What is a Bar Review Course?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 June 2018
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A bar review course is a class designed for law students who are concerned about passing the bar exam. In order to practice law in the United States, an attorney must pass the bar exam for the state he or she is practicing in, or a multi-state bar exam for attorneys who intend to venture outside their own states. The bar exam is notoriously challenging, and most attorneys do not pass it on the first try. A prospective lawyer can greatly increase his or her chances of passing the bar by taking a bar review course.

The curricular material used for a bar review course varies, but it usually includes lectures, practice bar exams, and home study materials. Lectures are often audio or video taped so that students can review them, and some bar review courses are based almost entirely on video lectures, allowing students to proceed at their own pace. Home study materials include practice questions, and a compendium of material which commonly comes up on the bar exam.


In some cases, a bar review course offers tutoring or classroom time. Small workshops of students can be tutored by a single instructor, and also help each other grasp the material under discussion. Students in a classroom bar review course are often encouraged to form study groups so that they can help each other succeed outside of class as well. Students who can afford individualized tutoring may choose to take that route so that they can get customized attention, with an instructor who can focus on the student's strengths and weaknesses.

One of the most important elements of a bar review course is practice bar exams. In many cases, the exam environment may be simulated, so that students know what it will feel like. Students are given a complete paper test which closely resembles the bar, along with essay questions. After the practice exam, the tests are looked over and scored, usually by qualified attorneys who also make comments on the exam papers so that students know which areas they need to focus on in order to do well.

Taking a bar review course before taking the bar exam is recommended, but not required, for law students. Students who are currently in law school may be able to take advantage of bar review resources at school, or ask their instructors about bar review courses they recommend. Other individuals who are getting ready to sit the bar exam may want to consider using Internet resources such as forums to ask for help choosing a bar review course.



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