Wikipedia for Bar Exam Study?

While I was checking my Twitter account the other day, I saw a tweet stating that the tweeter had been using Wikipedia to help her understand the outlines provided by BarBri.

This person was justifiably upset that she had spent $3,000 but had to resort to using a free resource to understand concepts that should have been explained in the paid materials.

This got me thinking.

Could you study for and pass the bar using just free resources?


The first thing to do would be to acquire outlines for your jurisdiction. Use any search engine and try searching Docstoc and Scribed
(If you are taking the bar in California or Oregon, you can get my old Oregon bar exam outlines and California bar exam outlines for free.)
Then, you would read through the outlines you get, and use Wikipedia to look up concepts you did not understand in the outlines.

I think this might actually work.  For example, here is the Wikipedia entry for Torts.  It provides a good survey, and even gets into the elements of negligence.

But, it pays short shrift to the intentional torts.  So, look up each one individually.  For instance, here is IIED and battery (with complete explanations of the elements).

What about Constitutional law?  Here is a wiki providing a pretty good explanation of strict scrutiny.  At the end of the wiki, are links to entries about all the other levels of scrutiny (i.e., intermediate scrutiny and rational basis).

Free outlines and Wikipedia, combined with extensive practice of MBE questions, essay questions, and performance tests seems like a possible way to pass the bar exam and save a lot of money.
(Here is where you might need to spend a little money, getting books that have practice MBE questions or signing up for an online service like Adaptibar.  [Click here for $50 off Adaptibar's regular price!]  If you live in a jurisdiction that does not provide sample essay and PT questions on line, you'll need to find a way to get copies of those, such as buy a used Barbri book or order copies from your state's bar association.)


I obviously have not looked into every topic tested on the bar exam, but it certainly appears that the major topics tested on the MBE have sufficient coverage in Wikipedia to enable successful self-study.

Where this free-system could break down is the state-specific areas of testing.

For example, the California bar exam tests community property.  The wiki for community property is good, but maybe a bit too generic.  On the other hand, there are entries for Van Camp and Pereira accounting, so if you searched around, you might be able to get all the information you need.

If anyone tries this, leave a comment and let us all know how it goes.


Anonymous said...

BarBri sucks!

Bar Advisor said...

Well, I agree that BarBri is not perfect, but I used it both times I passed the bar. But, I did modify and supplement the BarBri course.

I think BarBri gives you all the info you need to pass the bar, the question is whether BarBri presents that information in a way that is helpful for YOU to pass the bar.

Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying, but... BarBri sucks!

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