Simple, Useful Memorization Techniques For Use In Law School
Of course, answering an essay question on a law school midterm or a bar exam requires applied knowledge more than rote memorization. Law students must use critical thinking and connect or apply the information they have learned to a set of facts, recognize issues, and solve problems. But before tackling the rigors of a law exam essay question, students must genuinely know the information. Here are some tips for effectively memorizing information:
- Record notes for later listening
When I was in law school, I sat next to a former legal secretary who knew shorthand. She would take all her class notes in shorthand, and then transpose them later that evening. How I envied her ability to process and absorb each class lecture twice rather than once.
There are a few different ways to accomplish this. The first is to record a lecture and listen to that later as my friend, the legal secretary, did. The second way is to record yourself reading the notes aloud and then listen to this. The second way may be preferable since you review the notes once while you read them, and also because you may edit and highlight the most important points of the lecture instead of re-listening to the entire class. Either of these techniques allows a student to review information while performing other activities like exercising or driving.
- Use a form of self-testing (e.g., Flashcards)
Research has shown that self-testing is one of the most effective forms of learning and memorization. Flashcards are one of the simplest methods for building and testing knowledge. Self-testing indicates what a student knows and doesn’t know, and, thus, is an effective tool for filling in any gaps or deficiencies of learning a certain concept.
- Use mnemonic devices
Some people scoff at mnemonic devices since the devices themselves may sound too silly, but the truth is that they are effective and useful for college-aged students. A mnemonic is: “a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.”
There is no requirement that a mnemonic device is silly to work, although some humor also helps. To memorize a set of key terms, concoct a catchy tale using the first letter of each definition. Hopefully, the mnemonic device serves its primary purpose of jogging a test-taker’s memory so he or she remembers the concept. However, a mnemonic device is useless if you have not adequately studied the concepts and their definitions.
The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) is a 21st Century law school tailored to meet the needs of working people. Any lawyer must study and know the law. We believe that practical experience in tandem with legal knowledge is the best road to a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.