Memorizing in Law School (and Beyond)

Memorization is key not only to your success in law school, but on the bar exam and in your future legal career.

The type of memorization required for law school is also a bit different than what you dealt with in high school and undergrad. You’ll need to memorize a lot more in a shorter amount of time. And, beyond just memorizing rules and elements, you'll also be required to understand and apply what you've memorized.

With that understanding, here are four important tips to effectively memorize for law school success:

1. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The more you see it the better. But this doesn't mean simply reading material over and over again. Rather, you need to interact with material in multiple ways, over and over again. This includes listening to lectures, reviewing notes, making an outline, doing practice questions, and reviewing your flashcards. In law school and beyond, it’s important for your retention to repeatedly study content and actively recall it. Don’t review your Critical Pass Law School Flashcards once and store them away. You need to review them again and again throughout the semester.

2. Don't wait

One of the greatest downfalls struggling 1Ls experience is waiting to memorize material until it is too late. if you want to just get by, cramming will suffice. If you want to excel, cramming will undermine you. The key is to practice memorizing and recalling material over an extended period of time. Spacing out these study sessions over the whole semester will ensure that you understand the big picture and that the material is in both your short and long-term memory. This will pay off big on your final exams.

3. Simplify it

Rote memorization won’t get you the grades you need to succeed. No professor is going to ask you to regurgitate exactly what they said in class on a final exam. You need to understand the material without getting caught up in extraneous details. One way to do this is by simplifying the concepts in your class notes. Critical Pass Law School Flashcards are designed to present the key takeaway from crucial concepts across one or two cards. Doing it on your own is fine, but you'll need to be able to figure out in a few short sentences why you've been assigned to read a certain case. Your goal for every case should be to have a succinctly memorized answer to the question: What is the takeaway here?

4. Use your style

Knowing your learning style can greatly increase your chances of memorizing and understanding course material. Visual learners rely more heavily on outlines, text, and diagrams. You might consider color coding material or adding visual representations into your notes to aid your memorization. Auditory learners can practice the material by reading the material or answering practice questions aloud. Kinesthetic learners often learn best and memorize the most by handwriting their notes and using flashcards.

Work hard, but do it consistently and with purpose.

Best of luck in your first year!

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