Lasers wrote:congrats everyone! must feel good to be done with the bar...
i just wanted to ask if you guys had any opinion on barbri v. kaplan now that you have been through it all? i would like the structure of a commercial prep course and i just want to make sure i can rely on the accuracy and (relative) helpfulness of the materials they give me. ideally, i would like to take kaplan because it's significantly cheaper, but price is secondary to me passing the first time.
i think the commercial prep courses are crap. scare tactics to get your money. "be bar-bri ready." sure buddy, whatever.
Like I said before, I highly recommend getting a good tutor. Trust me, a good one will give you far more structure than a commercial prep course. If you want a recommendation let me know.
I did commercial course the first time and took the bar and felt like i was very unprepared, watching all of the lectures is a huge time-sink and isn't needed to pass the bar, and didn't understand how things were tested. my tutor really opened my eyes to the method of the bar exam.
Agreed. I can speak to BarBri alone for the MBE and warn you about what you are getting/not getting.
One of the best posts I saw on here was that the MBE was a mile wide and about an inch deep. That's true for the most part. The NCBE has an entire body of law at its disposal to test you on, but objectively does not drill down very deep in any topic area. That's why studying for the bar is probably one of the most nerve-wracking portions of your professional career - you can never be fully prepared because they've got you outnumbered based on the sheer scope they can test from.
The problem with BarBri, and I will venture to say the other test preparation companies, is that if the bar is a mile wide, their subject matter outlines cover maybe 3/4's of that mile. The other 1/4 is subject material that objectively is not very difficult if you knew the law, but because you don't you either have to try to reason your way through it (which sometimes can be done) or blindly guess (this happens more than maybe TLS posters would be willing to outright admit). That's why if you search the forums you will see posts like "holy hell, who saw 6 questions on Native American sovereignty?" It makes it infinitely harder to get the question right, if you have no idea what the law is. However, in test taker's general defense, we don't know how many of those questions get factored into the curve and ultimately never impact our score. But when you combine it with the fact that the NCBE asks some really hard questions on subject material covered in the outlines along with some rules you misapply or just forget because you probably are sleep-deprived and cannot apply everything correctly under the time constraints, the wrong answers do add up.
BarBri needs to update their materials. I do not know if they are waiting until Federal Civil Procedure gets implemented next February or if they will just add in questions and keep the outlines the same, but there is a disconnect between the current Conviser Mini Review (which should be your main study tool no matter what they say about how effective the lectures are) and the MBE's emphasis on the subject material. Maybe their approach worked four years ago regarding how specific topics were tested, but it's not working now. I understand and accept that bar preparation courses are reactive, but I do fault BarBri for not adapting quickly enough. Their job is to study the bar trends and react accordingly or they are doing their students an extreme disservice with so much on the line after paying them thousands of dollars. That's leaving bar takers to, in my opinion, rely too extensively on the curve to push them over the line.
As far as the multitude of questions that BarBri provides...I think BarBri does an excellent job of preparing you for the test if that test was prepared by BarBri test-takers. There is a substantial difference between the formatting and approach of MBE questions and BarBri's. I found purchasing the released questions on either the NCBE website or Emmanuel's book do not provide an accurate assessment of the difficulty of the current MBE. So BarBri makes you BarBri ready, but not necessarily MBE ready.