From hacking your brain to study smarter and monitoring your bodily functions to timing your pee during a movie so that you don’t miss anything: if there’s a problem to be had, there is quite literally an app to solve it, which is great because law students and grads have plenty of problems. Like too much work, not enough time, an assignment due yesterday, chronic sleep deprivation, and rickets from prolonged vitamin D deficiency.
Well, great news—say it with me now—there’s an app for that! (Except, perhaps, for the rickets: you’ll need to go outside and get some sunshine.)
To improve your toolbox, Brainscape has put together a list of top apps for law students and bar prep, not only to help you crush the mountain of content you’re required to learn in order to take on the mighty bar exam, but also to take a more holistic approach to excelling in law school and beyond.
Here we go!
(Oh, and make sure you read our seminal study guide on how to study for the bar exam more efficiently!)
The 5 best apps for law school students
We’ll start with the best apps for law school students: for those who have just embarked upon or are already neck deep in law school and its rushing tide of information and assignments. In our next section, we’ll cover the best apps for bar prep; in other words, specifically for studying for the bar exam.
Law school app # 1: Black’s Law Dictionary
It’s the most widely-used law dictionary in the United States and a trusted staple of any law student’s education: Black’s Law Dictionary. But rather than lugging around a 200 lbs tome when you’ve already got 2,000 lbs of textbooks in your bag, the app makes for a lightweight and lightning quick reference tool. It even costs less ($54.99 at the time of writing).
Within the virtual pages of the 10th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, you’ll discover more than 50,000 terms and 16,000 new definitions than previous editions. The app even packs pronunciation guidance with audio pronunciations for over 7,000 terms. You’ll be fluent in Latin before you’re through with law school!
Get Black’s Law Dictionary: App Store
Law school app # 2: Brainscape’s web & mobile flashcards
A virtually indispensable study app for law school is Brainscape, the world’s smartest study and flashcards app. With Brainscape you can make, source, and study flashcards for free, or upgrade to Pro for as little as $4.99 per month for unlimited access to vast flashcard collections made by top law students and professors. Better still, you can download Brainscape’s certified MBE flashcards or MPRE flashcards, which have been authored in accordance with the latest NCBE test plan and vetted by a panel of law experts.
What makes Brainscape one of the best apps for law students?
It’s a powerful tool that allows you to reduce enormous amounts of law content into neatly-organized collections of flashcards. Then, through a sophisticated spaced repetition algorithm, the app delivers this content back to you at precisely the right interval for YOUR brain so as to optimize its retention. This helps you learn, understand, and memorize all that information TWICE as fast as the traditional study methods you’re probably using.
By using Brainscape consistently throughout law school—anytime, anywhere, on any device, and for as little as 20 minutes per day—you can efficiently memorize the content as you progress and actually arrive at your final exams with your earliest lectures still fresh in your mind!
Get Brainscape Smart Flashcards: App Store | Google Play
Some other (totally FREE) treats in Brainscape’s toolbox include:
- Brainscape’s Law Academy: a rich and valuable resource that’ll arm you with the right study techniques and mindset to take on law school and the mighty bar exam. (Check out ‘The best MBE flashcards for law school and bar exam prep’.)
- A certified, expert-curated collection of 2,600+ adaptive MBE flashcards for the most critical background knowledge you need to memorize to smash the bar.
- Hands-free MBE prep video/podcast series, which you can listen to for free as a podcast or as a series of videos on our Law YouTube Channel.
For ALL the ways our app can help you streamline and optimize your study experience, check out 'How to study in law school using Brainscape'.
Law school app # 3: Evernote (for note-taking)
Gone are the days of carpal tunnel syndrome and notes that look like a spider fell into an inkwell and stumbled across your page! Every law student needs a sophisticated way to take, manage, and order their notes and Evernote is the perfect app to do that.
Evernote allows you to write notes, which are automatically saved (and synced) across all your devices. You can save audio recordings, videos, and PDFs, which allows you to record your lectures so that you can spend that precious time with your professor actually listening, engaging, and asking questions. Then you can make study notes afterwards without having to rush or risk missing anything.
Evernote also allows you to use your smartphone camera to scan hard copy documents (like other students’ notes, the whiteboard, or your textbooks), which saves you from carrying around a back-breaking load of books. AND, on top of all of this, the app is built for collaboration, which allows you to share notes and documents with a study group.
There are a ton of other features too, but essentially, Evernote will help you to get super organized; keep all your information in one easily searchable and manageable location; and stay on top of your documentation, which is kinda “make or break” in law school.
Get Evernote: App Store | Google Play
Law school app # 4: My Study Life
On the subject of getting organized, another really helpful app for law students is My Study Life, which takes your daily, weekly, and monthly classes, goals, assignments, and study schedule and puts it all in one easy-to-visualize, manage, and control location. In other words, if you were Tom Cruise in Minority Report, this app would be your three-dimensional virtual reality screen (that allows you to control your life with the flick of a wrist).
But, make no mistake, My Study Life is no pedestrian calendar. The app allows you to oversee and organize your classes, assignments, schedules, and exam timetable with the added option of setting reminders and rotating schedules. You can also track your progress on any tasks, swiftly plan your life, find available time slots for new tasks, and prevent double booking. Also, it’s kinda pretty to look at, which helps since you’ll be spending so much time here!
Essentially, My Study Life is your central hub; your mothership; and your hot secretary with the mad multitasking skills, without which you’d be a total mess.
Get My Study Life: App Store | Google Play
Law school app # 5: Headspace
“Oh great, the last thing I need is some woo-woo hippy app,” said the new law student who had no idea just how soul crushingly intense law school would be.
Take my word for it: get Headspace. This is a pretty necessary app for law students because it’ll help you keep your head screwed on straight when it feels like you’re being drowned beneath a monster tide of information, assignments, and reading.
Headspace packs a smorgasbord of short guided meditations to help you:
- Maintain peace and calm (not easy when you’re overwhelmed)
- Fall asleep (really not easy when you’re overwhelmed)
- Cope with stress and anxiety (it’s a matter of when, not if in law school)
- Find focus and build productivity, (you’re gonna need it)
- Release tension (you know, because not everyone has time for dating in law school.)
Don’t wait to mentally derail before you introduce a little measured peace into your life with Headspace, which has all kinds of great features and content to help you hold onto your sanity and, even better, thrive in law school.
Get Headspace: App Store | Google Play
Also, definitely check out these top (free) mental health resources for law students!
The best bar course apps
Alrighty, so you’ve made it through law school and now you’re studying for the bar exam; or perhaps you’re still in law school and on the hunt for a solid law school exam AND bar exam app you can use to nail your preparations: good for you! We have two categories of just such apps for you:
(1) Bar course apps, which are only accessible with enrollment at one of the three big-name bar prep courses (BARBRI, Kaplan, and Themis); and (2) bar course supplementary apps, which are stand-alone apps you can easily download and include in your toolbox to give you that bleeding edge on the competition! Let’s start with the first category …
Bar course app # 6: BARBRI Study Plan
BARBRI is a well-established name in the world of bar prep and for good reason! They have an impressive pass rate and a ton of content, resources, and practice questions for law grads preparing to take on the bar. Of course you have to be enrolled for one of BARBRI’s review courses in order to get your paws on the BARBRI Study Plan app, so if you have your heart set on another prep course, like Kaplan or Themis, scootch on ahead to bar prep app # 3 or 4 in this guide.
What can you do with BARBRI’s Study App? Watch or listen to lectures, access outlines, work on assignments (anytime and anywhere), and take multiple-choice practice questions. You also get a personal study plan, which takes the guesswork out of how you should be pacing yourself in order to be ready for D-day (or should I say B-Day *snort laugh*)
Get BARBRI: App Store | Google Play
Pro Tip: All of the three major bar prep courses offer flashcards but as more of an afterthought feature. It's still recommended that if you want a really EFFECTIVE, adaptive flashcard experience to fill in that time when you have a few minutes to spare throughout your months of bar prep, Brainscape is the absolute go-to choice!
Bar course app # 7: Kaplan Bar Review
For a same-same-but-different flavor of bar prep, check out Kaplan’s Bar Review app, which advertises itself as “the ultimate preparation solution for both the multi-state and individual state components of the bar exam”.
Once again, you can only get this app if you’ve enrolled in their bar prep course so, really, the app is more of a “side gig” for that course. Still, though, it’s pretty darned useful!
With Kaplan’s app for bar prep, you get a personalized study plan, lectures on demand, unlimited essay grading, an impressive bank of practice bar questions, and more outlines and printed materials than you can shake a stick at. They even have an ‘Ask-an-Attorney’ hotline, which sounds WAY saucier than it probably should.
Get Kaplan Bar Review: App Store | Google Play
Bar course app # 8: Themis Bar Review
The third major bar prep course competitor (in no particular order) is Themis, which offers a “cutting-edge curriculum backed by decades of experience in bar exam preparation” and an approach that has “revolutionized the way students prepare for the bar exam (with the pass rates to prove it).”
This app is, like BARBRI and Kaplan, a supplementary tool to Themis’ bar prep course that, again, requires you to have enrolled with them. So, if you’re broke and looking for an inexpensive bar prep app, you’re outta luck here, although they do offer free content for Law School Essentials and MPRE Review.
For those with the moolah to spare (or really, really generous parents), Themis offers students rich lecture content, your progress through which automatically syncs across your devices; and added support for flashcards, but only for some of their courses and no option to customize them… hey, I have an idea, leave the flashcards up to Brainscape!
This bar prep app also features simplified progress tracking that allows you to see which chapters you have completed, which are in progress, and which you need to do next; and customizable quizzes to continue to strengthen your skills after you’ve completed a subject.
Get Themis Bar Review: App Store | Google Play
The best bar course supplement apps
And, finally, here are those sweet, stand-alone apps you can easily download and use to complement and power your studies, whether you’re enrolled in an expensive bar prep course or attacking the task of preparing for the bar completely on your own!
Bar prep supplement app # 9: Brainscape’s Certified MBE flashcards
In addition to being an app for making and studying flashcards, Brainscape has collaborated with a panel of law experts to curate comprehensive certified collections of flashcards for MPRE Exam Review and the Multistate Bar Exam. Check them out here:
Each pre-made collection provides an in-depth review of EVERY major subject area on the MPRE and MBE respectively, making them excellent supplementary study resources for any bar prep course you might be taking. Also, with Brainscape rocking both web and mobile, you can study these flashcards anytime, anywhere, and on any device, even offline, if you download your flashcards beforehand!
From constitutional, contract, and criminal law to torts, evidence, and more, these flashcards cover the most essential and highly-tested facts on the bar exam. This saves you a ton of work on determining what’s important to know versus what’s secondary. It also saves you the enormous amount of time of making these flashcards yourself!
And by leveraging spaced repetition—and other cognitive principles like active recall and metacognition—Brainscape is a powerful bar prep app that’ll help you remember the mountain of law content you need in order to answer the more complex questions posed by the bar exam.
Your next steps? (1) Check out the nerdy science behind Brainscape, (2) get Brainscape’s certified MBE flashcards, and then (3) download Brainscape’s hands-free bar prep podcast to get quality studying done anytime, anywhere.
Bar prep supplement app # 10: BarMax Bar Exam
And now for the stand-alone bar prep app, BarMax, which is touted as the “most effective and affordable bar prep course”. BarMax is the lovechild of Harvard lawyers and top iPad developers … and who knows how to ace the bar exam better than a shiver of Harvard lawyers who’ve already been there, done that (and got the six-digit annual salary)?
For both the MPRE and MBE, BarMax serves up on-demand audio lectures by notable Harvard Law School-educated professors, black-letter law outlines, flashcards, real questions from previous exams, detailed analytics, and personalized writing revisions by former bar exam graders, which is super helpful for polishing your essay-writing skills.
BarMax says it’s free but you know how these “free” apps roll: some of their content is free but the good and important stuff is behind a paywall that’ll set you back up a couple of hundred for the question banks or a couple of thousand for the comprehensive bar prep courses.
Get BarMax Exam and MPRE Review: App Store
Bar prep supplement app # 11: AdaptiBar Multistate Bar Exam Prep
Launched in 2003, AdaptiBar Online MBE Simulator and Prep advertises itself as “the only bar prep provider to offer a combination of 100% licensed MBE questions from the NCBE and patented adaptive technology that adjusts to each individual user’s studying needs. This app focuses almost entirely on MBE question practice with the substantive performance statistics and content to help you learn from your mistakes and constantly improve.
To do this, AdaptiBar continuously assesses your performance and automatically adjusts the presentation of questions to focus on your areas of weaknesses without neglecting an area of strength. Hm, sounds just like Brainscape’s spaced repetition algorithm. Nevermind, AdaptiBar is still superlatively useful; essential even for the kind of practice you’ll need to become a bar exam assassin!
Their app packs practice question banks, online practice exams, complex performance statistics and graphs (to help you understand how you did and how to improve), MBE flashcards, and substantive video lectures.
Get AdaptiBar: App Store | Google Play
Bar prep supplement app # 12: UWorld LEGAL
The final bar prep app on our list is UWorld’s MBE QBank, which features 1,500+ questions with 1,200 written by the NCBE for prior bar exams and 300 simulated by UWorld’s team of successful attorneys and law professors. UWorld’s content is geared at helping you master the fundamental legal principles and analytical reasoning tested on the bar exam, but also at making you super comfortable with tackling bar-style questions. Hundreds of them.
With this bar prep app, you’ll:
- Gain a thorough understanding of complex legal concepts by reviewing content-rich rationales for both correct and incorrect answers;
- Increase your retention and comprehension with practical illustrations, flowcharts, timelines, and tables that simplify rules and rationales; and
- Strengthen your weakest subjects with a user-friendly interface that lets you create customized exams and unlimited practice tests.
And, of course, like all the other apps for bar students we’ve covered in this guide, you can study anytime, anywhere, on any device, and monitor your study progress as you work through the material.
Get UWorld Legal: App Store | Google Play
A final word on the best apps for bar prep
We’ve covered quite the arsenal of apps for law students and bar prep so now your challenge is to decide exactly what you need and to cherry pick the few that’ll best serve your purposes.
Once again, we’d like to emphasize that Brainscape’s certified MBE flashcards are the most powerful complement to any review course; one that’ll help you memorize the necessary law content TWICE as efficiently. This is important because the last thing you have time for when you’re trying to pass law school and the bar exam is inefficient study techniques!
Of course, many of the other bar prep apps we covered can also serve you tremendously well. Just remember to study hard, study consistently, do plenty of practice questions, and look after your physical and mental health throughout this marathon of an experience. If you do all these things—and lean on Brainscape—you can and you will rise to the challenge and pass the bar exam!