i The Frugal Law Student | 2007 | December

Law School
Personal Finance

When Mind Hacks Won’t Work: Brute Force Memorization

Written by Brett McKay

dreamstime_1127573.jpgI’m always on the lookout for new ways to make my studying and learning more effective and efficient. I’m a big fan of the peg system, image linking, and mindmaps. Unfortunately, I’ve found these techniques useless for memorizing 40 page law school outlines filled with abstract legal doctrine.

The Brute Force Memorization Process

While reading aloud the sentence of the thing I want to memorize, I’ll type it in my computer. I’ll repeat this process five times with each line of data I want to memorize.

I’m getting visual stimulation by reading and auditory stimulation be reading aloud. Writing things down is one of the best ways to remember things. These three done simultaneously produce a trifecta of memorizing power. Repetition crams the info into your brain. If I’m having trouble memorizing a particular piece of information, I’ll keep repeating the process until I’ve got it down.

It’s not pretty and it’s not efficient, but it gets the job done. I’ve been doing this for years and it has always helped me remember those pesky details I’ve needed to know on exams. I make sure I leave myself plenty of time before the test to do this.

Caveat: I don’t completely abandon memorizing techniques while doing this. I often incorporate them in the process when I see they would work. For example, I include mnemonics to help memorize a list of elements to a crime. But when I have to remember the definition of “connivance” or “proximate causation”, my brute force technique steps in.

I use text editor for writing the information. I have a friend who uses a similar technique but prefers writing it by hand.

Bottom line: This technique works for me. But do what works for you.

What are your memorization techniques? Drop a line in the comment box and add to the conversation!

If you liked this article, please bookmark it on del.icio.us or vote for it on Digg. I’d appreciate it. 🙂

Free Classic Christmas Cartoons in the Public Domain

Written by Brett McKay

When I was a kid, a holiday tradition my family was watching old Christmas cartoons. We had a VHS with a bunch of cartoons from the 1930s and 40s that are in the public domain. We watched it so much, the tape wore out and we had to chuck the video. It’s been years since I’ve seen these charming Christmas cartoons, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I’m able to recapture a piece of my childhood.

Because these cartoons are in the public domain, they’re freely distributable. No worries about copyright. I’ve gathered all the cartoons here for you to view. This is a great (and frugal!) way to help get yourself in the Christmas spirit. Sit back, relax, sip a cup of cocoa, and enjoy this bit of Christmas nostalgia.

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

This one is my favorite! This cartoons stars Professor Grampy from Betty Boop. He makes Christmas merrier for an orphanage using his ingenuity.

Somewhere In Dreamland

Two poor and hungry children have a dream of a magical land filled with chocolate rivers and popcorn fields. When they awake, a feast awaits them supplied by a some kind merchants.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

This rendition from of the classic story was done in 1948. As a kid, I always thought the Santa in this cartoon sounded like James Earl Jones.

Santa’s Surprise

Kids from all over the world somehow sneak a ride to the North Pole on Santa’s sleigh. While Santa sleeps, the kids join forces to clean his workshop. Like so many things from the 1940s, this cartoon is full of what would today be considered offensive racial stereotypes in what was probably an attempt at diversity. Still, the cartoon is charming.

Jack Frost

A young grizzly bear ignores his mother’s warnings about the coming winter and heads outside only to meet Jack Frost himself.

Snow Foolin

Anthropomorphic animals enjoy the winter weather. Can someone explain how a kangaroo ended up in a winter wonderland? Best part: singing “Jingle Bells” by following the bouncing egg.

Hector’s Hectic Life

A dog named Hector has a hectic time cleaning up the messes of puppies left at the doorstep at Christmas time. If his owner finds finds out about the messes, Hector will be thrown out to the cold.

The Frugal Law Student Month In Review- November 2007

Written by Brett McKay

November was a brutal month for me in school. My law review article consumed most of time during the month, so I wasn’t able to post as often as I usually do. Let’s see how the Frugal Law Student did this past month.


The Frugal Law Student got quite a bit of press this November. The big news is that FLS was named one of the top 100 law blogs by the ABA Journal! They’re now taking votes on which blog is the best in its category. If you haven’t voted, please take second and do so by clicking here. I’d really appreciate it! Anybody can vote, so tell your friends to vote as well! (It’s just one click. No registration is necessary.)

The other bit of press FLS got this past month was in the Tulsa World. Check out the article about the site here.


FLS had 16,627 visitors during November. That’s down from the 27,000 we had in October, but October was an unusually good month for FLS with social media sites like Digg and Stumbleupon.

RSS subscriptions are up to 675. Thank you to all my loyal readers who subscribe!

Popular Posts

  1. 12 Meals That Are Cheap, Easy, and Healthy. Long time FLS reader Erica wrote this post back in September and it’s consistently in the top 5 each month. Lots of great ideas here.
  2. Do It Yourself Pottery Barn Halloween Countdown Calendar. My sister Shannon wrote this back in September. I’m surprised that this was number 2 during the month of November seeing how Halloween was in October. Perhaps people are taking the idea to make a Christmas Countdown Calendar. Definitely give it a look.
  3. The Garage Sale Without a Garage: Declutter Your Life and Make Money on Ebay. This was a fun post to write. If you feel like you’re being bogged down by clutter, here’s a step by step plan to clear it out and make some money in the process.
  4. 180 Money Saving Tips to Turn Your Life Around 180 Degrees. I wrote this post back in May and its still one of my more popular ones.
  5. Frugal Experiment: Brushing Teeth With Baking Soda. While brushing your teeth makes your teeth with baking soda makes your teeth feel squeaky clean, it leaves your breath smelling like poo.


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