solely is the assertion misleading as a result of another firms do publish move charges, the assertion makes it sound as if the very best standards for evaluating a Bar prep firm is its printed move charges. Once more, as defined above, to me it is a huge crimson flag.

As with many others, Bar Max is conventional and lecture based mostly. The corporate offers, by course subject, an in-depth define, an audio lecture from a regulation professor, and when applicable, quite a few flashcards for reminiscence reinforcement. There are 50 hours of lectures. The complete course is offered both on-line or inside their very own iOS solely App (no Android or Home windows), thus, for those who use the App, as soon as loaded in your system, no web entry is required.

Upon enrollment, the coed receives a Welcome Packet that features skeleton outlines of lecture notes. The Welcome Packet additionally contains printable PDFs of efficiency assessments and 180 observe essays from earlier exams, with 2 mannequin solutions for every essay. The corporate offers 1750 observe MBE questions with solutions.

The coed can even obtain 2 free writing critiques (efficiency assessments or essays). Further critiques may be bought a la carte.

As soon as once more, the lectures are regulation course materials based mostly and thus, apart from working towards essay, MBE and efficiency take a look at questions, the scholars are usually not instructed on learn how to method and analyze these questions in a manner which can produce outcomes. The coed is left alone with the hope that observe makes good and they’re going to study from their errors.

The worth for the course is $999. They supply a “public curiosity” scholarship of $499 for these employed in qualifying public curiosity jobs or within the army. They supply a 100% refund inside 7 days of the entrance finish buy. For California and Uniform Bar examination takers, they supply a a reimbursement assure for individuals who fail the Bar examination, nevertheless there are quite a few restrictions together with tight time constraints to use for the refund.


This firm offers a tiered pricing system. The course, like many of the others. is predicated upon course lectures. There are 80 hours of on-line solely course lectures. The corporate additionally offers books containing the course outlines and observe essay, efficiency take a look at, and MBE questions and solutions. In addition they have an intensive MBE on-line information financial institution of questions and solutions.

Though the corporate offers some primary writing expertise and the appliance of IRAC to essay writing, the lectures are regulation course materials based mostly and thus, apart from working towards essay, MBE and efficiency take a look at questions, the scholars are usually not instructed on learn how to method and analyze these questions in a manner which can produce outcomes. The coed is left alone with the hope that observe makes good and they’re going to study from their errors. Actually, the corporate makes the next assertion. “The simplest option to put together for the essay examination is to observe answering prior bar examination essay questions. You’ll study which points are sometimes examined, and the way frequent points ought to be resolved.” In whole they supply 3400 observe MBE questions and 150 observe essay questions.

Moreover, they supply legal professional telephone assist. In addition they present eleven essay critiques throughout the six week interval earlier than taking the examination. The essential course common value is $2295, they’re at the moment working a reduction for $1365. There’s a e book transport payment of $25. The corporate web site makes the declare that, “we’re the least costly full service bar overview course.” This declare isn’t supported by the choices of different firms like Bar Max.

There may be an undisclosed e book deposit payment which is just disclosed after you enroll. Though this payment isn’t disclosed on the web site, sometimes when an organization fees a e book deposit payment, it’s $250. Should you return the books inside a delegated timeframe the e book deposit will likely be refunded. If you need the lectures on an iPod, there’s an extra payment of $249. They supply a refund inside 4 days after buy, much less 12.5 p.c restocking payment. Their move assure offers {that a} pupil will obtain a free retake of the web course so long as the coed offers AmeriBar with a replica of the examiner’s notification letter inside 10 days of the coed’s notification.