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5 Memory Techniques for law students

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Memory techniques are at the core of memory study and retention development. Without taking the time to learn the tools of the trade, you are just fooling yourself, and just dipping your toe in the water, while you should just dive right in and get wet. Like any other endeavor, you need to have a goal, and a plan, and you need to stick to that plan. Those that fail to plan, plan to fail![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You cannot expect to develop a remarkable memory overnight, but you can start to learn some useful memory routines, and learn them thoroughly. Besides, the more you learn, the more you will need to practice and practice regularly. Moreover, that is the key – regular practice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”337″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

I. Note-taking techniques

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Why do we take notes? Usually, it is to come back to the information, but have you ever taken notes and never looked back at them? You might have notebooks upon notebooks of notes you have never bothered to come back to. Was this a wasted effort? According to research, no. This effort of taking notes was not a waste of time. Researchers find that the very action of taking a note strengthens your memory of that information even if you never bother to look at it again. Now, why is that? It is because the action of taking notes is a form of repetition. You know, the first memory principle that I told you about.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now, if you happen to review your notes, that is another form of repetition, but it is important to realize that note taking does enhance your ability to retain information. Some people already know this just naturally. They know that if they write something down they are more likely to remember it. Let’s talk about different ways of taking notes. Let’s say you are reading something, and you need to know it well. If that is the case, it is crucial that you take some notes. However, how should you take notes, and when should you take notes? Have you ever bought a used college textbook and noticed ridiculous amounts of highlighting? How does this happen? Here’s how.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Someone is reading the chapter, and he or she maybe need to know it very well for a test that’s coming up. They read a sentence and realize, that is vital, so they highlight it. Then they read the next sentence and realize that is also important, so they highlight that as well. Then they read the third sentence, and now they realize this sentence is way greater than the previous two, maybe they will use a different color this time around, and you already see where this is going. Have you ever heard the phrase “When you get caught up in the details “you lose sight of the big picture”? This is one of the major issues when it comes to note-taking.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”322″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” animation=”rda_shake”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]You get caught up in the details. A better way to manage this would be to finish reading the paragraph first, and then decide what you are going to highlight. Moreover, keep in mind that you do not have to highlight full sentences. You can highlight just a word or a short phrase, and that would remind you of what that section was about. Now obviously, highlighting is just one way to take notes. There is no one correct way to take notes, and much of it comes down to your personal preference. Some other options might be taking notes in the margin, underlining, or taking notes on your favorite note-taking app.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]However, it is also essential to realize that the format of your notes does matter. Have you ever taken notes that ended up looking like a jumbled up mess? Studying documents like this is hard. How do you find specific pieces of data? A more organized approach to note-taking that you may want to consider involves mind mapping. Mind mapping is a note-taking technique that helps you visually organize information. A general mind map looks something like this with a central idea in the middle.  If you were taking notes while reading, this might be the title of your chapter with nodes extending out from that central idea.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”333″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The surrounding boxes or bubbles would be your headings and subheadings within the chapter, or main points from the material that you were reading. Mind mapping can include color and other visuals to help you remember even more efficiently. The idea why mind maps are so useful at helping you remember things is because they reflect the way your mind works much better than linear based notes like outlines. Outlines put information in a specific order, but not all issues are presented in a linear fashion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Summaries are ideal for following information like history, but most subjects are non-linear. The same goes for topics law. There are many types of law. Contract law, Labor law, Constitutional law, International law, but they are all involved in a non-linear way around the issue of law. So, mind maps are an excellent way to organize information that is not sequential.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Regardless of how you end up taking notes, the most significant thing to retain is that note-taking aids your memory, and if you need to remember something, you should probably be taking notes in a manner that you feel is most appropriate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”338″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

II. Using mnemonic devices

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A mnemonic device makes use of elaborative encoding, retrieval signs, and representation as particular tools to encode any given data in a way that allows for practical storage and retrieval. Mnemonics aid original data in becoming associated with something more significant, which in turn, allows the mind to have better retention of the information. You may have used one before to remember topics that relate to music, math or geography, or a variety of other subjects.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Mnemonic devices come in a variety of formats. They can be acronyms, rhymes, memorable phrases, songs, and can even take visual forms. For example, to remember the number of days in each month, you can use the knuckle mnemonic. Going from left to right on your knuckles, you can figure out which months have 30 versus 31 days. Each knuckle represents 31 days, and each valley, before we get to the next knuckle, represents 30 days or, in the case of February, 28 or 29.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Mnemonic Device:

  • IRAC

Explanation: To remember the equation for legal analysis.

  • Issue of law, Rule of law, Application of law, Conclusion.
  • To study law:
    • What is the issue?
    • What is the rule?
    • Apply laws to the problem.
    • Form the conclusion.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You can think of mnemonic devices as special techniques or tactics for improving your memory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Creating a mnemonic could take a little bit of mental effort, but there is a smart way to utilize the combined intelligence of the internet. Next time you have to memorize something, try doing a search on the topic you have to learn, plus the keywords mnemonic or mnemonic device and most of the time you will be surprised to find that someone has already created a mnemonic device for the information you need to memorize. Mnemonic devices just leverage many of the memory principles discussed earlier in this articles, and you can use them to recall information more efficiently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”339″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

III. The story method

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The human mind is wired to remember stories. In fact, before many old books were written, they were shared as oral traditions or stories through the generations. When you are reading non-fiction, an informational piece of material, you will sometimes notice that authors will present you with a story to illustrate a point. They could’ve just told you the moral of the story, but instead, they provided you that information in the form of a story. Why is that? It is because authors know that their readers are more likely to remember information if it is presented in a story-like fashion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you need to remember a particular set of details, you may want to try remembering it in the form of a story. Try starting off in the classic way of saying “Once upon a time…” and then add any information you need to remember that story. Don’t forget to make it exaggerated as we know that exaggeration helps us to remember things. You may recall from the earlier article, that we created a story from a 14-letter combination.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We imagined a guy at IBM that had a Ph.D., that was studying for the ACT while watching MTV. Also, the X at that both ends served as bookends to the made-up story that we came up with.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Notice how much easier that story is to remember rather than just the letters. X, I, B, M, P, H, D, A, C, T, M, T, V, X. Don’t bother if the story does not make sense. As we mentioned earlier, stories that are exaggerated or weird or just don’t make any sense are easier to remember. Next time you need to learn anything, try turning it into a story.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”340″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

IV. The link system

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Link System for retention is given its name because it requires you to connect one item to another, creating a link in your memory chain. Each item should connect you to the next if you are associating it correctly. The Link System is most valuable for remembering things in a sequence, and there are many things that need to be recalled in a specific sequence, a speech for example, or maybe an eight-step process that you need to remember for a test or maybe nine things that you have to get done in a specific order.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”341″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

V.  Memory palaces and the method of loci

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The memory palace also known as the system of loci is a memory technique developed in Ancient Greece over 2,000 years ago. It was used extensively by the Greeks and later the Romans to memorize lengthy speeches. Back then, before you could digitally record something, it was crucial to have trained memory, and strategies like the method of loci were broadly used. These tactics are still used today by competitors in memory contests to remember digits, faces, decks of cards, among other things. By the way, Loci is the plural of the Latin word locus, which means place.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The strategy is based on the idea that you can best remember places that are familiar to you like your home or workplace. According to Cicero, the method of loci was developed by the Greek poet Simonides, who was the lone survivor of a building that collapsed during a dinner that he attended. He retained who was sitting where to identify everyone. He realized that it is possible to remember anything by connecting it with a mental image of a location. This method, which has also come to be known as the memory palace technique, is very easy to implement.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here’s what you do, try to imagine a place you are very familiar with. Let’s start by having you imagine your home. Next, visualize a sequence of ordered spots within your home. Make these locations in a logical order so that the first place could be your front door, the next location within your home might be the living room and the next could be your kitchen. Picture yourself walking through your home in a particular order. Pieces of furniture can also assist as locations within your memory palace. The next task you need to do is place each item you need to remember at different spots that you have decided on.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Be sure to exaggerate your visuals, and make an effort to imagine them to get the full effect. Once you have arranged all the items you need to memorize in their appropriate places, don’t forget to rehearse the order several times in your head.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You want to repeat because repetition is still one of the most effective ways to remember anything. The best point about this system is that you can have multiple memory palaces to help you remember various things. One memory palace might be your home, another might be your office, another could be a friend or family member’s home. If you take the train every day to work, you might use that route as a memory palace, putting different items at different stops along the way.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The memory palace technique can be used to remember a list of almost anything, or you might use it to remember the important points of a presentation you have to deliver, or maybe the names of people at an event, you can even use this technique to remember your to-do list.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Regardless of how you implement it, memory palaces are useful, because they are places you are already familiar with. Even if you had a 50 item list, you could use a memory palace. You can put five items in each of the 10 locations. Just make sure those five items are somehow interacting with each other in that place, and make sure you turn these things into concrete visuals that include exaggeration.Now that you know the basics of how memory palaces work try practicing it. Pick the location figure out the order of locations within the memory palace, and then apply it to something you need to remember.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#0066bf” line_pos=”center”][vc_custom_heading text=”Conclusion” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%230066bf” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]And this concludes the second article of “Improving your memory”. The first one you can find it here. And the third one and the last article of this series is coming this week.

Keep tuned for the last article that will be about Situational Methods! Do not forget to share this one with your friends, and keep improving![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

About the author

    Dan Cristian

    Law student with a passion for design, business, tech, and online. I am sick and tired of the old fashion learning methods; that is why I use my free time to help build a community of law students that can share their tips and tricks.