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Studicata Bar Prep Review
After using Studicata, we share our thoughts on this bar review course and their attack outlines
There is no doubt that bar review has changed over the last few years. Babri used to be the only game in town, but now there are dozens of new age bar prep companies with cool approaches to bar review and differentiated tools. And one of the most talked about companies is Studicata. Known up until now for their attack outlines, Studicata has now gone for it with their comprehensive bar review course. In this guide, we break down this new course’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide our thoughts on whether Studicata is worth it.
As this is a long, detailed review, use the jump-to links above to skip ahead to the section you’d like to read about.
Video Review: Studicata Bar Prep
In the above video, John (who passed the CA bar on his first attempt) breaks down everything you need to know about the Studicata prep course. Continue reading for more info.
Studicata Bar Review: How It Works
Studicata is a little different than most other bar review courses I’ve taken and reviewed. For one, they place a huge emphasis on active review over passive review. And for two, it’s a very lean, streamlined course. Here’s how it works.
Everyday when you log in, you’re provided with a daily schedule. You go to that day’s activities (which are integrated directly into the study calendar and portal), and see what you have to do.
Most days start with a quick warm-up that takes about 45 minutes. These warm-ups consist almost exclusively of reviewing your attack outlines. Each day covers a different subtopic tested on the bar exam (whether MBE or MEE/MPT), and the warm-up will direct you to review the attack outline for that subtopic (e.g. “Review Business Associations (Agency and Partnership) in the Attack Outline for 45-60 minutes.”).
That portion of the daily assignment is pretty straightforward. From there, you will generally complete 2 to 4 assessments. Assessments are effectively just quizzes, which you work directly in the program from your schedule dashboard. You hop on, do the quiz, and then review the answer explanations afterwards.
How many problems will be given an assessment ranges fairly widely. Sometimes it’s just 5 questions, other times it’s 25. It totally depends. Then, as noted, you spend a good chunk of time reviewing your answers.
For every problem you work, Studicata expects you to spend about 5x that amount of time reviewing the problem. It’s a fair enough request, though I usually spent a little less than 5x the amount of time.
Beyond the assessments, however, Studicata will periodically drop in more prominent “subject exams.” Sometimes, rather than 3 assessments for that day, they’ll have you work a 100-question MBE set of mixed problems. This is intended to act as a mini-exam, and you do the problems under true exam-like conditions.
Obviously, however, at 5x the amount of time to review as you take to work problems, you could never do a 100-question review session in one day. So Studicata will break the review portion up into several sections, and they have you review your subject exam over the following days – usually 33 questions at a time.
And that’s generally it for the primary “active” review portion of each day. You warm up, you work assessments or subject exams, then review your answers in detail. This usually takes 4-5 hours.
After that, Studicata usually opens it up to you to self-direct your own “passive” review. This entails watching video lectures, studying your outlines, and working flashcards. A typical directive in your daily assignments following the active review assessments looks something like this:
“After you complete today’s assigned practice assessments & answer explanations, use the rest of your time today however you see fit! Feel free to watch lectures, go over outlines, drill flashcards, etc. The key is to spend your time based on your own individualized needs.”
Basically, they direct you to spot your weaknesses and hit outlines, flashcards and videos as needed to shore up your weak spots.
The video lectures are available from your dashboard (under a different tab), and the outlines and flashcards are available in PDF. In fact, outside of the assessments and video lessons, most materials are available in hefty PDF form – not directly viewable within the portal. This includes your Frequency Guide, Attack Outlines, Essay Templates, QuickSheets and Flashcards.
The Frequency Guide is more or less what it sounds like and breaks down how often bar topics have appeared on recent exams. The Attack Outlines are your more detailed, substantive, black letter law outlines. In total, there are about 200 pages worth of Attack Outline material across the various subjects.
The Essay Templates are suggestive outlines on how to set up essays in the MEE portion of the exam, and cover what to discuss. The QuickSheets are highly condensed outlines in the most distilled down form. You will use these in the final days leading up to the exam. And lastly, the Flashcards are just what they sound like. They contain a term on the front and a detailed definition on the back, giving you a chance to drill yourself.
And that’s about it for the Studicata course in a nutshell. There are some other features, like progress trackers, community forums, and a mobile app, but that is by and large the main coursework.
Pricing & Course Options
Studicata has a pretty simple set of bar exam prep offerings compared to Barbri and others. They have a free course and a paid course. The classic freemium model.
The free course, as you can probably imagine, contains limited content. It would make a nice supplement to another paid bar review course, but is not workable as a standalone study product.
The paid, full course costs around $1,995. This is about $500 to $1,000 cheaper than most other big name courses from Barbri and Themis. So in terms of value, Studicata as a comprehensive bar course is a pretty good deal.
What We Like About Studicata
Knowing how the Studicata course works, let’s next turn to what I actually liked about this course and what I wasn’t crazy about. Let’s start with the good news.
Awesome Attack Outlines & QuickSheets
The clearest highlight of the Studicata package in my eyes are the Attack Outlines and QuickSheets. They are simply awesome.
I love highly distilled, streamlined bar review content, and these outlines were money. They are the perfect balance of detail and brevity in my opinion.
They cut out all the treatise-like fluff you typically get in law school, and zero in on just the high-yield stuff you need to know for the bar.
The Attack Outlines are more detailed (each subject is covered in about 10-20 pages), while the QuickSheets are much more condensed (each subject is covered in about 4-5 pages).
Together, these outlines are extremely powerful for learning and memorizing your black letter law, especially in the final week or so before the exam.
Very Good Video Lectures
I had never seen any Studicata videos before taking and reviewing this course, but they are very good. They don’t have nearly the production value that others do (see Kaplan for that), but the content is on point.
The founder and lead instructor Michael appears on screen in front of a whiteboard and delivers lessons in about 45- to 60-minute chunks. He draws up notes on the whiteboard, shares examples, and walks you through essential info.
In a way, the videos feel like a different, visual format of the outlines. They are concise, smartly delivered, and very engaging. Michael is easy to listen to and follow along with. He doesn’t necessarily dumb things down, but these videos definitely feel more digestible than Barbri’s in my opinion.
I especially liked the Bar Blitz videos, where he covers an entire topic (such as Agency) in under 60 minutes. The Blitz videos give you everything you need to know for a singular bar topic in under an hour.
Overall, I was super impressed with the Studicata videos.
Streamlined Content & Structure
My final highlight of this course is the streamlined structure. Over the years, mega companies like Barbri have continued to add and add to the course. There never seems to be any subtraction in terms of material, just addition.
This makes these courses super content heavy, and fairly convoluted in my opinion. They don’t give any credence to the old “less is more” adage. And because of this, they feel somewhat outdated.
Studicata believes that the bar exam is all about optimizing your studies. And I very much agree. You don’t need to score 90% on the bar exam, or crush every topic. You just need to accumulate a certain number of points. That’s it.
Get a certain score and you pass. There are no ribbons for finishing in any certain percentile. As such, you really need to focus your limited time and effort where you’re going to get the most proverbial bang for your buck.
So I like that Studicata doesn’t waste your time with rarely tested topics or mass amounts of detail. They focus your efforts on highly-tested topics, with extra emphasis on learning how to get questions right.
The course overall does feel lean. There is no doubt about that. At its core, it consists of video lessons, outlines and practice problems. However, you really don’t need much more than that.
I personally prefer leaner, smarter courses like this, and appreciate their focused efforts.
What We Don’t Like About Studicata
While there were a number of things I liked about Studicata, there were also a couple things I wasn’t so crazy about. Let me break those down for you below.
No Prep Books or Printed Materials
For one, I like prep books and printed outlines. I like laying in bed, flipping through outlines, and pacing the house as I read them. I struggle to sit still in a desk chair all day.
But because the Studicata materials are 100% online, it makes this difficult. Sure there is the mobile app, but I don’t like pacing back and forth looking at my phone – it’s small and bugs me. And I could print all the PDFs, I suppose, but that’s a few hundred pages. I’d have to go to Staples or a print shop to do that.
Personally, I would like to see Studicata print their materials in color, bind them and send them to students. Maybe I’m old school, but I think this would be a big value add.
Slightly Disjointed Feel
One other issue I noted is that the program overall has a bit of a disjointed feel. The daily assessments are integrated into the schedule in the online portal, but otherwise, things are a little scattered. You have to go to a different section of the portal to access videos (they are not integrated into the main coursework), and obviously the PDF outlines and flashcards are standalone.
Together, this just gives the course overall a slightly disjointed feel. I mean, it’s still easy to follow and know where you need to go to access materials, but I would like to see some more seamless integration here.
Working everything – outlines, videos and assessments – directly into the daily schedule would be an awesome improvement. In a perfect world, only the printed materials (which I want from above) would be separate from the other study materials.
Verdict: Studicata Bar Review & Attack Outlines
I think there is a lot to like with the full Studicata bar review course. The videos, while maybe lacking a little in production value, are awesome in my opinion, with a streamlined and digestible delivery. Michael is very engaging as an instructor. I also really like the Attack Outlines and QuickSheets – they are money for distilling down everything you need to know for the bar into a digestible, readable format. And overall, I like the more streamlined, lean structure of this course. It is focused, engaging and easy to follow.
I wasn’t crazy about there being no printed materials, and the program did have a slightly disorganized feel, but by and large, I was pretty impressed. I think for those looking for a more cost effective, efficient bar course to tackle the UBE, Studicata is a solid option.
Is Studicata worth it?
After taking the Studicata bar course, I do think it’s worth it. The video lessons, outlines and detailed answer explanations are great, and make it worth the money in my opinion.
Should I get Studicata and Barbri?
It depends. The free Studicata materials (or the paid outlines only) would be a nice supplement to the Barbri course, though if you’re taking the UBE, I’d almost save the money and go with the full-scale Studicata bar course.
SmartBarPrep vs Studicata, which is better?
The Studicata and SmartBarPrep outlines are very similar in terms of style, length and delivery. It is pretty hard to choose between the two, though if I were forced to make a decision, I do think Studicata’s materials are slightly better.