Most bar review companies will tell you that you can memorize from their outlines alone, and making your own study materials is a waste of time. Most people, however, find that relying on the bar review outlines is not enough; they have to make the materials their own in some way. It’s important to engage in a process of making/working with your study materials every day. Think ahead to the last two weeks when you will be memorizing. What do you want to have ready for that process?
You will not have time to create study materials at the end (and use them), so you have to make them now. You will learn a tremendous amount of material with each new lecture, and you have to be finished with your study materials before you leave each subject (which means every 1-3 days, depending on the subject). This means that you need to work quickly and efficiently.
What you did in law school to make the perfect outline, or the best flashcards, may not work now. Don’t strive for perfection. Strive for usable. If you’re spending more than three hours per day on creating study materials, you need to change your approach. You also need to leave time for practice questions every day.
Use the bar review lectures as a guide for what you should focus on. Only go to the bigger outlines for reference. The lecture handouts will include the most heavily tested material, and that should be your foundation. As you practice essays and MBEs, you should add rules that you learn to your outline/flashcards/charts.
Make the study materials that work for you and your method of learning. That might mean that you have more than one kind of study material – an outline and a large flow chart, for example. It is best for the learning process if you make it yourself. But, if that takes too much time, or if didn’t make your own study materials during law school, find a way to make the bar review company’s materials your own in some way. The process of working through the lecture material after the lecture will help you synthesize and solidify the material. That process of learning, understanding, and beginning to internalize the material is the first step towards memorizing.
The key is to find a balance – don’t skip the study materials, but don’t spend all of your time trying to make them perfect.