Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

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lavarman84

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:31 am

Just do Themis online. It's cheaper. You get to pocket more money. It prepares you just as well as Barbri (or close enough considering the cost). And I don't know many who did Kaplan.

lavarman84

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:37 am

NoDayButToday wrote:I did Barbri and found it miserable and unengaging. The way it gauged progress made me feel like I was never doing enough. Unengaging because 4 hour lecture videos, which left me worn out, followed by a long evaluation on the subject. I studied with some Themis people and they seemed much less miserable. I got the impression they had 20 minute videos on discrete topics, followed by exercises on the subject. That appeals to me a lot because that's about how long my attention span is when I'm trying to focus really hard on something. Seems more pedagogically sound, too. So, if I could do it again, I would do Themis.


Yep, that's how Themis worked. They broke their lectures down into 15-25 minutes parts.

sparkytrainer wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:I did Themis, and a lot of my friends did Barbri and Themis. From what I know and have heard from others, Themis is better for self study types, because they give you a lot of flexibility with pacing and every lecture is recorded. Barbri is more structured and has in-person classes. Either way, you will study a lot, and usually think that you haven't studied enough at the end of each day. If you go with Themis, you too will learn to hate the Progress Bar. Passed Ohio bar first time, and completed approximately 80-ish percent of Themis material.

Good luck.


Does themis at least give you a schedule, such as doing x and y today, z tomorrow? I know Barbri does, but I would like at least a schedule outlined, even if its at your own pace.


Yes. But the schedule is tailored to get you to 100% completion. I was only aiming for 75%, so I went away from it once July started and focused on topics I needed to learn better.

hockeyman969

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby hockeyman969 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:28 am

RSN wrote:3L here realizing I probably should stop procrastinating and actually figure out bar prep. I've totally ignored the companies tabling at my school and sending me emails until now, but I guess they all raise their prices at the end of the month, so I should probably start looking at my options, much as it pains me to do.

Is there some guide or conventional wisdom on advantages/disadvantages of the major providers, pros and cons of classroom vs. online, and/or other things that I should know but don't know to ask? I've been searching around for something centralized and comprehensive but haven't found anything yet, and my school is not super helpful, to say the least. Have talked to a few recent graduates and friends but they mostly can only tell me about their own experiences, which are generally fine. I apologize if there's some giant stickied thread I'm missing or something, but hopefully starting a new one will be helpful for other people in the same spot who could benefit from some TLS group wisdom.

Thanks!


Don't pay sticker, you should know this. Get in touch with your reps and negotiate. I got Kaplan live for UBE cheaper than sticker and on demand for Florida for a pretty discount. No, I was not a rep I just got in touch with the regional sales manager, the person with authority. Pit them against eachother.

hockeyman969

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby hockeyman969 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:29 am

lavarman84 wrote:Just do Themis online. It's cheaper. You get to pocket more money. It prepares you just as well as Barbri (or close enough considering the cost). And I don't know many who did Kaplan.


I did Kaplan for UBE and Florida and passed both with wide margins.

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby hockeyman969 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:35 am

RSN wrote:Thanks for the feedback so far from everyone. Definitely very helpful.

RCSOB657 wrote:I wanted more structure than themis, but didn't think barbri was in my price range. Kaplan it is.


Can you elaborate here on what you mean by more structure? I thought I had read that Themis was the one that gives you daily schedules of stuff to do, but maybe I'm confusing that with another one.

I also see very few Kaplan mentions here besides this one. I recall that their reputation is not great for LSAT prep, but I'm curious if that carries over into bar review.


It's exceptional for Bar prep, two entirely different entities. Kaplan has the best method to keep you engaged and wanting to absorb info with checkpoint quizzes after each lecture and tons of question analysis tailored to the topic. Profs analyze essays and MBE questions live during lectures...the article 3 analysis helped me understand how to tackle a commercial paper problem...which happened to appear and the wills and trusts were both taught by same prof who did A ton of cross referencing. With wills they test that MC in FL and the half blood formula she gave us helped too.

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BlueLaw11

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby BlueLaw11 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:55 pm

It seems like the general consensus is Themis because it is cheaper.

If we're able to get a full reimbursement (no stipend considerations), does that answer change? I'm drawn to how Themis uses 20 minute videos over 4 hour ones, but feel nervous not going with the trusted product. For context, I work best when lessons are structured, and I really appreciate being able to have physical books, rather than reading everything online.

I'm taking the CA Bar if anyone here has experience with that/Themis or Barbri

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RareExports

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby RareExports » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:12 pm

Does anyone have information on price variation over the course of the year? Both Themis and Barbri are saying that their September prices are the lowest they will be all year, but I remember reading somewhere that sometimes prices drop in the spring.

Is that true? And if so, how significant of a price drop is it? I am risk averse and don't want to take on a risk of a $500 increase in October with a 50/50 shot at a $200 decrease in March.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:47 pm

BlueLaw11 wrote:It seems like the general consensus is Themis because it is cheaper.

If we're able to get a full reimbursement (no stipend considerations), does that answer change? I'm drawn to how Themis uses 20 minute videos over 4 hour ones, but feel nervous not going with the trusted product. For context, I work best when lessons are structured, and I really appreciate being able to have physical books, rather than reading everything online.

I'm taking the CA Bar if anyone here has experience with that/Themis or Barbri

You get physical books from Themis, too.

Also I'm pretty sure price is whatever you can negotiate from the rep. I remember Barbri offering a law review discount in the spring semester before the bar app deadlines, and they've done a PI discount (but you often had to ask).

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RCSOB657

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:50 pm

Kaplan will refund 250 if you give them back their books. Don't know if I could get more selling them. Anyone ever try?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Go on ebay and see how much people are selling books for. I've usually seen $200-300 - which is why I think the bar courses set the refund as they do; they know that's the amount they're generally competing with to get the books back.

lavarman84

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:55 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
BlueLaw11 wrote:It seems like the general consensus is Themis because it is cheaper.

If we're able to get a full reimbursement (no stipend considerations), does that answer change? I'm drawn to how Themis uses 20 minute videos over 4 hour ones, but feel nervous not going with the trusted product. For context, I work best when lessons are structured, and I really appreciate being able to have physical books, rather than reading everything online.

I'm taking the CA Bar if anyone here has experience with that/Themis or Barbri

You get physical books from Themis, too.

Also I'm pretty sure price is whatever you can negotiate from the rep. I remember Barbri offering a law review discount in the spring semester before the bar app deadlines, and they've done a PI discount (but you often had to ask).


Yea, I got a PI discount as well. I think I got Themis for like $1200ish in the fall of my 3L year.

lavarman84

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:56 pm

BlueLaw11 wrote:It seems like the general consensus is Themis because it is cheaper.

If we're able to get a full reimbursement (no stipend considerations), does that answer change? I'm drawn to how Themis uses 20 minute videos over 4 hour ones, but feel nervous not going with the trusted product. For context, I work best when lessons are structured, and I really appreciate being able to have physical books, rather than reading everything online.

I'm taking the CA Bar if anyone here has experience with that/Themis or Barbri


Honestly man, I don't really think there's a "trusted" product. You can pass or fail with any of them. Take whichever one you think fits you best. At the end of the day, if you fail, it's not on the bar prep company.

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:32 pm

How is Themis not a "trusted" product?

You'll pass with any of them. However it's a proven fact that the only people who use Kaplan are Kaplan reps and Barbri is expensive and annoying. Just save the money and do Themis.

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ndbigdave

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby ndbigdave » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:57 pm

I have posted my general advice a few times, but it likely bears repeating here...

Regardless if you pic Barbri, Themis, Kaplan or any other program the key is to actually put in the work and "know thyself" in that only YOU know what works for you when it comes to studying (do you need lectures or are you better off self-studying outlines? Do you find success with flashcards? Do you have to see the speaker to get value out of it or can audio lectures work? Are you self motivated enough to stay at home, keep a general plan and get through materials or do you need your hand held more and forced to things - dont take that as a slight, but be honest with yourself)

No program...none of them...have a 100% success rate and though Themis (to their credit) discusses success rates and publishes them, the fact of the matter all of the programs are foundationally the same. There will be lectures on the topics, outlines (usually one more robust and the other at least a bit shorter) then access to MBE practice questions and past essays. The different programs may call things different names "modules" or "AMP" or whatever, but at the core thats all the programs offer - the information and tools for YOU to use to succeed. Big programs cover the average student because they arent (nor can they be) tailored to your specific strengths and weaknesses - if you want and need that find a private tutor, under most scenarios it will be far more expensive BUT you get what YOU need.

From my perspective, as someone who has sat for the Michigan and Illinois bar (Illinois is almost effectively a UBE state at this point) I would seriously look into self studying with BarMax or Adaptibar for the MBE, then SmartBar (or an equivilent) for essay prep. I would supplement with material from your specific state bar's website (old essay questions should be there) and generally call it a day. That is more than enough material and its a matter of getting through it, doing the questions in a productive way (just "doing" 1000 questions is insufficent, youre better off doing a few hundred less but actually REVIEWING each answer and reading why you got it right or wrong). The tracking tools that both BarMax and Adaptibar offer are very helpful to track trends over time and spot weaknesses not just in a specfic subject, but a subtopic of the subject so you know better where to spend your time.

Studying for the bar is not rocket science, most bar exams arent trying to hide the ball (there certainly can be arguments on a test-by-test basis of some essay sections being easier/harder and the grading of these sections can create great variance - but I digress) the fact is the material is out there, its a matter of putting in the time to learn it and understand the format. You have never taken a test like the MBE so prepare, writing essays for the bar is different than for your final exam in law school (for better and worse) you have time constraints and character limits, but with practice you can be very comfortable with both portions. How much do you need to study? Again - know thyself. If you were an below or average student you likely have more work to do than the person with multiple book awards and a near 4.0 GPA, both students need to study but one clearly has a better grasp of at least some of the core subjects.

As for the "conventional wisdom" Barbri is the biggest name in the game, but there is no "Secret sauce" to their program, from everyone I know who has taken it (and I was living with my GF who was using their program so I am well versed in their offering) their general program is to bury you in work, scare the hell out of you with overly difficult MBE questions and then hope you work your tail off to stay on pace and improve your crap scores which leads to success on the bar for many people - see the thread regarding the MBE midterm/final and then actual scores for evidence of this. All of the programs teach the same material in generally the same way - its what you do with it that matters and that is why I routinely reccommend totally different programs that are cheaper and in my opinion "better" because they are cheaper and offer material in a more "you specific" way (again BarMax and Adaptibar at least for the MBE).

Know what works for you, speak to others who have taken the bar, everyone has a war story and a list of things they thought were good and those that were bad - then make up your mind for what will work for your style and budget.

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hipcatdaddio

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby hipcatdaddio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:08 pm

I took Kaplan (and wasn't a Kaplan rep) because I appreciated how Kaplan had unlimited graded essays in my state (NC) where essays are very state-specific and weighted heavier than the MBE. Also, every essay in my Kaplan essay bank was a NC-specific essay. I think I ended up doing somewhere around 55 graded essays (and probably 10-15 ungraded) by the time I finished bar prep. I passed. MBE prep is gonna be the same throughout the 3 main companies.

nada123

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby nada123 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:06 am

Has anyone already paid for Themis (for Feb 18)? What price did you get it for?

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lolabear727

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Re: Conventional wisdom on Barbri/Themis/Kaplan/others?

Postby lolabear727 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:48 pm

nada123 wrote:Has anyone already paid for Themis (for Feb 18)? What price did you get it for?



I see that if you pay before 10/1 it's $1495. I was going to call this week and see if they can do a little better.



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