Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Do I Memorize All These Rules?

Law students have a large number of items to memorize so that they can state the law precisely, know the exact definitions, use the correct steps of analysis, ask the right questions to analyze a topic, or connect the right policy arguments to a topic.  At times the volume of information to remember can be daunting.

Here are some things that can be helpful when students are considering how they want to do memory drills:

Memory drills usually work best in shorter bursts of 30 minutes or less.

The number of memory drill time blocks per week will depend on the number of rules or other items that must be memorized.  A course with lots of rules will need more drill blocks than one with fewer rules.

Because the brain can only memorize a few chunks of information at a time, memory work should be distributed throughout the semester rather than crammed in at the end of the semester.

Memory techniques should be matched to what works for an individual student - how did one successfully memorize material in the past, for example.

A combination of memory techniques may be needed by one student while another student has one memory technique that always works.

Possible ways to memorize material include:

  • Flashcards: some students learn more by handwriting their own than using software
  • Writing a rule out multiple times
  • Reciting a rule aloud multiple times
  • Drawing a spider web, mind map, or other visual of the rule
  • Acronyms: taking the first letter of each word (for example the elements) and remembering them with a silly sentence (duty, breach, causation, harm becomes DBCH and then becomes Debbie's boa constrictor hid).
  • Rhymes or sayings: assault and battery are like ham and eggs.
  • Storytelling: coming up with a story that weaves together the words (for example, the soldier was on DUTY when a tank BREACHed the wall of the fort, etc.)
  • Peg method: combining a numbered list with rhyming words (one bun, two shoe, three tree, four door, etc.) and then a visual image combining the item (bun, shoe, etc.) with the word that needs to be remembered (example: one bun duty is a sticky bun with a soldier saluting it; two shoe breach is a man's business shoe with a tank tearing apart the toe as it drives out, etc.)

Every student has to put in the time memorizing the material.  However, remember that memorization alone will not garner a high grade.  It is the beginning of learning.  One has to understand what is being memorized and be able to apply the material to new legal scenarios on the exam with a thorough analysis.  (Amy Jarmon) 

September 26, 2012 in Learning Styles, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals

November 2, 2012 Conference

Teaching, Scholarship, and Service:

Professional Development for

Academic Support Professionals


Rarely do we, as academic support professionals, have the opportunity to spend a day with our colleagues discussing our development as professionals in this wonderful field.  As stated by Ruth McKinney on our Law School Academic Support website, “Regardless of … time pressures, or maybe because of them, developing a strong sense of professional identity is a key component of a successful and personally rewarding career in this field. Developing that sense of professionalism, in turn, rests on holding realistic expectations, setting appropriate boundaries regarding time management, developing a strong network of supportive cohorts, finding mentors and seeking leadership opportunities, and staying intellectually engaged in the work that we do.”

We spend most of our year dedicating ourselves to the needs of our students, our school, and our communities.  It is time to take a day just for us!  The West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals invites you to attend just such a day in sunny Northern California at the beautiful campus of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. 

We will explore topics related to teaching, scholarship, and service.  Specifically we will look at best practices in teaching and presenting at conferences and workshops, further developing the body of ASP scholarship, the process of developing your own piece of scholarship, service opportunities within a law school and developing as a professional in all three of these areas.  We welcome your ideas if you have specific areas you would like to discuss. If you would like to be a presenter, please email a summary of your presentation idea along with your contact information and a list of your past presentations to Lisa Young at  The summary should be no more than 250 words.

September 25, 2012 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Take a Deep Breath

Too much to do.  Too little time.  Too few resources.  These phrases are often familiar to ASP'ers who juggle a wide range of duties under their job descriptions.  

So, if your week has been extremely hectic and you are wishing that the weekend started today:

  •  Close your eyes.  Breathe in deeply and exhale deeply.  Count each time you exhale. Breathe in, Exhale, 1, etc.  Repeat to a count of 10.
  • Close your eyes.  Concentrate on breathing deeply.  Repeat a positive word over and over to yourself.  Repeat until you feel relaxed.
  • Close your eyes.  Breathe in deeply to the count of 6.  Exhale deeply to the count of 6.  Repeat until you feel relaxed. 
  • Sit up straight.  Scrunch your shoulders up towards your ears and hold.  Release.  Repeat until you feel your muscles relax.
  • Rotate your neck gently and slowly to the right, back, left, forward.  Repeat until you feel your neck muscles relax.
  • Stretch your legs out in front of you and held several inches off the ground.  Gently rotate your feet together in a circle to the right.  Stop.  Gently rotate your feet together in a circle to the left.
  • Close your eyes.  Picture a favorite place in your mind (beach, forest, country lane).  Slowly "walk around" in the scene and savor the sounds, sights, and sounds.  Relax and enjoy being in that scene.

Savor your few minutes break.  Finish out your day and enjoy the weekend.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 24, 2012 in Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)