Considering that many JDs have already forked over around $40,000 per semester, and that about half of them will not find a law job within 9 months, isn’t it asking them a bit much to pay thousands of dollars to take the bar exam? The exam itself can cost upwards to $1,000 in some states, and last year 82,920 people took it in the U.S., which is 14 percent more than 1995. But one additional pinch may be just a bit too much for some law students: the costs of review courses, such as BARBRI’s and Kaplan’s, which can reach upwards between $2,000 and $4,000.
“Bar review courses, in my opinion, are the biggest rip-off ever,” said Christopher Carrion, 27, a New York Law School grad who took BARBRI’s course, as he was reported to say by CNBC. “How would you feel if you spent well over $100,000 on law school, only to have to spend an extra couple of thousand dollars on a course to get you to pass the bar?”
Enter TestMax, an alternative to BARBRI and Kaplan. Founder Mehran Ebadolahi offers a $1,000 alternative that works as an app on smartphones. The app, called BarMax, can be bought at the Apple app store.
“What’s happened in the bar exam prep space is that because it’s been a monopoly, BARBRI has implemented things like making students sit in a classroom and watch prerecorded lectures without lowering its price point,” Ebadolahi said.
Naturally enough, in marketing his wares, Ebadolahi claims it gives an advantage especially to students who have failed using larger courses. “What shows the quality of the course is when you can help students who, according to conventional wisdom, have no business passing the bar exam. We actively seek these students out,” he said.
Nevertheless, though a $1,000 app is “competitive” compared to $4,000 in BARBRI courses, one wonders at how much competitive edge is needed on an exam that law school ostensibly exists to prepare a student for.
Kaplan hilariously suggest not even thinking about how much their course costs, but only how much it will help you. “We encourage students who are going into bar review to not really think about the cost question, although that’s obviously important, but the overall question of the value and fit of the bar review program,” he said.
One would hope that law school studiousness would be enough to pass the blasted exam, without taking a course that exists not to make you a better lawyer, but merely a better test taker.