Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

YibanRen
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Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby YibanRen » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:50 am

I used Themis before and passed a pretty hard state (CA). My employer now pays, and I am using Barbri for an easier state.

Couple of random thoughts:

Barbri provides a better introduction to the law in their basic materials. The lectures seemed like a better priming for the materials on the test--they actually add value. Themis covered a larger set of material in less depth. I am a bit nervous with Barbri because I understand the significant material much better now (the rules that I will have to explain for essays). But with Themis I understood more material more shallowly at a recitation level. A good example of this is with evidence. I understand the mechanics of character evidence really well/better with Barbri, but sometimes I will look at my old Themis materials and see that they touched upon some issues like authentication of certain types of tangible evidence that Barbri barely covered. Seriously, like Themis doesn't really explain things that well, the statements of law they give are a bit cumbersome, but you will know a ton of black letter law at a level that will help you catch a couple of extra MBEs questions.

Barbri's MBEs are stupid, Themis's are pretty straightforward/closer to the MBE. I mean, Barbri is useful if you want mental exercises to help you learn law for the essays. But, Barbri's MBEs are horrible to actually give you an idea where you are at for the MBE or prepare you to take the MBE. It is kind of like how everyone mocked the people that took Kaplan for the LSAT because Kaplan's materials were simulated and even contained some question types that didn't really exist.

Barbri provides much better essay materials. The book of essays and examples is great. Themis graded more essays, but I didn't feel like I had as many outlines to review and learn. If you don't feel like you are a good technical writer, Barbri's materials are decent.

To sum it up, I think the people that study hard and fail with Barbri probably weren't well prepared for the nature of the MBE questions, focused too hard on too few questions, and then ended up not finishing and/or also missed a bunch of questions that were based on black letter law that barbri didn't cover in its basic materials. The people that fail with Themis will have somewhat of an idea with each MBE question and be well prepared for the pace, but will probably walk out of the test saying "I feel like I knew only 40%, but got it down to two answers on 60% and guessed" because they didn't know the tests well enough.

mclilazng
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:25 pm

Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby mclilazng » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:16 pm

And how do you feel now :)? Themis right? I'm sorry - after these past 2 days, I'm a complete Themis Fanboy

YibanRen wrote:I used Themis before and passed a pretty hard state (CA). My employer now pays, and I am using Barbri for an easier state.

Couple of random thoughts:

Barbri provides a better introduction to the law in their basic materials. The lectures seemed like a better priming for the materials on the test--they actually add value. Themis covered a larger set of material in less depth. I am a bit nervous with Barbri because I understand the significant material much better now (the rules that I will have to explain for essays). But with Themis I understood more material more shallowly at a recitation level. A good example of this is with evidence. I understand the mechanics of character evidence really well/better with Barbri, but sometimes I will look at my old Themis materials and see that they touched upon some issues like authentication of certain types of tangible evidence that Barbri barely covered. Seriously, like Themis doesn't really explain things that well, the statements of law they give are a bit cumbersome, but you will know a ton of black letter law at a level that will help you catch a couple of extra MBEs questions.

Barbri's MBEs are stupid, Themis's are pretty straightforward/closer to the MBE. I mean, Barbri is useful if you want mental exercises to help you learn law for the essays. But, Barbri's MBEs are horrible to actually give you an idea where you are at for the MBE or prepare you to take the MBE. It is kind of like how everyone mocked the people that took Kaplan for the LSAT because Kaplan's materials were simulated and even contained some question types that didn't really exist.

Barbri provides much better essay materials. The book of essays and examples is great. Themis graded more essays, but I didn't feel like I had as many outlines to review and learn. If you don't feel like you are a good technical writer, Barbri's materials are decent.

To sum it up, I think the people that study hard and fail with Barbri probably weren't well prepared for the nature of the MBE questions, focused too hard on too few questions, and then ended up not finishing and/or also missed a bunch of questions that were based on black letter law that barbri didn't cover in its basic materials. The people that fail with Themis will have somewhat of an idea with each MBE question and be well prepared for the pace, but will probably walk out of the test saying "I feel like I knew only 40%, but got it down to two answers on 60% and guessed" because they didn't know the tests well enough.

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abogadesq
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby abogadesq » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:14 am

I thought Themis did a good job. There were subtopics that Themis barely or did not cover, but I doubt that alone will break me. I would totally recommend Themis.

If you want some extra assurances (no pun intended :lol: ) you could also get Adaptibar, which is like $300 or $400, but Themis+Adaptibar is still MUCH cheaper than Barbri or Kaplan.

bluewin888
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby bluewin888 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:43 pm

if themis and barbri are same price, which will take?

Why Adaptibar>?

abogadesq wrote:I thought Themis did a good job. There were subtopics that Themis barely or did not cover, but I doubt that alone will break me. I would totally recommend Themis.

If you want some extra assurances (no pun intended :lol: ) you could also get Adaptibar, which is like $300 or $400, but Themis+Adaptibar is still MUCH cheaper than Barbri or Kaplan.

waxecstatic
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby waxecstatic » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:21 pm

They're both good. I think BarBri has better outlines, especially the Conviser. But Themis has a great online set-up as well. It really just depends on your preference. If you're someone who prefers to be in a classroom environment and have a more structured set-up, go with BarBri. However, if you like studying at home, or in your pajamas, or just whenever you feel like it, then go with Themis. Either way, if you follow the program to a T (which is nearly impossible), you'll be fine.

YibanRen
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby YibanRen » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:11 am

Just coming back to this to say that I stand by my initial assessment. Barbri provides nicer outlines and really helped me have better rule statements for the essays. Their MBEs really don't prepare you for the real thing, and some of the work they assigned just didn't help me that much. I had to work while prepping, and only had 3-4 weeks to prep. So, I didn't have time for their millions of essay assignments and homework. Even if I did, it would probably just have made me more nervous. Time was better spent memorizing rule statements.

Themis didn't cover some important/difficult sections of the law in enough depth. This included mortgages, speech, products liability, and a few difficult parts of article 2. For me, this made it harder to learn and kind of dissuaded me from actually learning. I really liked Themis's counselor who called me and helped me get my mind in the came. Barbri never did this. I liked Themis's MBEs. They seemed closer to the real thing. Overall, Themis did enough to take me across the finish line in the hardest state. If I was paying, Themis.

If being paid on my behalf, or needing hand holding (which I did cause I have a job right now and not a lot of time) Barbri.

bklynattorney
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby bklynattorney » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:39 pm

I've heard similar criticism about Barbri's MBE prep (I used Kaplan). I've found that a lot of people seem to be taking Barbri because they feel its the most "trusted" without being able to qualify what that means. I decided to use Kaplan as it was far cheaper than Barbri for me and they had a better guarantee (i.e. money back vs. retake course for free if you fail the bar).

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TheGreatWhiteHorse
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby TheGreatWhiteHorse » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:19 pm

I found Themis to be quite good at prepping one for the MBEs, but miserable at state-specific law. I used it for the brutal Michigan bar, and I stopped after 60% to buy a book to study for the MI essay portion. Boy, am I glad I did. That book was the reason I passed the bar last year.

Themis's practice essays were useless. Their "grading" system was arbitrarily low. I got the grader to admit to me that they are harsher than the actual exam to inspire harder study, but I found that to be completely detrimental to me in my already fragile bar prep state of mind.

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3|ink
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby 3|ink » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:53 pm

This is a no brainer for me. Themis will cost me $1,600. Barbri will cost me $3,355. This is for Virginia.

Fuck off Barbri.

TwoBars
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby TwoBars » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:36 am

I used BarBri for South Carolina and Themis for Florida. Both will prepare you for whichever bar exam you may take. The video lectures are similar, but I like that Themis breaks them down into 20 minute segments.

I thought BarBri tends to overload you with study materials which you really do not need. The information is good, there is just too much of it. Aslo, the BarBri MBE practice questions were more difficult than actual MBE questions. This is not really a bad thing, but I got frustrated getting so many questions wrong all the time. Explanations to answers are the important part.

Themis outlines were good. Lots of information and overall presented pretty well. The MBE practice questions were good and I like the online format. It makes it easier to track progress and identify weak areas.

I passed both SC and FL on the first try. Given the nature of the SC exam, I focused on the essays which are the bulk of the score. You only needed a 125 to pass the MBE and it only counted as one section out of 7. I got a 140 (july 2011) and did maybe 700-800 practice questions.

For FL the MBE is 50% of your score. I studied it much more and did all the practice questions Themis provided (2,000+). I ended up with a 152 (feb 2015). I got a 160 on the FL portion.

Bottom line, either will prepare you. Self discipline doing the studying is what matters most.

eaternation
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby eaternation » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:26 pm

Hello,

Related topic. Anyone know the price floors tor Themis and Barbri?

I've been quoted $1195 public interest rate for Themis and $2395 public interest rate for Barbri.

I've heard of barbri dropping prices near April/may. What about Themis? They claim the public interest rate is their price floor.

I would love to hear how much everyone paid or heard friends paid.

I don't want to overpay if I can avoid it. Thanks for all information!

grizz20
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby grizz20 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:15 pm

TwoBars wrote:
Bottom line, either will prepare you. Self discipline doing the studying is what matters most.


Agreed. Your choice of prep company will not determine your outcome. None are lamborghinis or pontiacs.

I only took Barbri, but it was paid for by a different party. I passed.

Study time: Because of personal family reasons I studied for 4 weeks. But I think cramming is a better study method for the bar anyways. Don't forget, you aren't trying to learn, you just want to pass.

For lectures: listen at 1.75-2x speed. The people are boring. Fill it in, don't think about it and move on. One prof had a shit voice so I had to go slower. Listening to their dumb acronyms is a waste and you won't learn anything. You may feel like you are accomplishing a lot while listening, you aren't. You only learn by doing the questions.

Going to lectures: Even if I did start on time and lived in the state where I sat for the Bar, I would not have attended the lectures. Commute plus listening to them at normal speed sounded terrible. Don't go unless you can't take bar studying seriously at home.

Don't change your study style for bar prep unless you did shitty in law school.

Essays: Figure out what is historically tested in your state, and which law is only subparts of essays. I skipped 3-4 subjects completely. I focused on Civ Pro, State "X" Civ Pro, Wills, Secured, and Bus Org subjects - worked well. My next effort was on Contracts. Only outline your essays and read the answers. Within each subject be sure and cover different areas of that law by looking at the essay questions before doing essays. Maybe write out 1-2 if you really want to.

Figure out if you want to do CIRAC or CRAC, and just go with it. I did CIRAC and probably got extra points for good issue statements. Even if they were shit on exam day, I still did it to go through the motions.

MBE: I sucked at property, so I did enough to hit at average and said fuck it. I consistently crushed civ pro, contracts, and evidence, so I made sure to crush those on exam day.

Percentage MBE to Essay: Crucial to look at. If it isn't 50-50 don't bank on crushing the MBE and doing well.

MPT: Maybe do 1 timed, and write completely. Otherwise, I wouldn't sweat it. Put in headings, write by CIRAC, and you are done.

No more than 1000 MBEs: it is better to understand why you got the question right or wrong rather than doing thousands. Some people I saw go through 3500. That is a terrible strategy and will only provide a marginal benefit.

Don't open up Conviser Mini or the big book. I didnt open it. If you are that concerned about not understanding a niche area, your priorities are misplaced. If it's a global concept, I guess you will have to.

AMP software: Did one. Found it stupid and not helpful.

Percentage completion: If it makes you feel better to check off what you've done, do it. If it keeps you organized, do it. Otherwise, you know what you need to work on.

Hotel: Stay at a nice hotel. Needs to have decent food, good bar for a nightcap, convenience, relaxing, swimming pool, and little to no students. Yeah, it was expensive, but when compared to law school, foregone wages, 1L summer internships, and 2L SA, money should not be your determinant.

Post test: Like everyone else, I felt like a moron after the exam. A week later, I just told myself that most people pass. Just work diligently and focused.

Again prep company doesn't matter unless you have focus problems or must rely on a better guarantee. If you are overthinking this, move on with your priorities. The focus is your study habits.

Given that, OP started a valuable thread. OP mentioned some drawbacks and benefits to both.

TwoBars
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Re: Personal Thoughts on Themis v. Barbri (used both)

Postby TwoBars » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:30 pm

All of the review courses provide very similar material. I have used BarBri and Themis. I like the Convisor mini outlines from BarBri. Themis has some condenses outlines for the MBE subjects, but not the same as the Convisor. Personally, I thought BarBri provided too much study material and the MBE practice questions were overly difficult to the point of being demoralizing. Themis questions were less so but still challenging. The key thing is to really read the answer explanations for all the questions regardless of if you got them right or wrong. What is nice now is that the online interface of the courses provides a helpful breakdown of the questions and lets you know what subject area questions you miss. For me, I found I tended to miss certain subject area questions repeatedly and then spent time targeting that for studying which ultimately improved my performance.

The recommended study schedules provided are useful for what order to study the material. Both Themis and BarBri structure the schedule such that subjects build on one another. It's not always intuitive but starts to make sense. The key is to start studying as early as possible. The main benefit is that you can get through the material studying 4-6 hrs a day as opposed to cramming 12 hour days. It is easy to get burned out studying for the bar, so fewer hours a day helps prevent that.




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