Thursday, May 15, 2014

Playing Your Way Through Bar Prep

With bar exam prep on the horizon many students are probably wondering what is in store for them as they prepare for the July bar. As you might remember, a few months ago, I wrote a post advocating the use of video games in legal education.  It seems that some bar prep companies also see the usefulness of gaming. 

If you enjoy educational video games, you might find it comforting to know that games will be a part of your bar prep, especially if you take a prep class from Barbri. As a student in one of Barbri’s first classes to use Barbri AMP, I had the opportunity to see game theory put into action. Barbri AMP is a platform that uses game theory in order to keep students motivated while preparing for the bar exam. Barbri’s advertising material states that “Barbri AMP applies software techniques used by video game developers to help keep [students] motivated, engaged and focused.”

Check out the Barbri Amp Interface:

Advertising Material that Shows the Interface for Barbri Amp

One of the most interesting features of Barbri AMP is the ability to mine data about how people are working through the game. Then, Barbri can analyze that data both in regards to the group as a whole but also in regards to individual students. This data-mining allows for targeted updates and adjustments to the game both for the group as a whole as well as for individual students struggling in certain areas. In AMP, questions that a player got incorrect would come up more frequently as the game moved forward so that the student would be exposed to it more often and eventually get it correct.  My classmates seemed to have mixed reviews when it came to AMP, noting that it was time consuming working through the modules.  Personally, I found it to be a very useful tool for when I was tired and needed the additional motivation of "keeping score" to push through to the end of a unit.

Barbri is not the only company using game theory to prepare students for the bar. Filament Games created Simulawyer a game aimed at helping law students to achieve their academic goals and prepare for the bar exam. By placing the player in a semi-clinical setting the game seeks to instill “[d]octrinal knowledge and comprehension, [l]egal skills application and analysis, [and i]ntegration of legal ethics and professionalism.” It was acquired by InfiLaw, a consortium of independent law schools, in August of 2012. Unfortunately, Simulawyer is not available for download or play at this time. But take a look at what a game like this might be like: 

While bar prep will undoubtedly prove challenging, you might find it helpful to try introducing a little play into your schedule.

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