Memorizing Black Letter Law

mr.hands
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Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby mr.hands » Sat May 23, 2015 11:14 am

How are we supposed to memorize the law for our state subjects? So far i've watched all the videos and done every assignment but I can't recite the law. I haven't memorized anything. I can recognize rules when I read them but that's about it. I can't tell whether I should do flash cards, outlines, or try to find practice problems

What are you doing, outside of the class assignments, to memorize the black letter law?

(I'm studying state subjects so going through MBE questions and reviewing the answers and explanations carefully isn't really an option)

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POTUSorSCOTUS
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sat May 23, 2015 11:22 am

Condense your outline to a few pages and literally read it out loud for multiple days until you're able to hand write it all out from memory.

Torts - 3 days
Property - 3 days
Civ Pro - 5 days
Con Law - 3 days
Crim - 1 day
Contracts - 4 days

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3|ink
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby 3|ink » Sat May 23, 2015 3:00 pm

Yeah. I'm nowhere near as far along as you, but I think I'm going to make super-condensed outlines using the lecture notes for each topic (instead of uselessly reading the barbri outlines) and try to internalize those.

Reading someone else's outline seems like a waste of time to me

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 24, 2015 11:38 am

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Condense your outline to a few pages and literally read it out loud for multiple days until you're able to hand write it all out from memory.

This is what I did. I'd learn a few lines, recite them till I had them right/hit stuff I didn't know, add another couple of lines, go back to the beginning and repeat. Tedious, but the only way I can flat-out memorize.

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northwood
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby northwood » Sun May 24, 2015 4:12 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Condense your outline to a few pages and literally read it out loud for multiple days until you're able to hand write it all out from memory.

This is what I did. I'd learn a few lines, recite them till I had them right/hit stuff I didn't know, add another couple of lines, go back to the beginning and repeat. Tedious, but the only way I can flat-out memorize.



this is what I did as well

orangecup
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby orangecup » Mon May 25, 2015 12:44 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Condense your outline to a few pages and literally read it out loud for multiple days until you're able to hand write it all out from memory.

This is what I did. I'd learn a few lines, recite them till I had them right/hit stuff I didn't know, add another couple of lines, go back to the beginning and repeat. Tedious, but the only way I can flat-out memorize.


Did you memorize, say Torts for a few days, and then move onto Contracts? Or did you memorize multiple subjects simultaneously?

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northwood
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby northwood » Mon May 25, 2015 7:38 pm

Don'twouldn't worry too much about memorizing right now (its only May). The more you practice MBE questions and write out rule statements, the more times you interact with rules/ law and are able to see trends in question stems aspects of law, etc and be able to recognize and answer those questions. For MBE questions, I would focus on the call of the question and see how it impacts the facts/ answer choices (right, red herring, wrong law/ outcome, first cut).

the more you practice the better you become (and you become better with each question set essay read through). Then with about 2 weeks left you can focus on memorizing BLL for the essay prompts.

In regards to the essays you may also notice that there is a way to gather multiple points using different subjects of law (i.e. statute of limitations, big picture/ topic of law, subtopic to immediate topic (call of the question). even if you don't memorize the BLL, by walking the grader though that path, you have earned points (and their trust that you know what you are talking about) so that if you have to guess/ make up some parts of the immediate topic they will be able to see that you know the bigger picture.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon May 25, 2015 7:44 pm

Yeah, I didn't start memorizing until July. I partly think I should have started earlier, but it really was cramming that left my head within weeks, so I'm not sure starting much earlier would have helped me.

I think I went through each topic till I was done, then moved to the next (but reviewed periodically to make sure I still remembered what I'd already done).

waxecstatic
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby waxecstatic » Mon May 25, 2015 9:15 pm

I know that BarBri includes a section of state-specific distinctions if that's what you mean. You can also just memorize the non-MBE stuff by memorizing the model essay answers. Certain shit like ademption, abatement, lapse, anti-lapse etc for wills always shows up, and the rules for it are always regurgitated regardless of the nuances of the fact pattern. Making your own flashcards?? I've tried and as you can guess, it takes forever. I would recommend either using Quizlet or buying the critical pass flash cards.

atlien
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby atlien » Tue May 26, 2015 12:57 pm

I don't know how people get by just reading and re-reading outlines. That did not work for me at all. I had to condense my state outlines to 18 pages of short rule statements and mnemonics. This covered everything that would possibly be tested on the NY bar exam. My brain works best through active participation. This was my technique:

1. Read a single rule statement/mnemonic as many times possible within about 50 seconds.
2. After reading 7 statements/mnemonics, say them out loud from memory in 5 minutes.
3. After 21 statements/mnemonics, say them out loud from memory in about 8-9 minutes.
4. Repeat for the next set of 21 statements.

I just layered on chunks of information instead of trying to digest entire outlines, and this ensured that I was actively memorizing the info instead of just reading.

Btw, the majority of my rule statements came from reviewing past released essay answers and finding the common phrases shared among the essay writers.

I did this for about a week before the exam, and that was the key to me passing in February. I failed i n July by underestimating how much I'd need to know cold on the essays.

mr.hands wrote:How are we supposed to memorize the law for our state subjects? So far i've watched all the videos and done every assignment but I can't recite the law. I haven't memorized anything. I can recognize rules when I read them but that's about it. I can't tell whether I should do flash cards, outlines, or try to find practice problems

What are you doing, outside of the class assignments, to memorize the black letter law?

(I'm studying state subjects so going through MBE questions and reviewing the answers and explanations carefully isn't really an option)
Last edited by atlien on Tue May 26, 2015 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

071816
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby 071816 » Tue May 26, 2015 1:04 pm

I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I never actually sat there and memorized anything verbatim (never been much of a rote memorization guy). if you drill enough and know the concepts well enough, the rules will be easy to recreate on the test. wording doesn't have to be perfect, but you need to understand all the concepts well. this way, even if you blank on the exam, you can still come up with a rule statement and not be completely lost.

eta: for state-specific distinctions, I would try to memorize as many of the major distinctions as possible by going through outlines and highlighting the differences. when all else fails, just use the mbe version of the rule and base your answer off that. depending on the state, these state-specific distinctions won't be that crucial in determining if you pass or not.

My_name_is_jimmothy
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby My_name_is_jimmothy » Wed May 27, 2015 2:03 am

Memory Palace works, but it's not for the lighthearted.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci

Practice essays are really where it's at my friends. Lots of analysis will encode the BLL into your memory.

Even if I'd done nothing at this point and were taking the bar in July, I'd do 7-10 practice essays a week and a hundred MBEs per day. I'd include a performance test every other weekend and I think if you're capable of proper self-reflection you got it in the bag. I needed to get a tutor to help me understand all this, but the truth of the matter is that the bar isn't really about memorizing everything.

Write lots of essays. Do lots of of MBEs. Do several PTs. This is from someone who sat in CA, but the application is likely universal in the US (Auto-pass states the MBE is more important to spend time on).

orangecup
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby orangecup » Wed May 27, 2015 9:07 am

My_name_is_jimmothy wrote:Memory Palace works, but it's not for the lighthearted.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci

Practice essays are really where it's at my friends. Lots of analysis will encode the BLL into your memory.

Even if I'd done nothing at this point and were taking the bar in July, I'd do 7-10 practice essays a week and a hundred MBEs per day. I'd include a performance test every other weekend and I think if you're capable of proper self-reflection you got it in the bag. I needed to get a tutor to help me understand all this, but the truth of the matter is that the bar isn't really about memorizing everything.

Write lots of essays. Do lots of of MBEs. Do several PTs. This is from someone who sat in CA, but the application is likely universal in the US (Auto-pass states the MBE is more important to spend time on).


Do the bar prep companies grade that many essays? Or do they at least provide model answers to each one? Or is the virtue largely in practicing how to write them?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 27, 2015 10:57 am

IIRC, there are model answers to most (all?) of the essays. They only grade a few (when I took it you couldn't send in extras for additional grading - doubt that's changed but you never know). The problem with the model answers is that they're ideals, not actual models of what you can produce during the exam itself, but for practice purposes they show whether you got the issues or not.

s1m4
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby s1m4 » Wed May 27, 2015 12:21 pm

What I would do around this time is carefully go through my outline - whenever something struck me as unfamiliar or difficult, I would read that black letter law, and then would write it out by hand in my notebook. I never actually went back to anything that I wrote, but the process helped solidify the rules in my head.

orangecup
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby orangecup » Wed May 27, 2015 12:33 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:IIRC, there are model answers to most (all?) of the essays. They only grade a few (when I took it you couldn't send in extras for additional grading - doubt that's changed but you never know). The problem with the model answers is that they're ideals, not actual models of what you can produce during the exam itself, but for practice purposes they show whether you got the issues or not.


I noticed this with the practice MPTs I did yesterday. It was a little discouraging seeing how much more the models had in them, but I figured no one could realistically write this much in 90 (or rather 45) minutes.

My_name_is_jimmothy
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Re: Memorizing Black Letter Law

Postby My_name_is_jimmothy » Wed May 27, 2015 3:14 pm

orangecup wrote:
My_name_is_jimmothy wrote:Memory Palace works, but it's not for the lighthearted.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci

Practice essays are really where it's at my friends. Lots of analysis will encode the BLL into your memory.

Even if I'd done nothing at this point and were taking the bar in July, I'd do 7-10 practice essays a week and a hundred MBEs per day. I'd include a performance test every other weekend and I think if you're capable of proper self-reflection you got it in the bag. I needed to get a tutor to help me understand all this, but the truth of the matter is that the bar isn't really about memorizing everything.

Write lots of essays. Do lots of of MBEs. Do several PTs. This is from someone who sat in CA, but the application is likely universal in the US (Auto-pass states the MBE is more important to spend time on).


Do the bar prep companies grade that many essays? Or do they at least provide model answers to each one? Or is the virtue largely in practicing how to write them?



The feedback I got from the Barbri graders was hit and miss. Some of the graders provided good feedback while others provided either no feedback at all or very little. I think the real benefit is in the practice.

It is true you have to be able to have 75-80% of the rules in your Convisor Book (or whatever you use) down cold. Maybe not perfect but close. More important than memorizing rules is keeping a cool head and doing old fashion legal analysis. I passed the bar on the 2nd time. What confirmed for me the fact that memorizing is not the most important thing is the fact that I did better on the essay subjects that I didn't have as well memorized.

The bar examiners love to see you wrestling with the facts, using the rule you laid out to analyze. Make sure you accurately portray the facts (be careful when paraphrasing). Throw out whatever rule statement you can come up with and analyze the EXACT facts (not what you want the facts to be) according to the rule statement you used. Even if the rule statement isn't 100% accurate if you analyze the facts and show the examiners that you can apply rules to facts and analyze you'll do way better than the person who spent all their time memorizing BLL but doesn't do a good job identifying the important facts and analyzing them thoroughly.

Challenge yourselves to write lots of essays. If you do it closed book you'll be able to assess your readiness and it's fun to be able to go back an hour later and compare your BS with the BS in the sample answer.

I truly feel that a lot of these bar prep companies sell us on gimmicks where if we all just did a bunch of practice essays and questions and took the time to review our errors and try again it'd be more likely we'd pass the first time.




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