If becoming a lawyer was easy, everyone would do it.
There are some serious hurdles every legal professional has to overcome— but if you’re preparing to take the bar exam, the good news is that you’ve almost reached the end.
But don’t take that as an excuse to slack off. After all, you’ll need to study even harder than you did for the LSAT if you want to be among the 80% of law school students who pass on their first attempt.1 Furthermore, your performance on the exam can determine if you’re among the 72% of students who land long-term full time employment after passing.2
So how do you prepare? Simple:
Using one of the best bar review courses listed below will ensure you’re both motivated and capable to overcome this hurdle and start your legal career.
Which Bar Course is Right for You?
We’ve put together a short list of questions that will help us determine which Bar course is the best pick for you!
Check out our detailed analysis below:
Compare The Top 9 Best Bar Exam Prep Course in September 2021:
- BarMax Bar Review Course
- Quimbee Bar Review Course
- Crushendo Bar Review Course
- Kaplan Bar Review Course
- Bar Prep Hero Review Course
- SmartBarPrep Review Course
- AdaptiBar Bar Review Course
- BarBri Bar Review Course
- Themis Bar Review Course
How do you rate BARmax Bar Review?
BarMax Review (Rank: #1)
- Flexibility: While BarMax is now also available online, having access to stacks of books through the app makes this course the easiest to use on the fly or whenever you have a spare moment to study. Studying for the bar exam is almost fun when you can do it on your iPhone or iPad at the coffee shop, gym, or beach. Internet access is not required to access content through the BarMax app, and you don’t have to waste time driving to class.
- Price: At $1,499, BarMax Bar Exam Review’s comprehensive state course price is much lower than the industry average. The price includes lifetime access to audio lectures from Harvard Law alumni, such as the legendary Arthur Miller, corresponding black-letter law outlines, and flashcards. There’s more than 1,750 real multiple-choice questions (MBEs), real practice essays, real performance test (PT) questions, personalized writing revisions, analytics and customer support by phone, email and in-app message boards. This is an incredible value.
- Study Planner: BarMax provides a recommended study calendar that sets forth daily assignments and a clear overview of the material, including how much you will need to study. The calendar suggests a more reasonable study plan of 15-25 hours per week for 12 weeks. This efficiency is unparalleled. Additionally, since BarMax is the only bar review course to offer instant and lifetime access, it is an amazing option for students who would like to get started with bar prep sooner—a great idea if you are working full-time or are an international student.
- 0% Financing: BarMax also offers 0% financing, which allows you to get immediate access to any BarMax course and split the purchase into budget friendly 3, 6 or 12 monthly payments. BarMax also offers a public interest discount for students pursuing careers in public interest law.
Bottom Line: BarMax is such an appealing choice for students due to its reasonable price and flexible coursework. Students can take advantage of their generous payment program and offline-compatible study materials
Quimbee Bar Review (Rank: #2)
- Practice Questions: Whether you’re studying for the UBE, MBE, or MPRE, you can get all the practice questions you need with this review course. Quimbee offers 1,800+ practice questions with both their UBE and MBE prep courses. But if that’s somehow not enough for you, they also offer a staggering 4,900+ additional practice questions as part of their Study Aids monthly subscription package.
- Multifaceted Education: For one price, Quimbee provides you with a large catalog of bar study materials in several different formats. If you want to learn new concepts through lectures, check out their library of professionally-produced video lessons. Alternatively, they provide text study materials in both print and digital formats— and much more.
- Financing and Affordability: If you’re worried about paying for Quimbee’s UBE prep course, they offer flexible financing through Affirm. Additionally, paying for one of their bar prep packages will earn you credit towards other purchases on their site, which can add up into a pretty good deal.
- Mobile App: Nowadays, it’s important for most students to have access to study materials wherever they are. Fortunately, Quimbee can accommodate this need with their free mobile app available on both iOS and Android devices. With this, you can access all your bar prep materials on your phone or tablet without losing connectivity or functionality.
Bottom Line: Quimbee offers a slickly designed and well-researched bar review course for law students all over the country. Whether you need to prep for the UBE or you just want to brush up on some MPRE concepts during your commute, this is a terrific choice to get the education you need
Quimbee Bar Review Discounts & Promo Codes
Crushendo Bar Review (Rank: #3)
- Varied Catalog: Crushendo has a huge library of study materials that can effectively prepare you for the MBE and UBE, including over 2,000 practice questions. But it’s not just multiple-choice questions you can use to study— they also provide hundreds of mnemonic devices, downloadable audio lectures, and flashcards.
- Audio Lectures: Do you consider yourself an auditory learner? If you like to learn through listening, Crushendo offers a lot of content that will perfectly suit your educational preferences. Not only are their lectures easily downloaded for listening offline, but they even include audio flashcards that drill important concepts to improve your memory of them.
- Access Granted: How long does it take you to study for an exam? You probably need all the time you can get, especially when preparing for something as tough as the bar. Fortunately, you’ll have lifetime access to Crushendo’s study materials with only one affordable up-front payment— so you’re free to take all the time you need!
- MPRE Not Included: Although it’s common to see a bar prep course offer some sort of free MPRE content, Crushendo unfortunately does not. However, they do offer an affordable study guide for this exam that’s just as effective as the rest of their catalog.
Bottom Line: If you want to pass the last hurdle and become a lawyer, Crushendo is a fantastic way to do it. They offer great study materials that are affordable enough to keep you out of any more student debt!
Crushendo Bar Review Discounts & Promo Codes
Kaplan Bar Review (Rank: #4)
- Fully Comprehensive:Kaplan’s Complete Bar Review Course contains a large amount of resources and is available in just about every state. With this course students have access to unlimited essay grading, live lectures (in-person, or live-online, and on-demand), full-length simulated exams with review, a final countdown study plan, and 4,000 exam-like MBE questions.
- Structured Program: Their course has a clear outline and helps students stay on track. The overall structure of their program includes approximately 7 days of MBE prep, up to 36 days of comprehensive subject review (varies by state), 4 to 5 days of simulated exam preparation for each part of that state’s exam, and about 2 weeks (varies by student) for a final countdown study plan with highly tailored assignments.
- Flexibility: Kaplan not only provides their complete course in most states, but students have the option to attend course lectures either in-person or live online from the comfort of wherever. In addition all students will have access to their 24/7 Online lecture Library where they can review the course lectures on-demand. They also have a mobile app and through it users can access some of their bar review course materials on the go.
- Price: This is going to be one of the more expensive options depending on which state you plan on studying for, but as you can see it comes with a ton of material. Prices for the Complete Bar Review Course range anywhere from the more affordable $1,895 in some states, up to around $3,600 in others.
Bottom Line: No one offers an educational package with the same level of quality as Kaplan. Their live courses are widely available and exhaustively comprehensive, although students will need to pay up for enrollment.
Kaplan Bar Review Discounts & Promo Codes
Bar Prep Hero Review (Rank: #5)
- Tons of Practice Questions: Bar Prep Hero was designed around one specific study tool— practice questions. In order to best acclimate law students to their exams, this review course gathers thousands of multiple-choice questions for them to work through and become familiar with the exam structure. In addition to many actual exam questions that were retired, this course features hundreds of entirely original questions that can’t be found in any other course!
- Anxiety Relief: Answering practice questions can help most students prepare for their exams to an extent, but it can only help so much at preventing pre-test jitters. Thanks to the assistance of an experienced yoga instructor, Bar Prep Hero’s UBE Premium course provides audio files for students to listen to in order to relieve any anxiety they might have before taking their exams.
- So Many Flashcards: If you thought the number of practice questions Bar Prep Hero provides is impressive, you’ll be blown away by how many flashcards are included in their MBE prep materials. Even if you enroll in their more affordable MBE Standard course package, you’ll still be able to work with over 1,800 digital flashcards accessible on desktop and mobile devices.
- Limited Accessibility: With so many appealing study materials included in Bar Prep Hero, you might be worried about having enough time to take advantage of everything included in your course. And while this won’t be an issue when enrolling in their MBE Premium or UBE Premium courses, this may be a concern for their lowest-priced option. With only one year of access, you might feel like you need to rush through the thousands of questions and flashcards before it expires!
Bottom Line: This is a bar review course with one focus— preparing students for exam conditions and exam content with a large volume of multiple-choice questions and flashcards. If that’s what you need to take your tests with the highest confidence, Bar Prep Hero is right up your alley.
Bar Prep Hero Review Discounts & Promo Codes
SmartBarPrep (Rank: #6)
- Smart Studying: The best way for a smart person to study is by using smart study products. That’s the reasoning behind the bar prep study materials provided by this company. Their Priority Outlines focus on the most relevant concepts for each section as they appear on the bar exam— down to what percentage of the questions cover each one!
- Free Trials: For those of you who aren’t sure if SmartBarPrep is really capable of providing the bar exam study resources you need, there are plenty of free resources available for you to try out. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the essay portion of the exam or you want something more state-specific, there’s something available to give you a taste.
- Smart Flashcards: In addition to their other smart study materials, perhaps the most impressive feature offered by this bar review course is their Smart Flashcards. These can be accessed on your desktop computer or on any mobile device, and they allow you to identify and strengthen your problem areas. You’re not going to find this anywhere else!
- Price Variation: Since the bar exam varies from state to state, SmartBarPrep varies the costs of their prep courses as well. This isn’t a big deal for students in some states, like California— but it means that students in states like Oregon will end up paying higher prices due to these variations.
Bottom Line: This isn’t like any other bar exam prep course currently on the market— which is a positive for some and a negative for others. If you’re even slightly interested in SmartBarPrep, check out their free resources.
AdaptiBar (Rank: #7)
- Authentic Study Materials: All of AdaptiBar’s practice questions are licensed questions that have been released from past bar exams. By practicing with authentic MBE questions (instead of simulated questions written by test prep companies) you’ll be better prepared for the questions you will see on the actual MBE exam. AdaptiBar offers more than 1,749 real MBE practice questions and 215 simulated questions (1,964 total), giving students a lot of first-rate practice material at an affordable price.
- Technology Adapts to You: AdaptiBar’s software automatically adapts questions to your ability level based on your performance. In the Practice Questions mode, students are presented with certain types of questions until they consistently perform well on that particular type. The Past Performance Table tracks how many questions have been answered and calculates the accuracy of your answers, so you’ll be able to target and improve on your weaker areas.
- Restricted to MBE Exam: Students looking for a comprehensive review course to help them cover all the material on the bar exam will be disappointed, as AdaptiBar focuses exclusively on the MBE portion of the exam. As a result, AdaptiBar is most effective when used as a supplement to a more thorough review course.
Bottom Line: AdaptiBar offers an enticing study package with powerful adaptive learning technology and real questions from the exam. Unfortunately, they only offer a study course for one section of the BAR
Themis Bar Review (Rank: #8)
- Price: Themis Bar Review provides a comprehensive program at a very reasonable price of $1,695 for all states. Included with the price students get video lectures and quizzes for each subject on the exam, simulated exams, flashcards, over 3,000 MBE practice questions, unlimited essay grading, and 24/7 customer support.
- Efficient Learning Modules: Their video lecture library is made up of shorter, more manageable 15-20 minute video segments. This can help students stay more engaged with their lessons and increase retention of study material. Themis allows students to learn at their own pace and in a very manageable format.
- Availability: Themis’s course is currently available in 44 jurisdictions, so some student’s won’t be able to take full advantage of the course. That being said, for the states that they do offer a review for, students will receive a fully comprehensive course tailored to their state bar.
Bottom Line: Themis has done a great job breaking down their educational modules into shorter lengths of time, making it easy to squeeze in a quick study session. It’s too bad they have limited physical availability.
Barbri (Rank: #9)
- Comprehensive: Barbri has been a big name in bar exam preparation for close to 50 years. They offer an in-depth review that includes live-online or in-person lectures, multiple outlines, online study materials with progress tracking, a mobile app, simulated exams, multiple workbooks, and essay feedback.
- Available in All States: Something unique about Barbri is that they provide a full bar review course for every state. This is useful for students who would like to dive into a program that covers everything that they need to know, including the more state-specific material.
- Price: Barbri may have the most experience with bar exam preparation, but they definitely make their students pay for it. No matter which state your studying for, Barbri is going to be one of the most expensive options. Their prices range from $1,400 up to $3,895 depending on which state you are preparing for.
Bottom Line: If students are willing to shell out the premium cost for BarBri, they will be rewarded with an extremely comprehensive BAR review course with full availability in all 50 states.
Bar Exam Frequently Asked Questions
Need some more info about the bar exam? Check out our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
Which bar review course is the best?
While many people assume that it is Themis or Barbri, BarMax is currently the best online bar exam prep course. This is because they have a large catalog of practice questions and flashcards that are accessible on many different devices. They also have financing options and a money-back guarantee, making it much easier to justify paying their enrollment fees.
What is Barbri’s pass rate?
Although BARBRI doesn’t publish exact pass rates for their students, they provide some approximated data that help paint a clearer picture. According to them, 9 out of 10 BARBRI students pass their exams with up to 25 more points than the average exam taker.3
How do I choose a bar prep course?
In order to determine which bar prep course will be the most helpful, it’s a good idea for you to identify your preferred learning style based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.4 Once you’ve identified the style of learning that’s most effective for you, choose a course that offers study materials suited towards that learning style. For example, a video-heavy course like BarMax is great for visual-spatial learners, and a course like Quimbee that has a lot of practice questions is ideal for logical-mathematical learners.
Bar Exam Discounts
Crush the Bar Exam requires writers support their work by using primary sources. These include the exam’s governing body, white papers, government data, and interviews with leading experts in the field. You can learn more about the standards we follow by checking out our editorial guidelines.
Valerie Keene is an experienced lawyer and legal writer. Valerie’s litigation successes have included wins for cases involving contract disputes, real property disputes, and consumer issues. She has also assisted countless families with estate planning, guardianship issues, divorce and other family law matters. She provides clients with solid legal advice and representation.