By Mike Sims, BARBRI President
Year after year, tens of thousands of graduating students trust BARBRI for their bar exam preparation. As they are making their bar prep choice, there are a few questions that arise more frequently than others. Below are five of our most frequently asked questions about BARBRI Bar Review.
1) Is the BARBRI course flexible?
The short answer is yes, the BARBRI Bar Review course is very flexible.
An engine called ISAAC, your Intuitive Study Assistant And Coach, drives your BARBRI Personal Study Plan (PSP). ISAAC knows what’s most likely to be tested on your bar exam (what’s most important), how much time is remaining until you take your bar exam, and it also gets to know you.
When you first access your PSP, you will be prompted to select your start date and customize your schedule. You may select days of the week you’d like to regularly study as well as any specific days you need to take off. Each week, you may study the specific days, hours per day, and time of day that works best for your schedule.
We recommend that you spread your studies over a minimum of 8-10 weeks. Over this duration, you should expect to treat your studies like a full-time job and invest approximately 40 hours each week studying. Students who begin their studies earlier will be able to study fewer hours per day, fewer days per week and / or take more days off throughout their course.
The best way to make sure you are studying the right things at the right time is by following the personal recommendations in your PSP. Everything ISAAC assigns is statistically correlated to passing your bar exam. If you take a day off, spend less time studying one day or more time on another, ISAAC constantly and automatically adjusts your PSP as you work. Whether you’re on track, working ahead or falling a bit behind, ISAAC makes sure you will get you the most points possible. Learn more about ISAAC here.
2) How many graded essays are included?
The short, sweet answer is that most BARBRI bar prep options include an unlimited number of graded essays.
Now for the more complicated answer. While most BARBRI options offer unlimited grading, unlimited essay grading alone is not the best way to write high scoring essays. An unguided and purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress.
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.
Directed Essay Grading starts with Essay Architect, the online essay writing tool that provides immediate feedback. Then, we assign essays to self-grade. Why? Because stats show us that this is one of the most effective ways to learn and achieve better bar exam scores. When it’s time to submit essays for grading, you’ll get expert feedback from different graders so you’re always getting a more rounded view and comprehensive feedback. Again, all leading to more confidence, and points, on the bar exam.
Check out this entire blog dedicated to bar exam essay strategy and BARBRI Directed Essay Grading.
3) How many MBE practice questions does BARBRI provide? Are they “real” released MBE questions?
The short answer: All BARBRI students have access to a minimum of 5,500 multiple-choice questions throughout their BARBRI Bar Review course.
ISAAC curates and assigns multiple-choice practice questions from a 2,500+ question bank. (ISAAC is the engine that runs your BARBRI bar prep course and creates your Personal Study Plan or PSP). In addition to multiple-choice questions ISAAC curates, you’ll also have access to a 3000+ multiple-choice question BARBRI MCQ Bank. The MCQ Bank provides extra practice in areas in which you feel a little less confident.
When it comes to “real” MBE questions released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), most BARBRI bar prep options include a MBE final prep comprised of 100 “real” MBE questions. Select options also include supplemental access to BARBRI Multistate Edge, a supplemental question bank containing 1200+ multiple-choice MBE questions released by the NCBE.
That’s a lot. And after all of that, we actually don’t believe that this is quite the right question – or at least not the entire question – that you should be asking.
As with many things, it’s not just the quantity that matters. For MBE practice questions, it’s the quality and the methodology that matters. The order, approach, and specific bar exam practice questions you answer are more important than hitting a certain number of questions. This is such an important topic, that we have another entire blog dedicated to it.
Additionally, focusing too heavily on NCBE released MBE questions is how some bar preppers misuse precious, limited study time. We have another entire blog on this topic as well if you’d like to read more.
4) 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, 2018 and 2019.
MBE score results consistently fall into a bell curve pattern every single bar exam administration.
We believe this frequently asked question about BARBRI provides insight into our student preparation. 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. 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.
5) 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. We still have the most brilliant legal minds teaching you the concepts that you’ll most likely encounter on your bar exam. These U.S. law professors are all gifted teachers who have the fantastic ability to make learning the law engaging, memorable and understandable.
Additionally, we recently released an entirely new, interactive online lecture experience. BARBRI bar prep lectures are segmented into subtopics, so you may choose to watch a lecture in its entirety, or watch/re-watch specific segments. You’ll actively participate during your lecture by taking quizzes and completing other learning activities.
You can take notes directly in your lecture player with a built-in notepad. Each note you take is linked to that specific point in the lecture so you can jump back to that exact point at any time. You can also review video transcripts and enable or disable closed captioning at any time.
Watch this video to see how the new interactive BARBRI bar prep lecture experience will elevate your overall bar prep experience.
Here’s what a couple of BARBRI students have said about their experience:
“I took the BARBRI Bar Review course this summer and passed the bar. Your lecturers are what made this happen. I have an extremely hard time studying and have little discipline when it comes to book study. However, I love listening to lectures. My main mode of study was listening and re-listening to the lectures, all day, anywhere. Your lecturers are absolutely amazing. AMAZING. Paula Franzese, Rich Freer, all the others — just, no words, only immense admiration for and gratitude to them.
I learned more from them in hours than I learned in law school in years. Just incredible professors—brilliant experts not only in their fields but in the way the student, or rather the human, brain works. Their humor and tools to retain that huge amount of information worked WONDERS, and I love them all so much. I was unsure about spending that sort of money on BARBRI, but you were worth it all—you are the reason I passed the bar exam!!!”
~ Olesya Vernyi
“I sat for the Delaware Bar for the first time and am happy to say I passed. Thank you BARBRI! I was able to study from home, at my own pace, and I made it. BARBRI online lectures were very informative and motivational. The professors highlighted exactly what to focus on for the exam and I did just that. They not only taught the law, they were encouraging and made me feel like I was not alone. I walked into the exam feeling confident that I knew enough to make it. My thanks to: Professor Paula Franzese with her songs, she made me love Property Law again…Finally, my favorite professor who helped me stick with it, Professor Chuck Shonholtz! The man is brilliant and just amazing…Thank you BARBRI for helping fulfill my dream of being an attorney in Delaware.”
~ Patience I. Moyo
We’re here for you
If you’d like to learn more or have other questions, your BARBRI Director of Legal Education is here for you. You can also check out more BARBRI FAQs or learn about BARBRI bar prep course options here.