Should I Attend In-Person Bar Prep Lectures?
Many students each year grapple with the same question: should I attend the in-person or online lectures in my bar prep class? As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, this question is once again a relevant ones for students who plan to take upcoming bar exams. Like anything, there are pros and cons to each format, and the answer really comes down to your learning style and the type of experience that you’re looking to have during your preparation. In this post, we’ll review the pros and cons of attending the in-person lectures to help you determine if this method is the right fit for you.
Should I Attend In-Person Bar Prep Lectures?
In-Person Bar Prep Lectures: The Pros
This point can’t be overstated. In-person lectures require you to get up at a reasonable hour, get dressed, and go into a classroom where your lecture will probably start sometime between 9 and 9:30 am. If you regularly like to sleep in until noon, this will help you get up and moving. By attending lectures in person, you get your day started off right so that you can consume the lecture material primarily in the morning—when you’re fresh and at your most attentive.
One of the most enjoyable experiences in the first year of law school is the camaraderie that you establish with your classmates in your assigned section. You’re on the same schedule, take the same courses, have the same professors, and study for the same exams. You make lifelong friends during this experience. Then comes bar prep. To many, the experience of studying for the bar exam is an isolating one, as it is a mostly solitary effort.
When you attend in-person lectures, you get to come to class every day—just like in law school—and, equally important, you get to be there with other people including a few of your friends (if you’re lucky!). You can sit together, chat during scheduled breaks, and grab some lunch before hitting the library for an afternoon’s worth of self-study and practice. In short, you take on the challenge of the bar exam just like another law school course with people who are there to support and motivate you.
3. Focus and discipline
When you attend in-person lectures, you’re not pausing the lecture video every time you get a text message, email, or Facebook notification. For some students, live lectures help them put away distractions and focus on the material. Contrast this with stopping a video during a break, checking out what’s new on social media, and realizing that an hour has passed before you get yourself back in front of your computer to continue with the course. With that approach, you might even have some free time after dinner to check out your newsfeed or that Tik-Tok video that you’ve been neglecting all day.
In-Person Bar Prep Lectures: The Cons
1. Lack of control
The biggest downside of attending the in-person lectures is probably your lack of control over your study plan. You might find that you work best by starting the day at 7:30 in the morning with lectures. If you attend the in-person course, however, you can’t control your schedule in the same way that you can when lectures are in an on-demand format.
You might also find that certain parts of a lecture cover a particularly challenging concept. In this scenario, it’s nice to pause the lecture, slow down the speed, or rewind and listen again so that you can really understand the concept. You also might find that a section of the lecture covers a fairly straightforward concept you understand already. Watching a recorded lecture allows you to speed up through that section. If you’re at the in-person lecture, you have none of these options.
2. Checklist mentality
Attending an in-person lecture can give you a false sense of accomplishment. Just sitting through a lecture is not enough exposure to content to pass the bar exam! You have to be an active note-taker, making sure that you understand the material as you go. If you sit there passively and just write down whatever the lecturer says, you’ll end up having to go back through your notes later on and teach yourself the more challenging concepts. If you do decide that the in-person lectures are right for you, avoid treating them as just checklist items. Get the most that you can out of the lectures, and make sure you also take time to actually memorize the material covered in lectures. Many students regularly attend lectures, but they don’t spend enough time afterward learning and memorizing material, both of which are necessary to pass the bar exam!
Takeaway: Find what works best for you!
Like we said at the beginning, there really is no right answer to this question. You might attend in-person lectures for a week and then decide that watching recorded lectures at home better suits you and your study needs. At the end of the day, you need to find a method that works for you. Good luck!
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