Which Bar Prep Company?

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Which Bar Prep Company?

Barbri
9
64%
Themis
1
7%
Kaplan
2
14%
It doesn't matter as long as on campus
1
7%
It doesn't matter even if online
1
7%
 
Total votes: 14

thelawdoctor
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Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:19 pm

I've heard that Barbri is best, but the rest seem a lot cheaper but tend to be online.

Has anyone tried the others (kaplan,themis,etc)?

Any experiences good,bad,etc?

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tstyler98
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby tstyler98 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:32 pm

It's really hard to compare because hardly anyone takes one from two different companies. And what works for one person might not necessarily work for another person. My opinion is that if you do the work, you'll most likely pass regardless of what company you go with. I'm not sure that Barbri is the best, it's just been around longer. I know people who've used both Kaplan and Barbri. All had things they liked/disliked. I'm taking Kaplan this summer, so I can't speak from experience until then.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:48 pm

My class split fairly evenly between Barbri and Kaplan, and I don't think there was a significant difference (we had about 95% pass rate). (I don't know anything about Themis except they marketed really heavily at my school and I still don't think many people take them.) My sense is that some people think Kaplan's practice MBE questions are closer to the exam (although I took Barbri and didn't have a problem with the MBE - there were definitely questions I recognized as "types" we learned in Barbri), and that Barbri's essay prep/feedback is slightly better. But I don't think the differences are significant. (There were things I didn't like about Barbri, but I don't know that they're inherent to Barbri specifically or just bar study, period.)

bhan87
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby bhan87 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:58 pm

Regarding cheaper courses, if you're working for a big firm your bar review course tuition will likely be paid for by them unless they're stingy about that. You can check here:

http://abovethelaw.com/2008/05/associat ... id-to-ask/

If they'll pay your tuition I think the better call is just to go with the safe choice (Barbri).

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:02 pm

tstyler98 wrote:It's really hard to compare because hardly anyone takes one from two different companies. And what works for one person might not necessarily work for another person. My opinion is that if you do the work, you'll most likely pass regardless of what company you go with. I'm not sure that Barbri is the best, it's just been around longer. I know people who've used both Kaplan and Barbri. All had things they liked/disliked. I'm taking Kaplan this summer, so I can't speak from experience until then.


what made you decide on Kaplan? Aren't they an online only one?

eric922
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby eric922 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:53 pm

Based on their LSAT prep I don't think I'd trust Kaplan with something as important as the Bar.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:04 pm

eric922 wrote:Based on their LSAT prep I don't think I'd trust Kaplan with something as important as the Bar.

I take it you took it and thought it sucked or know someone who did for the lsat prep?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:06 pm

Kaplan is fine. I know tons of people who took Kaplan and passed.

And it's not "online only" - it holds classes just like Barbri. The thing is, in lots of locations Barbri and Kaplan classes entail watching a video of a lecturer - so watching the videos online at home isn't really any different from watching them in person. For some people, there are benefits to going to a class with other people, but tons of people do the studying/lecture-watching all from home. So it's not "online" like an online law school or something. Lots and lots of components of the Barbri course are online.

Most people who choose Kaplan do so because it's cheaper than Barbri. (Or they might know someone who didn't like Barbri, but generally, it's price.)

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:08 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Kaplan is fine. I know tons of people who took Kaplan and passed.

And it's not "online only" - it holds classes just like Barbri. The thing is, in lots of locations Barbri and Kaplan classes entail watching a video of a lecturer - so watching the videos online at home isn't really any different from watching them in person. For some people, there are benefits to going to a class with other people, but tons of people do the studying/lecture-watching all from home. So it's not "online" like an online law school or something.

Most people who choose Kaplan do so because it's cheaper than Barbri. (Or they might know someone who didn't like Barbri, but generally, it's price.)


Being on campus do you get to ask questions? I know in theory that questions could be emailed to a Prof, but you'd think hearing other students Q&A would help too.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:30 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Kaplan is fine. I know tons of people who took Kaplan and passed.

And it's not "online only" - it holds classes just like Barbri. The thing is, in lots of locations Barbri and Kaplan classes entail watching a video of a lecturer - so watching the videos online at home isn't really any different from watching them in person. For some people, there are benefits to going to a class with other people, but tons of people do the studying/lecture-watching all from home. So it's not "online" like an online law school or something.

Most people who choose Kaplan do so because it's cheaper than Barbri. (Or they might know someone who didn't like Barbri, but generally, it's price.)


Being on campus do you get to ask questions? I know in theory that questions could be emailed to a Prof, but you'd think hearing other students Q&A would help too.

No, you don't get to ask questions - if you're on campus, the prof is being streamed live to other locations on campus, and they have a set amount of material to cover, so it's just straight performance, no asking questions or discussion. Personally, I went to class because if I tried to watch the lectures at home I'd keep taking "breaks" and a 3 hour lecture would take me 5 hours to get through. But the quality of the experience isn't any different - it's so incredibly standardized that watching online/in class isn't really going to make a difference.

That said, you can go up to the prof and ask questions during the breaks, but you're not going to get the benefit of other students Q&A that you refer to. It's not really any different from being able to e-mail questions.

The other thing is that it's all pretty straight-forward black letter law, so it's not so much not understanding the material as much as it is handling the volume.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:34 pm

huh, I guess the perks to being on campus might be student feedback between eachother on break and being in a more focused enviroment than at home drinking beer with a dog begging to be walked.

Sucks that it would be so much more in price to get that without Prof Q&A though.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:48 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:huh, I guess the perks to being on campus might be student feedback between eachother on break and being in a more focused enviroment than at home drinking beer with a dog begging to be walked.

Sucks that it would be so much more in price to get that without Prof Q&A though.

I don't think the real life Barbri (or Kaplan) is any more expensive than the online only Barbri (or Kaplan) - you don't pay more for attending lectures than doing the class at home, it's just between different programs that the price varies. And you can ask profs questions by e-mailing them; all the lecturers emphasized this and gave out their contact info. You just don't get classroom-style Q&A, but really you don't want to engage in discussion of bar lectures. They're incredibly boring.

And actually dealing with the other students in the class can be way more stressful than the rest of the study - I know a lot of people who studied at home (online) entirely to avoid dealing with other bar studiers.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:03 pm

Did you find the other students distracting? Didn't the proctor keep them in check, or was it a social free for all?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:09 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:Did you find the other students distracting? Didn't the proctor keep them in check, or was it a social free for all?

The other students are fine during the lectures. They're distracting because before/after class and on breaks, everyone is talking about how many hours they've studied (or haven't, but usually have), how much they don't understand topic X, how many practice essays they've done, what they got on their practice tests, how terrified they are, how sure they are they're going to fail, what their study plan for the weekend is going to be, do you think that's enough, should I be studying more, well let me tell you about MY study plan and why it's better than yours, etc. etc. etc. It's like 6 weeks of the worst of finals studying. A lot of people study at home to avoid that atmosphere.

eric922
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby eric922 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:27 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:
eric922 wrote:Based on their LSAT prep I don't think I'd trust Kaplan with something as important as the Bar.

I take it you took it and thought it sucked or know someone who did for the lsat prep?

Everything I've read online tells me it is bad. I also know a friend who said her boyfriend took it and actually dropped a couple of points after taking the class.

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tstyler98
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby tstyler98 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:41 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:
tstyler98 wrote:It's really hard to compare because hardly anyone takes one from two different companies. And what works for one person might not necessarily work for another person. My opinion is that if you do the work, you'll most likely pass regardless of what company you go with. I'm not sure that Barbri is the best, it's just been around longer. I know people who've used both Kaplan and Barbri. All had things they liked/disliked. I'm taking Kaplan this summer, so I can't speak from experience until then.


what made you decide on Kaplan? Aren't they an online only one?


I'll be upfront about the fact that I'm a student rep with Kaplan, which basically just allows me to get a free course. Beyond that, I decided to go with Kaplan as a rep because I liked what they had to offer better than Barbri. My friends who took Kaplan last summer liked that they could turn in as many practice essay questions and got pretty decent feedback on them. And, like someone else said, they said they felt the MBE practice questions were very similar to the real MBE questions. And Barbri's attitude rubs me the wrong way. Tell me why your product is better; don't simply put down the competition.

I'll be doing the online course because I'll be living in an area where there isn't an onsite option. But to be honest, I don't think I'd want to sit in a large classroom day in and day out for 2 months watching the same video I could watch anywhere else. So, I probably would've taken the online option regardless of whether I had the option to do the onsite course. And if I was paying for the course, taking the online option is cheaper than the onsite option. It's the same material, but they have to pay for overhead (cost of renting the room, people to check-in everyone, etc.).

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scifiguy
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:44 pm

Hmmm, this is maybe unrelated, but I'm wondering how hard the bar is?

I actually know of an acquaintance who failed it twice. Is it really as daunting as people say? How do you compare it to your law school work? Do really good law school students ever fail? Is it mostly the lazy students? Any info./insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

skiingimpy
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby skiingimpy » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:59 pm

I took BarBri and definitely liked it. They provide way more material than I think any normal person should need, and I think I maybe got through like half of it. If you get through the lectures and are even marginally competent at studying for law school type exams, and can memorize the shit, you should be fine. I think I went to 4 actual lectures before I got tired of waking up in the morning and just started watching the lectures online at 2 am. They do provide a vastly huge amount of material and opportunities to practice and try to learn more, so if you're freaking out, there's always more you can do.

Far more anecdotally, my friends that took kaplan had no problems and passed, I think it's largely similar in structure and material. I knew some people that took Themis, and while they passed, we had some hilarious discussions about some of the practice questions they provided and the retardedness of the answer choices and explanations.

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Mick Haller
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby Mick Haller » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:03 pm

There's a sheep mentality that BarBri is the best and you must take it because everyone else does. I'd recommend against that. Barbri in Calif. costs $4,200, while Kaplan and Themis online courses can be had for $1500. Themis is generally the best value, Kaplan the second best, and Barbri the worst.

Online is the way to go. Do you really want to be rolling out of bed at 7 am all summer to get ready and drive to a hotel so you can watch the same lectures played on a powerpoint screen? And pay 2x the tuition for this privilege? Most people who take the Barbri classroom courses quit attending the lectures after a week or two.

Go cheap and go online. Study hard, and you'll be fine.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:29 pm

scifiguy wrote:Hmmm, this is maybe unrelated, but I'm wondering how hard the bar is?

I actually know of an acquaintance who failed it twice. Is it really as daunting as people say? How do you compare it to your law school work? Do really good law school students ever fail? Is it mostly the lazy students? Any info./insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

At my school, people who failed were generally people who didn't put in the work to prepare - who may or may not have been really good law students (there was someone who was like #5 in the class who failed a few years before me because he just didn't do the prep). Mostly it's daunting because it's a ton of material and it's basically brute memorization (at least, my state rewarded regurgitation of memorized concepts, I would say over analysis - grading can vary a little) - it's not that the material is so mindbendingly difficult (everyone is going to have some concepts that give them trouble, but really, it's the volume).

That said, it's a standardized test, and I do think there are some people who get unlucky, for whom the test is really hard not because they're dumb people and bad lawyers, but because their brains just don't work the way that the bar tests for. (Insert standard line about all the famous people who've failed the bar (e.g. Hillary Clinton, JFK, Katherine/Kathleen someone who's a dean at Stanford/UCLA/somewhere in California now?)). I know people who failed for this reason, who ultimately passed.

I think some of this depends on your school - my school has a 95%-ish pass rate, so when someone doesn't pass, it's usually (not always, but usually) because they didn't do the work. When you get schools were 35-30% don't pass, I have a hard time thinking 25-30% of the people just blow off the prep (though who knows? maybe they do).

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Mick Haller
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby Mick Haller » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:17 pm

Also, I'd be wary of some of the advice you get on this forum re: which bar prep company. Make sure the person giving the advice is an actual law student, and not a prep company sales rep. There have been recent threads with a lot of first posters who register and then scream "BARBRI!!" or "THEMIS!!" and then disappear forever.

Try to take advice from people with at least 50+ posts.

eric922 wrote:Based on their LSAT prep I don't think I'd trust Kaplan with something as important as the Bar.


Kaplan bought PMBR a few years ago, so it's completely different from their LSAT prep. I took Kaplan and passed the California bar. Best thing about Kaplan is the MBE question bank. Books and lectures are adequate. I didn't submit many essays for grading so I cannot comment on the quality there. But I paid $1,500, took Kaplan, studied hard, and passed the bar. Can't ask for much more.
Last edited by Mick Haller on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. Good to see it from all perspectives.

Does anyone know of any that can get paid by regular student loans? Bar Prep loans can't appear to be consolidated and don't qualify for IBR, or most other deferments.

In theory if it were constructed for credit or as a trade school, you'd think a school could get itself to qualify. Anyone ever heard of one that has? ( I ask since I have searched but none seem to exist that do, but I sure wish I could find one that did)

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:13 pm

I paid for my bar prep by taking out additional GradPLUS loans - I hadn't taken the maximum for that semester. Talk to your school's financial aid office about whether you can adjust your loan requirements for that semester to take out more money to use to pay for the prep - that's what most people did (rather than taking independent bar prep loans from some other source).

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kalvano
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby kalvano » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:25 pm

Thoughts on the difference between BarBri and Themis in the way they do the testing? It seems like the short Themis videos followed by a quiz, followed by more videos, works better than the BarBri 3 hours of video then a quiz.

I have to decide soon, and I'm having issues.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Which Bar Prep Company?

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:26 am

Everyone picks their choice for a reason, maybe it just feels like a bigger choice than it is.




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