5 Reasons to Choose a Tutor for the California Bar Exam
Prospective students often ask about the benefits of using a private bar exam tutor. After all, good private tutoring, especially from an experienced California bar exam tutor, is more expensive than typical bar review courses, so there must be compelling reasons for a student to choose private bar exam tutoring.
While Personal Bar Prep has offered a small group bar review course since 2007, I actually began Personal Bar Prep tutoring students privately for the bar exam 25 years ago. In that time, I have learned that for some students, when it comes to bar review, nothing compares to an expert bar exam tutor. Here are 5 good reasons why:
Private bar tutoring is individualized. This is the most obvious difference between classroom teaching and using a private tutor, but it warrants stressing. By working with a good, understanding tutor for the bar exam, a student can expect that lesson plans and study strategies will be created for that student based on her or his individual needs. We all have individual strengths and weaknesses that are difficult to diagnose and solve in a group setting especially in a short 8-week bar review course, but a good bar tutor will be able to identify those strengths and weaknesses and then structure an individualized study program for that student. No traditional bar review courses can duplicate this.
Students feel accountable to a private bar exam tutor, something traditional bar courses with videos and guest lecturers cannot claim. Nobody likes disappointing those we respect and care for. When I tutor students privately, I get to know them. We typically spend 4-hours per week one-on-one together and we develop a relationship of mutual respect.
I have found that those students I work with as a private bar exam tutor are far more likely to do the work, to get done what needs to be done than traditional students because they simply don’t want to disappoint me. While Personal Bar Prep’s small group bar review course creates a greater sense of accountability than traditional bar review courses, it doesn’t compare to the accountability a student develops towards me when they work with me as a private tutor. Since there is no hiding from me when I tutor privately, students get the work done, significantly improving their chances of passing.
Working with a bar exam tutor offers a student greater flexibility than traditional bar review courses, in both curriculum and scheduling. With respect to curriculum, a traditional course follows a predetermined syllabus that can’t be altered in any meaningful way. But what about the student who fully understands the present topic, say contracts, why should she be required to spend an entire week on the subject when she’s already demonstrated sufficient expertise in the area? With a traditional course, there is no adjustment available for that student, and so she is either bored by the continued review of contracts, or she stops attending and does it alone. With a private bar exam tutor, the curriculum can be altered to the student’s needs. If contracts is easily mastered and can be completed in 2 days, then we can move on to torts and perhaps spend extra time on that subject if needed. Similarly, if a student is good at multiple choice questions but weak in writing essays, the tutoring sessions can be adjusted accordingly.
As for time scheduling, life happens despite the bar exam. Students still get sick or have accidents or have to work late or have childcare problems regardless of the impending bar exam. If you take one of the traditional bar review courses, you’re simply out of luck for that day or that week. A private bar exam tutor, however, can be flexible. I have often had to rearrange schedules to accommodate a student whose child was unexpectedly ill or because of a car accident or any number of unforeseen events that always happen. Life goes on and a good tutor understands that and will do what is necessary to accommodate their students.
You might think that a tutor much in demand can’t make such adjustments. Nonsense. During bar preparation season, I routinely work 15-hour days and I still find ways to accommodate students when I have to. For most people the bar exam is the single most important test of their lives; their lives are on hold until they pass. An experienced bar exam tutor knows this and places his students needs above all else. I know I always do.
4. HONEST DIALOGUE:
When working with a tutor for your bar prep, students are better able to communicate honestly about their study habits and any impediments to their success. The fact that a student suffers from any learning disabilities, or has problems at home, is often a very private fact that most students don’t want to share in a classroom setting. But these things affect performance and can greatly interfere with a student’s progress while studying for the bar exam.
By using a bar tutor, students can share these personal problems with the tutor and get help and advice on how best to deal with these problems. As a bar tutor I take a holistic approach to bar preparation. I understand that each of us has unique problems and I believe that the bar exam magnifies them and brings them to the fore because of the stress imposed by the need to pass. I want to know about the problems my students experience and I welcome involvement in them because I know personal support is one of the things students need to be successful on the exam.
5. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:
Some students have learning disabilities or other physical or mental health problems that make working in a group impractical. Whether the challenge you deal with is dyslexia or cerebral palsy or ADHD, you deserve the opportunity to prepare for the California bar exam in a way that suits your particular needs. In my tutoring I have worked with all of these issues and more.
The truth is that if you made it through law school, you can pass the bar exam. It may be more difficult, it may take more time, it may take a specialized, individualized program, but you can pass the bar. Your answer in many cases is private bar exam tutoring with a patient, compassionate professional bar exam tutor. Accommodations may be made to deal with things like problems with attention and concentration, fatigue, organization, or increased anxiety. The ability to discuss the unique challenges with studying due to disability or illness with your tutor can relieve stress and help you problem solve.