Barbri vs. Kaplan

by thedesertion

I’m deep in the throes of bar study, so I won’t have a lot of time to go into detail, but I would like to say this:

I like Kaplan better than Barbri, at least for the MBE.

I have both programs, access to both programs’ web materials, etc.

Barbri has a convoluted way of giving you the material, whereas Kaplan is much more straightforward. Kaplan was cheaper, too. Go figure. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have bothered with Barbri. It’s just that everyone says that Barbri is tried and true and to go with the leader of the bar prep companies. I did, but I also got the Kaplan program.

I found that Kaplan’s presentation of the MBE material is a lot simpler, clearer, and their website is better with regard to multiple choice questions and letting you know which topics and subtopics you need more work on. The question bank on Kaplan’s website is really great and provides a lot more flexibility with what you want to study. Barbri’s MC online is broken up into their “question sets.” You either do a set of 17 or 36 in a single subject, or you can do sets in all 6 mixed subjects. Kaplan lets you do as many questions as you want or as few questions as you want. Say, for example, you just feel like squeezing in 5 torts questions. No problem. Or, if you would like to do a 17 question set of mixed torts and property to focus in on your weaknesses, just 2 MBE subjects rather than all 6, no problem. Barbri doesn’t give you that kind of flexibility.

I hate how Barbri words their multiple choice questions. I have to read them like twice just to figure out what the hell they’re asking. They’ve got the most unnecessarily convoluted way of  writing the body of the question and it’s really unrealistic as compared to the bar. Now, I know the Barbri and Kaplan questions are supposed to be harder than the ones on the bar, so that when you get to the bar, you score higher than you ever did on the practice questions. This is true. You will score above and beyond what you scored while doing those practice questions. However, what I’m trying to say is that Barbri’s questions are clunkily-worded whereas Kaplan’s are not so, yet the level of difficulty is the same. Essentially, Barbri puts you thorough the ringer and frustrates you more, while Kaplan doesn’t do that to you. Plus, Kaplan’s review books present the material in a more broken down form. If you like flow charts and lots of visuals, Kaplan is right for you.