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Is COVID-19 Forcing Bar Prep Companies to Change?

Bar exam prep companies have been rushing to adapt their course models and programs in accordance with the changes in the Bar exam patterns.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced states and jurisdictions to reassess how they are going to conduct Bar exams. As one of the most competitive tests in the country, the structure was mostly dependent on in-person tests. However, concern for safety has led to states revisiting the exam’s imminent need in the immediate future.

A few states have already put in place an emergency diploma privilege that will allow law school graduates to practice law without passing the Bar exam. In the meanwhile, other states have been struggling to set a date or give more details on how to provide a successful and safe means to conduct online bar exams.

The uncertainty surrounding the exam dates and exam patterns have left both students and test-prep platforms unsure about what learning model to follow. The impact has compelled test-prep companies to adjust their programs as well as prices.

Moving Online

A majority of test-prep platforms also had to stop their in-person classes altogether. Before the pandemic, Bar prep often consisted of a combination of in-person and online courses that balanced the lifestyle of students and teachers. However, now, the institutions have had to move completely, prioritizing the safety of students and their employees.

On the brighter side, moving online has allowed the bar prep providers to make changes to their programs more quickly. They now provide several course dates that students can choose from since the test dates have been delayed to September.

Changing Test Patterns

The online Bar exam is first of its kind, and test prep providers are blind to what to expect. However, they are responsible for preparing users for different eventualities. For instance, test-takers will not be able to use a pencil and scratch paper for the essay part. As such, leading platforms such as Test Max are focusing on providing contingencies on when applicants can use the electronic version of scratch paper, and how to.

Simultaneously, test questions are also likely to change, like in Indiana, where they have introduced a short answer section to the exam. This will require test-takers to write a few paragraphs of answers to a complex, hypothetical legal issue.

The Future of Bar-Prep

Many test-prep anticipate that the transition to online classes is not a temporary move. The trend is likely to stay, making a permanent shift to online lessons. It will mostly depend on how different platforms are managing the current scenario and how well they are able to provide classes through only online interaction.

Though the COVID-19 threat might fade over time, online classes certainly offer more flexibility for law graduates who are doing their training or internship before the Bar exams.

Despite the drastic changes, test-prep companies are not expecting a substantial decrease in their revenue. As most graduates are cooped up at home with extra time in their hands, they have been devoting their time to prepare for the exam. In addition, some test-prep companies have taken it upon themselves to provide online teacher training programs that are bringing in additional revenue. As of now, the future is not so dim for Bar-prep companies.