Law students’ least favorite activity: preparing for the bar exam. This is the most dreaded and stressed about exam that all law students must eventually take if they wish to practice law. Although many law students avoid talking about the bar exam, eventually law school ends and bar exam prep begins. This exam determines your future in the legal profession and preparing for the bar is a serious matter. Preparing early is the key to success on the bar. Securing your bar prep course is probably one of the best ways to prepare for the bar. So what are these courses and how do you choose from all of the choices? Here is a guide to help you decide on your bar prep provider.
How Can I Choose??
I know what you may be thinking, how the heck am I going to choose a bar prep provider? There are numerous companies and individuals that provide bar exam assistance. There are several bar prep courses that are designed to guide you through the bar exam and be a “crash course” to the topics tested on the bar. Also there are many of these providers who have step-by-step study programs, lectures, and questions. Ultimately, choosing a bar prep provider does not have to be an overwhelming experience. Find a bar prep course that fits your needs, budget, and comfort level. Once you figure out what works best for your needs, secure your spot. Many of these programs will actually give you access before you graduate law school so you can begin studying early.
Know the Provider
There are so many different providers who offer bar prep services. They can range from big corporations who are present in every law school to individuals who have successfully taken the bar exam and provide tutoring services. Thus, it is important to know who you are hiring for bar prep help. Many providers will post what their pass rates are, their credentials, former student reviews, and other information to help you make an informed choice. And each provider offers different things as well. For example, the Bar Exam Toolbox has numerous bar exam preparation courses that can be personalized to your needs based on a variety of options and features.
Know the Cost
Not all bar prep courses are financed equally. Each company or individual decides what they are going to charge for their services. This makes sense since each provider offers different options for courses and prep materials. Thus, it is important that you know how much a particular bar prep course is going to cost you. Many of these resources can actually be pretty expensive (depending on the provider and specific services). It is best to go over what the specific cost is and whether there are any payment plans available to help ease the burden. Also, some providers offer scholarships or lower prices for some students.
Know the Curriculum
In addition to having several different choices in bar prep providers, you also have options for what the bar prep services looks like. Each provider has their own way of choosing how their bar prep materials and services operate. In order to properly choose a bar prep provider, you will want to know what the curriculum of their services, materials, or course are. Some providers will have an entire course dedicated to all the subjects and provide sample questions for the multiple choice sections and sample writing prompts. Other providers may have a complete curriculum that you have to follow to complete the course with additional videos and supplements. Some providers have live class sessions that you are expected to attend. Some providers will follow-up with you throughout the bar exam study period to make sure that you are on track and answer any questions that you may have. And other providers may just specialize in certain parts of the bar like responding to the essay prompts. Ultimately, you will want to think about what works best for you and your needs in order to make sure you feel fully prepared for the bar.
Know it will be okay!
Preparing for the bar exam is scary. Finding a bar prep course can be overwhelming. The bar exam is not meant to be some fun standardized test that people just decide to take one day. It is a rigorous, two-day test that you are subjected to after you survive law school (if you want to be a licensed attorney!) Not only is the process of sitting and taking the bar exam a stressful and daunting experience, the preparation leading up to the bar is even worse. Many law school graduates take the few months between graduation and the bar exam to study as their full-time job. You spend hours each day cramming away at everything that you learned or potentially did not cover in law school. This is an overwhelming experience that no one wants to go through twice! With all of that being said, regardless what you do for bar preparation, you will be okay. The fact that you are concerned about what you should do speaks volumes! As long as you take your bar preparation seriously and focus on passing the bar, you will be successful. So take a deep breath and decide what your preparation will look like but remember, you’ve got this.