Should I Choose Bar Prep Class Recorded Lectures?
Many students each year grapple with the same question: should I attend the in-person or online recorded lectures in my bar prep class? Like anything, there are both 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 watching recorded lectures to help you determine if this method is the right fit for you.
Should I Choose Bar Prep Class Recorded Lectures?
1. Study on your own schedule
One of the undeniable advantages of watching the recorded lectures is the freedom to study on your own schedule. When you attend the in-person lectures, you’re at the mercy of whenever your bar prep course starts for the day, usually, around 9 or 9:30 am. Contrast this with recorded lectures, which you can watch at any time. So, for example, if you’re the type of person that likes to get up early and learn new material first thing in the morning, then you can easily start your lectures well before 9 to get a jumpstart on the day. You might also find that you prefer to study the material and work through practice questions in the morning, leaving the afternoons open for lectures. In short, watching the recorded lectures gives you the freedom to make your own schedule.
This isn’t purely a matter of personal preference—neuroscience research suggests that different periods of the day are best suited to different mental tasks. With recorded lectures, you can choose to watch at a time of the day best suited to your own learning style.
Learn more about How to Create a Daily Bar Exam Study Schedule.
2. Learn the material your way
Recorded lectures give you more than just the flexibility to make your own schedule—they also give you the flexibility to choose how you watch the videos and learn the material. For example, let’s say you’re watching a lecture on a complex subject that you didn’t study in law school and are learning for the first time in your bar prep course. There might be portions of a lecture that you’d like to watch again, or portions that you’d like to watch more slowly. With recorded lectures, you can do just that.
You might also want to pause a lecture to think about a complicated concept, or to jot down a few extra notes. Again, with recorded lectures, you have the flexibility to do all of this without falling behind. If you’re attending the in-person lectures, on the other hand, the professor will plow ahead with the material even if you’re still trying to wrap your head around what he or she covered minutes ago.
The converse is also true: recorded lectures give you the freedom to increase the lecture speed for topics that you’re familiar with and already understand from extensive study during law school. Just be careful not to increase the speed too much! You don’t want to miss out on key material or useful exam tips buried within the lecture.
3. Study where you want
Another advantage of recorded lectures is that you can essentially watch from wherever is most convenient. For some, this might be your apartment or a nearby café; for others, a local library or an outdoor park. This can be especially helpful if you don’t live in close proximity to your law school (where the in-person lectures are likely being held), and you don’t want to waste precious bar prep time commuting to and from the in-person lecture location. This can also be helpful if you decide that your optimal study environment is not in the same city or region as where you went to law school.
For example, some students find that they’ll do their best studying if they’re away from the law school environment and instead back home with family. Other students find that living back at home during bar prep makes the most sense financially. Whatever the reason, this much is clear: with recorded lectures, you have these options available to you.
Here are our picks for the Best Places to Study for the Bar Exam!
1. Lack of structure and discipline
The advantages of flexibility and freedom of recorded lectures come at a cost: you lose the structure and discipline of a class that meets regularly. The in-person lectures give each day a defined start time at a defined location—you know when your studying will begin and where you’ll be. This eliminates any temptation to sleep in until 11 am or spend the morning watching “just one more” episode of your favorite show on Netflix. It also eliminates the temptation to pause the video more frequently than the already-scheduled breaks to answer a text message or check your social media accounts. If you watch recorded lectures, you’ll have to create your own structure and practice self-discipline to stay on track. If you don’t, the advantages of watching from home (or anywhere else) can easily be outweighed by the dangers of distraction.
Bar preparation can be an isolating experience. If you watch recorded lectures by yourself at home, it’s easy to feel like you’re going through the bar prep process alone. Of course, this isn’t the case, so if you do end up deciding that recorded lectures are the better fit for you, you may want to watch them at a local library with a few friends who are also watching recorded lectures, even if those friends are using a different bar prep course. The goal is simply to be in the presence of others who are going through the same thing that you are.
Main point: Find what works for you!
Like we said at the beginning, there really is no right answer to this question. You might watch recorded lectures for a week and then find that in-person lectures are the better fit—or vice versa. At the end of the day, you need to find a method that works for you. But if you’re someone that craves the freedom to make your own schedule, or the ability to pause or adjust the pace of a lecture, or the flexibility to work wherever you want—or all of the above—then you may want to seriously consider watching recorded lectures.
For a brief comparison of the two options, check out our post on the pros and cons of in-person and recorded lectures. And read more on the pros and cons of in-person lectures in more detail.
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