I often stress that memorization is not the key to succeeding on the bar exam, and I still stand by that. You need to know the law, and ANALYZE it, in order to pass the bar exam. However, there are still some things you need to memorize. Memorizing rules of law is not easy for everyone, but sometimes it’s necessary. Hopefully I can impart some memorization tips!
Understand the Things You Memorize
First and foremost, strive to understand the things you need to memorize. Not only will you remember things with greater ease when you fully understand what you are memorizing, but you can not analyze something (remember, the most important part!) until you understand it!
Memorize in Short Time Bursts
Plan your memorization time in short bursts of 5 or 10 minutes. Perhaps take some time out to memorize in between MBE subjects, or in between practice essays. Bust out your flashcards in line at Starbucks. Sure, people will give you funny looks, but you won’t care after you pass! If you spend too long trying to memorize something, your brain just shuts down and you cease to be effective. No point in studying if you’re not being effective!
Memorize in Short Material Bursts
See, your brain tends to remember the first and last things it takes in. If you shorten the amount of information you are taking in, it’s more likely to “stick”. This means pick one subject, and even one subtopic, to memorize at a time. For instance, you know you need to memorize the scrutinies for constitutional law. Start with strict scrutiny, and know that you will memorize JUST that first, and save the other scrutinies for the next memorization session. This technique works well with the short time bursts; pick one scrutiny per commercial break!
Teach rules of law to your significant other, your roommate, your mom or your cat. Trust me, your cat needs to know what all the hearsay exceptions are, and will thank you later. Vocalizing something, even if you are just talking to yourself, helps with memorization.
Employing these techniques will not only help you spend your time memorizing effectively, but will also help you with your analysis. Good Luck!