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Preparing for the bar exam can add thousands to the cost of a law school education. Yet students often overlook these costs when planning for law school. A bar exam loan can help by providing financial support while students prepare for this necessary next step in their legal careers.

Why a Bar Exam Loan

Law school graduates must pass the bar exam in order to practice law. During the final year of law school some bar registration and review course costs may be covered by financial aid. However, many students begin preparing for the bar exam immediately after they graduate when they are no longer eligible for financial aid.

Studying for the bar exam can be all-encompassing. According to Emerson's Bar Review, it takes approximately 400 to 600 hours of studying to pass the bar exam. While some students are comfortable using test prep books on their own, many opt to take advantage of long-term, one-on-one tutoring or private courses, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $6,400 according to the legal website Above the Law.

What a Bar Exam Loan Pays For

A bar exam loan can help cover exam prep expenses including study materials, bar review courses, registration costs and fees for the test itself. This type of loan can also help cover rent, food and other necessities while students focus their time and energy on studying.

Applying for a Bar Exam Loan

Students can apply for a bar exam loan during their final semester or within a few months after graduating from an ABA-accredited law school. Bar exam loans are private student loans and are credit based, Students with better credit will likely receive a better interest rate. If the student has no credit history or a low credit score, applying with a creditworthy cosigner may improve the likelihood for loan approval and getting a lower interest rate.

Although lenders will likely require the law school to verify the borrower's enrollment status and graduation date, bar exam loan proceeds are not sent directly to the school. Funds are sent directly to the borrower by check or direct deposit to their bank account, so that they can be used as needed.

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