The Ford Method
THE GENESIS OF THE PROGRAM
HOW THE FORD METHOD IS DIFFERENT
The Ford Method doesn’t use traditional teaching methods. There are no lectures or thick books like all of my competitors. Instead, The Ford Method teaches directly to the test, meaning it teaches the issues repeatedly tested, and weeds out all of the extras. More importantly, The Ford Method teaches in the manner in which the material is tested. As the bar is tested in Essays- The Ford Method teaches with Essays. The Ford Method consists of dramatic Essays- stories- written by Jennifer Ford, each including several of the issues repeatedly tested in all of the bar essay subjects. Each essay subject in The Ford Method course comes with several essays, which altogether contain all of the issues repeatedly tested by the bar in each subject.
The bar exam has close to a 40% failure rate for first time takers. Most students fail because they don’t recognize the issues, not because they don’t know the law. In the bar exam essays – the fact patterns- the students must first recognize the subject being tested, recognize the issue in that subject. Then, after the student “spots the Issue”, they must know the Rule, and Analyze the fact pattern around that rule, to come up with a legal Conclusion. The Ford Method teaches the “prompts” for the issues in real time, so that the students learn them. Once students learn the prompts, they know the issues and can then apply what they know when they see that same prompt later in another essay.
By way of an example of a missed prompt, a bar fact pattern often tested in Property law in Florida involves a person purchasing a property with no access to the street. The owner or buyer plans to use the land for “hunting and fishing”. The *prompt* in that short fact pattern was *hunting and fishing*, because Easements are not “by necessity”- meaning not a right, unless the owner or buyer plans to use the land to: build a house, raise livestock, raise crops, or raise timber.(They can still purchase the Easement). But, if the student doesn’t recognize the prompt, they would likely answer that the owner has an Easement by Necessity to get to the street- when they don’t. They can purchase a Permissive Easement, but because they are using the land for hunting and fishing, the easement isn’t a right, isn’t an Easement by Necessity. The Ford Method videos point that out, and the next time the student sees any fact pattern that includes a “dominant estate holder” needing an Easement across the property of the “Servient estate holder” for ingress and egress, they will remember the prompt- and be looking to see if they owner plans to use the property to build a house, raise livestock, raise crops, or raise timber. In the game, I will use the same basic method.
In The Ford Method Florida Immersion Bar Prep Course, students follow along with the essays and answers on a document, and also a video of an instructor reading each of the essays, pointing out the prompts, providing little hints, and answering the essays the way the bar wants them to.(For example, if there are 25 repeat issues for Constitutional law, there will be around 5 essays with 5 issues each.) (Examples of Subjects for the bar: Torts, Constitutional Law, Property,Contracts, Trusts, UCC3 & UCC9, Criminal Law).The students are instructed to listen to each dramatic (to help with encoding the ‘memory’ to the long term memory center) video several times (repetition), and to highlight issues on the issue list that they may need to come back to.
The same issue may be in several essays in the course, so the students can go back and watch all of the essays about a particular issue that they need extra help with. In summary, The Ford Method utilizes the science of how memory is encoded in order to help the students actually learn the material- encode the material- into their long term memories, and not just memorize the material in their short term memories to soon forget. Emotion acts like a highlighter that emphasizes certain aspects of experiences to make them more memorable. Memory formation involves registering information, processing and storage, and retrieval.Emotionally charged events are remembered better than those of neutral events. You will never forget some events, such as the joy of the birth of your first child, or the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol enhance and consolidate memory.This happens because of the amygdala, which brain imaging studies have shown is activated by emotional events. The amygdala boosts memory encoding by enhancing attention and perception, and can help memory retention by triggering the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, to boost arousal.