Preparing for a law school exam will likely demand that you employ study strategies that are different from what you used in college. In place of reviewing class notes and cramming the night before a test, you will now need to synthesize the material into outline format, complete numerous practice exams, and space your review out over several weeks. But although law school will require a new level and style of preparation, you don’t necessarily need to completely abandon your college study strategies. Instead, adapt the study strategies that have been successful for you in the past to suit the demands of law school.
The use of flashcards is a common college study technique that you may be tempted to use as you prepare for exams. After all, flashcards can help you memorize information and there are a lot of rules that you are going to need to memorize! But the utility of flashcards pretty much ends there. They are helpful when you need to memorize definitions or elements, but they don’t really do much else. Flashcards do not help you see the big picture organization of the concepts or give you an opportunity to practice spotting and applying legal rules.
That’s not to say you can’t use flashcards in law school, just be sure that you recognize their limitations and adapt your study plan accordingly. Flashcards can be used to improve your ability to memorize and recall rules, but you will also need to engage in study strategies that develop your comprehension of the rules and your analytical skills. Prioritize outlining and completing practice problems, and only use flashcards as a supplementary tool to help you memorize concepts. One final note about flashcards – avoid spending an inordinate amount of time creating them at the expense of devoting time to learning the material and practicing your skills.
Modify your past study strategies to suit them to law school, add in a few new techniques like outlining and spaced review, and you will be on your way to creating an effective study plan!