Five frequently asked questions about BARBRI Bar Review

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[ Mike Sims, BARBRI President ]

Year after year, tens of thousands of graduating students choose BARBRI for their bar exam preparation. As they are making that choice, there are a few questions that arise more frequently than others. Knowing that your time is valuable, I want to take this opportunity to answer the most frequently asked questions about BARBRI Bar Review.

If you’d like to learn more or have other questions, please reach out to your BARBRI Director of Legal Education or to me directly at mike.sims@barbri.com.

You can also visit the BARBRI website where we’ve made it easy to find the BARBRI bar prep course that’s built just for you.

1) Can I watch all the BARBRI lectures online? If I select a course location, can I still access the lectures online?

Only BARBRI offers online, mobile and in-class study options for no additional charge. You can do 100% of your BARBRI bar prep online or can you choose to select a classroom location for all or a portion of the lectures. If you select a course location, you will still have online access to all the lectures.

BARBRI lets you mix and match what works best as your study approach throughout the course – go to class for your most challenging subjects, revisit specific topics and subtopics online afterward or quickly cover your best subjects online by watching lectures at 1.5x speed. You can also stream or download video or audio lectures in the BARBRI Mobile App to watch or listen when it’s most convenient or productive for you.

Either way – should you study online or attend a classroom location – you’ll get the same great lectures from the same renowned U.S. law professors. It’s your time, your preference and your choice as to what works best in reinforcing and recalling the vast amount of bar exam material you need to know.

You can complete 100% of your BARBRI Bar Review course online, studying for any U.S. state or jurisdiction, anywhere in the world as long as you have a strong, stable internet connection. Based on the specific BARBRI Bar Review option you select when enrolling, you can either pre-determine that you are going to do all of the assignments 100% online (on-demand only), or you can select a classroom location (subject to availability) and decide to watch all or some of the lectures in a classroom setting (attendance is optional). Either way, you will receive the exact same efficient and effective lectures from renowned U.S. law professors.

That leads me to the next question …

2) Aren’t BARBRI lectures long and boring?

I’ll admit, it’s hard to make Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent exciting, but I can tell you year after year students rave about the BARBRI faculty. These U.S. law professors are all gifted teachers who have the fantastic ability to make learning the law engaging, memorable and understandable.

The length of BARBRI lectures is determined by subject. Lectures are segmented into subtopics, so you may choose to watch a lecture in its entirely in one setting (typically 3-4 total hours), or watch/re-watch specific segments only.

BARBRI professors understand that you can’t learn everything all at once. That’s why both our classroom and online MBE lectures are divided into short segments, all of which include a professor-led review activity at the end of each topic. After each subject, you’ll work a quick set of Knowledge Check questions that will increase retention and help ISAAC customize your Personal Study Plan.

No long, boring lectures here.

3) How many graded essays come with BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded at no additional charge?

We will grade as many essays as you want to submit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

The number of essays included in your BARBRI Bar Review course is dependent upon the option you select when you enroll. Many options included an unlimited number of graded essays; however, it’s important to remember that it’s not the number of essays you submit for grading that matters most. During bar study, your goal is to learn to write the best bar exam essays possible, as quickly as possible. And writing essays for the bar exam is very different than writing essays for law school.

In our 50+ years guiding students, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay with no initial guidance and delayed feedback reinforces bad habits and wastes your time. For this reason, a purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. We don’t want that for our students. BARBRI has a better answer with proven results: Directed Essay Grading.

It starts with Essay Architect, our exclusive online instruction platform that takes you through a series of steps to learn to critically read bar exam questions, enhance the speed of your essay writing and construct strong, high-scoring answers. Essay Architect provides immediate feedback to build your essay writing skills quickly.

Then, we assign a carefully selected series of past bar exam essays and performance tests for grading and feedback from trained bar exam writing experts – Directed Essay Grading. You’ll also receive many more essays for practice and self-grading.

These steps move you methodologically along an upward trajectory of continuous bar exam writing improvement.

4) How many MBE practice questions does BARBRI provide? Are they “real” released MBE questions?

The short, direct answer: you’ll have access to over 2,500 MBE questions throughout your BARBRI Bar Review course. That being said, we don’t believe that this is quite the right question – or at least not the entire question – to be asking.

As with many things, it’s not just the quantity, it’s the quality and the methodology that matters. This is such an important topic, that we have another entire blog dedicated to this topic, if you’d like to geek out on how to systematically approach MBE questions.

When it comes to real released MBE questions, BARBRI offers NCBE released questions with select BARBRI Bar Review options – and we assign select questions that have been vetted to ensure they represent areas most likely to be tested. As a general rule, we don’t recommend focusing too much on released MBE questions.

Questions that have been released by the examiners will not appear in any future MBE because the scoring data for those questions would not be reliable. And, because only about 80 questions per subject have been released in the past 10 years, released questions don’t provide a good representation of the topics that are most likely to actually appear on the exam. Focusing primarily on real released MBE questions is another way some bar preppers misuse precious, limited study time.

The vast majority of BARBRI’s questions have been developed by BARBRI subject matter experts to test on the most important, most frequently tested topic areas – the same way the bar examiners do. These questions have been drafted after careful review of actual MBE questions and have been approved by professors who are experts in those subjects.

5) Do bar exam results really fall on a curve? Why should I care?

Even after years of published MBE results and graphs, there are still people who insist that bar exam results do not fall into a bell curve. For those who do believe what they see, there are also still many who feel that this fact is not meaningful. If anyone ever tries to convince you of either one of these things, there is only one thing to say: They’re wrong. Check out the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) National Scaled Score Distribution charts published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. MBE score results consistently fall into a bell curve pattern every single bar exam administration.

Since BARBRI prepares the vast majority of law school graduates every year, the BARBRI Simulated MBE with Pass Predictor is the best way to know where you are on the curve before you sit for the exam. BARBRI has studied the MBE since it debuted in 1972. The best bar exam passing strategy starts by understanding the bar exam curve and by tracking your percentile rank during bar prep.

We have a lot more to say on this topic and why it matters. If you’re interested in learning all about the very real bar exam curve, click here.

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