Many students ask us “When Should I Start Memorizing for the Bar Exam?” You probably hear many conflicting answers to this question. We have heard people say the following:
- Start memorizing right away as you go through the outlines
- Wait until the last two weeks of bar prep when you are done listening to all of your lectures
- July 4th weekend (for July bar exam takers)
- Some other time
When Should I Start Memorizing for the Bar Exam?
We have helped hundreds of students pass the bar exam and there is one clear best answer to this question: you want to start memorizing your outlines right away! Why is this? For a few reasons:
- First, you will have hundreds and hundreds of pages of outlines to learn. If you wait until the end, you will simply not be able to learn them as well as you should. It does not make sense to put off this difficult task until the very end.
- Second, you will feel a large amount of anxiety if you put memorization off. This is for various reasons (including the one described in our next point). You do not want to add any more anxiety to the bar exam process than you already have. If you set aside time every week (or better yet, every day) to start memorizing your outlines, you will feel much more in control of the process
- Third, you will not see your scores improve if you do not start memorizing early. We cannot tell you how many students go to lecture then try out multiple-choice problems right away. They do not score high because they do not have the law memorized. It is not enough to have a “general idea” of the law. You need to know the details and nuances of the law. These students often get stressed out after seeing low scores and think that the solution is to answer more problems. Pretty soon they are answering 100 MBE questions a day but they still don’t see their score improve because they have skipped a very basic step: memorization. This endless cycle of doing practice exams and seeing no improvement leads to anxiety. stress, and unproductive studying!
How should you memorize?
The most important two things you can do are:
- Figure out your bar exam learning style so you are memorizing productively
- Set aside time every single day to either memorize or review outlines. The key to memorization is repetition. So you need to make it a regular part of your routine. While it will take time, it is the most productive way to study. And it is the #1 way to see your MBE and essay scores increase!
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