Bar Course

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Bar Course

Postby lawyerwannabe » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:47 pm

With everyone in the midst of finishing their courses/taking the bar, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread for people to discuss the pros and cons of their bar course selection.

I am particularly interested in whether Barbri is worth the expense in comparison to Themis.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby kaiser » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:52 pm

When we pass, we will know for sure if its worth the cost

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Re: Bar Course

Postby kalvano » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:04 pm

I have studied with friends who took BarBri while I took Themis, and they all said they liked BarBri fine, but didn't feel it was worth the extra cost over Themis.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby jml8756 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:45 am

kalvano wrote:I have studied with friends who took BarBri while I took Themis, and they all said they liked BarBri fine, but didn't feel it was worth the extra cost over Themis.

I took BarBri and I would agree with this.

If you don't pass the bar, it's not going to be because your bar prep course didn't give you adequate materials. It's going to be an issue with how you individually approached studying.

If I had to do it over again (hopefully not!) I would just choose the cheapest option.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby memo2partner » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:40 am

I took barbri and was pleased overall. The outlines they give you are detailed. I thought that the actual mbe was as hard or harder than the barbri simulated mbe (people say that the barbri mbe is much harder than the actual--I don't buy that at all--the actual mbe is tough). There were a few questions on the mbe that definitely were not covered in the barbri course or materials. That said, the barbri materials do cover a lot of what is on the mbe, and I was able to cram quickly the barbri conviser mini review during the break at the mbe to get a few questions right. The value in barbri is in their outlines in my opinion.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:43 am

BarBri made us hammer away on mortgages, and I heard that Themis did not (can anyone confirm)? This mattered on Wednesday for the MBE. If this discrepancy is true, then it might be the case that BarBri is better at anticipating what you'll be tested on for the MBE.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby Void » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:50 am

I felt like Barbri cost too much. My friends who took Themis or Kaplan seemed to have pretty much the same experience for way less. Also, Barbri spent wayyyyy too much time focusing on the discrepancies and details of the state subjects (secured transactions, commercial paper, wills, etc.) While those subjects did appear on the exam in my state, I feel like the actual questions were testing our analytical skills for situations where the answer is unclear, rather than our substantive knowledge. I guess it's partially my fault because I could have chosen to shift more of my study time towards MBE subjects instead (which definitely would have helped because it feels like the MBE kicked my ass) but I was trying to follow Barbri's "interactive paced program" precisely. If (or when!) I do it again, I think I'll go with Themis.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby TaipeiMort » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:17 am

Overall consensus seemed to be from people I spoke with afer the CA bar that Themis had better MBE materials, Barbri had way better essay writing materials. This means if you took a 2 day 50+% MBE weighting bar, Them is is a pretty great alternative, if in an essays worth 2/3 state like CA, themis might be a bit lacking. If I have to retake CA, I will grab Barbri's essay book and stay with Themis for doctrine. Overall though, Themis was worth the cost difference (I paid 500).

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Re: Bar Course

Postby kalvano » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:17 pm

Themis was great for the Texas essays.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby maximator » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:40 pm

I took Themis. Take this with a grain of salt because a. I don't know if I passed and b. I haven't taken barbri.

That being said, if it's your money and now a law firm's, I think it would be pretty silly to pay for barbri. There were maybe a few MBE questions that I felt like I hadn't seen, but otherwise Themis addressed basically everything that showed up on the exam. Now I'm not saying I got everything right, but I don't think that is because the Themis materials were lacking or anything. I just can't imagine that barbri delivers a service that justifies paying three times as much as Themis.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby beach_terror » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:34 pm

You can typically haggle Barbri down if you threaten to go to Themis/Kaplan. Most of my classmates got Barbri down 800-1200 it sounded like.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby okinawa » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:23 pm

When I took the bar, I did essentially self-study but paid for a) access to a question bank of like 1400 MBE questions and past essays/MPTs with answers, c) BarBri CMR (like 6 months-a year old) and c) the BarBri mini review like two weeks before the exam.

I liked being able to spend as much time on things I found confusing as I wanted and as little times on things I "got" as necessary. I was a lot less stressed throughout the whole process than all of my friends who did BarBri, though from what I heard from people taking Themis the difference wasn't very big. I didn't feel unprepared for the exam itself, and it went fine.

If I had a firm paying for it I would have just gone with BarBri. If I had to take another bar, I probably wouldn't get a course at all unless a state with <50% MBE, in which case I'd probably go with a cheaper course like Themis.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:34 pm

I did with adaptibar, and a baressays membership. Only paid for bar outlines. Also bought the Strategies and Tactics for the MBE book.

bar outlines: mediocre, didn't go into a ton of detail, some pretty big typos that made things a little confusing. But overall okay for $99. Their MBE questions are shit though.

adaptibar: Awesome to prep with real questions. Overall really glad I was able to use it, not sure if I would pay full price for it though. Flashcards were incredibly specific and I should have done more of them.

bar essays: I don't think it's worth $99, but useful to see the difference (or lack of difference between high scoring and low scoring essays. I didn't have other access to essay questions so was worth it just to practice. Concise outlines were excellent for review.

Strategies and Tactics: Highly recommended. Also gives you a lot of MBE questions for the price. I would recommend it to everyone.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby massarisucks » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:02 am

I took Themis and have mixed feelings about them.

I thought they did a decent job in certain MBE subjects, such as Contracts, Evidence, Torts, Real Property and Con Law (in terms of the lecturers and handouts (and mini-outlines)), but not so much on the state specific subjects. I took NY and thought they really dropped the ball in NY Practice, NY Evidence, NY Crim and Crim Pro. I can go into more detail about these subjects and lecturers if anyone requests. For those of you taking NY, keep in mind that NY practice is about 1/4 of the NY MCQ, and always an essay topic (sub-question, at the very least).

If you take Themis, plan on purchasing a BarBri MPQ1/2 question book or Kaplan MCQ book because Themis will NOT provide you with any paper-based questions, aside from the simulated and milestone exams. They expect all questions to be done online, which for me, was a huge problem. Take it for what it is, but this was by far my biggest beef with Themis.

Like the other companies, Themis provides you with graded essays (7 state essays and 1 MPT). I thought these were beneficial. Good feedback, and a nice chart to see where you stand compared to everyone else.

Since this was my first time taking a bar exam, a course was really beneficial, but if I have to take another bar exam, I don't think I will take another course. A lot of the things Themis had me doing were really redundant, and I should have listened to myself, and focused on subjects I was not too strong on. For instance, I knew NY state specific laws and distinctions cold. And it showed on my practice essays, and NY MCQ, but not so much on MBE questions. There were days where the Themis schedule had me doing just NY, and more NY, and no MBE subjects. I followed the schedule blindly and willfully, and perhaps to my detriment. I recommend deviating from the schedule if you know or feel you are weak in certain areas.

I hope this review has helped people decide how to choose a bar prep company, but in the end, the burden is on you to do your due diligence and know your own weaknesses.

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Re: Bar Course

Postby Geist13 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:15 am

I would absolutely not take barbri again. Their outlines are pretty good but basically everything else is a massive waste of money. If I were to do it again I'd get barbri outlines from eBay or something and then sign up for one of the companies that just provide a ton of MBE questions. I just thought it was totally worthless. I am a very independent studier though and my learning style does not mesh with Barbra's teaching style.

If you are self paying and DO select barbri make sure you look into all the available cost reduction things they have. I was able to get well over 1000 knocked off the price. Having a friend who is a barbri rep helps in this process because they can basically go to the schools barbri person and work a little magic for you.

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