Monday, June 25, 2012

Index Cards - How Many is Enough?


Another fair question. . . and, again, it depends. Your number will vary by subject, and depend greatly on your level of comfort within each subject. Too few cards, and you risk missing core concepts. Too many, and you risk overwhelming yourself and also defeating the very purpose of index cards: filtration and brevity. Quality should always trump quantity.

Having said that, here are some ballpark ranges you might want to follow. These ranges, of course, vary by student. Some will be comfortable with fewer cards than the ranges suggest, but not many students will have more cards than the ranges.

MBE Subjects

40 - 55 index cards per subject. With one month before the exam, you should be finished with making index cards. The final month is reserved for learning the cards. Learning 40-55 cards takes a LOT LESS time than trying to memorize 40-55 pages of outline. If you follow the strategy that I teach, these cards will capture the core takeaways within each subject as well as tips and commonly tested tricks.

Virginia Subjects
  1. First Tier (most commonly tested subjects): 30 - 50 index cards per subject, closer to 50, with two exceptions below 30.
  2. Second Tier (medium-tested subjects): 15 - 30 index cards per subject, with one or two exceptions potentially below this range.
  3. Third Tier (least tested subjects): 2 - 15 index cards per subject.
Again, same sentiments as mentioned above in the MBE subjects. With one month before the exam, you should be finished with making index cards. The final month is reserved for learning the cards. Speaking from experience, it's easier -- and so much more efficient -- to rifle through a stack of cards than a stack of outlines. If you follow the strategy that I teach, these cards will capture the core takeaways from all previous Virginia Bar Exam essays.

Anyway. . .

Keep studying, and keep your heads up! Refuse to allow stress or anxiety to curb your confidence. You CAN do this! And one more thing - you have permission to responsibly enjoy the Fourth of July next week. Plan for it, in fact. You need nights off to decompress.

3 comments:

  1. I am guessing that some of the first tier subjects are Wills & Trusts, VA Civ Pro, and Fed. Civ Pro. What are the remaining first tier subjects, and second tier and third tier subjects. I am self-studying and have found your website helpful. Thanks!

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  2. The tiers aren't fast and hard - they're very fungible - but generally, they go as follows:

    FIRST TIER (probably one full essay each for two of the three subjects)
    - Wills/Trusts
    - VA Civ Pro
    - Fed Jur.

    FIRST TIER/SECOND TIER HYBRID (probably two full essays or partial essays on four of the six subjects)
    - Domestic Relations
    - Equity
    - Sales
    - Crim Law/Proc.
    - Local Government Law
    - Professional Responsibility

    SECOND TIER (probably two full essays or partial essays on two of the seven subjects)
    - Real Property
    - Corporations
    - Agency
    - Partnership
    - Commercial Paper
    - Secured Transactions
    - Creditors' Rights

    THIRD TIER (One full essay unlikely. Maybe one partial essay, if at all)
    - Conflict of Laws
    - Torts
    - Taxation
    - Personal Property
    - Suretyship

    Also, study similar subject together. Commercial paper, secured transactions, and creditors' rights go together. If there's a transactional essay, it'll likely be from one of those three subjects. Corporations, agency, and partnership go together. If there's an entity essay, it'll likely be from one of those three subjects. Study Real Property and Sales while you study for MBE Property and Contracts/Sales, respectively. VA Civ Pro, Fed. Jur., and Equity go together. And so on. The majority of Virginia essays are mixed subjects, so it's best to understand how the various subject interrelate with each other.

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