Preparing for the bar exam is an uphill battle. With only a couple of months left to study for it and classes for the July ’16 Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) starting this week, you should decide now which bar review course you’re going to register for.
Some people make the mistake of trying to tackle the bar on their own by either reviewing their law school notes (yikes!) or trying to study from someone else’s old bar review materials, but it always results in the disaster of having to re-take the bar exam six months later. Taking a review course is essential. Rather than being left to fend for yourself—reviewing material that you haven’t thought about since being a 1L and going over new information you never covered in law school—you can rely on your instructors to learn everything there is to know about UCC Article 9, family law, trusts, contracts, torts, and other bar exam topics, as well as perfect your problem-solving, writing, and timing skills necessary for success.
Choosing a bar review course is a critical part of the preparation, but some still wait until the last minute to make that decision. Maybe studying for finals got in the way. Maybe they just lost track of time. Whatever the reason, when you’re ready to buckle down and pick a course, here are certain things you should take into consideration.
There are many different bar review courses to choose from, so narrowing your search can be difficult, especially when time is not on your side. One quick way to eliminate the underwhelming options is to look at a particular company’s history. How long has it been in business and how did it get started? Though there is nothing wrong with young organizations, companies with longevity indicate that their teaching methods have proven effective.
Ask around. If you talk to your friends, family, and co-workers about their bar exam experiences, you’ll likely hear about how they liked their bar course or how it left them feeling unsure of themselves as they walked into the exam.
Thankfully, you don’t need to know someone who took a review course to find out what it was like. There’s also plenty of information available online. Go to the company’s official website, its social media pages, or other business review websites because there’s a good chance you’ll find something about people’s past experiences with a bar review course.
Take the time to read what people have to say—don’t just skim over the contents. As much as you might be tempted to skip the longer reviews, they are actually the most informative because they demonstrate the students’ enthusiasm. If you consistently see that people really like a review course because the instructors are incredibly helpful and the lectures are worth going to, then you may want to consider signing up. But if quite a few people complain about a review course’s pointless study techniques, you should probably turn your attention elsewhere.
Spend some time trying to learn more about a review course’s approach to preparing students for the bar. Student testimonials are helpful, as is the company’s website, because you’ll get a sense of what study methods a review course emphasizes. While some may highlight the importance of reading over material, others may focus on actually teaching you the law, and learning through practice exams and essay writing. As you become familiar with each review course you’re considering, you will see how they differ and determine which one best suits your needs.
Though you shouldn’t just rule out the most expensive bar review course right off the bat, you don’t want to overpay for a class that isn’t going to provide you with the right resources to help you pass the bar.
5. Additional Services
Be sure to learn about other services that a company may offer. For example, some may allow students to watch lectures online if they happen to miss an in-class session. Others may provide tutoring or essay review programs for those having trouble with the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). If you’re struggling with certain sections of the bar exam, whether it’s the MEE or the Multistate Bar Exam, these services may be of particular interest to you, so think about it when making your decision.
Choosing a bar review course is easier said than done. Although you might be in a rush because some review courses have already begun, set aside the time to do a little bit of research so you make sure you choose wisely.