California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

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wislaw13
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California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:48 am

I'm new to posting on this forum, however I've "lurked" for quite some time. I just signed up for the California bar in July today and would like some input on what prep course is best. I don't have a job yet, so I'll be paying out of pocket. From what I've read, the consensus seems to be that paying full price for Barbri is unnecessary, as there are more economical options. I've read a lot of positive things about Themis and am am leaning toward going with them right now. Also, I'll be taking it at the same time as my girlfriend and we were considering trying to split a course. If anyone has done this and has input, that would be helpful as well.

Thanks!

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:37 am

Themis or Kaplan. Either will work fine if you study hard.

I took Kaplan and can answer questions about it if you have any.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:42 am

also, in before PresidentV8 advises you to

COP DAT THEMIS

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:04 am

Haha. I've read a little bit about this Themis meme but I'm not entirely familiar with it...

I do appreciate the advice. Did you take the test as a California law grad, or as an out of state grad? I'm not attending in state, but I'm also not sure if that should factor into my decision.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:18 am

hm I am not sure on that. I attended Hastings and I didn't spend a lot of time prepping the Calif specific subjects since I took most of those courses in law school. but there were three essays that touched on state specific issues, Community Property, Evidence, PR.

You should spend a decent amount of time learning the Cal subjects because you will see them on at least two of the essays. They haven't tested Cal Civ Pro yet but it has been eligible for selection for 2 or 3 years already.

But definitely knowing the MBE subjects very well is by far the most critical in your bar prep. You are guaranteed to see it on 1/3 of the test (MBE) plus at least 3 of the 6 essays.

Performance tests, everybody kinda does 'meh. Those are hard to do in 3 hours. Are those going to be on the 2013 Cal Bar? I overheard some Cal Bar geezers on BART telling a fellow Hastings student that they were shortening the bar exam to 2 days as many other states already have done. But I've heard no official news.

the "cop dat Themis" meme is from another law school forum called xoxohth. I don't generally recommend that site, no moderation and lots of virulent racism and sexism.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:25 am

have you seen this megathread? there is info from a lot of states, but there are many Calif. people posting in there

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=186174&start=4450

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:33 am

I'll definitely have to pay more attention to CA subjects, although I'm attending Wisconsin, which teaches marital property so that portion shouldn't be too different. I also interned for a court in California and worked with mostly civil procedure stuff. California definitely has its quirks in that area. I'm hoping that both of the courses are equally good for providing state law.

I'm under the impression that the performance tests haven't been scrapped. The test is definitely still three days, unfortunately.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:36 am

I'm definitely going to give that thread a look. My main concern would be whether those who take alternative test prep courses are people who are more likely to pass, anyway (i.e. they are smarter and therefore more confident). Then again, an extra $2,500 is nothing to sneeze at. :shock:

TheGreatFish
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby TheGreatFish » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:48 am

One problem you might find with BarBri is that it's too structured. Every subject is given equal treatment, but it sounds like you may need to put some extra time into the CA subjects.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:20 am

wislaw13 wrote:I'm definitely going to give that thread a look. My main concern would be whether those who take alternative test prep courses are people who are more likely to pass, anyway (i.e. they are smarter and therefore more confident). Then again, an extra $2,500 is nothing to sneeze at. :shock:


I think maybe that's the case for the posters recommending that people forego ANY bar prep and just buy baroutlines.com for $100. Would you say you are talented at essays and IRAC?

I had both Kaplan and barbri materials and the difference was negligible. Actually a good way to cover your bases is to buy some Barbri books to use on the side. The convisor is a good resource; it probably has 2/3 the material you need to know to pass.

Barbri is selling fear and herd mentality. Just keep that in mind.

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DCDuck
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby DCDuck » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:39 am

Out of state grad: Kaplan. Piece o' cake while less stressed than my barbri compatriots. Just do as close to everything Kaplan suggests and you'll be fine.

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tstyler98
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby tstyler98 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:17 pm

First off, just so that it's out there, I'm a Kaplan rep.

Second, Kaplan has a price match guarantee (they'll beat any price by $100). So, talk to the head rep or district rep at your school from Kaplan and tell them that you're thinking about going with Themis and their course is X amount. Then ask them if they can price match it. If they won't, PM me and I can hook you up with our rep here to see about getting you squared away.

Edit: I believe the price match generally only applies to Barbri. Sorry! But I'd still try and see if you can get the price lower (it's worth a shot).
Last edited by tstyler98 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:07 pm

I generally liked Kaplan. The only frustrating thing is they try to keep everyone's book deposit. As in they won't just send you your check after you mail your books. They pretend they don't have them until you call with tracking number in hand.

I lost my tracking number and even though there's a 99.9% chance Kaplan got my books, they are keeping the deposit. Just a crappy way to do business in my opinion.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:11 pm

TheGreatFish wrote:One problem you might find with BarBri is that it's too structured. Every subject is given equal treatment, but it sounds like you may need to put some extra time into the CA subjects.



Thanks. That is definitely a consideration for me. I also tend to get bored with long lectures, which sounds like is all barbri consists of. I think I learn better when things are broken down into shorter, more digestible segments.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:13 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
wislaw13 wrote:I'm definitely going to give that thread a look. My main concern would be whether those who take alternative test prep courses are people who are more likely to pass, anyway (i.e. they are smarter and therefore more confident). Then again, an extra $2,500 is nothing to sneeze at. :shock:


I think maybe that's the case for the posters recommending that people forego ANY bar prep and just buy baroutlines.com for $100. Would you say you are talented at essays and IRAC?

I had both Kaplan and barbri materials and the difference was negligible. Actually a good way to cover your bases is to buy some Barbri books to use on the side. The convisor is a good resource; it probably has 2/3 the material you need to know to pass.

Barbri is selling fear and herd mentality. Just keep that in mind.



I think my biggest weakness is essay writing. I probably need to do the most practice there. My feeling is that I'll do better on the MBE portion.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:14 pm

DCDuck wrote:Out of state grad: Kaplan. Piece o' cake while less stressed than my barbri compatriots. Just do as close to everything Kaplan suggests and you'll be fine.



Kaplain sounds like it might be the safest route to go outside of breaking the bank on Barbri. Where did you attend?

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:17 pm

tstyler98 wrote:First off, just so that it's out there, I'm a Kaplan rep.

Second, Kaplan has a price match guarantee (they'll beat any price by $100). So, talk to the head rep or district rep at your school from Kaplan and tell them that you're thinking about going with Themis and their course is X amount. Then ask them if they can price match it. If they won't, PM me and I can hook you up with our rep here to see about getting you squared away.



I appreciate your candor. Does Kaplan offer a re-take guarantee like Barbri and Themis? I'm also not sure that we have any reps at our school because I attend in the only state that still have diploma privilege. This sounds like a good deal, though.

sfhaze
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby sfhaze » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:22 pm

wislaw13 wrote:
tstyler98 wrote:First off, just so that it's out there, I'm a Kaplan rep.

Second, Kaplan has a price match guarantee (they'll beat any price by $100). So, talk to the head rep or district rep at your school from Kaplan and tell them that you're thinking about going with Themis and their course is X amount. Then ask them if they can price match it. If they won't, PM me and I can hook you up with our rep here to see about getting you squared away.



I appreciate your candor. Does Kaplan offer a re-take guarantee like Barbri and Themis? I'm also not sure that we have any reps at our school because I attend in the only state that still have diploma privilege. This sounds like a good deal, though.

Yes it does according to the rep at my school. And a money back guarantee too if you fail. But there are conditions. It'd be great if tstyler98 or another Kaplan rep would clarify the conditions here in real terms.

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Mick Haller
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby Mick Haller » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:19 pm

If essays are your weakness you definitely don't want Barbri. Almost everyone last year complained about the essay feedback. Basically they just automatically give terrible grades on everything you submit to scare you into working harder. Then the last few weeks they start giving passing grades to boost your confidence.

One guy wrote an essay from the answer outline and still got a failing score by the Barbri grader.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:44 pm

In that case, perhaps taking Themis would be the best way to go, since I've heard they assign you a specific person to grade your essays for you.

sfhaze
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby sfhaze » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:50 pm

wislaw13 wrote:In that case, perhaps taking Themis would be the best way to go, since I've heard they assign you a specific person to grade your essays for you.

This is kind of how I'm feeling too. Have you heard anything about Themis' reputation for MBE prep? I haven't either way.

wislaw13
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby wislaw13 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:27 pm

sfhaze wrote:
wislaw13 wrote:In that case, perhaps taking Themis would be the best way to go, since I've heard they assign you a specific person to grade your essays for you.

This is kind of how I'm feeling too. Have you heard anything about Themis' reputation for MBE prep? I haven't either way.


From what I've read, they give you plenty of questions, but they are easier than Barbri. I've also read that Barbri asks nothing but super difficult questions.

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prezidentv8
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:22 am

Mick Haller wrote:also, in before PresidentV8 advises you to

COP DAT THEMIS


Excellent work.

Frankly, I think I just like typing that in all caps because it sounds funny.

RCTP
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby RCTP » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:30 am

I went through this exact dilemma. I think if I was paying for the course, I would definitely use Themis. I really do think that passing is a function of how hard you work. There is no magic formula that Barbri possesses. The only reason I chose Barbri is because I wasn't paying for the course and thought about how stupid I would look to colleagues/family/friends if I didn't pass when my course was being paid for by someone else. But I will say again, no way I use Barbri if I was paying for it. Themis for sure. I've heard negative things about Kaplan, although I can't really say whether they were merited or not.

sfhaze
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Re: California Bar Prep Course: Which is best?

Postby sfhaze » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:58 pm

RCTP wrote:I went through this exact dilemma. I think if I was paying for the course, I would definitely use Themis. I really do think that passing is a function of how hard you work. There is no magic formula that Barbri possesses. The only reason I chose Barbri is because I wasn't paying for the course and thought about how stupid I would look to colleagues/family/friends if I didn't pass when my course was being paid for by someone else. But I will say again, no way I use Barbri if I was paying for it. Themis for sure. I've heard negative things about Kaplan, although I can't really say whether they were merited or not.

I've heard/read basically this on TLS and elsewhere. I understand the substantive law each course covers is the same. But are there no real stylistic differences that would justify picking one over the other irrespective of the cost? Like Themis claims its 15-20 min video sections help retention. No idea if this is actually true, it does make sense. Even though I'm paying out of pocket, my priority now is to pass rather than saving a couple thousand after sinking so much into law school. Also, I gather some firms offer lump stipends for bar related fees, so even those fortunate to be in this position would benefit from picking a cheaper course.

Would you mind elaborating on what negatives you've heard about Kaplan?




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