Following up on our post yesterday where we looked at the USPTO passing rates for the Patent Bar Exam and historical landscape, we had a reader ask us about providing a comparison chart of ALL of the review/course providers.  While we are still in the midst of building that out, we wanted to at least provide the data we’ve accumulated thus far.  As you can see from first glance, it’s pretty telling:

 

Wysebridge
PRG
PLI
PatBar
OmniPrep
PES
PassPatentBar
Pass Rate
79% (2016)
83% (2015)
84% (2014)
84% (2013)
—(2016)
—(2015)
—(2014)
89%(2013)
—(2016)
—(2015)
—(2014)
—(2013)
—(2016)
—(2015)
—(2014)
—(2013)
98% (2016)
98% (2015)
98% (2014)
98% (2013)
—(2016)
—(2015)
—(2014)
—(2013)
—(2016)
—(2015)
80%(2014)
—(2013)
Price
$645 | $99/mo
$2789
$2895
$695
$495
$597 | $220/mo
$395

 

There are (that we could easily find) about 7 options when it comes to a provider of reviews/resources/prep materials for the USPTO Patent Bar Exam.  Of these 7, 5 (PRG, PLI, PES, PatBar, PassPatentBar) do not provide their passing rates for the past 4* years (*we were able to find a reference to an 89% passing rate in 2013 for PRG and an 80% passing rate for PassPatentBar in 2014).  Of the remaining two providers, only one (Wysebridge) provides a passing rate (and first-time test taking pass rate) for the last 4 years, and the average passing rate for those 4 years is around 82%.

There was one other provider (Omniprep) that listed an aggregate passing rate of 98% on its site:

“Our current pass rate is 98.1%, which includes all students who have signed up for our online course from its inception in 2004 through January 2015. We also typically teach between 20% to 30% of all those who take the patent bar examination.” 

If we take those numbers (that 20-30% of all those who take the patent bar exam are taught by Omniprep)…extending that to this year’s exam takers which numbers 2424, according to the USPTO, that means 484 to 727 test takers used omni, and if 98% of their users pass…then 98% of their 484 to 727 (this past year) passed the exam (or 474 to 712 passed using omni). Now, the USPTO passing rate for 2016 was 47.7%.  So, if 47.7% of the 2424 test takers passed, that means 1156 individuals passed.  Cycling back to those who used omni, if we take those numbers and subtract them from the USPTO numbers (1156 total individuals passed in 2016 and 484-727 using omni), then we are left with 444 to 682 individuals who passed the exam using other resources.  Both PLI and PRG have been industry elephants for a while, and are known to hold the lions share of the test taking community.  Given the high cost ($1000’s of dollars) of these programs and nature of individuals taking the exam, if you forget the other programs and equally divide the 444 or 682 in half between these two programs…that means that at best case those two programs are hovering around a 50% passing rate.  That seems low…especially if law firms and lawyers are footing the bill for those programs.  With that low of passing rates, I would highly suspect their programs would be as successful.

Reading further on omni…their pass rate says:

Our pass rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who did not request a refund or ask to repeat the course by the total number of students who have used our course to prepare for the patent bar exam. 

Pass Rate = (Total Students – Refund/Repeat Students)
Total Students

With that in mind, it appears that number doesn’t describe if those students passed or not.  Instead (if we read it correctly), it describes a percentage number which is obtained by taking their total number of enrollees and subtracting the number of those who requested a refund or request to repeat the program (which in theory indicates a “non-pass”), and dividing that by the total number of students.  So, to put it another way, it appears we’re left with only one course (Wysebridge) that shares it’s passing rate year after year.

How to Pick a Patent Bar Review Course

While there are many factors that go into selecting a prep course, some things to consider:

  1. Passing Rate (what this post is about)
    1. Meaning, do you know the passing rate for that course?  After all, for many of you it’s your hard earned dollars you are exchanging for assistance in passing.  Knowing that the course will actually be beneficial is a good thing.
  2. Cost
    1. This is also a big factor.  Often big firms or companies aren’t as strict and so cost may not matter when purchasing one of those big cost courses.  That said, even with that, are you getting your moneys worth?  Cost doesn’t equal efficiency.
  3. Customer Service
    1. Having a team to support you through the process is super helpful, and receiving positive feedback and affirmation throughout the learning experience has been demonstrated to have beneficial impacts on one’s testing results.  This is one of the many areas where Wysebridge excels.  From guiding users through “panic attacks” or frustrations over studying to providing expert explanations of questions, the team is there (either by email or live chat) to answer questions.
  4. Focus
    1. Many courses provide a plethora of materials that could be considered ancillary, and not useful or essential to taking and passing the patent bar exam.  While these materials may be useful at some point, the current need of taking and passing the patent bar is what matters most.  Let the other elements go, and make sure that you have a focused program that helps you pass and trains you for the exam.

At the end of the day, it’s a balance of skill and knowledge that will help you pass.  Lean to heavily on trying to memorize rules and facts without learning about the nuances of the exam, how to best attack the exam, prepare, etc…and you’ll be entering the test day at a disadvantage.  With the right course that fits your needs, you can pass…and you will pass!

 

 

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