Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Making Flash Cards for Bar Prep

Flash cards can help a bar taker memorize rules and elements quickly and effectively.  Like with law school outlines, it is the process, not the product of making them that provides the most benefit.  Commercial flashcards are available for purchase, but homemade cards will have a greater impact. Students should make a flash card for a rule every time they miss a practice question due to not knowing the rule.  It is not necessary, and not possible to make a flash card for all rules during bar review.  Students should focus on the rules that they have difficulty remembering.  The elements of a good bar review flash card are first to put the name of the rule on the front.  For example, “first degree burglary”.  On the back side, list the elements.  Depending on the student’s learning style, they may choose to make a list, or may choose to make a mind map.  In the traditional list style, the elements for this example are: 1) breaking AND 2) entering 3) the dwelling of another 4) in the night time 5) with intent to commit a felony therein 5) the felony is a) taking b) the personal property of another c) worth more than $500.  In the bottom left hand corner, write the page number of the bar review materials where this information is referenced.  This is done in case the student wants to go back for a more in depth review after looking at this card.  In the upper right hand corner, the student can write a mnemonic using the first letter of each element.  Here, “Big Elephants Dance Nightly with Iguanas.”  If it is something that can be visualized or is humorous it makes it easier to remember.  Finally, in the lower right hand corner the student can draw a small picture. For this example, it could be a drawing of an elephant wearing a burglary mask (because it is burglary), and a ballet tutu (because he is dancing) with the stars and moon above (because it is nighttime) next to an iguana holding a bag of money labeled > $500 (for the intent and amount).  Flash cards are a powerful tool students should consider using to enhance their bar studies. (Bonnie Stepleton)

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