Themis vs. BARBRI : Which One Should You Pick?

You have selected your state, filled out your application, and registered for the bar exam. Now, what should come next? If you’ve done any research on bar review courses, you’ll notice that Themis and BARBRI are often at the top of the list. Therefore, we’ll go into more detail about them below to help you make a more informed choice!

Themis vs. BARBRI: Quick Overview

The bar exam, without a doubt, can be overwhelming, or even discouraging, at times. Yes, you can check outlines on the official website, but they don’t really tell you about where and how to start preparing for the exam. Lucky for you, the presence of prep courses like Themis and BARBRI has allowed us to put our focus on the most crucial topics.

Themis is an online lecture program that has the goal of helping students prepare more effectively for the bar exam. It is available in all states except five: Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Delaware, and Wisconsin. Compared to BARBRI, this one is relatively younger, but its robust and customizable study features have made it a popular option.

On the other hand, BARBI is the longest-running bar exam prep course in the country. Given that it has been in the industry for over 50 years, it is not unexpected that more attorneys have passed the exam with their help than with every one of the other bar prep courses put together. In addition to a good reputation, this prep course also offers great affordability.

Themis vs. BARBRI: Comparing Key Features

Now that we know Themis and BARBRI are two of the most reputable names in their game, what makes them so different from each other? We’ll go into great detail about the key differences between the two in the sections that follow. This will not only give you a thorough comparison of the two but also greatly ease your decision-making process.

The Packages

In terms of the number of package options, BARBRI is the clear winner. Its Self-Pass package is priced at only $1,999. However, it only includes the most basic features like an Online Personal Study Plan, a digital book set, and select expert essay feedback. If you need more study features, then you have to subscribe to a higher plan.

The first alternative is the Guided Pass, which is currently priced at $2,999. It offers you additional features like unlimited expert essay feedback, simulated MBE customized reports, and 100 NCBE-released questions. You can also buy the $4,199 Ultimate Pass, which includes 1:1 tutoring sessions for simulated MBE and professional development courses.

For Themis, the package price is all-inclusive. The Bar Review course is priced at $2,645 and it doesn’t include any additional fees. Additionally, there is an LL.M. Advantage course that can be accessed for $2,945 in total. Because the price is all-inclusive, you won’t be charged by the course provider to access any section of the platform or any of the study features.

The Schedule

Themis prep course offers students the opportunity to use an adaptive calendar system, which not only shows the scheduled timeframe but also serves as a useful study pacer. It is automatically adjusted according to your start date and it will also schedule the daily assignments based on your learning performance.

On BARBRI, the provided schedule is quite thorough, helping students figure out when to prioritize a specific subject. It can also help students understand what topics to study outside of the classes. Although it may feel a little bit overwhelming to follow all the tasks assigned on the calendar, doing so allows you to the priority level of each subject.

The Lessons

Themis’s course primarily makes use of on-demand video lectures, which usually run between fifteen and twenty minutes. It believes that these brief videos are helpful in aiding the students in remembering the material, which is why it uses them. Furthermore, it believes longer videos often skip important information and contain an abundance of poorly conveyed content. 

Through the accompanying mobile app, students can view the videos, which are typically highly interactive. Learning is further improved by the incorporation of striking visual components. Themis’s video not only uses straightforward written content but also includes graphics, charts, and diagrams that greatly simplify the understanding of difficult legal concepts.

BARBRI, on the other hand, also provides students access to on-demand video lectures through a mobile app. The flexibility to change the playback speed of the videos is one feature that sets this course apart from other exam preparation programs. However, the lecture videos in BARBRI feel a little dated and are not as visually appealing as those in Themis.

Along with being highly skilled communicators, the instructors at BARBRI are also knowledgeable in their fields. Many of them are skilled at effectively clarifying and deconstructing difficult topics. More importantly, they’re able to keep the audience engaged during the lessons, which is essential considering how long the lessons can be.

Additionally, both bar exam prep courses provide students with hard book copies. It is important to mention that these are part of the standard Themis package. On the other hand, obtaining them from BARBRI requires paying for a more costly package. For some students, having hard copies of the book can be helpful, even though it might not be a deciding factor.

In the event that a student does not pass the exam after completing the course, they can retake both prep courses. Although nobody plans to fail the bar exam, having this retake guarantee gives students a piece of mind. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the guidelines and regulations as they differ for every preparatory course.

The Practice Exams

Just like any other bar exam prep course out there, Themis features MBE practice exams, which are crucial elements to consider. The practice tests here can be personalized according to subjects, topics, and even the questions you answered incorrectly. You’ll be given access to more than 2,000 practice questions in the Qbank. 

These questions found in the question bank are written by Themis experts, who have unquestionable legal expertise. Once you feel confident about your ability to answer the questions, feel free to take one of the several MBE practice exams available. It includes 200 questions that accurately mimic the ones found in the real exam.

After taking the practice MBE exam, students can get in-depth answer explanations. One reason why Themis provides students with these explanations is that it is a firm believer that it’s crucial for test-takers to not only understand which questions they answered wrong but also what is the exact reason behind their inaccurate answers.

Themis also offers students detailed performance tracking results. After completing the daily assignments and practice exams, students will get immediate feedback on the platform. This, without a doubt, allows users to identify your weaknesses. This feature also allows you to know which areas to prioritize and how you stack up against other students.

When everything is taken into account, BARBRI loses in this area, and it loses by a mile. The first explanation for this is that a large number of the practice exam’s questions differ significantly from the actual MBE text. Furthermore, BARBRI only provides one practice test, which is not enough to give students confidence when taking the test.

In fact, some users claimed that some of the questions were harder than the actual ones. However, there are thorough explanations of legal principles and rules, and the pass predictor can provide you with a quick assessment of the probability of you passing the text. Although they are not enough to make up for the error, they are still great features. 

The Takeaway

By now, the verdict is pretty much clear. Themis offers you a higher number of NCBE-licensed questions and practice exams. On top of that, users are provided with more learning features, customization options, and carefully selected MBE questions. Meanwhile, BARBRI offers more affordable pricing options, but it still lags behind Themis in terms of study features.

Whether you ultimately decide on BARBRI or Themis, bear in mind that preparing for the bar exam will take a significant amount of work and dedication. Enrolling in one of these courses will help you study more methodically and with clearer objectives. Note that the stakes are high in this case, so spending time and money on a reliable preparatory course is crucial!


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