Commercial Bar Courses
Bar prep is a growing and energized market with new courses and services being developed and offered to students all the time. The Winter 2023 issue of The National Jurist lists 19 different companies providing bar review services and products! Not all such companies purport to do the same thing. Some companies provide all-encompassing preparation intended to be students' major/only resource for studying. Other companies offer specific products (like outlines or flashcards or question banks) designed to supplement a bar course, or assist with particular needs.
Comprehensive Bar Review
Most students prepare for the bar exam by enrolling in a comprehensive bar review course that prepares for all aspects of the test - with lectures, written materials, and study plans. Many of the larger bar review companies staff tables in the law school lobby where you can find out more about their programs.
We are also excited to announce a new partnership between the College of Law and Helix Bar Review, by Access Lex Institute - a company with years of providing innovative research, services and products in the education space and now offering students a premiere comprehensive bar review course with exceptional bar pass rates. Helix Bar Review courses are available to all Arizona Law students at a deeply discounted price. More information is available through the Bar and Academic Success office on campus. To preview the Helix course, check out this link for a sneak peak.
Here are some of the key bar review companies offering comprehensive bar study:
While commercial bar prep can feel expensive - with all-inclusive prep running in the thousands of dollars - it helps to think of this expense as an investment in your future. The price of good quality bar prep is a drop in the bucket compared to your being able to have flexibility with your career choices and enjoy engaging in the enriching practice of law.
Our office does not specifically endorse any given program or particular method of study but would be happy to brainstorm with you, with your individual needs in mind, as to which program of study might best suit your needs.
As you review the options, check out this document for some factors you might want to consider before making a choice: Selecting a bar review company.
Many excellent products and services are available as more of a supplement to your main program of study. These materials are still expensive, but may run in the hundreds of dollars, rather than the thousands. These include question banks, flashcards, outlines and study guides. Check out sites such as UWorld Legal, Adaptibar, Smartbarprep, Critical Pass, Bar Prep Hero.
Low Cost and Free Resources
Full service bar prep is almost certainly the best route for most students. Please reach out to the Academic and Bar Success office if you are not in a position to purchase this type of program; we may have different options to offer you via Helix Bar Review and other effective study resources that will not break the bank.
Before purchasing products, you would do well to exercise caution, ask around -- check in with other students and recent graduates for their experiences and use your judgment. Make sure your study path is a trusted and trustworthy one. Please come by for a chat and we can help you design a low cost approach that can work!
One of the best places to get inexpensive and no-cost test materials is straight from the source: the testmaker. Go to the NCBE website for packets of released sample questions, a free "Bar Now" demo pack and the ability to purchase practice exams al a cart.
You can also find an array of bar prep books in the Bar and Academic Success offices. Other free resources can be helpful -- including podcasts and Youtube channels. Such materials can be beneficial for additional perspectives, study tips and test basics.
Further, the Law Library has a variety of resources and subscriptions to assist you. Notable are resources provided by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) for bar study materials. Please contact the Law Library for log in credentials. Also see the West Academic Study Aids. Look under "quick links" in the left nav bar on the library's website.
In addition, there may be scholarships and grants available to some students to help defray costs. For instance, the Promising Practice Grant program:
A perspective on Commerical Bar Courses by a Law alumni:
"I tried to think of what information I could provide that would be most useful for you to help advise students in the future. I think I can make the case that the bar exam is easier than most people realize because it is pass/fail, and that systematically working through all of the available released test questions (MEE, MPT*, and MBE) is the most cost effective and efficient method for preparing for the Bar Exam. I tend to not like the commercialization of bar prep and the 'fear mongering' that helps drive the business. That being said, a lot can depend on the outcome of the bar exam. It is costly to retake, and diligently working through a commercial course has an established track record such that the conventional route would perhaps be most prudent for most students. Personally, I found that the commercial lectures were minimally useful, and that many of the outlines were similarly unhelpful because they tended to cover more ground than the actual exam. In any event, I would personally recommend every student allocate time to working through as many official questions as possible as a supplement to their studies.
I had two big weak points on my first attempt that in my opinion prevented me from passing. Preparing in the manner I did for my second attempt hopefully resolved them. First, for time purposes, I strategically ignored two MEE topics on my first attempt. As luck would have it, both topics appeared on the Feb Bar and I received a 1 on both topics. I got a 6 on a topic I knew well, and if I remember correctly got two 3 's on the rest. The virtue of working through all the past MEE questions is that it repeatedly exposes one to the most likely tested rules of law even if one doesn't have a strong grasp of the topic. Second, I had a false confidence going into the MBE for the first exam. I thought I knew the subjects reasonably well, however, I found myself getting tripped up by both the style and substance of the actual exam questions. By working through real MBE questions, I became much more familiar with the actual test and was able to develop better test taking strategies both for getting the correct answer and for definitely ruling out wrong answers to improve my odds for those questions I did not know. I did, however, score better on the MBE than some students that passed the Feb Bar, but if I had done even better which I believe I could have, my MBE score may have been able to offset my poor MEE score. I averaged a 3 on my first MPT. "
- Alumni, passed bar on second attempt.