Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

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Apple Tree
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Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby Apple Tree » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:44 am

I know this topic has been discussed many times and I researched it extensively on the internet but still can't make a decision.

I'm an out of state student taking the CA bar so I need a course that will teach me the CA law from scratch. I consider myself a pretty good standardized test taker, but I know I need some form of program to keep me on a schedule because I tend to procrastinate & over stress. I'm not a very strong essay writer but I can usually follow model answers' format pretty well.

I'm considering these three options:
- Themis: This was my original choice because how cheap it is ($1250) and the good reviews it's been getting here. But I compared their MPRE course with Kaplan and Barbri's and was not impressed at all. There are issues that both Kaplan and Barbri went over but Themis didn't. So I'm afraid this is a reflection on their bar review course that they over-simplify materials and I'll end up missing learning stuff that's on the actual test.

- Kaplan: This seems like the middle ground. The cost is $2K. Obviously their MBE preparation is golden, but I read that their state specific review is not that good. Because I didn't go to school in CA, I really need a course that will help me learn the state law, and that would be my only hesitation with Kaplan.

- Barbri: I know if I take it I'll pass. But I'm trying to save some money on the bar review course (it's $4K) so I would really like to avoid it if I can, but only on the condition of not satisfying the quality of learning materials.

Any input is greatly appreciated!

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:50 pm

Apple Tree wrote:I know this topic has been discussed many times and I researched it extensively on the internet but still can't make a decision.

I'm an out of state student taking the CA bar so I need a course that will teach me the CA law from scratch. I consider myself a pretty good standardized test taker, but I know I need some form of program to keep me on a schedule because I tend to procrastinate & over stress. I'm not a very strong essay writer but I can usually follow model answers' format pretty well.

I'm considering these three options:
- Themis: This was my original choice because how cheap it is ($1250) and the good reviews it's been getting here. But I compared their MPRE course with Kaplan and Barbri's and was not impressed at all. There are issues that both Kaplan and Barbri went over but Themis didn't. So I'm afraid this is a reflection on their bar review course that they over-simplify materials and I'll end up missing learning stuff that's on the actual test.

- Kaplan: This seems like the middle ground. The cost is $2K. Obviously their MBE preparation is golden, but I read that their state specific review is not that good. Because I didn't go to school in CA, I really need a course that will help me learn the state law, and that would be my only hesitation with Kaplan.

- Barbri: I know if I take it I'll pass. But I'm trying to save some money on the bar review course (it's $4K) so I would really like to avoid it if I can, but only on the condition of not satisfying the quality of learning materials.

Any input is greatly appreciated!


If you're going to be paying for the bar prep course (which it sounds like you are), then just buy the old barbri books of ebay for a couple hundred bucks. I've also heard good things about baroutlines.com (although, I don't think you get paper copies of the outlines from them). Either way, spend a week studying for it (if that), and if you have a half a brain, you'll pass (just make sure you rock the MBE- it's all multiple choice and easy to rack up a lot of points on). Cali bar isn't nearly as difficult as the pass rate suggests it is. Definitely don't waste your money on the courses.. I did Barbri for my first bar, and a better use of that $4,000 would have been to toss it into a bonfire.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:54 pm

Um, I think any of these options would be sufficient, and that the bar is not (usually) as hard as it's hyped up to be, but I think suggesting studying only for a week is seriously pushing it. You could probably cram it in a month, but a week is ridiculous.

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kalvano
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Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby kalvano » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:07 am

Apple Tree wrote:There are issues that both Kaplan and Barbri went over but Themis didn't.



And there are issues that Themis hit on in bar prep that BarBri missed. The bar isn't a law school exam where you need to hit every issue to succeed. Minimum competency.

I researched and evaluated all three courses before I paid for mine, and Themis was easily the best deal. They prepared me quite well for the Texas bar, at least as well as BarBri.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:14 am

Here's how you do it in a week:
The Cali bar only has 13-14 subject areas (depending on whether you count crim law and crim pro as one or two subjects). The MBE consists of 6-7 subjects. You know the out of the 6 essay questions 3-4 of them will most likely be MBE topics. Professional responsibility is guaranteed to be one of the topics. The CPT + MBE = 61% of your score. So... pretty much hit the 6-7 MBE subjects, know professional responsibility, which is easy (and you probably already know everything you need to know from the MPRE if you already took that), skim through the remaining topics that are most likely to show up (there's a breakdown of what essays showed up when on the barbri materials), and pass. I dunno, most people go nuts trying to study for everything that the bar exam tests, but in all honesty, if just hammer down the MBE topics and have cursory knowledge of some of the other topics, you'll be good. If you actually paid attention during your first year of law school, you'll find that getting through the MBE topics will only take you a few days. Spend another few days going over professional responsibility and other stuff. Write out one essay and one CPT... For what it's worth, I only spent 3 days studying for my first bar, and (to my surprise) passed. A week studying for the Cali bar seemed like overkill, and it probably was (the pass rates were frightening). And I'm probably dumber than you are OP lol.

Good luck.

dezlawyer
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Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:39 pm

Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby dezlawyer » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:02 pm

I took and passed the CalBar on my 1st attempt not using a bar review course. I did buy some used bar review materials for a FRACTION of the cost but found that they weren't any better than my law school outlines... I set up a bar prep schedule, wrote numerous practice essays and did about 2000+ MBE practice questions; I also did 2 simulated bar exams to get a sense of how it felt to sit and focus for 3 hour blocks over 3 days... I posted this on another thread but I ended up writing a memoir about the experience entitled "Passing the Bar Exam: An Unconventional Approach", it's up on Amazon as an Ebook - it details out how I went about the whole process. Save yourself thousands of dollars by not buying a bar review course and put in the blood sweat and tears of practice, practice and more practice

hiima3L
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Re: Out of state taking CA bar: which course?

Postby hiima3L » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:56 am

Buy BarBri's CMR. Make outlines and flash cards from it. Outline and read over every released essay you can.

Get access to and do as many MCBE questions you can (via adaptibar or something).

Do these 2 things and you will pass. A course is entirely unnecessary. I cannot emphasize it enough.




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