Preparing For The Bar Exam On A Budget
Studying for the bar exam can be an expensive proposition. These days, many commercial courses range in price from $2,000 to $5,000, or more. On top of that, bar prep is essentially a full-time job that leaves little opportunity to earn outside income. Naturally, students on a budget wonder how they can study for the bar exam without spending a fortune on course materials that they’ll use for 10 weeks of bar prep and (hopefully) never again. In this post, we’ll discuss some ways that you can study for the bar exam while on a budget.
NOTE: for the budget-conscious bar prep student, JD Advising is having a COVID-19 sale on its online courses, discounting their regular courses thousands of dollars through the fall. One of the easiest ways to prepare for the bar exam on a budget is to find a great sale! Keep reading for even more tips!
Preparing For The Bar Exam On A Budget
Become a commercial bar prep company campus representative
Many commercial bar prep companies hire law students to be campus representatives. In exchange, these students generally receive a full—or significant—scholarship for that company’s bar prep course. Being a campus representative usually requires you to staff a desk one day per week for a few hours where other students can approach you to inquire about your company’s bar prep course.
Keep your eye out for these opportunities early in your law school career—many companies offer positions to first-year law students. If you’re interested in becoming a campus representative for JD Advising, check out our webpage where we explain the job and its perks in more detail.
If you choose a commercial course, opt for the online version
Many commercial bar prep courses charge less for their online course compared to their live, in-person course. If you don’t mind watching recorded lectures on your own computer, choosing the online course may be an option worth exploring.
Take doctrinal courses on bar exam subjects in law school
One of the more challenging aspects of bar prep is learning about areas of law that you’re unfamiliar with. For instance, many of the essay subjects on the bar exam—wills, trusts, secured transactions, corporations, family law, etc.—test areas of the law that aren’t traditional law school requirements.
If your school offers these courses as electives (and your school almost certainly will), you should consider signing up for these courses. You’ll have the advantage of entering bar prep will a deeper knowledge of each of the tested subjects, and you’ll be less dependent on a commercial bar prep course to get you up to speed.
Take a law school bar review course
Some law schools offer a bar review course to third-year students exclusively. These courses tend to include a substantive review of bar exam subjects. In addition, they may include opportunities to work through practice questions. These courses are not necessarily replacements for your own bar preparation. However, they can give you a major head start on studying.
Seek out commercial bar prep company scholarships
Some commercial bar prep companies offer scholarships for their bar prep courses. Often, they are for students who demonstrate financial need and/or for students who plan to practice in public interest law. If you’re interested in learning more about the scholarship opportunities that JD Advising offers, check out our Public Interest Scholarship webpage.
Seek out an employer stipend
Your firm may offer you a bar prep stipend if you were a summer associate or otherwise received an offer. Depending on the firm, this stipend could cover course tuition, living expenses during bar prep, or all of the above. You should definitely inquire about this if you’ve accepted an offer to join a firm following the bar exam. If this applies to you, be sure to ask if they will pay for the course up-front on your behalf or whether you need to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed upon passing!
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