Best Bar Exam Memorization Techniques
The bar exam tests a wide variety of topics, both in the MBE (multiple choice questions) and through the essay questions. Students often find the bar exam challenging due to the sheer volume of information that is consumed during prep. In this post, we will discuss some of the best bar memorization techniques and how to implement them into your bar prep studying to help you organize and digest all the information on the exam!
Best Bar Exam Memorization Techniques
Make a plan.
The first bar exam memorization technique is to plan your studying out, whether you’re using a commercial bar prep program or not. Breaking down the potentially daunting tasks of “memorize all the law” into bite-size pieces is important. Without a detailed study plan, many students end up feeling overwhelmed.
Before creating your study plan, we suggest you take a look at the bar exam topics tested. Make a bar study plan that includes knowing what topic needs to be memorized or reviewed by what date.
During the first four weeks of bar prep, most students focus solely on learning and memorizing the law. This is best done by focusing on one subject at a time. Memorizing one outline at a time is much more efficient than trying to master multiple subjects at a time. When making your study plan, try to memorize the outline section by section. Account for study breaks because these breaks will help you to recall information and is a useful part of the study process. A few days later, calendar in your study plan to test your recall days later. Memorizing outlines requires more than just reading the outline. It also requires active measures to test your ability to recall that information.
Find methods that work with your learning style.
One of the best bar exam memorization techniques is to first understand and identify your learning style. Knowing your learning style will help you to choose a studying and memorization approach that meshes well with how you naturally learn. Are you an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner? Many students find that they are some combination of the three categories of learning styles, which means that a combination of approaches might be necessary to help them absorb the information.
The key here is to recognize what type of memorization technique works for you and to go with it. Fighting your natural learning style just adds an additional layer of difficulty to bar exam memorization. Don’t create a plan that fights your natural way of learning best. Instead, be sure to identify it and lean into it.
Auditory learners tend to learn best by hearing information and repeating it. Many auditory learners benefit from recording themselves, reading an outline out loud, and then listening to that recording. Visual learners learn by looking at images and words. For bar prep, this means making notecards with visual signals on them or drawing charts in order to organize information. Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing something with the information with which they are working. For example, this can take the form of finding someone to whom you can explain some bar prep subjects or developing your own hypos, which you associate with certain legal rules.
Study smarter, not harder.
As cliché as it sounds, the “study smarter, not harder” suggestion is another great bar exam memorization technique! Because memorization is key to knowing the law both for MBE questions and essays, it makes sense to focus on the most heavily tested topics. JD Advising has an MBE frequency chart and an MEE frequency chart that are useful for deciding what to focus on and how heavily to focus on that subject. If pre-trial procedures, a subtopic of Civil Procedure, tend to be highly tested on the MBE, it makes sense to tailor your memorization efforts to ensure that you are comfortable with that area of law. The same approach is relevant for highly tested MEE subtopics.
You only have so much time to memorize, why not let statistics guide where you spend your time? No subject should be completely ignored, but some are inevitably less significant than others. Additionally, many students find having this statistical data, coupled with the knowledge that they can tailor their bar exam memorization to that data, very comforting, which can help to battle some of the nerves that come with the bar exam.
Divide up the outlines.
Dividing the outline into subtopics is one of the best bar exam memorization techniques to help you learn the material. It makes everything more manageable and organized. Have you ever noticed how when memorizing a phone number, you group the 10 digits into groups of numbers? For example, 5558355262 is a lot to remember on its own. However, dividing it into sections is incredibly helpful. By breaking the list of numbers into three sections, “555,” “835, and “5262,” it is much more digestible and easier to memorize. We recommend taking this same approach with your bar prep outlines!
For example, the MBE frequency chart identifies “hearsay and circumstances of its admissibility” as one of the most frequently tested subparts of MBE questions about Evidence. Dividing up Evidence can mean focusing on this particular subtopic of Evidence and treating it like a small individual subject. Once you feel comfortable with that information, you can move on to the next section, “presentation of evidence,” and so on. It’s a very simple bar exam memorization technique that plays off of our natural tendency to absorb information more efficiently when information is presented with other related information.
These are some of the best bar exam memorization techniques. Take a look around the JD Advising website, as we offer many helpful resources to help you pass the bar exam.
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