Bar Classes?
March 23, 2008 6:22 PM   Subscribe

I have to take the July New York Bar and am having a dilemma.

I know that most people take Bar/Bri classes to prepare for the Bar. I don't learn very well in a lecture setting and was wondering if anyone had experience with other types of classes besides Bar/Bri. Has anyone tried Micromash or a similar programs? What were your experiences with Bar/Bri and other classes to prepare? Thank you so much!!!!
posted by tessalations999 to Education (6 answers total)
I took Bar/Bri for the Massachusetts bar in 1998 and the Florida bar 5 years later.
I found the classes helpful, but the materials given (the outlines, the mini-reviews, etc) were invaluable. The lectures seemed to me to be mostly an additional way of memorizing the subject matter (through the quirky presentation of the lecturer) but you are not really learning the subject matter for the first time (with few exceptions). Plus the 4-hour lectures time trains you to sit for the actual bar exam.
Both times I took the Bar/Bri courses, the lectures were videotaped. No one in any of my B/B classes looked particularly riveted. But again, for the most part, you know the subject matter. Bar/Bri seems to concentrate mostly on helping you organize it and recall it for the exam.
Good luck!
posted by Jezebella at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2008

Bar Bri offers their lectures via iPod, so you can get the same material without having to sit through a lecture.
posted by twiggy32 at 8:06 PM on March 23, 2008

I used Micromash when I took the Arizona bar, and found the materials to be lackluster. They didn't give you enough practice essay questions, and that is what hurt me.

For my second and third bars (Missouri and Kansas), I self studied with BarBri's materials. I set up my own study schedule and stuck to it religiously. If you have the discipline, self study is the way to go.

You can PM me if you need more specific advice.
posted by reenum at 8:52 PM on March 23, 2008

I passed the California bar in 2003 by studying BarBri books that were a year or two old (at the time); and the Oregon bar last year by following the same plan. You mostly need a good set of Bar Examiner notes and some self-discipline. I always felt like I made the most progress by studying the outlines a little, then writing all the essay questions I could get my hands on. The first few essays in a subject are always tough, but you'll quickly learn to string together stock sentences for the meat-and-potatoes issues for the field. Then you just riff a little about the facts and move on.

Good luck.
posted by spacewrench at 9:32 PM on March 23, 2008

I did MicroMash for the NY bar and liked it. I couldn't imagine sitting in a lecture hall for several hours a day (and some of the BarBri classes don't even have a live teacher, just video). The tests on CD were very helpful for me. They learn what your strengths and weaknesses are and focus testing on your weak areas. There weren't a lot of essays, but I don't know how many essays BarBri has. (I passed.)
posted by Mavri at 7:40 AM on March 24, 2008

I took Barbri for VA last year and for NY a few years before that. It's okay if you don't "learn" a thing during the actual lectures. I think the barbri materials or a lecturer at some point even admits to this. Just go, let the words bounce around in your head, and take notes.

Barbri is set up so that the real work comes after each lecture -- every night in June after each lecture and during July when there are no more lectures. That's when you review, outline, and condense your notes, practice the multiple choice and essay questions, make flash cards, etc. Except for the flash cards, all of these study materials are barbri-supplied and are to be done on barbri's schedule.

I know it sounds like you are signing over your life to the "Barbri Method" -- and for two months, you are. But sticking to the barbri schedule, in addition to helping you learn and memorize everything you need to pass in your state, also builds confidence. You said it yourself: most law school grads take barbri. And most bar applicants pass the bar. So if you go to the barbri lectures, do the barbri homework, and follow the barbri schedule, why wouldn't you too pass? Isn't that more a comforting than following some improvised method and then wondering in vain if your own self-discipline and set of bar examiner notes are good enough? Barbri's good enough. Pricey and anti-competitive, but good enough.

Good luck.
posted by hhc5 at 12:58 PM on March 24, 2008

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