It’s also well-known that cramming is a bad study method that gets poor results. Especially over the long term.
So what’s the real deal when it comes to how to memorize things faster for a test?
Especially one where you have remember entire sections of law?
That’s something I’ve helped hundreds of students and thousands of readers of my book, How to Learn and Memorize Legal Terminology do for over ten years.
And on this page, I’ll let you in on my best memory secrets.
They’re tailored for the law and will almost certainly help you out.
You just need to be “judicious” and put them into action.
Let’s get started!
How to Remember Sections in Law: 4 Best Practices
Many law school tips involve great studying strategies. But when it comes to memorize entire sections of law, the technique is very simple.
But simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. There are a few moving parts because we’re talking about memorizing verbatim.
That means literally word-for-word, and often you’ll need to include section numbers.
Technically, numbers are words too, but the brain perceives numbers differently. That’s why memory techniques specifically designed to deal with numbers have been developed over thousands of years.
We’ll get to these in a second, but the key point to understand is that many people have used mnemonics to help them study the law.
In fact, some have been so successful, they’ve been able to learn other things at the same time. David Matthews, for example, used the techniques I teach to pick up Spanish on the side.
That means you can do it too. Here’s how.
One: Select Sections That Matter
Often, law students try to memorize way more than is necessary. Or they focus way too specifically on certain aspects of law.
Here’s a wake up call:
When you want to pass the bar exam, you’re better off studying broadly.
Ultimately, the most important passages to memorize require you to do some research based on the requirements of your school and in some cases the region.
Just make sure that before you memorize any cases, precedents or entire sections that it is actually beneficial to do so. Only spend your time memorizing relevent passages.
Two: Use the Memory Palace Technique
Although there are a few people who are exceptions to the rule, most mnemonists need to use a special mnemonic device called the Memory Palace to commit long passages of text to memory.
Simply put, a Memory Palace is a mental recreation of a familiar location. For example, this is a drawing of a bookstore in Zamalek, a part of Cairo.
This journey throughout the bookstore is linear and simple to follow mentally. As an alternative to the term Memory Palace, some people call this the journey method because you place associations along a path.
Two: Pair The Words In the Section With Vibrant Associations
Sections are often obscure. For example, you will have to memorize sections like:
Section 11(1A) of the Limitation Act, 1980.
To deal with this kind of information, you create images for words based on alphabetical and numerical associations.
With reference to the bookstore Memory Palace above, let’s imagine that on station 1, you have the image of an insect.
Because “insect” has “sect” in it, part of the word section.
Using a 00-00 PAO System, you can then add an image for 11 to help you remember that number. Here’s an article and video tutorial on how to develop a PAO System so you have mnemonic images for every number.
In my case, the image for 11 is a toad. So the imagine on station one of the Memory Palace would be an insect with a toad.
To remember that it is 11(1a) I would then use my image for one and an apple.
Where does the apply come from? Another mnemonic system called the pegword method. Just as a number system gives you images for each number, a pegword system gives you an image for each letter of the alphabet.
Again, it’s very simple. You just have to put in the time to develop your systems.
For more details, you can check out the many reviews on my book, How to Learn and Memorize Legal Terminology on Amazon.
Three: Use Spaced Repetition
Sometimes people make the mistake of assigning their associations and leaving it at that.
However, this is not reasonable. Memory techniques help us reduce the amount of repetition, but not eliminate it entirely.
To make each and every repetition count, it’s important to use spaced repetition.
There’s no one-size-fits-all way that any spaced repetition system works, but for more ideas, try combining the Memory Palace with the Leitner System.
This approach involves using flashcards in addition to the Memory Palace technique, but it helps you determine exactly how much review you need.
Four: Write The Memorized Sections By Hand
As an extra layer of security, I suggest that some of your spaced repetition involve writing out sections by hand.
Although this takes a bit of time, it will also help train your brain to retrieve the information faster. That way, when you sit for your exams, you will be less at risk of running out of time.
What’s the Fastest Way to Get a Law Degree?: XX More Tips
Now that we’ve covered the best ways to memorize passages directly from any legal textbook, let’s look at succeeding in law school more broadly.
One: Start Early
When I was in university, I always got my readings lists as soon as they were available. I sometimes even called or emailed professor during the summer to give myself a head start.
You simply cannot overestimate the value of having that early exposure – especially since it gives you additional time to memorize.
Two: Memorize 2-3 Sections At A Time
Some people suggest that you memorize just one section at a time.
However, I have not found this to be helpful myself, not with my students. One reason involves a learning principle called interleaving. It allows you to read faster and remember more because you’re taking a break from heavy focus and avoiding topic exhaustion.
Three: Study From Print
A lot of materials are available in digital format, but it’s best to study from print whenever possible.
How We Read Now is a book that brings together a large amount of research into why reading from print books is more beneficial.
The reasons range from how scrolling disrupts focus to the fact that the brain can’t effectively map the location of information when it’s on a flat screen.
Four: Speak What You Learn
Another major boost to your learning involves getting it out of your head.
Many people think about what they’re learning, and that’s great to do. But that doesn’t necessarily help you learn it as fast as you could be verbally processing the information.
Study groups are fantastic for this level of processing. But if push comes to shove, you can always speak with yourself while out on walks or in the shower.
How To Memorize For An Exam With Sections
You now know how to memorize verbatim and include any section number.
It’s really as simple as creating a Memory Palace journey and then laying out associations, one by one.
Again, I fully admit that simple isn’t always easy. But many people find that they can learn these techniques over the course of a weekend or less.
And with so much at stake when it comes to investing in a law degree, doesn’t it just make sense to learn how to use your memory better?
To help you out, feel free to grab my FREE Memory Improvement Kit:
It walks you through developing Memory Palaces perfectly designed for dealing with the law.
That way, you will have no problem with succeeding in law school.
Here’s to a great experience learning the law — may each section you memorize help you become an incredible lawyer and enjoy a rewarding career!