Barbri Unlimited Essay Grading

RATING: ★★★★★

Kaplan Bar Review offers a full range of courses tailor-made for individual needs. Choices include their Complete Bar Review, LLM Bar Review Courses, and a variety of Multistate Bar Exam Courses and Supplements.

Kaplan has been in the test prep industry for more than 70 years and is known for its comprehensive review and full-length simulated exams. Their classroom lectures can be attended in person, watched synchronously (live), or on-demand at home, depending on the course.


1. Comprehensive Bar Review

The Complete Bar Review Course includes a heavy schedule of classroom or recorded lectures, outlines, and more than 4,000 exam-like MBE practice questions in a question bank to create customized quizzes. The price includes unlimited essay grading for a maximum level of individual guidance. A free MPRE Review Course is offered online at Kaplan’s website. An outline, course materials, lectures, MPRE questions, and flashcards are available for download. A hard copy version is available with an additional shipping fee.

2. Structured Program

Strict organization and mandatory classroom/online lecture attendance keeps students on track, making it harder to fall behind. Assignments are tailored to improve areas of weakness. The program follows a set course of instruction, homework, practice questions and essay writing, testing, and final review to optimize performance on the bar exam.

3. Flexibility

Lectures are offered in-person and online. Recorded lectures can be accessed anywhere, anytime from smart phones and other portable devices (both iOS and Android). The schedule allows for some wiggle room to catch up on weekends if students fall slightly behind.

4. Employer Payment Options

They have an online “Bill My Firm” enrollment option if your employer is paying for the exam. (Employer/Law Firm is billed directly.)

5. Additional Support

Ask-an-Expert Support option includes academic attorneys who are available to answer additional questions as needed. For an additional fee, experienced tutors are available to help those who need even more personalized coaching. Technical support is provided for all of Kaplan’s test preparation courses.


1. Price

Kaplan is one of the more expensive options when it comes to reviewing for the bar. The price tag for the Complete Bar Review Course varies by state, ranging from an affordable $1895 (Hawaii) to more than $3,500 (New York, Florida, and North Carolina). Prices will vary according to promotions and specials.

2. Work Load

The sheer volume of work can be overwhelming for some students. This lengthy course touches on every concept covered on the bar exam, and requires numerous assignments, essays, personal outlines, and practice MBE questions to be completed outside of class for optimal preparation. Learners who struggle with information overload may prefer a more streamlined review that emphasizes a more general overview.

3. Not Available in All States

Kaplan Bar Review is not scheduled to be available in the following states until summer 2016: Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

4. Quality of MBE questions

Kaplan has drawn criticism from some test takers that their “exam-like” MBE questions are not as similar to those on the actual bar exam as the practice questions used by some of their competitors. Still, Kaplan stays current when it comes to changes in the bar exam and asserts that students will be ready for the new MBE that will be featured on upcoming exams.

Online Options

Like its competitors, Kaplan has jumped onto the online-access bandwagon to meet demands for flexibility. Lectures do not have to be viewed in a traditional classroom setting. In addition to online features that allow you to track progress and feedback, an interactive online syllabus and an Online Lecture Library help learners stay on task. The basic lectures are available in the following formats:

Live or Live Online

Attend lectures in a traditional classroom or online from another location at a pre-scheduled time. With this option, lectures are simulcast for those who log in remotely. Questions can be asked in the chat function to receive immediate answers.


Lectures are available 24/7 in the Online Lecture Library if you miss a scheduled lecture, don’t want to attend a physical session, or need to review all or part of one. Internet access is required.

My Suggestion

Kaplan Bar Review appeals to both traditional learners who prefer a bricks-and-mortar classroom experience, as well as those who like to self-study online. Kaplan is an established review course that keeps students on track while they study for the bar exam. The flexibility of being able to attend lectures in person or online makes their course a good fit for most students who are serious about passing the Bar.


Summary of Course Features

  • 7 day Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) Preparation
  • 36 day lecture for subject review and practice (number of days varies by state)
  • 4-5 day full-length simulated exams and review for all parts of exam
  • 14-day “final countdown study plan”
  • Lectures available in-person and online
  • Homework assignments include multiple choice questions, practice essays, quizzes, and simulated exams.
  • Ask-an-Expert support is included for additional questions
  • “Reports” feature in online syllabus shows scores for all graded tests, quizzes and practice essays
  • Conditional money back guarantee


Complete State Course: $1,895 – $3,595 (depends on your state)

MBE Supplemental Courses:

  • Combination Course Price: $1049
  • Foundation Course Price: $699
  • Final Review Course Price: $449

MPRE Review Course: free

The Money Back Guarantee has stringent requirements: only first-time bar candidates with a JD from an ABA approved law school who have completed all basic study requirements before taking the exam immediately after the course will be reimbursed. For example, attendance is required for at least 90% of lectures.



Kaplan Bar Review Course Information

Additional Features Pricing 
7 day Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) PreparationLectures available in-person and onlineComplete Course: $1,895 – $3,595
36 day lecture for subject review and practiceAsk-an-Expert support is included for additional questionsCombination Course Price: $1049
4-5 day full-length simulated exams and review for all parts of exam“Reports” feature in online syllabus shows scores for all graded testsFoundation Course Price: $699
14-day “final countdown study plan”Conditional money back guaranteeFinal Review Course Price: $449



There are many factors to consider when deciding which bar review course you would like to take. In an effort to help students with this decision, a Colorado Law research assistant undertook efforts to establish facts regarding cost, style, and resources of the top three most commonly used commercial review companies. The information was obtained through company websites, communications with company representatives, and interviews with recent bar takers. This chart is meant to provide a broad overview. Students are encouraged to verify any information they find important with the company they choose.

Base CostListed Price: $2,995. Includes the cost of materials.

$25 materials shipping fee. Some students have gotten this fee waived.

Listed Price: $2,745 for Live; $2,495 for On-Demand.

Books require a deposit of $275, which is refunded once they are turned back in after the exam. $25 shipping fee.

Listed Price: $1,695. Includes the cost of materials.

$25 shipping fee. Themis sends fewer materials compared to other prep companies because most of their content is designed for online access.


Discounts and deals vary. One recent deal was a $1,000 discount (bringing total price to $,1995) with $500 down payment.

The cost of the course is negotiable.

May offer credit for non-refundable deposits paid to other prep companies.

Discounts and deals vary. One recent deal was a $500 rebate after the bar exam. Discounts are available for members of law journals.

The cost of the course is negotiable.

May offer credit for non-refundable deposits paid to other prep companies.

$100 discounts for military, Law Student Division of the ABA, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and the Military Spouse J.D. Network. Public interest sector employees making less than $60k pay $1,195. If a student paid a deposit with another company, Themis will credit it up to $250. 
Pass Rate89% overall pass rate at Colorado Law for the July 2014 bar exam.  100% of people at Colorado Law passed the July 2014 exam when they completed at least 75% of the course.Between 82% - 84% overall pass rate at Colorado Law for the July 2014 bar exam. 100% of people at Colorado Law passed the July 2014 exam when they completed at least 90% of the course. 93% overall Colorado pass rate for the July 2014 exam for first-time takers who completed at least 75% of the course. 
Retake PoliciesFirst-time bar takers may repeat the same course once for the same state the next time a course is offered without paying additional tuition, regardless of how much of the course was completed.

"Alumni tuition" (those who take a BARBRI bar review course in a second state or repeat a course more than once in the same state) is available for up to 5 years. Alumni tuition is currently listed at $2,595.

Tuition-free courses are available for first-time bar takers who attended at least 90% of live or online lectures, and completed all of the assigned multiple choice questions, simulated exams, quizzes, required practice essays and personalized homework.

If a student did not reach 90%, they still may be able to obtain a discounted rate.

First-time bar takers who sat for the exam and did not pass may repeat the course for the next administration of the same bar exam at no cost.

No minimum amount of course completion is required.

Lecture DeliveryLectures are available online or in person. Students may attend live lectures in Denver which streams to a classroom in Boulder.

There is limited opportunity to ask questions during lectures, but students may reach the lecturer via phone after class. Lectures may be accessed through a mobile phone app.

Live: Attend class at Denver Law, watch it live-streamed at Colorado Law, or live-stream from home. If you watch the live-stream, you can submit questions electronically. Not all questions will be answered. Students have access to all On-Demand videos.

On-Demand: Pre-recorded videos available online. Most of the course may be accessed through an iPhone app. Videos have speed up and slow down features (1.5X or 2X).

Lectures are delivered exclusively online.

Lectures are provided in about 20-minute increments followed by assessment questions.

Multiple speeds are available for viewing lectures (1.5X or 2X).
Materials are available through a mobile phone app.

Day to DayLectures run for 4 – 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. As you listen to the lecture, you fill in the blanks in the outlines for that subject area. Each professor has taken the bar in the state that you are studying for. After the lecture, many people study 4-6 more hours a day (some people take weekends off, some people spread it out more). The three main steps are (1) prepare for class, (2) attend class, and (3) review after class.Lectures run for 4 – 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. As you listen to the lecture, you fill in the blanks in the outlines for that subject area. You then spend another 2 – 3 hours on practice MBE questions/essays.

Note that while the Kaplan course for the July 2015 exam starts May 26th, there is a 6 day orientation prior to that which will cover how to use the program and deal with test anxiety.

The schedule is designed for students to study for from about 8am – 5pm M-F, with review on weekends. That being said, students may decide to study for longer M–F and take weekends off.

Videos are watched along with a fill-in-the-blank outline. Once the video is finished, the user is asked to answer assessment questions.

Flexibility of ProgramThe Personalized Study Plan tracks your progress against everyone else taking BARBRI for your state and lets you know where you should be and by when to stay on track with your studies.

It also identifies areas of strengths and weaknesses and generates personalized homework to address weaknesses.

The strengths & weaknesses guide is updated based on practice questions answered, and is broken down into sub-subjects.

Your daily regimen will include assignments that gradually become tailored to improve your weakest areas.

Students may start exam prep as early as March for the July exam. The Directed Study schedule begins 8 – 10 weeks before the bar exam. myProgress tracker keeps track of the assignments completed, and reveals progress relative to set goals and to peers. Directed Study offers the most structure, providing students with a list of tasks to complete each day. If the student misses a day, the dynamic calendar will re-orient the student's schedule. Flex Study allows the student to skip around. Students can switch between Directed and Flex Study mode. Students who appear to be falling behind will receive a call from their Adviser.   Every student is called at least twice, and in-person meetings with Advisers are available.
Essay FeedbackImmediate feedback through "essay architect," which tells you what you need to do to maximize your points.

Three graded essays are incorporated into the schedule. Students who want more than three graded essays can request. Feedback is provided by practicing lawyers.

Unlimited access to personalized essay feedback by some one who has taken the Colorado bar exam. Graded essays are returned within a maximum of 7 business days, with the average closer to 2–3 business days. There are also sample answers for all essays. Essays are equipped with a unique identifier which students can use to see what questions other students had about the same essay. Alternatively, students can submit a request to talk with Academic Support.Unlimited essay grading available. The course has 8 assigned graded essays. Feedback is provided in ~48 business hours. Each student will have a personal Attorney Adviser who grades all submitted essays and will work with the student to improve their writing for the exam. The Personal Attorney Advisor also provides test taking tips, study strategies, information about the bar exam, and practical so lutions to common essay writing errors in a weekly broadcast message.
Simulated ExamsOne, simulated, full-day MBE; results are compared to all other BARBRI course participants in the US.One, full-day simulated MBE which reveals how many other students chose the same answers that you chose. There are also two full practice exams the week before the actual exam.Simulated MBE at the halfway point
and two weeks before the exam.

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