Bar Exam

Online tool--still in beta testing--aims for better bar study technique

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Matt Sellers

Quimbee founder and CEO Matt Sellers. Photo courtesy of Matt Sellers.

Online bar review can be more effective than in-person lectures, because data from users' study time pinpoints their strengths and weaknesses, and can help design individual study schedules based on the information, says Matt Sellers, whose law school e-learning company Quimbee is currently beta testing a Uniform Bar Examination study offering that he plans to release to the public in time for the February 2019 exam.

“Let’s say a student is assigned to read 50 pages about torts in an outline book. If that happens offline, how do you know he read all 50 pages, let alone how well he understood it? Offline activity is useless in terms of helping the bar prep provider understand how the student is doing, which makes it next to impossible to help them improve,” says Sellers, whose offering includes virtual flashcards, with an algorithm and software that implements a spaced repetition learning technique.

“For example, imagine you’re studying 10 flashcards. Maybe you understand the first four flashcards perfectly, but the fifth card you don’t understand at all. What the spacing effect tells us is that you should study that fifth card again after a certain amount of time passes,” he said when asked to explain spaced repetition.

“As a student, the spaced repetition technique is a heck of a lot easier to use if you’re using some third-party software that can automatically calculate, store, and apply the spacing intervals,” Sellers adds.

For the beta group, Sellers wanted a wide variety of bar exam-takers. They receive a stipend and free bar review and are scheduled to take the July 2018 bar exam.The platform also offers video lessons, multiple-choice questions and practice essay questions from the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Quimbee staff attorneys grade students’ practice essays and provide online feedback.

The product will cost $1,499, and include three years of access to all Quimbee study aids, Sellers says. There’s a $300 discount for American Bar Association premium members, and a $100 discount for all ABA members.

Sellers got the idea for Quimbee in 2006, during his first year at American University Washington College of Law, and the website launched in 2007. Initially most of the information was case law summaries because he couldn’t find online resources that tied in specifically with his casebook.

“What Quimbee was designed to do is give you a really great summary of a case, so when you get to class you won’t be embarrassed in front of all your peers, and you can withstand a Socratic attack from your professor,” he says.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. to add a link for more information on the discount program.

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