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December 6, 2022

Review Teacher Admits Review is Useless if You are Useless

I know some of you would rather have a quadruple wisdom tooth removal than peruse Above the Law (because lawyers, amiright?), which is why we do that for you.

In today's Ask the Professor, Prof Joseph Marino writes:

I have been helping students pass the bar exam for over four decades. Before me, my father invented the modern bar review course in the 1940s. I mention this so you know that it is coming from good authority when I tell you the secret that those of us in the bar review industry don’t want you to know.

That secret: A bar review course cannot relatively improve your chances of passing the bar exam.

Bar review is similar to CPA review in that it is meant to prepare you to pass the exam, costs a metric shit ton of money, consists of a few reputable providers plus a bunch of shady ones, and gets a lot of lip service on campus where providers or their compensated minions chase you around like used car salesmen on a No Credit No Problem car lot.

Bar review is also similar to CPA review, if we are to take Prof Marino's words as the gospel, in that even the best review will not help the worst student to pass.

He continues:

What’s the best predictor of success on the bar exam?

How well you do in law school is the best predictor of success on the bar exam.

This is where similarities end between bar review and CPA review. Mediocre accounting students can "do well" on the CPA exam, and by "do well" we mean "pass" which is really all that matters. Let's be honest here, there's a reason Harvard doesn't have an accounting program.

Toward the end, we come back around and again see how bar review and CPA review really aren't that different (topics and format aside):

Most students simply choose whatever bar review their friends are taking without any real understanding of what makes their course different, or even what bar review really is in the first place. Not everyone learns in the same way. One bar course approach may make more sense for you than another. What part of the class are you in? If it is the lower half, then you need training to outperform the upper half.

We have previously discussed how to choose a CPA review course and why I am unable, for ethical and practical reason, to recommend one for you. If you must know two things, know these: pass rates are basically made up and even the best, most expensive program won't help you pass if you don't use it.


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