Choosing the right Bar Review course is the single most important decision you will make on your journey to become a lawyer.
You will be spending hundreds of hours studying with it, so it’s crucial to find the one that best fits your learning style and background.
So here’s the good news – We have personally reviewed every major Bar exam prep course on the market so you don’t have to! The comparison chart below will help you figure out which online course best fit your needs.
Flexibility: While BarMax is now also available online, having access to stacks of books through the app makes this course the easiest to use on the fly or whenever you have a spare moment to study. Studying for the bar exam is almost fun when you can do it on your iPhone or iPad at the coffee shop, gym, or beach. Internet access is not required to access content through the BarMax app, and you don’t have to waste time driving to class.
Price: At $1,000, BarMax Bar Exam Review’s comprehensive state course price is much lower than the industry average. The price includes lifetime access to audio lectures from Harvard Law alumni, such as the legendary Arthur Miller, corresponding black-letter law outlines, and flashcards. There’s more than 1,500 real multiple-choice questions (MBEs), real practice essays, real performance test (PT) questions, personalized writing revisions, analytics and customer support by phone, email and in-app message boards. This is an incredible value.
Study Planner:BarMax provides a recommended study calendar that sets forth daily assignments and a clear overview of the material, including how much you will need to study. The calendar suggests a more reasonable study plan of 15-25 hours per week for 12 weeks. This efficiency is unparalleled. Additionally, since BarMax is the only bar review course to offer instant and lifetime access, it is an amazing option for students who would like to get started with bar prep sooner—a great idea if you are working full-time or are an international student.
0% Financing:BarMax also offers 0% financing, which allows you to get immediate access to any BarMax course and split the purchase into budget friendly 3, 6 or 12 monthly payments. BarMax also offers a public interest discount for students pursuing careers in public interest law.
Fully Comprehensive:Kaplan’s Complete Bar Review Course contains a large amount of resources and is available in just about every state. With this course students have access to unlimited essay grading, live lectures (in-person, or live-online, and on-demand), full-length simulated exams with review, a final countdown study plan, and 4,000 exam-like MBE questions.
Structured Program: Their course has a clear outline and helps students stay on track. The overall structure of their program includes approximately 7 days of MBE prep, up to 36 days of comprehensive subject review (varies by state), 4 to 5 days of simulated exam preparation for each part of that state’s exam, and about 2 weeks (varies by student) for a final countdown study plan with highly tailored assignments.
Flexibility: Kaplan not only provides their complete course in most states, but students have the option to attend course lectures either in-person or live online from the comfort of wherever. In addition all students will have access to their 24/7 Online lecture Library where they can review the course lectures on-demand. They also have a mobile app and through it users can access some of their bar review course materials on the go.
Price: This is going to be one of the more expensive options depending on which state you plan on studying for, but as you can see it comes with a ton of material. Prices for the Complete Bar Review Course range anywhere from the more affordable $1,895 in some states, up to around $3,600 in others.
Authentic Study Materials: All of AdaptiBar’s practice questions are licensed questions that have been released from past bar exams. By practicing with authentic MBE questions (instead of simulated questions written by test prep companies) you’ll be better prepared for the questions you will see on the actual MBE exam. AdaptiBar offers more than 1,700 MBE practice questions, giving students a lot of first-rate practice material at an affordable price.
Technology Adapts to You: AdaptiBar’s software automatically adapts questions to your ability level based on your performance. In the Practice Questions mode, students are presented with certain types of questions until they consistently perform well on that particular type. The Past Performance Table tracks how many questions have been answered and calculates the accuracy of your answers, so you’ll be able to target and improve on your weaker areas.
Restricted to MBE Exam: Students looking for a comprehensive review course to help them cover all the material on the bar exam will be disappointed, as AdaptiBar focuses exclusively on the MBE portion of the exam. As a result, AdaptiBar is most effective when used as a supplement to a more thorough review course.
Price: Themis Bar Review provides a comprehensive program at a very reasonable price of $1,695 for all states. Included with the price students get video lectures and quizzes for each subject on the exam, simulated exams, over 2,500 MBE practice questions, unlimited essay grading, and 24/7 customer support.
Efficient Learning Modules: Their video lecture library is made up of shorter, more manageable 15-20 minute video segments. This can help students stay more engaged with their lessons and increase retention of study material. Themis allows students to learn at their own pace and in a very manageable format.
Availability: Themis’s course is currently available in 34 jurisdictions, so some student’s won’t be able to take full advantage of the course. That being said, for the states that they do offer a review for, students will receive a fully comprehensive course tailored to their state bar.
Comprehensive: Barbri has been a big name in bar exam preparation for close to 50 years. They offer an in-depth review that includes live-online or in-person lectures, multiple outlines, online study materials with progress tracking, a mobile app, simulated exams, multiple workbooks, and essay feedback.
Available in All States: Something unique about Barbri is that they provide a full bar review course for every state. This is useful for students who would like to dive into a program that covers everything that they need to know, including the more state-specific material.
Price: Barbri may have the most experience with bar exam preparation, but they definitely make their students pay for it. No matter which state your studying for, Barbri is going to be one of the most expensive options. Their prices range from $1,400 up to $3,895 depending on which state you are preparing for.
Many courses are “mobile optimized” but really have limited functionality on a smaller screen. BarMax is one of the best on-the-go study courses and it is available at a much lower price than some of its competitors. Despite the relatively low cost, there’s a lot of value for this review course, as it is comprehensive and comes with great planning tools. BarMax is a great Bar review course and will get you to the promised land even if you’re constantly on the move.
The BarMax online prep course gives you the ability to carry all the information you need around in your pocket. Having access to stacks of books through the app makes this course the easiest to use on the fly or whenever you have a spare moment to study. Studying for the bar exam is almost fun when you can do it on your iPhone or iPad at the coffee shop, gym, or beach. Internet access is not required to access content through the BarMax app, and you don’t have to waste time driving to class.
2. BarMax Price
At $1,000, BarMax Bar Exam Review’s comprehensive state course price is much lower than the industry average. The price includes lifetime access to audio lectures from Harvard Law alumni, such as the legendary Arthur Miller, corresponding black-letter law outlines, and flashcards. There’s more than 1,500 real multiple-choice questions (MBEs), real practice essays, real performance test (PT) questions, personalized writing revisions, analytics and customer support by phone, email and in-app message boards. This is an incredible value.
BarMax also offers 0% financing, which allows you to get immediate access to any BarMax course and split the purchase into budget friendly 3, 6 or 12 monthly payments. BarMax also offers a public interest discount for students pursuing careers in public interest law.
In addition to the comprehensive state courses, BarMax offers supplements for the MBE portion. The MBE full course is $499.99 (audio lectures, outlines, flashcards and over 1500 MBE questions), while the question bank is $249.99.
3. Study Planner
BarMax provides a recommended study calendar that sets forth daily assignments and a clear overview of the material, including how much you will need to study. The calendar suggests a more reasonable study plan of 15-25 hours per week for 12 weeks. This efficiency is unparalleled. Additionally, since BarMax is the only bar review course to offer instant and lifetime access, it is an amazing option for students who would like to get started with bar prep sooner—a great idea if you are working full-time or are an international student.
barmax review course
This course is especially suited for students who may be overwhelmed by the massive information overload that is typical in other review courses. Straightforward outlines and easy-to-understand lectures along with actual multiple-choice questions (MBEs) from previous bar exams, as well as flashcards and practice essays make this program less complex and more effective.
BarMax currently offers preparation for the bar exam in California (CA), Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)—currently used in 33 jurisdictions, including New York—the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the CA First Year Law Students Exam (FLYSE or Baby Bar) and the MPRE (free).
Themis Bar Review combines affordability with the flexibility of an online study program.
An online study portal can be accessed from anywhere, and a mobile app allows users to download content in advance for times they find themselves without internet access. Themis prides itself on its high pass rates, suggesting that this course gets results.
Themis Bar Review provides a great overview of a wide range of topics without overloading students with excessive material. Learners can tweak the suggested study program to meet their needs without being overwhelmed by too much information.
1. Available for a Wide Range of Devices
One of the first online programs in its field, Themis capitalizes on its universal availability. The entire Themis program is compatible with virtually all devices, including smartphones, computers, tablets, and e-readers. The app is available for iOS and Android, making this course very portable.
2. Concise Learning Modules
Video lectures are broken down into shorter, more manageable segments of 15-20 minutes to keep learners interested and focused. Based on research in instructional design and learning retention, Themis Bar Review presents information in smaller doses to prevent learners from becoming overwhelmed, and allows them to process information at their own pace.
3. Fair Price
Themis has a price tag of $1,295 to $1,695 depending on which state and program you choose. While this certainly isn’t cheap, it costs less than the most other major Bar Prep courses on the market. There are no hidden fees or associated costs, and some students may qualify for an additional discount if they plan to work in the public interest sector. Discounts are also available for active duty, reserve, and retired military members, as well as members of certain law school and legal organizations.
4. Helpful Planning Tools and Features
Although this course is aimed at learners who want optimal flexibility rather than a traditional classroom approach, several features help learners organize their time. A preset sequence of tasks, a to-do list, and a dynamic calendar keep learners accountable and on track. In addition, the myProgress tracker monitors which assignments have been completed. In other words, there is enough structure for those students who need it.
1. Not Available in All Areas
Themis Bar Review is currently available in 34 jurisdictions, as shown on the map on their site. However, students from all states can take advantage of the online review materials Themis offers on their website.
Themis publishes detailed pass rates by state on its website. Pass rates range from 70-90%, with the higher pass rates coming from students who complete 75% of the course before the exam.
Themis is best suited for self-motivated learners who want the freedom to study on the go from a portable device. As the course is fully online, there are no classroom sessions to attend. Those who are working or have other obligations will benefit from this flexibility and the reasonable recommended study schedule (six to eight hours a day plus review on weekends).
One nice option is the ability to customize your level of independent study. In the Directed Study mode, you have to complete a daily list of tasks. If you miss a day or more, the dynamic calendar makes changes to your schedule so you can catch up to where you should be. In the Flex Study mode, you can skip around and complete assignments on your own without a prescribed schedule. It is possible to switch back and forth between the two modes, depending on your schedule and what type of instruction works best for you. Hard copies of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), state outlines, the MBE Milestone and Simulated exams, and Performance Test (PT) questions and answers are provided as well. Visual learners can print hard copies of the handouts that accompany each lecture to take notes.
Themis Bar Review is a flexible and adaptable course with enough structure to keep students on track while they study for the bar exam. An early adopter of online learning, Themis supports more different kinds of devices than its competitors and has done the educational research to back up its approach. It offers a broad overview rather than an exhaustive review of all relevant material, which makes it ideal for those who want to concentrate on the big picture.
Structured daily tasks to be completed in sequence (optional “Directed Study Mode”)
On-demand video lectures followed by questions for maximum retention
Searchable outlines and interactive handouts
Option to study at own pace with “Flex Study Mode”
Practice MBE-type multiple choice questions and essay questions
Simulated paper exams and milestone exams track progress and prepare you for the actual test experience
24/7 tech support, academic support, and Personal Attorney Adviser (trained in bar review essay grading) and state director are available for guidance, to answer questions, and provide detailed feedback and advice for essays
MyProgress tracker monitors which assignments have been completed
Pass or a Free Repeat Guarantee for first-time Themis takers. Those who do not pass the bar the first time can take the course again at no additional cost.
Full Course: $1,295 – $1,695, depending on your state and available discounts.
MPRE Review: free
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The Barbri Bar Review course has long been popular with students and law firms. Available in all 50 states, Barbri has been preparing students for the bar exam for close to 50 years.
This comprehensive but pricey option provides a wide array of tools and study materials to help students learn what they need to know for the exam.
Those who sign up are likely to have a thorough understanding of the law for both the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) and the state-specific portion of the test. The question is whether this in-depth knowledge is worth the price if you are just trying to pass the exam.
1. Comprehensive Preparation
Barbri offers a thorough review, including in-class video lectures (these can also be watched at home or elsewhere on a portable device), two different kinds of outlines, online study tools and trackers, a mobile app, feedback on essays, simulated exams, and several kinds of practice workbooks. The clear structure paces students through a detailed course of study.
2. Customized Online Learning Features
Many interactive options make it possible to customize each student’s learning experience. The Personal Study Plan, Barbri AMP technology, the Pass Predictor, and the Essay Architect (all discussed in detail below) are a few of the adaptive tools that assess progress and provide student-specific recommendations for study. A mobile app is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices.
3. Available in All States
From California to New York, Barbri is the only program that prepares students in all states for both the MBE and the state section of the exam. Many students appreciate not having to generate their own state outlines. The course emphasizes state material that may not have been covered in law school classes. Most law students have not taken every subject that is tested on the bar exam in school, so Barbri familiarizes students with the local law that is tested in their state.
Students who choose Barbri should expect to pay up to $3,895 for the course, depending on the state. This makes Barbri one of the most expensive available options.
2. Excessive Number of Materials
Although there are advantages to a course that covers every conceivable angle and detail of the law that may appear on the exam, it can also be daunting. The variety of different study aids, exam books with practice questions, online tools, trackers, outlines, etc. may leave students frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed.
Seeing how you stack up against your peers can be an eye-opener and may motivate you to study harder – or it can be demoralizing. Some students may begin to panic (or at least doubt themselves) if they can’t keep up with the copious assignments, tasks, and tests.
Barbri keeps pace with the competition through its customized online features. The Personal Study Plan is an interactive and adaptive tool that continually analyzes your progress and performance and customizes your daily tasks. Assignments are based on what you need to know to pass your state’s bar exam.
Barbri’s AMP technology helps students master MBE concepts by tailoring its questions to individual students in real time. You can work through questions you already know quickly, but the software makes you spend more time on areas that require further study.
The Pass Predictor compares your scores against those of bar exam takers nationally on a simulated MBE test to predict your performance on the bar exam so you can adjust your study approach if necessary.
Finally, the Essay Architect is a feature that helps students craft strong essays. Immediate on-screen feedback indicates if you are on the right track while you are writing a practice essay. Students can then submit essays for grading by an essay-writing expert for personalized feedback on style and content.
A Private Tutoring Program is available at an additional price for those who need more help and individual coaching. All tutors have taken and passed the bar exam. Like many of its competitors, Barbri offers a free MPRE course on their website.
If you are the kind of student who likes to cover a large amount of material, this course is a good option. Traditional learners who want guidance and the deep knowledge that comes from detailed lectures, homework, and a lot of practice will find this course meets that requirement.
Those who want to attend in-class video lectures with their friends or to hold themselves accountable will also benefit. This program is very time consuming, so it is probably not a great option for those who are already working or have other commitments.
Barbri Bar Review has a solid reputation and the company is staying current with its customized online tools. The main drawbacks include price, a large time commitment, and the potential for overwhelm. Many of Barbri’s competitors advertise similar results for less money and less time. If you have other commitments to juggle and are looking for a flexible review course that will teach you only what you need to know in a relatively short amount of time, this is probably not the best choice. If your aim is a thorough review of topics, and you don’t mind paying the price, Barbri is a good option.
Kaplan Bar Review offers a full range of courses tailor-made for individual needs. Choices include their Complete Bar Review, LLM Bar Review Courses, and a variety of Multistate Bar Exam Courses and Supplements.
Kaplan has been in the test prep industry for more than 70 years and is known for its comprehensive review and full-length simulated exams. Their classroom lectures can be attended in person, watched synchronously (live), or on-demand at home, depending on the course.
1. Comprehensive Bar Review
The Complete Bar Review Course includes a heavy schedule of classroom or recorded lectures, outlines, and more than 4,000 exam-like MBE practice questions in a question bank to create customized quizzes. The price includes unlimited essay grading for a maximum level of individual guidance. A free MPRE Review Course is offered online at Kaplan’s website. An outline, course materials, lectures, MPRE questions, and flashcards are available for download. A hard copy version is available with an additional shipping fee.
2. Structured Program
Strict organization and mandatory classroom/online lecture attendance keeps students on track, making it harder to fall behind. Assignments are tailored to improve areas of weakness. The program follows a set course of instruction, homework, practice questions and essay writing, testing, and final review to optimize performance on the bar exam.
Lectures are offered in-person and online. Recorded lectures can be accessed anywhere, anytime from smart phones and other portable devices (both iOS and Android). The schedule allows for some wiggle room to catch up on weekends if students fall slightly behind.
4. Employer Payment Options
They have an online “Bill My Firm” enrollment option if your employer is paying for the exam. (Employer/Law Firm is billed directly.)
5. Additional Support
Ask-an-Expert Support option includes academic attorneys who are available to answer additional questions as needed. For an additional fee, experienced tutors are available to help those who need even more personalized coaching. Technical support is provided for all of Kaplan’s test preparation courses.
Kaplan is one of the more expensive options when it comes to reviewing for the bar. The price tag for the Complete Bar Review Course varies by state, ranging from an affordable $1895 (Hawaii) to more than $3,500 (New York, Florida, and North Carolina). Prices will vary according to promotions and specials.
2. Work Load
The sheer volume of work can be overwhelming for some students. This lengthy course touches on every concept covered on the bar exam, and requires numerous assignments, essays, personal outlines, and practice MBE questions to be completed outside of class for optimal preparation. Learners who struggle with information overload may prefer a more streamlined review that emphasizes a more general overview.
3. Not Available in All States
Kaplan Bar Review is not scheduled to be available in the following states until summer 2016: Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
4. Quality of MBE questions
Kaplan has drawn criticism from some test takers that their “exam-like” MBE questions are not as similar to those on the actual bar exam as the practice questions used by some of their competitors. Still, Kaplan stays current when it comes to changes in the bar exam and asserts that students will be ready for the new MBE that will be featured on upcoming exams.
Like its competitors, Kaplan has jumped onto the online-access bandwagon to meet demands for flexibility. Lectures do not have to be viewed in a traditional classroom setting. In addition to online features that allow you to track progress and feedback, an interactive online syllabus and an Online Lecture Library help learners stay on task. The basic lectures are available in the following formats:
Live or Live Online
Attend lectures in a traditional classroom or online from another location at a pre-scheduled time. With this option, lectures are simulcast for those who log in remotely. Questions can be asked in the chat function to receive immediate answers.
Lectures are available 24/7 in the Online Lecture Library if you miss a scheduled lecture, don’t want to attend a physical session, or need to review all or part of one. Internet access is required.
Kaplan Bar Review appeals to both traditional learners who prefer a bricks-and-mortar classroom experience, as well as those who like to self-study online. Kaplan is an established review course that keeps students on track while they study for the bar exam. The flexibility of being able to attend lectures in person or online makes their course a good fit for most students who are serious about passing the Bar.
36 day lecture for subject review and practice (number of days varies by state)
4-5 day full-length simulated exams and review for all parts of exam
14-day “final countdown study plan”
Lectures available in-person and online
Homework assignments include multiple choice questions, practice essays, quizzes, and simulated exams.
Ask-an-Expert support is included for additional questions
“Reports” feature in online syllabus shows scores for all graded tests, quizzes and practice essays
Conditional money back guarantee
Complete State Course: $1,895 – $3,595 (depends on your state)
MBE Supplemental Courses:
Combination Course Price: $1049
Foundation Course Price: $699
Final Review Course Price: $449
MPRE Review Course: free
The Money Back Guarantee has stringent requirements: only first-time bar candidates with a JD from an ABA approved law school who have completed all basic study requirements before taking the exam immediately after the course will be reimbursed. For example, attendance is required for at least 90% of lectures.
AdaptiBar was founded in 2003 by a law school graduate searching for digital study options and has been in the online bar exam prep space for more than a decade.
Their Online MBE Simulator & Prep course focuses on the MBE portion of the bar exam and uses actual questions from past exams written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
1. Authentic Material
100% of practice questions in the program are licensed questions that have been released from past bar exams. By practicing with authentic MBE questions (as opposed to those written by test prep companies) students will be better prepared for the questions they will encounter on the actual exam. AdaptiBar recently added 200 new simulated questions in Civil Procedure for 1,700+ MBE practice questions.
2. Score Predictor
The AdaptiBar course keeps track of your overall accuracy rate as you answer practice questions while you study. The company claims that the accuracy rate generated by AdaptiBar is a relatively accurate predictor of the score you will receive on the bar exam, although some students report that the questions on the actual MBE seem more difficult.
3. Adaptive Technology
The AdaptiBar software automatically adapts questions to your strengths and weaknesses by tracking your performance as you answer questions. In the Practice Questions mode, you will be presented with certain types of questions, one question at a time, until you become better at questions of that type. The Past Performance Table allows you to see how many questions you have answered overall and calculates your accuracy in answering them to help guide your study sessions and show you which outlines to review more thoroughly.
4. Improves Time Management Skills
AdaptiBar also helps with exam pacing by keeping track of how long it takes you to answer each question. This will help you determine whether you should spend less time on particular questions and move through the exam more quickly, or spend more time on a question if it helps you select the correct answer. You only get 1.8 minutes to answer each question on the bar exam, and AdaptiBar’s time tracking feature will help you learn to use your time wisely. You can also use the interactive Message Center to guide you through the program and decide how to divide up your study time.
5. Customizable Practice Exams
The MBE Simulator & Prep course comes with NBCE’s practice exams 1-4 (100 questions each from 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2013). You can also create an unlimited number of customized practice exams to take under exam-like conditions. In the Practice Exam Mode you can choose subjects and subtopics and the number of questions in order to generate an exam tailored to your needs. Submit your exam for grading to receive a detailed exam report that breaks down your performance with respect to topic and timing in addition to detailed explanations for each answer.
6. Free Trial
Try AdaptiBar’s course offerings for free to see if this program is a good fit for your study habits and ability level. You can register for a free trial that includes a small selection of simulated practice questions on their website. Try it today to see if AdaptiBar is the right supplementary program for you.
1. MBE Practice Only
Many students studying for the bar exam are looking for a comprehensive review course to help them cover all the material necessary to pass their exam. However, AdaptiBar focuses only on the MBE portion of the exam which is why it should only be used as a supplement to a more comprehensive bar exam review course.
This focused MBE review program is best for students who plan to use MBE preparation in conjunction with a more comprehensive bar exam review course. Self-motivated students who can find the time and dedication to study on their own without a set schedule of classes or reminders will get the most out of AdaptiBar’s self-paced online course.
One nice feature is that explanations are provided for both correct and incorrect answer choices to help you understand why you got a question right or wrong. It helps to know that you got the answer correct for the right reason, not just because you guessed or because you chose the right answer through a flawed reasoning process. Students can choose between the Practice Question and the Exam Question modes. You can also create a customized Past Questions report of all the questions that you previously answered in both modes that can be sorted by various categories for further review and practice.
The Early Access Option is a good choice for those who want to get a jump start on their studies. For an additional $125, this option allows you to access course materials before your session is scheduled to begin. Best for visual learners, AdaptiBar also offers online video lectures and flashcards to help you study and memorize key MBE topics.
AdaptiBar’s adaptive technology is great for helping students pinpoint their weaknesses and drill those content areas until they improve. Their Practice Questions and Exams make their course an effective tool to help students prepare for the MBE portion of the bar exam, but it should not be used as your primary study materials because it doesn’t cover all areas of the Bar exam. Click below to purchase AdaptiBar’s course.
Includes: 1,730 Practice Questions, Exam Simulator, NCBE’s Online Practice Exams 1, 2, 3 & 4. Course may be accessed either Aug. 1st – Feb. 29th (February bar exam) or March 1st – July 31st (July bar exam).
Baby Bar MBE Simulator & Prep
Includes: 744 Licensed Questions, Exam Simulator. Course may be accessed Nov. 1st – June 30th Oct (June bar exam) or July 1st – Oct. 31st (October bar exam).
Smart Online Flashcards
Includes: Lifetime access to 950+ flashcards to help review for all MBE subjects.
Includes: Add-on option of online video lectures by Professor Jonathan Grossman. Only available in conjunction with and during an active prep course. Unlimited access to streaming videos that will not have to be purchased again if you need additional study time for the bar exam.
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