The Bar Exam? But, I'm Just a 1L!

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If you haven't already been cajoled and lured in by the free food, swag, and candies at the bar exam fair that your law school hosts, then get ready. Find out when that day is and bring some Tupperware or an extra large tote bag to nab all the free goodies you can get! Hey, law school life is expensive! Save the dollars where you can, right? But, after you've stuffed your face with free sandwiches, filled your pockets with all the fun-size snickers you can, and taken more highlighters than you can ever use, take a moment and think on what benefit you could possibly gain from signing up for a bar exam review course so ridiculously early in your law school career.

Because there is no benefit to signing up for a bar exam review course before your third year in law school, especially with the release of BarMax MPRE-a FREE app that gives law students everything they need to pass the MPRE with absolutely no strings attached. I'm going to repeat that, no strings attached. Rarely in your legal life will you hear those words. Before BarMax MPRE, the only way you could get MPRE prep for 'free' was by submitting a deposit with a bar prep company.

Why are most of these other bar exam prep courses so keen on pressuring students to sign up early and submit deposits during their 1L year? Could it possibly be that they do not want law students to make an informed decision about their bar exam prep? For most 1Ls, law school and everything that surrounds them is new territory. It takes a while to get your feet wet, and it goes the same with shopping around for bar exam prep courses.

When I was a 1L, almost all my classmates signed up for one of the generic, overpriced courses. But, it wasn't until day one of their courses, after having spent thousands of dollars on the course, that they realized what 'in-class' actually meant. Sure, they may have been in a physical classroom, but their instructor was not in that room with them. My fellow classmates were also unaware that many of these courses use made-up questions. The most upsetting to me, was that many were completely unaware that the company they bought their bar review course from did not and continues not to release its pass rates. These are intelligent students, who are roped into these generic courses through pressure, anxiety, and the sheer fact that people they know have taken the course. The important things to focus on-pass rates, course structure and content-are completely overlooked until they're physically seated watching their instructor teach them through a video screen.

'this is what these companies want. They want to catch you nice and early before you've had a chance to do your research. They know there's no way you'd be willing to borrow $4,000 to pay for their courses if you have a full understanding of what is being offered and the alternatives that are well within your reach.

'so, dear 1L, fret not during these bar fairs. Grab as much free food and swag as you can, and smile and nod happily when these companies try to coax you into signing away money you don't have for sub-par options. Do your research and make an informed decision. There's no rush, enjoy the bits and pieces of pleasantry in law school as much as you can, before you have to buckle down, dish out money and study for a pretty grueling exam.

Now for those of you who don't have bar exam fairs or bar prep companies tabling on campus, then your school, in the spirit of the free market, has probably entered into an exclusive deal with a bar exam prep company to make sure you stay oblivious to your options. Disturbed? So are we, but let's save that discussion for another post.

Happy Studying!

Updated on Aug 18, 2016