Bar Preparation Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

It’s socially acceptable to shit on math. It’s politically incorrect to dislike “travel” or “dogs.” And it’s considered weird and risky to not sign up for a big bar prep course by the end of your third year of law school.

Let’s start by addressing that last one about bar courses.

Unless you were already exposed to the idea of alternate paths, you probably naturally assumed that you needed to go with a bar prep company after graduation. The question was framed as “what’s the best bar course” rather than “should I?” You were bombarded with offers from the usual suspects since day one.

So it’s not your fault. Also, there’s nothing wrong with using a course per se. I’m 100% for educating ourselves.

It’s just that you don’t NEED a course. You don’t NEED a tutor. You don’t have to spend $10,000 or $4,000 or anything close to that (besides registration fees) every time you take this test. (I’ll show you how below.)

I’m not wagging my finger saying you must or mustn’t enroll in a bar prep course. The right investments will pay off. I’m just saying you can think about it and consciously decide for yourself.

There is a way to pass the bar other than with big box bar prep courses.

Start by checking for any internal narratives you may have about what you need to buy to prepare for the bar. Here, I’ll help you reexamine the default assumptions born from “big bar” lobbying by answering these questions:

  • What are the drawbacks of “big box” bar programs?
  • What can you do instead to address these drawbacks?
  • What are the benefits of big bar courses?
  • Should you sign up for one? (It depends)
  • How do you prepare for the bar exam without a prep course or a big budget?
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How to Get 20/20 FORESIGHT for the 2020 Bar Exam

Welcome to 2020, where “social distancing,” “the new normal,” and “stay home” are the new meme phrases to replace “in this economy.”

But life and the bar go on relentlessly no matter the state of the planet.

It’s that time yet again. Results for the 2020 February bar exam are in for every state (pass rate in California 26.8% WTF?).

Anxiety squirting into your heart every time you thought of the moment of truth. Heart ricocheting around your ribcage as you check for your name on the pass list.

Waiting is the hard part. It’s even harder to get non-lawyers to shut up about obligatory “aww… you got this” and “I’m sure you passed” comments for weeks and months.

Well, I’m just gonna ask you. Did you pass?

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You’re the Dean of Your Own Bar Exam Studies

Here’s something that people who pass the bar never say:

“All I had to do was listen to all those bar course lectures. They were so helpful!”

Can you imagine?

Sometimes we think “doing whatever it takes” to pass the bar means throwing thousands of dollars into a black hole. (But it doesn’t have to be expensive.)

Or following some unsustainable cookie-cutter schedule (which doesn’t care if you have other responsibilities like work or family). Good luck if you fall behind by one day.

Or letting a perfectly fine morning slip through by religiously sitting through 4 hours of droning lectures. Worse, pausing lectures to fill in all the notes. Then not even remembering 99% of it.

tfw you think the lectures are making sense

I remember those days. Those are things I didn’t do my second time. Here’s what I would do instead:

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