The Best Universal Bar Exam Memorization Techniques
Memorization is crucial when it comes to bar exam preparation. This is often the missing link in many bar prep plans. Even if you think you’re “bad” at memorizing information, don’t panic! We believe everyone can effectively memorize material. In this post, we discuss the best universal bar exam memorization techniques that everyone should follow!
The Best Universal Bar Exam Memorization Techniques
1. Memorize your Outline Section by Section
Begin by selecting one outline for each subject. Do not spend time cross-referencing outlines for the best information. Once your best outline is chosen, you are ready to create a strategy.
Sectioning off an outline makes memorization far more manageable. This will leave you less mentally overwhelmed and more willing to approach the task at hand. If, for example, you are memorizing Evidence, one section may be hearsay (which you can further divide into subsections – such as hearsay exceptions that require the declarant to be unavailable, exceptions where availability is immaterial, and hearsay exclusions). Continue this for other sections such as impeachment, policy exclusion, etc.
Remember to work on a section until it is fully memorized before moving on to the next. Lastly, bar exam memorization is a time-consuming task that will keep your brain fully engaged, so be sure to take breaks!
2. Focus Up!
Always begin bar exam memorization at your optimal time of day. If you are a morning person, get up and get right into your memorization tasks. If you are an evening person, be sure to finish all other study assignments or personal errands early in the day to give yourself the evening for memorization. Additionally, whether it is morning or night, eliminate all distractions from your study space. Close your laptop, hide your phone, turn off your tv, and cancel out any distracting noises. Memorization is incredibly demanding and requires your full attention!
We recommend looking into the Pomodoro Technique, which helps users structure in study breaks so they can better focus their study time.
3. Remember, Review, Retain
After memorizing your outline by section, review it! Retention is vital and can only be achieved by consistent review. You will want to set up a “Retention Schedule” to keep your memorization intact for test day. For example, after reviewing and thoroughly learning Evidence on Monday and Tuesday of Week 1, continue to review the material again once or twice that week. Afterward, resume reviewing the same Evidence outline at least once a week until the bar exam. This will undoubtedly take you into test day with long-term bar exam memorization.
4. Test for Retention
Don’t just tell yourself you have fully memorized a section of your outline, prove it! We tend to persuade ourselves we have completed a task just so we can move on. Luckily, there are easy tools for you to demonstrate your bar exam memorization. Once you believe you have reached the point of full memorization, put your outline away, grab some blank paper, and write out your memorized section. Once you have completed this, go back and check what you may have missed. If your written section doesn’t match up to your outline, you haven’t finished memorizing. Moreover, writing your outline sections will further commit the subject material to memory!
5. Don’t Forget the Theory of Law
Yes, you should most definitely memorize black letter law. However, your overall bar exam memorization will be far more effective if you fully understand the law. Figure out why a rule exists, what it seeks to accomplish, and how it is applied. This will help guide your memorization and trigger the information in the exam. Utilize resources such as Google or practice essays to fully understand each concept.
6. Focus on Highly Tested Areas of Law
You should aim to memorize your entire bar exam outline. However, you must strategize around your limitations. Time and mental restrictions do exist. For this reason, you must study smart. Start by focusing on the highly tested portions of the law. Check out our UBE Frequency Chart, our Michigan Essay Frequency Chart, and our California Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart to strategize what is likely to be tested and help you determine how to prioritize your time!
These are the portions of your outline you want to have absolutely memorized for the bar exam. When it comes to testing for retention, prioritize these sections to be sure you can recreate them perfectly. This will put your energy to good use and ensure your most comprehensive bar exam memorization applies to high priority material.
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