Monday, April 2, 2007

Barbri Timing

So this seems a little early to be worrying about barbri, but we're signing the lease on our new apartment Wednesday and I decided to check out when the Texas bar classes begin so we could pick our lease end date. Because UC is on the god-awful-quarter-system-that-I-despise, my finals 3L year don't end until June 1 and graduation isn't until June 13. The Texas barbri course begins May 21- three weeks before I've graduated! My 3L friend is just skipping town immediately after finals (they end earlier this year) and not going to graduation- but I just can't leave JP and the baby to move by themselves and I really want to go to graduation! I've spent almost 2 years gazing longingly at Rockefeller Chapel, dreaming of my graduation day- in fact, I think I've fantasized about graduation more than my own wedding.

While exploring and cursing the quarter system, I found the iPod course option. Basically it costs $1100 more (yay for firms picking up the tab) and you get an iPod to listen to the previous session's lectures. It requires you to be disciplined enough to actually listen and work through each lecture. Normally, this would be a huge problem for me, but I'm hoping the importance of the bar exam will force me to be responsible about studying for it. It will be hard to stay on schedule since all the other Texans will be starting their barbri class while I'm still attending law school classes and preparing for and taking finals. We'll also be moving across the country with a 10-month old and getting settled in our new home somewhere in there. I'm sure everyone faces those same basic distractions (unless you were lucky/smart enough to go to law school in the same city where you plan to work). My biggest concern is being really behind in the classes by the time finals and graduation end. The Bar Exam is exactly 6 weeks after our graduation, so I'll definitely have to work in the 13 days between finals and the ceremony (why is there a 2-week gap? WHY UC?). I'm not sure when it is better to move- June 15, immediately after graduation, or July 1, giving me two more weeks to study in Chicago. I need to decide by Wed. evening.

What have other people's experiences been with barbri and the Bar Exam in general? Is there anyone out there who has actually done the iPod option? I googled it and most of the reviews or blog posts I could find were pretty positive.


  1. Caveat here, I'm only a 3L currently and have not yet taken the bar 9doing NY this summer, with the taped BarBri lectures in NYC). However, my boyfriend took NY last summer (video lectures in NYC) and Texas this past Feb (i-pod style). Here is what he's had to say about it:

    He really likes the i-pod lectures, but it fits with his overall style of being an auditory learner. That being said, he does not suggest doing the i-pod if you've never done the live or taped lectures, for several different reasons: first, there is an atmosphere of camraderie in the class that he thinks most people really need to get through the first one (he had passed NY by the time he started studying for TX, so he had the confidence that BarBri worked for him already, which you will not have); second, going to physical classes keeps you on track - he's a focused individual, but too many people have gotten WAY off track by fluffing around with lectures, trying to "make them up later" (I saw this happen with a guy I knew last year in NY - he failed and had to take it again in Feb.); and third, even he didn't do all the i-pod lectures (lack of time), but thought it would be ok because he had so recently taken the MBE for another state (he basically skipped the MBE lectures) - however, he also FREAKED on some of the Texas topics...Oil & Gas, Community Property, and Sales were several things that we don't really get a lot of in the Northeast, so it depends on what classes you've taken so far to prepare for the Texas exam at your Chicago school.

    This sounds all gloom-and-doom, probably, but why not get a copy of the study schedule for this summer for BarBri Texas, and then slowly start to go over some of the topics after January 2008? I would suggest being present in Texas as soon as possible - you will be flipping out close to the Bar, and if you have no one to commiserate with (i.e. JB nor baby will understand, really), it will make it all that much harder to move come July 1st.

    Just my opinion, though. Good luck!

  2. You should talk to someone at your school, and at the Texas BarBri office to see what they suggest. I know that there are other instances where quarter system schools had late graduations, and they had either night classes arranged to make up for it, or afternoon .... or something.

    Call your school and the Texas BarBri offices. They may work with you.

    That said, I would definitely agree with Meg - I wouldn't want to miss out on the actual classes with other people and the true flavor of "studying for the bar."

  3. Our graduation was memorial day weekend, and we started bar review the week before (our classes had already wrapped up). Not so bad as your situation, but still wasn't fun.

    You'll want to be as settled as possible going into the exam. The last two weeks before the exam are when you [panic then] really synthesize the material and start nailing the essays and MBE questions (and there is a definite knack to the MBE -- don't skip the review of the practice test). You fill in the gaps during that period. I really couldn't imagine moving then.

  4. I just took the Feb. bar using the BarBri self-study course, and I was taking care of my 2-year-old full time. This was my first bar exam, so I was nervous, but I thought it went really well (I guess I'll find out in a few weeks if it did).

    The nice thing about the iPod lectures is that you can do them anywhere (and speed them up and eliminate the 10-minute breaks if you want). I managed to listen to them at the gym (thank goodness my gym has daycare!), then did practice questions during the baby's nap and after the baby went down. You can double up lectures, do them in what ever order you like, and repeat lectures if needed.

    Personally, I'm glad I didn't take the live class. I hate being around people who are stressed out (which is why I avoided study groups like the plague in law school). The pressure of taking the bar exam (on my own dime, since I am clerking next fall) was more than enough to keep me on track with the lectures (and I'm normally not a self-starter by any stretch of the imagination).

    In my opinion, the lectures are mostly a waste of time. You are listening to a person read an outline and filling in random blanks to keep yourself awake. I never remembered anything in the lectures (how can you when you are doing one subject after the next with no break in between?). What really helped me was making flashcards and my own outlines, plus doing practice questions over and over again. I really learned the material in the last 3 weeks before the test. Make sure your last 3 weeks are not too chaotic, or else the panic will be overwhelming.