As you study for the bar exam or law school exams, one of the tasks before you is raw memorization of rules. It may seem like there are too many rules to keep in your head at one time, with one subject beginning to fade just as you master another. It’s a bit like juggling. Fortunately, there is a more systematic way to do this: spaced repetition.
To understand how spaced repetition works, picture a low-tech version. You gather all of your flashcards together, along with 3-5 shoeboxes. The boxes are labeled according to how frequently you will study the cards in that box, for instance, Daily, Twice Weekly, Weekly, Every Two Weeks, etc. First, you will go through every flashcard you have, in every subject. By default, each card starts in the Daily box. If you did not know the answer, the card stays in the Daily box. If you did know it, it gets promoted to the Twice Weekly box. At the end of each study session, some number of cards will have been promoted, so you will have fewer cards to study the next day. Twice each week, you go through the Twice Weekly box. If you did not know the answer, the card gets demoted to the Daily box. If you did know the answer, it gets promoted to the Weekly box. And so on. Over time, more cards will be promoted than demoted, with the overall migration being toward the less-frequent boxes. Multiple studies have shown that this system is more efficient than other study methods. When your knowledge of a rule is solid, there is no need to re-study it every day. That brain space should be used for the rules you’re still fuzzy on.
Of course, in the Internet age, there is no need for shoeboxes and paper flashcards. Instead, there is a web-based tool called SeRiouS, or SRS for short, located at www.spacedrepetition.com. Created by a law professor, the site provides electronic flashcards, with the frequency of their presentation following a spaced repetition system. SRS adds the feature of being able to indicate how well you knew an answer on a scale from 0 to 5, from “know it worse” to “know it better,” which determines which electronic shoebox the robots put the flashcard in for you.
SRS has a core set of more than 600 flashcards, with the ability to create custom sets and subscribe to sets that others create. You can sign up through a subscribed law school, or purchase access for $99 per year. There is a 7-day free trial available. And get this: SRS guarantees you will pass your bar exam. If you sign up at least 90 days before the bar exam, use SRS as directed, and don’t pass the bar, you get a full refund. Users of this website can use the discount code conley2018 for 20% off: pay just $79. (This is an affiliate code, which means you also support this website by using it.)