How To Memorize For The California Bar Exam
It is no secret that the California Bar Exam is a difficult test! One of the things that can help improve your chances of passing is memorization! In this post, we discuss how to memorize for the California bar exam!
How To Memorize For The California Bar Exam
1. Take the material in manageable chunks.
There are 14 subjects that can be tested on the California bar exam – rather than taking them all on at once, take the material in manageable chunks! Start with one outline, and then break that outline down into even smaller sections. Work on memorizing one section before moving onto the next section. Trying to memorize an entire outline at one time is not only a daunting task, but can be too much new information for your brain to handle at once!
2. Know when you have to memorize California law!
California law is always tested on the essay subjects, such as Wills and Trusts or Community Property. However, the California essays do not always test California law on the MBE subjects. Of the seven MBE subjects, California law is most often tested in Evidence. So it is important to make sure that you memorize both the federal rules and the California rules in Evidence. California law has been tested twice in Civil Procedure. So, while you should not ignore the California Civil Procedure rules, you should not spend an excessive amount of time memorizing them as they are not frequently tested. California distinctions are not highly tested on the other MBE subjects (Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Procedure, Real Property, and Torts).
3. Take breaks!
Memorization is a lot of work! It is exhausting and mentally draining. Be sure to allow yourself to take short breaks as you are memorizing. For instance, work on memorization for 45 minutes, and then take a 5-10 minute break. Get a snack, walk around the house, go outside, and get some fresh air. Then come back to the material and keep working on memorization! One specific technique is the Pomodoro Technique which sets a timer for 25 minutes on your computer and then allows a 5-minute break. After four 25-minute sessions, you’re allowed a longer break.
4. Know that memorization takes time and repetition!
It is not enough to spend a few hours memorizing a subject and then think that you are done working on that subject. You have to keep coming back to that subject over and over – repetition is the key to memorization. Not only should you review every day as you are trying to memorize a new subject, but you should take some time each week to look back at all of the subjects that you have already memorized to make sure that the information is sticking and stays fresh in your mind.
5. Move on to other methods of studying.
It is easy to get consumed with memorization and spend all of your study time on memorization. However, there are other important skills that you need to learn and practice to ensure success on the California Bar Exam. It is very important that you incorporate practice into your regular study schedule. We recommend that you spend about 50% of your study time memorizing and 50% of your study time practicing (both MBE questions and essays). Practice will allow you to work on understanding how to answer the questions, and also allows you to practice how well you have memorized!
6. Focus on the highly tested law.
While you should not ignore any subject, it is worthwhile to spend more time on the areas of law that are highly tested (and thus, more likely to appear on the bar exam!) than on the less-highly-tested areas of law. Be sure to do plenty of practice questions so that you understand how California frequently tests various subjects. It is important to make sure you know exactly how to answer questions that appear over and over because, if that same topic is tested on the bar exam, graders will expect high-quality answers as that common topic should not catch examinees off guard. Be sure to check out the frequency chart listed in tip #2!
7. Utilize assistance!
If you are struggling to memorize for the bar exam, or are looking for additional help, consider hiring a tutor! A tutor can work with you on memorization techniques, as well as point out which subjects are more important to memorize! Bar exam tutors provide a lot of valuable insight and help you focus your study and increase your chances of passing!
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