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BarMax vs Kaplan

Find out which prep course we think is better in this comparison of Kaplan Bar Review vs BarMax

Outside of Barbri, which boasts a large market share in the bar review industry, BarMax and Kaplan are two of the most popular options for bar prep. Both courses offer affordable, comprehensive alternatives to the biggest name in the space. But which one is better? In this comparison, we stack these two courses up side-by-side and let you know which one we think is better after factoring in cost, quality, and more. 

  • Price
  • Video Instruction
  • Live Class Hours
  • Practice Questions
  • Books
  • Mobile App
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Kaplan Bar Complete Bar Review DEAL: 10% OFF Code: PREP10BAR
    DEAL: 10% OFF Code: PREP10BAR
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    • $2,199
    • 100+ Hours
    • 160+
    • 4,000+ MBE
    • Hardcopy
  • BarMax UBE Course $100 OFF Applied in Cart
    $100 OFF Applied in Cart
    Claim Offer
    • $1,895
    • 50+ Hours Audio
    • None
    • 1,950+ MBE
    • Hardcopy & Digital

Outline: Kaplan vs BarMax

Given that this is a lengthy and detailed comparison, we’ve included helpful jump-to links above for easy navigation.

Video Review: BarMax or Kaplan?

In this video, team member John compares the bar review courses from Kaplan and BarMax, covering the pros and cons of each. Continue reading our full written comparison below for more detail.

Kaplan Bar Complete Bar Review

Kaplan Bar Review

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  • Frequent Discounts
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  • Frequent Discounts
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • More practice material and coursework than BarMax (4,000+ MBE)
  • Effective course structure for material retention (Learn-Practice-Review-Catch Up)
  • The live online class sessions add a ton of structure and value
  • Engaging instructors make for very good video lectures
  • 24/7 email assistance in case you need help
  • Unlimited essay grading (only 10 submissions with BarMax)
  • BarMax's problem explanations and model answers are slightly better
  • Very time and material intensive
Kaplan Bar Complete Bar Review

Reasons To Choose Kaplan For Bar Prep

Rather than providing a detailed review of how each course works, I want to focus on the reasons why each program might be better than the other. In other words, I will cover the advantages of using one course over the other. Let’s first discuss the major reasons to choose Kaplan to help you prepare for the bar exam.

Better For Visual Learners

The first (and clearest) advantage for Kaplan in my eyes is that it’s better for visual learners.

If you learn best with video and graphics (in other words, if you’re just a visually oriented person), Kaplan gets the edge because they have video lessons while BarMax does not.

kaplan bar video lesson
One of Kaplan’s on demand bar review video lectures

BarMax does offer some really good audio lessons that are synced to their black letter law outlines, which are presented by Harvard law school professors and very in-depth. However, at the end of the day, they’re no substitute for video lessons, and Kaplan’s videos are really good.

Kaplan’s instructors are very engaging and demonstrative, and the production quality is really good.

The instructor appears on one side of the screen and notes appear on the other half (similar to Studicata videos in a way). It’s a very effective format.

Live Classes

The second advantage for Kaplan are their live classes. If you’re the type of student that needs a set schedule of live classes to keep yourself accountable and making progress, the decision is pretty easy, as Kaplan offers live classes and BarMax doesn’t.

The Kaplan classes are very good and offer some great detail, though they do largely cover the same material from the self-paced study materials.

kaplan bar problem explanation
A typical Kaplan practice problem text explanation

If you’re looking for a self-paced course or don’t care to tune into the live class webcast everyday, it’s probably not going to make a difference. However, for those that need the structured schedule, Kaplan has a significant advantage.

Tons of Study Material

The final win for Kaplan is the volume of study material. Honestly, as I give BarMax a win for their efficient, streamlined curriculum, it’s only fair that I give Kaplan a win for their level of study material.

The bottom line is that Kaplan offers an incredibly robust prep program. They give you live classes, video lessons, prep books, drills, 4,000+ MBE problems—it’s honestly one of the most intensive bar courses I’ve reviewed.

kaplan bar practice question
We found Kaplan’s practice questions to be very high quality

I think this favors students that burn up the material. If you’re looking for total, around-the-clock immersion for 10 weeks, Kaplan will definitely give you that.

It’s a lot of material to get through in 8 to 10 weeks, but it’s honestly about the most comprehensive bar prep option available (maybe even more so than Barbri).

Actually More Affordable 

One last advantage for Kaplan here is affordability. Let me explain. At first glance, the Kaplan course actually appears more expensive than the BarMax course.

The BarMax course costs $1,900 full MSRP, while the Kaplan course costs $2,200. Thus, BarMax seems to have a $300 advantage. 

However, you’ll rarely pay full price with Kaplan, and you can usually find their course on sale for 10% or 15% off. Meanwhile, BarMax is a little stingier with their discounts and you will generally not find their course on sale. Therefore, make sure to check for coupon codes before purchasing as you might be able to find the Kaplan course for a lesser price.

👉 Read Our Full Kaplan Bar Review

BarMax UBE Course

BarMax Bar Review

  • Pass Guarantee
  • Lifetime Access
  • Pass Guarantee
  • Lifetime Access
Our Score


  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • Concise black letter law outlines keyed to audio lectures from Harvard professors
  • Detailed, well-written explanations for reviewing practice problems
  • Insanely good digital platform, synced up across desktop and mobile
  • Generally more affordable than Kaplan's course (though check discounts)
  • This course feels very modern and efficient
  • Flashcards for on-the-go studying
  • No video lessons or live classes like Kaplan
  • While outlines are very good, lacks full prep books and lesson plans
BarMax UBE Course
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Reasons To Choose BarMax For Bar Prep

Now that you know where Kaplan’s course has its advantages, let’s cover BarMax’s wins.

More Efficient Studying

The first advantage of going with BarMax is efficiency. On the whole, BarMax seems to offer fewer resources than Kaplan, and your assignments everyday are much leaner.

BarMax problem explanation
BarMax problem explanation

While your daily assignments with Kaplan (including their live classes), might take you 8 hours to finish, you can generally get the BarMax daily assignments done in about 5 to 7 hours. It’s just a much more streamlined course.

You can tell BarMax buys into the philosophy of “less is more.” Personally, I like this approach as you still have some mental horsepower left at the end of each day to do some extra problems in areas where you’re weak or hit your outlines a few times. I just liked the leanness of their curriculum.

Awesome Black Letter Law Outlines

Next, I believe BarMax offers superior black letter law outlines. Rather than using live classes and video lectures as the basis of your instruction like Kaplan, BarMax makes their outlines the foundation of their coursework.

Everything revolves around the outlines—the synced audio lectures, drills, flashcards, and practice problems. These materials are all bucketed into learning modules based on sections in your outlines.

barmax lesson
BarMax black letter law outline

I love this because as exam day gets closer, your outlines become the heart and soul of your studying. In those final few days where you’re hammering your outlines, the fact that everything distills down to them really helps you memorize the material.

Problem Solutions Are More Analytical

The third advantage for BarMax is their problem explanations. Put simply, I really like the BarMax problem explanations. All of the solutions that come with their MBE problems are awesome.

They give detailed analysis of why the correct answer choice was correct, as well as why the incorrect answer choices were incorrect.

This way, you can get a fuller understanding of where you went wrong or confirm why you were right. I just love the detail in these explanations.

BarMax practice question
BarMax practice question

Now, I do wish they offered more MBE practice problems in every learning module. There were many instances where the handful of problems they would give me to reinforce the lesson just didn’t feel like enough. However, the quality is very good.

👉 Read Our Full BarMax Review

Cost Comparison

Pricing between these two companies is a pretty simple matter. Both companies offer bar review courses for every state, and both charge the same price regardless of which jurisdiction your are in.

Kaplan’s bar review course costs right around $2,200 and BarMax’s costs a shade under $1,900. That’s it. It’s pretty simple to stack these companies up side-by-side from a cost point of view, as there is no crazy course optionality like you get with Barbri.

kaplan bar prep drills
The Kaplan interface in the context of a typical drill

Putting that in perspective, you’re looking at savings of around $300 if you go with BarMax over Kaplan. However, do recall that Kaplan is especially aggressive with their sales and discounting, so be sure to check for coupon codes before purchasing.

👉 Looking for a cheaper bar review course? Check out our reviews of Bar Prep Hero, Quimbee, and Smart Bar Prep.

Kaplan Bar Complete Bar Review

Verdict: BarMax or Kaplan For Bar Review?

That about covers all the detail, so let’s get to my verdict. Should you choose BarMax or Kaplan for your bar prep?

This is a tough call. I do think both courses have their own strengths and weaknesses, and will benefit different types of studiers; however, at the end of the day, I would go with Kaplan.

While we really like BarMax’s black letter law outlines and keyed audio lectures, Kaplan simply offers a more comprehensive and robust course. With their live classes, engaging video lessons, prep books, and ample practice work, we found it to be more effective. Plus, we also appreciate that Kaplan frequently offers discounts.

👉 Read Next: BarMax vs Barbri Comparison


Which bar review course is better, BarMax or Kaplan?

It is a very close call, and hard to judge given the major differences between these two courses, but we like Kaplan’s course over BarMax. Kaplan offers a more comprehensive and robust course with live classes, engaging video lessons, prep books, and ample practice work. We found it to be more effective.

Does BarMax or Kaplan have better outlines?

In our team’s opinion, BarMax offers slightly better outlines. Their black letter law outlines offer a concise breakdown of essential info, while Kaplan’s seem a bit too lengthy.

What’s the biggest difference between Kaplan Bar Review and BarMax?

The clearest difference between Kaplan Bar Review and BarMax is the level of study material. BarMax’s course is much leaner and more streamlined, while Kaplan takes a very comprehensive approach with a robust lesson plan and live classes.