Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BarBri Bootcamp

"So you pay $3000+ to go sit in a classroom every day during the summer and watch a video?" Yes.

That is the same question I get from everyone who tries to understand what BarBri bar preparation classes are like. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. But it is what thousands of law school graduates across the country are doing, because there is no better way. Even those who have live classes are essentially watching a video, since no one is allowed to stop the lecturer for questions.

Staring at a big head, filling out our glossy blue workbooks. The whole experience is kind of surreal. To best describe what the experience has been like over the past two days, I have come up with some analogies:

Boot Camp- This is probably the most accurate description. This first week, we have to do these practice multiple choice questions. Why test us before they have taught us anything? To kill our "I just graduated from law school" egos. It is the whole military break you down so they can build us back up type of thing. Point out how little we know so we are scared into studying. Most of us did need a kick in the butt to get us out of summer coasting-mode. I guess it is also a way of acclimating ourselves with the testing format.

Big Brother- I wonder how people would react if they walked into a room and saw us all staring at a big talking head on the screen yelling (ok, not yelling, but speaking forcefully) about how BarBri is the only program that knows how the bar tests, that changes all their books when the bar changes, that knows all the tricks, and is the only program you need; everything else is a waste of time. And it is scary how well the indoctrination works. They give us a schedule, and we follow it exactly. I admit it; I am a sheep.

Rachael Ray- I have only watched a few different BarBri lecturers but most of them have the same exact presentation style, one very similar to the dreaded Rachael Ray. The fake excitement, the cutesy abbreviations and own lingo (or Spanglish), the over animation. On the bright-side, it keeps you awake for hours, if only because you are shaking your head at how ridiculous they sound. I guess it is better to err on the side of annoying than boring.

I am not meaning to bash BarBri. It is actually the opposite; I am really in awe of how disciplined their business model is. You have to give credit to any company who is able to maintain this kind of monopoly. (not meant to be a backhanded complimented, I am serious)

It has only been two days, but it seems effective and most of the methodologies seem to serve a purpose. No one would be paying this much money if they did not think it was at least semi-useful. I sure know I would not be studying as much if I did not have a schedule telling me exactly what to do and practice tests showing me how much I needed to work on. It is just an experience like no other. We will see what the rest of the summer is like.

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