Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

catshape
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:39 am

Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby catshape » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:59 am

Looking for advice/opnions. I have no one to ask....

I have been self studying for California bar exam Feb 2018.
As a foreign attorney who didnt get legal education in US, I am looking forward to get a better sense of the subject materials and to get some tips for the exam through lectures.

Working full-time and want flexibility/independence in study schedule.

Barmax) cheap and its lectures/outline seem decent. But since there are not many reivews about it, I am not sure if its good; I coud find only some negative reviews.

Themis) The quality of its lectures and materials seem nice. Feel like its lecture is better than Barmax's. But more expensive than Barmax, less flexibility in study schedule

Themis law school essential lectures) Free. Since I am going to use adaptibar and baressays.com, I do not necessarily need the full bar review course, and the substantive review through these lectures might suffice for my purpose. But maybe less practical and their contents basic compared to bar review lectures?

I would appreciate any comments, thanks.

westie25
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby westie25 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:03 pm

I did Themis. If your goal for doing some type of program is to get a better understanding of the American law (specifically California law), it may be beneficial to listen to lectures from professors as opposed to just reading outlines. There can be a lot of nuance in the law depending on the topic that you may not pick up through just reading. Themis has a lot of flexibility. I didn’t follow the standard schedule at all. I made my own. I knew I was particularly strong in certain areas that they wanted to test early. I swapped those topics with topics I never took in law school. They have a Flex Study option that readjusts for you. Their lectures are good and are about 8-30 mins long depending on the topic. They do short chunks of lecture material instead of long lectures, which may be helpful to you while working. You could get through a few lectures during your lunch hour. They have mini quizzes at the end of each section to test what you retained from the lecture. They then go back at the end of a lecture and have you do more questions focusing most on what you missed previously. This is a good way to see what you’re comprehending and what you may be completely missing, which allows you to go really focus on those areas you’re not fully comprehending. For instance, I wasn’t really retaining the info on the takings section of constitutional law, so I went back and really reviewed it.

Full disclosure: I was a Themis representative at my law school, and got the program free. However, if I thought it was a shit program, I would be honest & tell you. I passed the bar in my state using Themis. Their lectures are really good.

JoeSeperac
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby JoeSeperac » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:27 pm

Since you are taking California, this is worth a read:
http://blakemasters.com/post/3711346829 ... -100-hours

When you read this examinee’s account, you will see that he was disciplined, he focused on the MBE (about 55% of his overall study time despite it being 35% of his total score), he did as many MBE practice questions as he could; he carefully reviewed the answers to study his errors; and he made an MBE Rules outline of his MBE mistakes; and he stopped doing MBE questions a week before the exam and focused on outline study/memorization.

As a foreign examinee, you have your work cut out for you. In examining the average pass rates in California over the past 20 years of reported information (looking at NCBE annual statistics), the overall pass rate for examinees who went to Law School outside the United States is 13.9% (10,719 taking while 1,494 passing). In contrast, the overall pass rate in California over the same period was 48.6%.

catshape
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:39 am

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby catshape » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:21 am

westie25 wrote:I did Themis. If your goal for doing some type of program is to get a better understanding of the American law (specifically California law), it may be beneficial to listen to lectures from professors as opposed to just reading outlines. There can be a lot of nuance in the law depending on the topic that you may not pick up through just reading. Themis has a lot of flexibility. I didn’t follow the standard schedule at all. I made my own. I knew I was particularly strong in certain areas that they wanted to test early. I swapped those topics with topics I never took in law school. They have a Flex Study option that readjusts for you. Their lectures are good and are about 8-30 mins long depending on the topic. They do short chunks of lecture material instead of long lectures, which may be helpful to you while working. You could get through a few lectures during your lunch hour. They have mini quizzes at the end of each section to test what you retained from the lecture. They then go back at the end of a lecture and have you do more questions focusing most on what you missed previously. This is a good way to see what you’re comprehending and what you may be completely missing, which allows you to go really focus on those areas you’re not fully comprehending. For instance, I wasn’t really retaining the info on the takings section of constitutional law, so I went back and really reviewed it.

Full disclosure: I was a Themis representative at my law school, and got the program free. However, if I thought it was a shit program, I would be honest & tell you. I passed the bar in my state using Themis. Their lectures are really good.


Yeah, I know from studying law in my jurisdiction that there are nuances that I cannot pick up from just reading outlines.
Using themis for MPRE prep, and I think I like it.
I'll consider using Themis, thanks!

catshape
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:39 am

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby catshape » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:34 am

JoeSeperac wrote:Since you are taking California, this is worth a read:
http://blakemasters.com/post/3711346829 ... -100-hours

When you read this examinee’s account, you will see that he was disciplined, he focused on the MBE (about 55% of his overall study time despite it being 35% of his total score), he did as many MBE practice questions as he could; he carefully reviewed the answers to study his errors; and he made an MBE Rules outline of his MBE mistakes; and he stopped doing MBE questions a week before the exam and focused on outline study/memorization.

As a foreign examinee, you have your work cut out for you. In examining the average pass rates in California over the past 20 years of reported information (looking at NCBE annual statistics), the overall pass rate for examinees who went to Law School outside the United States is 13.9% (10,719 taking while 1,494 passing). In contrast, the overall pass rate in California over the same period was 48.6%.


Thanks, I like this guy's approach and this sort of approach is what I have been modelling after. But it seems I need some adjustment because, unlike this guy, I am not a person who received education in an elite us law school and did pretty well there. That's why I am considering watching some lectures....

JoeSeperac
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby JoeSeperac » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:48 am

catshape wrote:Thanks, I like this guy's approach and this sort of approach is what I have been modelling after. But it seems I need some adjustment because, unlike this guy, I am not a person who received education in an elite us law school and did pretty well there. That's why I am considering watching some lectures....


I would be careful with the lectures. If an examinee fails and sends me their scores, I ask them "If you had to identify one thing that helped you the LEAST on the exam, what would it be." Probably the most common answer is doing the lectures. For example, look at some of the J16 failing examinee comments below (each examinee's comments are separated by the asterisks):

[+] Spoiler
If you had to identify one thing that helped you the LEAST on the exam, what would it be:
Low self-confidence. As a multiple re-taker, it was quite difficult to get my confidence back. ********* Videos ********* easy feedback from barbri ********* Combining studying materials from different sources (when it came down to remember a definition, I got confused, because I am very visual). Also, doing MBE questions that were not similar to the ones at the exam. I am not sure if this is a problem all students have because there is no way of practicing similar questions, but I felt I had been practicing at a level 6 or 7 out of 10 in terms of difficulty, and that freaked me out a bit, also made me mad. ********* The time restraints with multiple choice ********* Time spent on lectures. ********* Having to work up to two weeks prior to the exam and having a hernia operation 3 weeks out. ********* The lectures. I needed more time to memorize and not fill in outlines. I don't learn much from listening and trying to fill in outlines at the same time. ********* Listening to Barbri Lectures and filling out the handouts. ********* Attending in-person lectures for Barbri. ********* Doing mock two days before exam (totally destroyed my wrist) ********* Barbri Lectures ********* No strategy for multiple choice questions. ********* Some lectures ********* sitting so close to other people while taking the exam ********* Test anxiety. ********* anxiety ********* Lecture ********* Barbri fill-in lecture worksheets ********* Not feeling comfortable about the exam despite having completed so much of the coursework. ********* Barbri simulation. ********* NOISE/DISTRACTION ********* Listening to and writing out the lecture. ********* barbri lectures ********* Crazy construction noise at Javits and the environment was intense with so many people cramming as they were walking into the room. ********* The lectures. They are so boring, my brain just turned right off. ********* I had a lot of difficulty with Property and Contracts.

gaddockteeg
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:33 pm

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby gaddockteeg » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:53 am

Barmax is 1/3 of the price of themis, but its truly 1/3 of the quality.

There's typos, incomplete explanations to MBE questions, misplaced sections, etc.

With that being said, you can definitely still pass with Barmax. Just know that you definitely get what you pay for.

JoeSeperac
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: Which lecture: Barmax vs. Themis vs. Themis law school essential?

Postby JoeSeperac » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:39 am

While some materials are better than others, it's more the person than the materials. For example, a first-time foreign examinee taking NY emailed me the following a few days ago:

This is what I did to prepare for the F17. I used Kaplan prep course (didn't watch the videos), Adaptibar (did the 4 OPEs), Emanuel 1&2, Barbri Convsier, Critical Pass flashcards, and other commercial condensed outlines. I did nearly 1700 MBE questions and did the past UBE essays (self-graded). I started working really hard at the end of December 2016. ... I spent 470 hours in preparation

This examinee failed with an MBE of 115 and a written of 118. However, if a domestic candidate with a GPA above 3.0 did exactly what this examinee did in F17, the domestic examinee would have passed with an MBE of 160+ and a total UBE score of 300+. When a high-ability examinee studies for the bar exam, these examinees understand the material better because they had previously understood it in law school (you don’t get high grades in law school unless you demonstrate your knowledge of the subject matter on exams). These examinees generally also have good writing ability and good memory capacity (which contribute to both law school success and bar exam success). Thus, a high-ability examinee can do inefficient things like listen to the bar review lectures and still do fine on the exam. However, the lower your ability, the less room for error you have in your studying. For example, I strongly believe examinees MUST do well on the MBE in order to pass. There will always be outliers where examinees pass based on a low MBE score and a high written score, but in general it is the best measure of an examinee’s ability. This opinion is shared by NCBE who recently stated that "MBE scores are highly related to total bar exam scores." see http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files ... esting.pdf

MBE scores are likely related to total bar exam scores because it takes a much longer time for lower-ability examinees to do well on the MBE. This is because an examinee essentially needs to understand 400-500 legal principles to receive an above passing MBE score. For example, a single intentional torts question may require you to know about assault, battery, false imprisonment and IIED to answer it correctly. Thus, examinees with limited legal knowledge will not do as well on the MBE as examinees with more extensive legal knowledge. In contrast, the essays only consists of 20 major legal principles (give or take a few). While a deeper understanding of the law is needed, it is MUCH easier for someone to get “lucky” on the essays than the MBE. Let’s assume that like the MBE, you need 65% correct on the essays to pass – this means you need to correctly identify/analyze about 13/20 of the essay issues. If you get lucky on just a few of them (i.e. what you studied the night before luckily appears), this can account for 10-15% of your total essay score. With every exam, I hear from examinees who “bluffed” essay answers and received good grades. For the MBE, you really can’t get lucky on it. Even if some of the concepts you studied just before the exam appeared, that will only help you with maybe 2-4 questions. That’s just 2% of your MBE score.

Furthermore, doing well on the MBE involves more than just knowledge – it also involves test-taking skills (and skills require drills). Acquiring this knowledge and skill takes a lot of time – thus if you don’t have a lot of time to spend studying/practicing for the MBE, it is hard to do well on it. While study for the other components of the exam can be “abbreviated” to some extent (e.g. using my materials to abbreviate your essay study or just studying certain subjects and getting lucky), MBE study really can’t be given short-shrift, nor can MBE answered be “bluffed” as with the essays (another reason why the bar examiners rely heavily on the MBE and even use it to scale essay/MPT scores).

I have found that it is not easy task for an examinee to escape their demographic. For example, foreign examinees from the United Kingdom have an overall pass rate of 28% in New York. When I review scores from British examinees, I generally find that it takes them about 4 attempts before they pass the exam. So when your expected pass rate is 14%, you really need to out-perform about 90% of your demographic to pass, even though they are probably putting as much effort into the exam as you are.




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