Reviewing notes and documents become habits for law students. However, only the successful students consciously use reviewing techniques geared to commit information to memory. It helps them to make maximum use of their time and get the highest possible benefits. We are, of course, not talking about short-term memory here, but of committing information to long-term memory so that the given labor remains useful for a longer period of time.
Review is tightly related with recall. With time we forget details of what we learned at a session and ultimately are able to recall little of what we learned. This leads to a great waste of effort taken cumulatively over longer spans of time. However review strategies can help shift storage of information from short-term to long-term memory.
Strategies to review information:
Revisiting information periodically for a time, after you have first encountered such information, is necessary to commit it to long-term memory. Review strategies and habits are essential to cultivate for this reason. Once the information is stored in the right manner, a little review even after years can bring things rushing back to mind.
- Review as soon as possible: Start reviewing material that you have learned immediately or as soon as possible. You don't have to go through the entire stuff. Start with reviewing at least a few lines or paragraphs at a time, and soon you would establish a chain of recall.
- Write in your own words: There are few tools as conducive to committing something to memory as writing down a subject in your own words. So try to rewrite and restructure notes as often as possible.
- Build a routine: Try to make reviewing a continuous habit and build a routine schedule for reviewing material. Such time would be difficult to find later in life, but as long as you are a student you can afford the time, and would be amazed at the skills you'd develop. The acquired skills would stay with you throughout your career as a lawyer
- Use the SQ3R method for learning information: Use the learning technique of ‘Survey, Question, Read, Recall, and Review. Following SQ3R as a strategy for learning helps you to rapidly internalize new information and commit it to long-term memory.
- Don't stint on sleep: While wasting time by sleep is not desired, lack of sleep is desired less. Research has shown sufficiently that lack of sleep affects learning abilities and abilities to commit information to memory. While nighttime is great for studies due to the lack of noise and disturbance, providing the required amount of sleep to the body is necessary for studying. Review and recall information in your mind while on bed – it will help to bring sleep and also help to embed the information in your mind.
Oh, another thing. It is always helpful to take notes during reviews. Law students already know that this is essential, but it doesn't harm to stress the fact once again.