flashcards for the bar examShould I Make Flashcards for the Bar Exam?

Some of you may be wondering if you should incorporate flashcards in your bar exam preparation. While some students love flashcards as a tool for “active learning”, others find them cumbersome and ineffective. If you are debating whether or not you should utilize flashcards for the bar exam, look no further! Listed below are 4 points that we hope you find helpful while making this decision.

Should I Make Flashcards for the Bar Exam?

1. Make sure you’re not just memorizing the material.

Flashcards for the bar exam are useful for memorization because they utilize repetition. This, however, may not be the best thing for every aspect of bar exam preparation. To effectively prepare for the bar exam, you not only have  to know the law, but also understand the material. By memorizing the law, there is no guarantee that you fully comprehend it. Many of the questions require you to analyze and assess fact patterns. Some describe memorizing as a way of knowing without learning; it is crucial to have an understanding of the law in order to spot issues on the exam.

2. Narrow your focus.  

Many students write every single detail on their flashcards. Fight that urge! Narrow your focus to the details that you find difficult to remember. For instance, if you have a hard time memorizing the different types of easements or different elements of crimes, then flashcards might be helpful for this specific purpose. Whatever specific issues you are struggling with are what need to be on your flashcards. Don’t put EVERYTHING on them.

 3. Understand that they take quite a bit of time.

 When I (Lauren) first began studying for the bar exam, I thought flashcards were a good idea. I ended up spending a good chunk of time writing out about 100 flashcards on just Property alone (it was the first subject I studied). I even highlighted key terms, thinking it would be effective. After making these cards, I never once looked at them again. Personally, creating flashcards took too much time away from my bar prep.  If I never used them to study, what was the point?

Further, some people make flashcards while they are sitting in front of the TV. This gives them the illusion that they are studying, but really they are not focusing on what they are doing.  If you decide to make flashcards for bar prep, make it an “active learning” exercise where you truly focus on what you are doing.

 4. They may not be the most effective learning tool!

Everyone has their own preference of how to study and learn. For me, Having several legal pads handy during my prep proved to be extremely effective. I kept a legal pad alongside my outline every time I reviewed the material, taking notes as I went through. This was, for me, a much more effective method of memorization and comprehension. I would also take note of questions that sprung up while studying.

It is crucial to utilize your time efficiently. If you never used flashcards in law school, then I would  not recommend them during bar prep. However, if you frequently (and effectively) made use of flashcards–go for it!  There are several companies that offer bar examination flashcards, if you don’t care to make them yourself.

I hope you find that these 4 tips helpful in determining if and when to incorporate flashcards. It is vital that you have an understanding on what areas require memorization and what others require comprehension. By understanding this distinction, you will able to effectively utilize the correct tools for these areas.

Our next post features our personal recommendations on tools you can utilize in order to maximize your studying potential! Stay tuned!

 This post was written by Lauren, a JD Advising essay grader and associate!