In this post, we discuss our best bar exam memorization tips. Memorizing a bar exam outline is not easy. However, it is so important to learn the law and memorize legal rules if you want to pass the bar exam. Many students overlook memorizing rules. They go right from sitting in lecture to practicing problems and skip the most critical step–memorization! Here, we give you our best bar exam memorization tips so you can make sure you are spending your study time efficiently!
Bar Exam Memorization Tips
1. Memorize an outline section by section.
To make memorizing your bar exam outline manageable, one of our best bar exam memorization tips is to divide your outline into sections. So if you are memorizing Evidence, one section may be hearsay (and you could divide it into subsections – like hearsay exceptions that require the declarant to be unavailable, exceptions where availability is immaterial, and hearsay exclusions). Another section may be impeachment. Another section may be policy exclusions, etc.
I used to memorize each section by trying to write out all of the rules and all of their elements without looking at my outline. I would keep rewriting them until I knew them all. However, you may find that a different technique works better for you. (See below.)
Keep working on one section until you know it, then move on to the next one. Note: This is time consuming and your brain will be actively engaged. So you will need to take frequent breaks when you do this!
2. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Once you learn an outline, review it! Set up a “retention schedule.” So if you reviewed Evidence on Monday and Tuesday of Week 1 and learned it, we recommend looking at it again at least once or twice that week and then reviewing it at least once every week (to week and a half) thereafter. You will have it down by the time you take the bar exam!
3. Figure out what your bar exam learning style.
Many law students are visual learners but some are auditory and some are kinesthetic. Read about bar exam learning styles here. Knowing how you learn best can tell you which techniques you should use most.
- For example, if you are a visual learner, you may learn best from charts, diagrams, pictures, and lists. You may also find it helpful to rewrite outlines until you know them. You might find sources that visually organize the material, e.g. our MBE one-sheets, very helpful. Group learning and lecture will not be as helpful for you.
- If you are auditory, listening to lectures and attending study groups will be helpful for you. So will reading outlines aloud and explaining concepts to yourself or others. Rhymes and mnemonics will be especially memorable for you.
- If you are kinesthetic, you learn best by doing. You may find it helpful to trace diagrams, flow charts, or pictures. You may even find it helpful to act out certain concepts or move around (e.g. pace) as you learn.
If you are unsure about what type of learner you are, take our bar exam learning style quiz here.
4. Mix up how you memorize your bar exam outlines.
While you may lean toward a more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning style, we recommend you mix up how you memorize your bar exam outlines. After a while, you may find yourself bored if you do the same thing over and over again. So even if you are a visual learner, try studying with a friend occasionally or use a different technique to keep things interesting.
5. Learn the theory behind the law.
Rote memorization can be difficult. However, it is often much easier to memorize something if you understand it. Rather than trying to memorize, say, the intricacies of teh dormant commerce clause without understanding it, figure out why it exists. Google it. Review some practice essays on it. This will make it much easier to remember the concept in the long run.
6. Focus on the highly tested areas of law.
There is no reason to memorize everything equally. You will not be able to memorize every page of every outline. Start by focusing on the highly tested areas of law. This way, you will put your energy to the best use!
Read about the highly tested areas of law here:
- Multistate bar exam (MBE) – highly tested topics
- Multistate essay exam (MEE) – highly tested topics – we highly recommend our MEE one-sheets if you have some money to spare!
- Michigan bar exam – highly tested topics (we highly recommend our one-sheets in this How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book)
7. Quizzing is a great way to actively review.
One of the best bar exam memorization tips we have is to quiz yourself! There are a few ways you can do this:
- Cover up your outline and see if you can remember the law.
- Complete practice problems and focus on whether you can recite rules.
- Meet with a friend and quiz each other.
- Try a bar exam memorization quiz free of charge here :)
Good luck studying for the bar exam! If you have any questions about our bar exam memorization tips, please post below or contact us!
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