When Should I Sign Up For Bar Prep?
Since the beginning of your law school career, you’ve probably seen people tabling for bar prep companies at your law school. Each company touts its services as the best and is happy to provide information to you no matter how long you’ve been in law school. It makes you wonder: Do 1Ls really need to be worrying about bar prep? And, when is the appropriate time to sign up for a bar prep course? In this post, we offer advice on how to make a timely and informed decision.
When Should I Sign Up For Bar Prep?
Why do bar prep companies advertise to 1Ls?
Bar prep companies want law students to know who they are! During the 1L year of law school, most students just try to focus on getting used to their classes, achieving high grades, and getting involved in student organizations. Most 1Ls aren’t concerned with taking the bar or how they’re going to prepare to pass it. 1Ls certainly aren’t thinking, “I need to sign up for a bar prep course.”
We agree; you don’t need to sign up for a bar prep course in your first year of law school!
But that doesn’t mean that learning about bar prep companies in your 1L year is not useful Bar prep companies often offer more than just bar prep services. For example, many companies offer resources for 1Ls in the form of practice essays and commercial outlines. Further, many bar prep companies, us included, offer prep free MPRE courses for students. Check our free MPRE course. Most students take the MPRE their 2L and 3L year. Having familiarity with bar prep companies already, despite not being a 3L, gives those students the benefit of utilizing these free courses to study.
As a 1L or 2L you should take advantage of the access to table representatives at your school and the free resources they provide. They may provide you with great insight into how they teach their bar prep courses and you discover you favor one company over another. All of this will be useful information to have when it’s time to sign up for a bar prep course!
When should I make a final decision about bar prep?
Most students sign up for a bar prep course anywhere between the spring of their 2L year and the fall of their 3L year. By this time, most students start to think about the bar exam a bit more. Many students also have had the chance to familiarize themselves with the services various bar prep companies offer. Students have more information at this stage to make an educated decision as a consumer.
Often, companies will try to get you to sign up for a bar prep course as a 1L by promising a significant discount. It may seem like you must sign up then so you can receive this discount, but more often than not, a similar discount will be offered again.
Whichever bar prep company you decide to go with, don’t rush into the decision. Some companies require significant deposits to sign up for their courses. And often you’ll be held to a contract that doesn’t let you get out of the course. Students find themselves getting nervous about not having signed up for bar prep and they rush into a contract. Don’t freak out if you see a classmate has already decided on a bar prep company. Take some time to evaluate your options – it’s better to make an educated, but delayed decision rather than a quicker, uninformed decision. Make sure you are certain which company you’d like to go with before you sign up for a bar prep course!
Note that during our COVID-19 sale, you can reserve your spot in one of our full bar prep courses for as little as $99.99 for the On-Demand course or $499.99 for the Premium course. (Check out the Michigan, California, and UBE course sale prices here!)
Do I even need to take a bar prep course?
The answer is no, you don’t need to. That said, it is strongly recommended that you sign up for a bar prep course to help you prepare for the sheer amount of material necessary to be successful. Bar prep companies are experts on how and what the bar exam tests. Plus, bar prep courses have built-in means of tracking your progress and keeping yourself accountable. It’s a lot to learn on your own and your license and livelihood depend on you passing this exam!
Still, every administration people pass the bar without taking a commercial course. If you have a limited budget but are incredibly self-motivated, self-studying may be an option for you. However, you need to know yourself. Most people find the added structure of a bar prep course to be crucial in their success.
Here are 5 reasons we think you should take a bar prep course (even if it’s not ours!)!
How should I choose a bar prep course?
There are a lot of factors you should consider before choosing a bar prep course. One significant consideration is your budget. Bar prep is expensive. Try to find a balance between a reputable bar prep company and a course that fits your budget!
Perhaps the best source of information to tap into before you sign up for a bar prep course are your friends who have already taken the bar! Ask what company they used. Did they pass? Did they enjoy the teaching style? Did they have any complaints? If you want more perspectives, try talking to the faculty that handles bar prep at your law school. They will be able to provide you with information about which companies are the most popular and which have the most successes. We can also help you navigate this decision; check out our post about choosing a bar prep company!
Overall, we recommend being patient in making a decision about which bar prep course to take. You don’t need to sign up for a bar prep course when you’re a 1L. In fact, you don’t even need to as a 2L. Seek guidance from your school, classmates, and table representatives. Keep in mind that a bar prep course isn’t an automatic ticket to passing the bar and there’s no one approach that is right for everyone.. You’ll need to study hard and find what works for you. Ultimately, the best time to sign up for a bar prep course is when you can make an educated and thoughtful decision.
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