So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

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VirginiaBarExamTutor
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby VirginiaBarExamTutor » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:38 pm

The only course that I know for sure uses actual released MBE questions is Barmax. The other courses that I know of use a mix of questions designed to simulate actual MBE questions alongside questions designed to reinforce memory of a particular rule of law.

I used BarBri when I took the Virginia Bar a few years ago, and found their MBE questions and method that they use in their online quiz to be extremely helpful. Their web-based flashcard / quiz app prepared me well for the MBE despite that I do not think they are using any actual NCBE released questions. (Those questions can only be used under a license with the NCBE). I took Kaplan's course when I did the Texas bar, and also found they had a similar setup.

What worked for me was having some cards/questions mixed in that were about just one legal rule rather than a full complex MBE question. Once I knew the individual rules well, completing the longer more complex (multi-rule) questions was easier. The online quizzes would adjust and "learn" how you were doing, and the questions get harder as you go. By the end of my bar prep time, I do believe I had seen many questions of greater difficulty than I saw on the MBE (that is true both when I did BarBri and when I had done Kaplan).

So, I think getting the "actual" MBE questions is a little overrated. But I have nothing against going that route either. Just my two cents.

THE_U
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby THE_U » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:04 pm

rhs67858 wrote:Does Barbri use real MBE practice questions? I called a rep and she said yes; however, a fellow TLSer said no. I am about to pull the trigger on one of these programs for the July bar.

It's bizarre, part of me really wants to use Themis. But I keep leaning toward BarBri.


AdaptiBar uses all of the authentic MBE questions written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that have appeared on previous exams. Rest assured, our legal experts continuously monitor the database to make sure each question reflects the same form and content of those that will appear on your upcoming exam. Why study with the simulated questions written by your comprehensive course (e.g. BarBri®) when you can study with actual MBE questions written by the organization that writes the MBE?


Since you don't seem to believe me :wink:

rhs67858
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby rhs67858 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:17 am

THE_U wrote:
rhs67858 wrote:Does Barbri use real MBE practice questions? I called a rep and she said yes; however, a fellow TLSer said no. I am about to pull the trigger on one of these programs for the July bar.

It's bizarre, part of me really wants to use Themis. But I keep leaning toward BarBri.


AdaptiBar uses all of the authentic MBE questions written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that have appeared on previous exams. Rest assured, our legal experts continuously monitor the database to make sure each question reflects the same form and content of those that will appear on your upcoming exam. Why study with the simulated questions written by your comprehensive course (e.g. BarBri®) when you can study with actual MBE questions written by the organization that writes the MBE?


Since you don't seem to believe me :wink:


It's not that I don't believe you. Rather, I am trying to ascertain the most information and from as many sources as possible. I am putting up mucho dinero here;) I do appreciate you help, THE_U.

I feel like at this point its about getting my study materials together and coming up with a plan.
Last edited by rhs67858 on Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

rhs67858
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby rhs67858 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:20 am

VirginiaBarExamTutor wrote:The only course that I know for sure uses actual released MBE questions is Barmax. The other courses that I know of use a mix of questions designed to simulate actual MBE questions alongside questions designed to reinforce memory of a particular rule of law.

I used BarBri when I took the Virginia Bar a few years ago, and found their MBE questions and method that they use in their online quiz to be extremely helpful. Their web-based flashcard / quiz app prepared me well for the MBE despite that I do not think they are using any actual NCBE released questions. (Those questions can only be used under a license with the NCBE). I took Kaplan's course when I did the Texas bar, and also found they had a similar setup.

What worked for me was having some cards/questions mixed in that were about just one legal rule rather than a full complex MBE question. Once I knew the individual rules well, completing the longer more complex (multi-rule) questions was easier. The online quizzes would adjust and "learn" how you were doing, and the questions get harder as you go. By the end of my bar prep time, I do believe I had seen many questions of greater difficulty than I saw on the MBE (that is true both when I did BarBri and when I had done Kaplan).

So, I think getting the "actual" MBE questions is a little overrated. But I have nothing against going that route either. Just my two cents.


Thank you, VirginiaBarExamTutor!

rhs67858
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby rhs67858 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:08 pm

TLS:

Just wanted to confirm. I am coming from an out of state school and taking the CA bar in July. If I go with the Barbri package will they have supplements for me that cover subjects I did not take in law school? I am assuming yes. Also, any state specific subjects I should be worried about, I am assuming Barbri sends me stuff for those subjects too. In other words, if I pull the trigger on Barbri I should be good to go (unless I decide to, for example, supplement my MBE prep with Adaptibar)?

6TimeFailure
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby 6TimeFailure » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:06 pm

rhs67858 wrote:TLS:

Just wanted to confirm. I am coming from an out of state school and taking the CA bar in July. If I go with the Barbri package will they have supplements for me that cover subjects I did not take in law school? I am assuming yes. Also, any state specific subjects I should be worried about, I am assuming Barbri sends me stuff for those subjects too. In other words, if I pull the trigger on Barbri I should be good to go (unless I decide to, for example, supplement my MBE prep with Adaptibar)?



Yea Barbri does cover all the CA specific subjects that you might not have taken in law school...Community Property for example. Barbri does a good job of teaching the black letter law. But as for actually teaching how to write an essay, I think they are just "ok". I would supplement the essay study with Baressays.com (premium subscription).

Personally, I think Barbri + Adaptibar.com (MBE) + Baressays.com is a good plan. And I also think it's good to start in mid-April or May. But yes I understand that law school finals may get in the way of that.

rhs67858
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby rhs67858 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:08 pm

6TimeFailure wrote:
rhs67858 wrote:TLS:

Just wanted to confirm. I am coming from an out of state school and taking the CA bar in July. If I go with the Barbri package will they have supplements for me that cover subjects I did not take in law school? I am assuming yes. Also, any state specific subjects I should be worried about, I am assuming Barbri sends me stuff for those subjects too. In other words, if I pull the trigger on Barbri I should be good to go (unless I decide to, for example, supplement my MBE prep with Adaptibar)?



Yea Barbri does cover all the CA specific subjects that you might not have taken in law school...Community Property for example. Barbri does a good job of teaching the black letter law. But as for actually teaching how to write an essay, I think they are just "ok". I would supplement the essay study with Baressays.com (premium subscription).

Personally, I think Barbri + Adaptibar.com (MBE) + Baressays.com is a good plan. And I also think it's good to start in mid-April or May. But yes I understand that law school finals may get in the way of that.


Thanks bud, I am going to look into Baressays.com, the premium subcription, today. I am eager to just begin doing a little studying now as I have time this semester. I have some Kaplan books I am playing around with while I wait to pull the trigger on a prep course.

CordeliasFool
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby CordeliasFool » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:00 pm

Any repeat takers out there? I used Themis for February 2015 and didn't pass (my fault, working full time and didn't take it seriously) and am thinking about switching programs.

Cutthroat123
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby Cutthroat123 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:51 am

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kay2016
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby kay2016 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:04 pm

If anyone has any advice for recent negotiation with barbri or Kaplan, please let me know (or PM me).. Was planning on taking Themis but am now likely going to a state where that isn't an option :/

clc512
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby clc512 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:01 pm

I signed up for Barbri to do the live classes because that's what everyone said (I know I'm feeding into the Barbri monopoly and honestly I don't care). Everyone said go to lectures, do exactly what they tell you to do and you'll pass. That sounds way easier than done. It's April 1 and I'm already freaking out. Anyone have any tips as to not be like I am not for the next 6 ish months (now until scores come out), especially while I need to calm down and focus? I'm a first time bar taker and my grades aren't the most stellar to begin with. Never been on probation but not at the top of my class.

I was smart until I came to law school. UGH. Thanks everyone.

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northwood
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby northwood » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:55 pm

clc512 wrote:I signed up for Barbri to do the live classes because that's what everyone said (I know I'm feeding into the Barbri monopoly and honestly I don't care). Everyone said go to lectures, do exactly what they tell you to do and you'll pass. That sounds way easier than done. It's April 1 and I'm already freaking out. Anyone have any tips as to not be like I am not for the next 6 ish months (now until scores come out), especially while I need to calm down and focus? I'm a first time bar taker and my grades aren't the most stellar to begin with. Never been on probation but not at the top of my class.

I was smart until I came to law school. UGH. Thanks everyone.



I took and passed the bar exam on my first try and was not in the top of my class either. What I would do is to browse through similar threads (i.e. your bar course thread from the state bar exam that you are taking and if available, a thread from posters who took past bar exams in your state ). That will give some insight into popular topics being testes and what the scoring breakdown is (i.e. 50 % MBE 40% Essays 10%MPT, etc).If you are taking NY which will administer the UBE this july then browse some UBE threads and the NY Bar Examiners website... The goal is to try to figure out the formatting for your essays and how long you have to respond to each so you have some basis for the essay portion of the exam.

Know that you are about to learn a lot of law in a very little amount of time. Treat bar prep like the full time job that it is and know that you will be stressed so try to develop some sort of routine (i.e. lecture, lunch, work, workout/ relax) and try to give yourself some days off in May/ June and you should be fine.

Look at some essay examples and do 100 MBE questions now( to give yourself a baseline). But unless you are working during bar prep, or know that you will need to take some time off in bar prep- relax and have as much fun as possible until the day before you start ( or however many days you know you will have to take off to stay on time and be able to take a day or 2 off to recharge during bar prep) because you will have enough time.

Your bar prep course will give you a daily to do list. Try to do the list, but know that you wont be able to do it all. You will find out what you can cut out soon after starting. Focus on MBE subjects and traditionally tested essay subjects. But at least glance over each area twice. DO and review at least 35 MBE questions a day (find out why you answered the way that you did, what the question was asking and why the correct answer was correct and the others incorrect). Don't try to memorize all of the BLL, just the main elements of the essays (and learn how to BS an essay and get points by showing the grader that you can write a rule and apply the facts to the elements of your rule, even if you are totally making up the law- because you came to a logical conclusion given the facts provided and what you think should happen so you made a rule to go with your answer and applied the facts appropriately).

Oh and if you are a night owl, now is the time to start training your brain to be fully functional 20 minutes before the Examiner says "Begin" on Bar Exam Mornings, not the week before the test.

GO with the study approach that works best for you ( you should know this by now). But be ready to adjust as necessary.( Flashcards may be too time consuming/ burdensome to create from scratch- so find or buy premade ones- you can modify as necessary. Also LeanSheets may be an option. But don't get too many outlines/ bar prep tools- or you may only end up overwhelming yourself with material.

Also find ways to deal with test day stressors (i.e. noise, talking, being stumped by tricky questions- you will be given techniques to deal with these issues in your bar prep course- but remember to do what works for you. Be ready for computer failure on test day, in case it happens.


REMEMBER: CONFIDENCE IS KEY. If you graduated from law school and went to a top 100 law school, there is a good chance you can pass the bar exam on your first try. Be confident. After all you had to be smart to get through college, the LSAT and law school.

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AlanShore
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby AlanShore » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:27 pm

Question about Themis (I'll be using them for MA) - is their study plan realistic? For example, can you really do some of these topics (secured trans, partnership etc) in one day? or will there be spill-over work often? Thanks!

Shmuffalo_
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby Shmuffalo_ » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:35 pm

I passed with Barbri. I'd recommend it, but I hardly followed their regime. I enjoyed their lectures, and greatly relied on that. As far as their numerous nonsense videos, I left it to the wayside (Aside from Guzman's lectures... those were so helpful, especially con law). It may not be for everyone.

Tzhs
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby Tzhs » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:05 am

:oops:
AlanShore wrote:Question about Themis (I'll be using them for MA) - is their study plan realistic? For example, can you really do some of these topics (secured trans, partnership etc) in one day? or will there be spill-over work often? Thanks!


Spillover. In Florida, commercial paper was scheduled for review early on (perhaps the second week of the course). I even quickly reviewed the material again the weekend before the bar, but didn't have the recall over the rules to write a good essay (but apparently neither did many other people who took the FL bar this past February).

For partnerships, the testing in FL is very rule specific. I am a transactional lawyer with 30+ years of practice. I still had to review the partnership materials multiple times because the books cover so many rules (though the themis schedule in FL did have you going back and reviewing the partnership chapter immediately before the exam).

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kcam1991
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby kcam1991 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:28 pm

For those who used Themis, were the practice questions primarily in the books or online. I'm askin because I'm looking into buying a book set from eBay and self studying

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PishPosh
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby PishPosh » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:07 pm

kcam1991 wrote:For those who used Themis, were the practice questions primarily in the books or online. I'm askin because I'm looking into buying a book set from eBay and self studying


There were a few extra sets in the back of one of the outline books--but 99% online. It might be wise to spend $300 and get adaptibar for a complete bank of questions.

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VirginiaBarExamTutor
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby VirginiaBarExamTutor » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:09 am

clc512 wrote:I signed up for Barbri to do the live classes because that's what everyone said (I know I'm feeding into the Barbri monopoly and honestly I don't care). Everyone said go to lectures, do exactly what they tell you to do and you'll pass. That sounds way easier than done. It's April 1 and I'm already freaking out. Anyone have any tips as to not be like I am not for the next 6 ish months (now until scores come out), especially while I need to calm down and focus? I'm a first time bar taker and my grades aren't the most stellar to begin with. Never been on probation but not at the top of my class.

I was smart until I came to law school. UGH. Thanks everyone.


I know the feeling. I've passed a few bar exams; I've used Kaplan, Themis, and Barbri at some point. Regardless of which study company you use, my advice would be not to over-focus on the lectures. Of course you'll want to watch the lectures and outline as advised, but I would not recommend re-watching lectures or reading over outlines. There is some good research out there on the more interactive study methods like quizzes and flashcards, and how much they help for bar prep. To the extent that your program allows some choices in how to spend your study time, opt for interactive study practice that gives instant feedback over idle study like reading or watching. Best of luck to you!

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soj
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby soj » Sat May 21, 2016 1:44 am

cross-post from the themis thread:
soj wrote:Themis is a good program and better value than some of its competitors, but it has serious flaws. You'll discover them yourselves as you proceed with the program, but I'll try to post them here as I remember them.

soj wrote:here are a few of the problems i can remember off the top of my head. again, this is not to say themis is a poor choice. my friends taking barbri and kaplan had their fair share of similar complaints, and at least themis is a little cheaper than those two, though still exorbitant. most of you will pass without issue despite these flaws.

1. essay prep is unbelievably awful. in ca, which i took, essay prep consists of a series of short videos that are sold to you as incredibly helpful tools that will help you strategize which areas to focus your study, but in fact are just a person literally rattling off every single topic within a subject, one by one, and declaring it a "frequently tested area." thanks for the hot takes! even the statistics provided by themis about how frequently each subject gets tested was sometimes flat-out incorrect, based on the list of subjects tested in prior administrations. even worse is the "interactive" essay grading program, which admittedly some people found helpful. unfortunately, this appears to be very hit or miss, as i was saddled with a barely literate "attorney" adviser who wrote "MORE FACTS" and "DEVELOP THIS MORE" and other unhelpful nonsense in random locations through your essay and assigned you a score based on a random number generator. (one such instance of "MORE FACTS" was found in the one section of my essay where i had actually managed to incorporate more facts than the model answer, go figure.) one of my friends literally submitted the model essay that themis provides as his graded essay and received 60/100. i would say that it also sucks that they only give you 6 or so graded essays (the rest are self-graded), but with a service of such dubious quality, who even wants unlimited grading? if essays don't matter much for your state, then just focus on MBE and try to be minimally competent on the essays (no thanks to themis). essays matter a lot in CA, but fortunately i was able to find a good book on amazon for $40ish that was just 1000x better than what themis provided. [note: by no means are supplements necessary to pass--but you might find some of them more helpful than your prep program]

2. mbe prep is better than its essay program, but still flawed. there are too many fake questions and unhelpful self-justifying explanations for the answer choices. it's still good, but by no means of a quality i would expect of a program that costs four figures. if there is a specific topic within a subject that you are bad at, there is no way to "drill" those specific topics. that is, you can get a property question set, but you can't get a mortgages question set. (kaplan has this capability.) the mbe prep videos are also a mixed bag with tips and tricks that you'll obviously have to take with a grain of salt. there will be times when the instructor says "XYZ is always a trap answer, it's always wrong!" and then the next problem set will contain three questions where XYZ is the credited response. use your common sense with this--if it seems like themis is overselling you on a certain point, it probably is. overselling and underdelivering is its specialty.

3. some lecturers are excellent while others are boring and ineffective, but this is to be expected. the lectures don't really matter anyway. you might pay attention, fill in your outline blanks, and retain a few things, but the real learning will take place when you start actually studying. also, the lectures and the accompanying don't cover all the ground and sometimes skip over entire topics. i don't ding themis too much for this since it would be impossible to include everything in the lectures, and you will find the answer in your long outlines. finally, there were a few topics tested in the mbe that, as far as i know, none of the bar prep companies covered in any detail (all of my friends were freaking out about it), but that was just a couple questions out of the entire exam. (and no, i don't remember what those topics were.)

L_William_W
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby L_William_W » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:49 pm

I was curb stomped by the NY bar (July 2014). However, I passed the NJ bar (February 2015, failed. July 2015, passed).

I don't recommend Barbri. They used a flawed cookie cutter approach where they basically just throw information at you and then give you assignments that are impossible to complete. Also, in the time that you're wasting listening to boring lectures you could be making YOUR OWN outlines. Making your own outlines is more effective than looking at someone else's outlines since in the process of doing so, you're actively learning the material and discovering the idiocyncracies of the rules. I'll use analogy: instead of reading a book telling you how to box, you'd be a better boxer if you actually sparred in the ring. I suggest getting used Barbri materials on Amazon and using that to make your own outlines, rather than to take the full Barbri course.

I can't give you MPT advice since NJ doesn't have the MPT (at least not yet) and when I did the MPT in NY, it was a disaster. As far as the essays, I highly recommend Ameribar essay graders. They grade you tougher than the actual bar examiners. And for the MBE, use the giant Kaplan book. Don't waste your money on Adaptibar or Strategies and Tactics. Both of them have questions that are easier than the actual exam and don't reflect the current material on the exam.

hogfan1991
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby hogfan1991 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:36 pm

I wanted to pass along an opportunity to use a discount code to save $20 on the Critical Pass Flashcards as a supplement to study for the Bar Exam. These Flash Cards are for the MBE section of the Bar, so anyone can benefit from them (unless you are taking the Bar in Louisiana). These Flashcards disseminate all the MBE material into flashcards to help with memorization.

I've spoken with past bar passers and they swear by them and used them extensively the last few weeks of Bar Prep. I hope everyone's prep is going well and best of luck! If you do use the code, if you could please send me "quote" this message or somehow let me know.

The code can be used by and shared with any friends anywhere, it is not specific to Arkansans. Thanks!

Website: http://www.criticalpass.com/
Discount Code: 20ARKANSAS

roo42
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby roo42 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:58 am

Are the PMBR lectures and programs different than Kaplan (I thought Kaplan and PMBR were the same?), but I have been receiving quite a lot of separate PMBR advertisements. Any merit to them?

styr
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby styr » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:45 am

roo42 wrote:Are the PMBR lectures and programs different than Kaplan (I thought Kaplan and PMBR were the same?), but I have been receiving quite a lot of separate PMBR advertisements. Any merit to them?

I had a professor talk about it in a class. We thought PMBR was defunct. I found some old books and flashcards from them. The PMBR flashcards looked decent. Having just taken this weird MBE yesterday, I'm not sure if any particular program has a definite advantage these days. If PMBR is cheap enough, it may be a good value.

Landza
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Re: So ya need a bar program: Barbri, Kaplan, Themis, Self, etc

Postby Landza » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:51 pm

Hi All, hope the exam went well. Looking to buy Barbri NY book set. Please pm if you are interested (or know anyone who is).




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