We were contacted by a new tool called Study Songs (an app you can download on your iPhone/iPad). They were nice enough to give us complementary access to the songs so we could check them out and share our thoughts with you.
Study Songs is a new app featuring 70 original songs covering subject matter for the MBE. The app is free and you can purchase the songs one by one. Each “album” is a subject area and within a subject area there are individual songs. If you want to try out Study Songs, you can download the app and they will give you immediate access to three songs — one for Constitutional Law, one for Contracts, and one for Torts. From there you can test it out and see if you like the product. Each song is $2.99 to purchase.
The sound quality is pretty impressive — the songs are clearly professionally recorded and mixed. Each song is about 4 – 6 minutes, so a typical song length. Of course, the lyrics can seem a bit cumbersome, but they are setting legal rules to music — what do you expect! Law isn’t necessarily lyrical. Given what they are working with, I think they have done a good job.
Let’s be honest, it isn’t the type of music I would listen to while making dinner or driving my car if I had my druthers (most songs have the feeling of slightly cheesy pop music). However, that being said, listening to these songs may be more effective than listening to hours of lectures on these topics. And after listening to a few songs, I did find myself having some melodies stuck in my head a bit later while doing laundry — which is what you are looking for in study songs, right? That they are memorable!
If you listen on your iPhone or iPad, you can follow the text of the songs on your phone so you can get a visual of the lyrics (which can be great for more visual learners).
There are even links where you can click to see definitions for various terms you might have questions about (see below for an example). Apparently there are 1,000 clickable phrases that pop up detailed explanations of key concepts.
Is Study Songs a Good Fit For You?
If you are having trouble memorizing things and you have an easy time remembering musical lyrics, it may make sense for you to check out Study Songs. And by being able to purchase each individual song, you can try out the tool without too much financial commitment (we all recognize that money is running low towards the end of bar prep.).
I wouldn’t say that Study Songs replaces other forms of study (like practicing MBE questions) but it can be a way to mix-up your study process. Also, if you live somewhere where you commute a lot (take the train or sit in the car) I could see this as an easy way to add in some “study time” that you might not necessarily have been able to utilize up to now.
But like most things, you may want to try it out and evaluate if it works for you. It may not be the right solution for everyone. But since you can download the app and test a few songs for free … what do you have to lose!
What Were Some of My Favorite Study Songs?
I checked out a few different songs that I thought would help a student memorize a lot of law in an organized way. The first one I checked out was Hearsay. Again, not my favorite music, but by singing along you can learn different legal rules for hearsay (what is considered non-hearsay, what hearsay exceptions require unavailability). I find that students struggle memorizing lists for legal rules like hearsay, so I think using music, for some folks, could be more effective than staring at an outline for hours.
Another area that students struggle with is learning character evidence rules for the MBE. The song for character evidence also may help some individuals wade through rules that commonly trip students up on the MBE. The lyrics help you learn the rules in a way that can help you remember some of the challenging distinctions (for example, character in a criminal case or character in a civil case). I know many a bar student has struggled with these rules, so I could see the song be effective to help with confusion.
Here is the bottom line. Study Songs is a different way to learn the material and one that might work for you. You should check it out especially if there are some subject areas you are really struggling with. A few minutes listening to a song be more helpful than getting frustrated looking at outlines or flashcards.
Has anyone used Study Songs in their bar study? If so, share your thoughts in the comments.
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