Should you supplement CA BarBri with PMBR
By K Hernan • April 29, 2008•Choosing a Career and Landing a Job
So, the first thing I want to point out is that this is not a paid advertisement and I don't have a relationship of any sort with Kaplan PMBR.
Congratulations to all graduates. I think most around the country will graduate some time over the next three weeks or so (sorry, Chicago!). If you are like I was, you may be looking to the not-so-distant future and wondering if you have the right plan to tackle studying for the bar exam. Hopefully, this advice isn't too late, but if you haven't signed up for a course that will supplement BarBri's MBE program, I think you should, at least if you are taking the CA exam.
Did you know that the best indicator of whether somebody will pass the CA bar exam is their LSAT score? Why, likely because 1/3 of the test is multiple choice and such a test requires a skill set that translates from one multiple choice test to the next. Also, it is likely because the essays are so subjective that many get through them without doing all that great objectively. California test takers have one of the top average MBE scores in the country. I also believe in the idea that practicing can help improve your multiple choice test performance.
I think that, if you have the time and the money, you should take the 6 day PMBR to kick-start your summer of studying. Personally, I took my last semester kind of easy. I took the minimum number of credits required and took sort-of soft, theoretical-type classes instead of black letter law type courses. I found the five days that I spent in PMBR before BarBri started to be a great way to kick-start my black-letter-law brain and get going on the summer.
However, the biggest reason why I think you should take the course is for the practice questions. PMBR gives you two huge practice books that are great. When my studying started, I was told that the BarBri practice questions were easier than the real test and that the PMBR practice questions were harder. I definately agree that the BarBri questions were much to easy. However, the MBE was really hard, so I also think that the PMBR questions were easier than the real thing, albeit closer to reality than the BarBri materials.
Everyday over the summer, I did 35-75 multiple choice practice questions. Also, once BarBri was over, I did two extra full out 6 hour practice MBE tests just to get my stamina up. Yes, I did this on top of whatever was on the BarBri schedule. When it came time for the BarBri simulated MBE, I blew it away -- 99th percentile or something. As for the real MBE, like I said, it was really hard, but since I passed the exam, I think my strategy paid off.
With all of this said, I think that you could also take one of the other courses that competes with PMBR and likely benefit from the extra training and questions. I think you may also be able to just buy the PMBR materials if you don't want to go to class. However, as I said above, going to the 6 day PMBR really got my summer going in the right direction and the quick down-and-dirty on the six PMBR subjects was a really good, albeit fast, refresher for 1L course subjects.
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veronica April 30, 2008
OK I know CA has an extra day and is arguably harder (don't want to get into that debate). I only did the NY Bar. But I would not do PMBR for NY.
Barbri has plenty of material. You simply won't master it all so I don't see the point of taking on extra sources. I heard the criticism that Barbri has too much focus on the MBE, and maybe that affects CA more than NY, for me at least since the MPT was a bit of a giveaway. But doesn't CA have a practical task element too? Is it really that different to the MPT or just longer?
Honestly I think Barbri does a fine job and you don't need anything else. And I definitely don't have shares in it. I didn't even sign up for the class action payout.
I found Barbri an infuriating organization to deal with at the time but the content was sufficient and that's what matters in the end.
I really doubt anyone needs a 1L refresher to pass the bar. I know I'm biased there, I NEVER did 1L (because I qualified in a foreign country) so I learned everything I needed to pass the bar from bar review an that's it. I didn't even have the osmotic constitutional knowledge you guys grow up with.
As an outsider I think what must be the hardest thing about the Bar for Americans is the different style of learning. You did your heavy content in 1L with Socratic method. Here you're expected to actually learn what the law is, not what it could be or should be or why. It is a totally different style of learning. But once you get the hang of that it is actually much more rewarding I think than the Socratic law school method.