Written by Nader Hatoum, Graduate of Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Class of 2017.
Kaplan Bar Prep
I chose Kaplan Bar Review Florida to prepare for the Florida Bar Exam. As a first time Bar Exam taker, I was faced with the question many students ask themselves; “which Bar prep company will put me in the best position to pass the Florida Bar Exam?” I can say that a majority of my friends were split between choosing either Kaplan and Barbri to prepare for the Florida Bar Exam. If you’re someone like me, cost was the primary factor in deciding between the two Bar prep services. Whatever course you choose, it’s all about the work you put into it. Barbri may be more expensive than Kaplan. When offered a promotion for Kaplan at a good discount, I chose Kaplan with the goal of passing the Florida Bar Exam without breaking the bank.
How Does Kaplan Bar Prep Work for the Florida Bar?
Kaplan’s program has a certain schedule that their students follow each day. First, there is a lecture in the morning, followed by questions in the afternoon, and either essay practice or Florida multiple choice in the late evening. Kaplan users begin their day with a lecture that lasts between three to four hours for each subject. Sometimes, depending on the extent of the material, that subject will continue in lecture form for three consecutive days. After each video lecture is a set of multiple choice questions that Kaplan users are required to answer. These questions are based on the material that had just been taught. Usually, Kaplan students answer thirty-three questions. Later in the evening, the schedule moved from MBE to Florida multiple choice or essays. Kaplan users an essay or do thirty practice Florida multiple choice questions.
Kaplan Bar Review Lectures
After having gone though this schedule, I realized a couple of things after the first month. First, the lectures were a waste of time. Listening to someone speak for four hours while you quickly try to type in the answers in your bar notes is an unproductive way to learn the subject and not to mention exhausting. Instead of trying to understand the material when the lecturer was teaching it, I was too busy trying to keep up with what was being said, hoping I didn’t miss anything in my bar notes. Had Kaplan given the option to download prefilled bar notes, people like myself would be able to listen and follow along while learning the material.
Kaplan Bar Review Qiuick Sheets
Second, when it was time to learn the Florida subjects, Kaplan failed to provide quick sheets for the Florida subjects like they did with the MBE. If you don’t know what quick sheets are, they are basically a summary of the Bar notes that hit on the main topics. Instead of providing Kaplan users with these quick sheets, they instructed us to create our own. Now this would be a great idea if we had four months to study for the bar. But instead, we had about eight weeks with a new subject to cover everyday. Therefore, taking five hours out of your day to create a quick sheet for the Florida subjects is not feasible, and is something Kaplan could have done on their own end to help students save time and reduce stress.
Kaplan Practice MBE Questions
Third, I appreciate what Kaplan did with the MBE questions they made up. I believe their purpose was to make their questions much longer than the real thing, so that Kaplan users are not fatigued during the exam. I actually felt that some of the MBE questions on the actual Multistate Bar Exam were easier than what Kaplan gave us. The MBE had many answer choices that made you narrow it down to the two and pick with a logical guess. I felt that Kaplan’s answer choices were much easier to choose from.
How Long Did I Study for the Florida Bar?
I studied at least eight hours a day every day. I used all the resources that Kaplan gave us, created their Florida quick sheets, did at least ten to twelve essays, and all of the Florida multiple choice questions. With that being said, I felt that after taking the bar, I was very poorly prepared by Kaplan. The Florida essay question on Dependency was not covered in any Kaplan lecture, and ended up being a difficult essay to write.
How Would I Study Differently for the Bar?
The Florida Multiple Choice were much more difficult than what Kaplan gave us. And as I already said, the MBE questions on the exam were much harder than the practice questions Kaplan gave us. Having the choice to start all over, I would skip the lectures, skip the schedule Kaplan gave, and study in my own way. I say this because the true key to Bar prep success is quality over quantity.