5 Frequently Asked Questions About BARBRI Bar Review

By Mike Sims,
BARBRI President

Year after year, tens of thousands of graduating students choose BARBRI. 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.

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.

Q1: Can I do my BARBRI lectures all online? If I choose to go to a classroom location, can I still access lectures online?

A: Only BARBRI offers online, mobile and in-class study options for no additional charge. You can do 100% of your BARBRI course online or can you choose to go to a classroom location for all or a portion of your lectures. If you select a classroom location, you still have access to all lectures online. BARBRI lets you mix and match what works best for you throughout the course – go to class for your most challenging subjects, revisit specific topics and subtopics online afterward or speed through your best subjects online at 1.5x speed. You can also stream or download video or audio lectures in the BARBRI Mobile App to watch or listen on the go.

Either way – all online or attending 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 for you to reinforce and recall the material you need to know to Own the Bar.

Q2: Aren’t BARBRI lectures long and boring?

A:  While I’ll admit that it’s hard to make Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent exciting, I can tell you that year after year students rave about BARBRI professors. Our faculty are all gifted teachers who have the fantastic ability to make the law memorable and understandable.

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. No long, boring, 3-4 hour lectures here.

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.

Q3: How many graded essays are included with BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded at no additional charge?

A: The short answer is we will grade as many essays as you want to submit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Before we talk about the right number of essays to be graded, let’s first talk about the strategy of essay writing for the bar exam. 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.

As we’ve worked with students, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay with no initial guidance and delayed feedback reinforces bad habits and wastes time. For this reason, a purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. We don’t want that for our students so 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, winning 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. You’ll also receive many more essays for practice and self-grading. If after taking advantage of those assignments you want additional essays graded, we’re happy to grade more. You can simply work with a BARBRI Director of Legal Education to get personal, 1:1 help, all free of charge.

Q4: How many MBE practice questions do you provide? Are they REAL released MBE Questions?

A: The short, direct answer to this question is that 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 that you can read here if you’d like to geek out.

When it comes to real released MBE questions, BARBRI has released questions – but we only 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.

Q5: Do bar exam results really fall on a curve? Why should I care?

A: 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.

If you look at the 2017 MBE National Scaled Score Distribution from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you will see that MBE results do in fact fall in a bell curve pattern. And they fall into this pattern every single 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.

We have a lot more to say on this topic and why it matters. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the blog: THE BAR EXAM CURVE: IT’S REAL.