One of the most common methods when studying for large exams—long study sessions involving rereading material and highlighting notes—may not actually be the most effective.

An article recently published in the Wall Street Journal explains that students who perform best on exams almost always study in a very specific way.

The rereading and highlighting method of studying gives students a false sense of security. Rather than helping students recall the information in a helpful way on exams, it simply helps them to recognize the material as familiar.

According to the research cited in the article, “Top students spend more time in retrieval practice which forces them to recall facts and concepts just as they must do on tests”

Retrieval practice typically involves doing practice tests and quizzing oneself with flashcards. Students preparing for the bar exam can study using these methods by writing practice essays; answering MBEs and checking the answers; answering essay questions and performance tests under simulated bar exam conditions; and quizzing themselves on black letter law using flashcards.

These techniques are exactly what we use in our bar review course at Personal Bar Prep. Retrieval practice as opposed to just remembering helps our students study smarter for the California bar exam.

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