As students around the country have been getting bad news about the bar exam, I have been getting more and more emails and phone calls wanting advice on how to pick a bar exam tutor. I wanted to take the advice I have been sharing with those students and share it with you.
How Do You Find a Bar Exam Tutor?
There are a few ways that you can find a quality bar exam tutor:
- Ask for recommendations from professors or academic support professionals at your law school. Your law school may have an academic support office. If so, this is a great place to start looking for tutor recommendations. Often these offices have a list of known tutors that students have had good experiences with. Try to get a few names if you can. Or, ask a professor that you trust or had a great relationship with to recommend a private bar exam tutor.
- Ask friends who may have had to re-take the bar exam. A number of students I have worked with found me through a friend who was a former student. Just like anything else, recommendations can be the best way to find a service provider. (Right? We ask our friends for recommendations for doctors, hair stylists, personal trainers, restaurants, etc.)
- Do a good-old Google search. If these avenues don’t work for you, go ahead and do a Google search. Many bar exam tutors have websites with descriptions of their programs; they may even blog about their testing philosophies. You can learn a lot by reading blogs!
Ask the Right Questions
You should try to contact the tutors that you are considering working with. I would suggest emailing and calling them. You want to at least speak with the person on the phone before deciding to work with him or her. This is important because you are going to need to build a relationship with the person who will assist you through the bar review process.
When you talk to tutors, ask questions about the programs they offer (programs definitely differ from tutor to tutor):
- Do they offer study support for both the written and multiple-choice portions of the bar exam?
- Do they provide materials?
- Will they provide you with a study schedule?
- Do they provide feedback on writing practice?
- How many hours do they recommend you study each week? (If they say something like 12 to 15 hours a day, don’t work with them.)
- How long have they been working with students and preparing them for the bar exam?
- Do they have any testimonials or references from past students?
- What is their pricing structure?
Notice what isn’t on this list: Pass rates.
I wanted to comment on this because students always ask what my pass rate is and whether they can believe other tutors’ pass rates. Many people take liberties when reporting pass rates. They only choose to report the rates of students who worked with them and did all of their assigned work. Or they use another criteria to report a pass rate. It isn’t that you shouldn’t ask this question, but you do need to take the answer with a grain of salt.
A note on pricing. I have recently heard some pretty outlandish price quotes from tutoring programs. How much you are able to spend on bar prep is very personal and you must feel good about your decision. Just like everything else in life, the most expensive option may not be the best. However, if you chose to go bargain basement, you may not get what you paid for. So, as with any other smart consumer decision, critically look at your pricing options and what you feel comfortable paying.
Go with Your Gut
Studying for the bar exam, especially after a failure, is a very emotional experience. Although it is important that your tutor is skilled in helping students prepare for the bar exam, your tutor must also be a good match for you. You must feel you can trust your tutor and rely on his or her judgment. You must feel that you tutor will support you. I have heard of tutoring relationships breaking down because a student went with a tutor that someone else told the student to work with instead of the tutor he or she wanted. Your bar tutor should be on your team—to help you through a very challenging experience. Make sure you pick the right person to work with you. This person likely needs to be your confidant, motivator, and moral support. When you interview a tutor, you might want to think about your choice in that capacity.
Remember: There Is No Single Magic Answer for Passing
In all of my work helping folks prepare for law school exams and the bar exam, I can say one thing for certain—there is no one easy “magic” answer to passing the bar exam. It takes work, practice, and time. If someone is selling you an “easy answer” then, well, it might not be the right answer for you.
Interested in more useful information? Check out these links!
- What you should consider when selecting a bar review provider.
- Yikes! I failed the bar exam.
- What you can do NOW to prepare for the bar exam.
Don’t forget to sign up for our free mailing list now!