Studying for the Texas Jurisprudence Exam

Update:

In the years since I took the JP exam, the other resources have gotten older but otherwise haven’t changed in substance or price. The landscape has changed in only one significant way: In order to fill the missing void for a concise but readable up-to-date resource, I wrote one. I’m super biased, but I think it’s overall the best, most affordable, and most palatable study option out there. A whole bunch of random people who reviewed it on Amazon agree.

You can buy the ebook here (your temporary download link will arrive via email):

My original thoughts remain below.

The Texas jurisprudence exam is an irritating last hurrah on your way to getting your license. You’ve taken USMLE Steps 1, 2CS/CK, and 3. The JP exam is not like those tests, in many ways, but particularly because this one is easy. Somewhere between three and five hours of high-yield review should be sufficient. However, don’t take this relative ease further and attempt the test cold. It’s idiosyncratic enough that you need to give the key information a solid once-over in order to pass.

The test costs $58. For this reason (and the fact that it’s extremely approachable difficulty-wise), I find it amusing that both the “recommended” resources and the major online option are so ridiculously expensive. The UTMB book is $100, the TMA Manual is $145, and the accompanying TMA Self-Study Guide is $105. The online course at texasjurisprudenceprep.com is $210. All cost substantially more than the test itself and are probably overkill for anyone who had the skill to pass the boards. You can attempt the exam up to three times if necessary for one fee.

If the residents in your program have passed around a high-yield packet of the more salient bits, studying that exclusively would almost certainly be enough. There is usually someone who has taken some serious notes over the years. As far as I can tell, the test has not changed in any meaningful way recently. By far the most affordable commercially available book is the Texas Jurisprudence Study Guide, which is quite affordable (the Kindle edition is less than $4). It’s very short: roughly 13k words, which is like 25 legitimate single space pages. The book is question and answer format (lots of white space). The form works better in theory than in practice, and the formatting in the ebook version is especially poor. The book is also awkwardly terse, has a decent number of mostly irrelevant typos, and is downright confusing in several spots. It’s essentially a long list of facts without any particular emphasis. No context, no real explanations. That said, it’s totally sufficient. And much much much more affordable. If you’re going to rely on the study guide, this online PDF from TMLT is helpful.

The other books are longer and will take more of your time. The real test is 50 questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete (you have 90 min allotted), so there’s lots of extraneous detail to be had here. They just aren’t worth it.

It seems as though the online course is actually pretty popular. It’s a “video” course in the sense that it’s an online audio-backed powerpoint lecture. The audio quality and voice acting approximate the quality of your very first Skype call. The course is also full of painfully awkward juvenile humor, which I imagine is an attempt to make this very dry subject somewhat more palatable. These cringe-inducing bits actually take up a fair bit of talk time. The course itself takes 163 minutes to finish watching. There are also 6 quizzes (#5 and #6 are considered the most relevant), at least some of which are reportedly appropriated from the back of the UTMB book, and some helpful handout downloads, which are honestly the best part. This is not an elegant resource, but it will absolutely get the job done and will do so more quickly than reading one of the full-length resources (The UTMB book is quite dry). They do now have a free practice quiz demo, which takes a few minutes and is worth doing to get a feel for the questions.

So, ask the residents at your program what they’ve been using. Borrow a copy of whatever they used. If you’re on your own, the cheap kindle book gets the job done. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter what you use, so long as you don’t waste too much money on it. In this case, more detail is not better.

As for the test itself, it doesn’t necessarily test things you’d think would matter. A large percentage of questions make sense intuitively. Most questions that require reading test facts that are emphasized in all study resources. There are a few randos, but not enough to seriously jeopardize passing. The question writing is pretty poor. There are plenty of “all of the above” questions as well as the negative “which of the following are NOT…” variety–which you’ll remember were stricken from the boards because negatively-framed question stems are a stupid way to get a proportion of people who actually know the answer to select the wrong choice inadvertently.

Anyway.

Good luck.

8 Comments

  1. Why isn’t your book on Amazon anymore?
    I bought it there about 2 weeks ago and tried to review it now after returning home from getting 100% on my exam. I used your book as well as the on-line Texas Jurisprudence Prep. The combination was perfect. Your book had everything that I needed to learn, but the on-line course was an easier (if much more expensive) way of learning it.
    Amazon wouldn’t let me review your book, since they don’t stock it anymore.
    Get back on Amazon!

    Reply

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