Fried Brain a la PMBR

In case I seem a little blotchy this week that’s because my brain is going through a perverse obstacle course known as the PMBR. For those late to my career/life narrative: I just graduated law school, and now I’m studying for the New York bar. After that I’m off to NYU for the Tisch School of Dramatic Writing (unless Juilliard turns out, but that’s highly unlikely). Passing the bar is important because if I don’t do that now, I certainly won’t do it later: once the law knowledge evaporates from this brain, there’s no getting it back. And a law degree is pretty useless without a license.

Anyway, the main way a law graduate studies for the bar–practically, the only way–is to take the BarBri course. BarBri is to the bar exam what Kaplan or Princeton is to the SAT. Except it’s basically a monopoly. Almost anyone who wants to pass the bar takes BarBri.

PMBR is a pre-BarBri Multistate supplement course that revs you up for the fun BarBri courses that follow (starting next Wednesday). Except, unlike BarBri (which entails a 3 hour video in the morning and self-motivated study in the afternoon), PMBR is 6 days (starting yesterday) of intense full day courses on fun topics like TORTS, CONTRACTS, and PROPERTY. The morning starts out with a brisk two-hour test which everyone fails because they haven’t studied this stuff since first year. Then, in the afternoon, a lecturer on a combination of speed and Red Bull FLIES through a semester’s worth of material in 3.5 hours. Your brain begins to feel like Courtney Love on a BAD night. (Courtney Love on a good night is bad enough). Then you drive home in a daze and attempt to come up with material for your food website. Instead, you watch your “Freaks and Geeks” DVD box set. Then you write about carbs. Please, again, forgive my brain this week.


  1. I think PMBR is such a scam. My instructor for PMBR was this crazy woman with the worst southern (Alabama) accent. She reminded me of Delta Burke on speed. PMBR is good for getting you motivated. The key to the Multistate is doing as many questions as you can each day. If you can keep up with BarBri’s suggested MBE question schedule then you’re good to go. I also found the 3 day PMBR course helpful because you take 2 timed MBE’s. (Again, the explanations in the afternoon are pretty pointless.)

    Most of my motivation to study came from my fear of failing the bar- thankfully, I passed. So will you, I am sure.

    Best of luck!

  2. Right on with the PMBR! You are on the right track with all those carbs, my friend — my secret to bar study was to “eat like a five year old.” I figured that was the time in my life I learned the most in a short amount of time (number, letters, colors, shoe-tying, etc.), so if I ate mac + cheese, hot dogs, chocolate milk, chicken nuggets, etc. my brain would revert to that sponge-like state. I passed the bar, so that must have worked! That, and about 10,000 flash cards. :-) PMBR *is* a bit of a scam, but it gets you going and puts you in the frame of mind to see the whole *bar* as a scam, which is helpful too. Just try to beat the system: tell them what they want to know, despite the fact that reasonable people could disagree, and move on. I didn’t take BarBri because I hated their strong-arm recruitment tactics from Day One of l-school — in fact, I wrote a skit for our annual talent show called “StarBri: Welcome to the Dark Side” where I played Darth Vader as a BarBri recruiter (picture a giant hilighter/lightsaber!). Anyway, my alterna-bar-review class met in the *evening,* after studying all day, yikes…but it was cheaper and totally worth it. It also helped that “Gladiator” came out that summer, I went to see it with my study group like 5 times! Best of luck — eat more carbs and blog on…

  3. I, on the other hand, used the pre-bar period to get into “fighting shape”. I lost 3 pounds a week, marking it off on the calendar as I reached my goal.

    I do remember wanting to kill the woman in front of me at the Bar/Bri class who bought a 5 lb. bag of M&Ms to class each night.

    And some great Black Forest Ham sandwiches on real rye bread with grainy mustard.

    Must all my memories be food-related.

    Pretty much.

  4. I was a bar-bri hold out. I didn’t sign up until my 3rd year in the spring. I had several friends who used alternative study courses; they all found them to be good and cheaper.

    The best thing about studying for the bar was that i got into a good routine of going to the gym everyday to blow off some steam.

    I did, however, find myself eating out almost everynight :-P

%d bloggers like this: