What You Need To Know About Supplemental Bar Prep Resources

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05-10-18

What You Need To Know About Supplemental Bar Prep Resources

KERRIANN STOUT | Comments (0) | Law School Bar Prep

As if traditional bar prep wasn’t complicated or expensive enough, there are a whole host of supplemental bar prep resources available. You can buy everything from extra practice questions to high-end coaching and it can be completely overwhelming to figure it all out. Here is a guide to help you sift through all the information out there and find the tools that you need to be successful on the bar exam.

Online Question Banks

If you are signed up with a standard bar prep company, in addition to outlines and substantive material, you will also be supplied with practice questions for the multiple choice and essay parts of the exam. It is important to note that not all bar review companies offer the same number of practice questions. I highly recommend that you ensure you have access to a minimum of 3,000 multiple choice questions, 50 essays, and 10 MPTs.  In order to to reach this number, you may need to purchase additional questions in the form of an online question bank.

Here are some questions to consider when choosing a supplemental question bank:

  • How similar to the bar exam are the questions?
  • How many questions are made available?
  • Are sample answers provided and in what format (i.e. written, video)?
  • What kind of data is provided as to your progress?
  • Is there any other material included, such as outlines or videos?

What can you expect to spend on an online question bank? Roughy $300-$1,000 depending on what features are included.

Flashcards

Flashcards can be a great addition to bar prep for tactile and kinesthetic learners. While some bar prep companies include flashcards with their program, many do not.  If you prefer a more hands on learning style, you may want to consider adding flashcards into your bar exam toolbox.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing bar prep flashcards:

  • What subjects do they cover?
  • Do they test black letter law or hypotheticals?
  • Do they include space for you to make your own notes?

What can you expect to spend on bar exam flashcards? $100-$200.

Condensed Outlines

Most bar review courses give you several versions of their outlines at varying lengths. However, many students find super condensed outlines to be helpful for memorizing the most important topics. While I generally prefer that my students make their own condensed outlines, there are also several available to purchase.  

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing condensed outlines:

  • How accurate are the laws?
  • What subjects do they cover?
  • Do they include statistics on how frequently each rule is tested?
  • Is the information laid out in a way that makes sense to you and makes it easy to memorize?

What can you expect to spend on condensed bar prep outlines? $30-$150.

Supplemental Books

You will not have a shortage of books during bar prep. In fact, I’m pretty sure my bar prep books weighed about 20 pounds. These books include outlines (long outlines and short outlines), practice multiple choice, and practice essays. Some students like to purchase additional books of practice questions so that they can see questions from various sources. There are also several books about the bar exam that speak more to time management, stress management, and strategy rather than practice questions.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing supplemental books:

  • Do you need some more context about the exam?
  • Do you need access to additional practice questions and prefer them to be hard copy rather than online?

What can you expect to spend on supplemental bar prep books? Roughly $20-$300 depending on whether it is a book about the test or whether practice questions have been licensed.

Tutoring or Coaching

Most standard bar prep companies offer one-size-fits-all plans to their students. These offer a foundation for bar prep and work great for many students. Other students, prefer to get 1:1 support and a custom plan from a bar exam coach or tutor.

Here are a few thing to consider when hiring a bar exam coach or tutor?

  • Have you benefited from 1:1 support in the past?
  • Do you thrive when you are held accountable?
  • Have your stress levels interfered with your ability to be successful in the past?

What can you expect to spend on bar exam tutoring or coaching? Roughly $2,000+ (although I have seen this go up to over $10,000).

You may want to invest in all of these things or none of these things; every person is different. Remember, what worked for your friend last year might not work for you. If you need help determining the best resources for you, be sure to reach out to the academic support department at your school. They will help you evaluate your options and choose the things that will best set you up for success. Ultimately, there is no magic pill you can take that will take away all the pain of the bar prep. If you are not careful, you can waste a lot of money. Make smart, informed decisions and hang in there.

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