Got highlighters? I do. I rented or purchased all of my texts books used. So, I know firsthand there are MANY different ways to highlight a textbook.
While most people have settled into their highlighting system, the midpoint of the semester might be a great time to make some adjustments, especially as we review our midterm results and deal with converting our notes to outlines.
The Multicolored Book Brief System
Oddly, not a single one of my books actually was fully book briefed using the multi-color system you hear so much about. However, one of my friends has this process down to a science. Here you can see how judiciously she uses her highlighting system. She color codes it consistently and is able to synthesize the information quickly. In my opinion, it is a work of art and works very well for her.
The Single Highlighter Method
I have two books that followed this method. One of them is so insanely highlighted that it genuinely looks like a kindergartener just went wild. Each case is highlighted in bright orange or dark blue, with margin notes in the same vibrant color. This is pretty much the only way I would recommend NOT to highlight. It has rendered the book practically unusable. The one saving grace seems to be that the previous owner decided to abandon this method later in the book, and there are 0 highlights in the back half of the book.
On the other hand, one of the books I bought from a 2L is the shining example of how single color highlighting scheme paired with, and note margin taking can create the perfect book brief and outlining guide. The book is so amazing that on a day I had somehow missed a case we were assigned to read, I was able to easily survive a cold call.
The Who Needs A Highlighter Method
My legal writing textbook is just underlined in blue pen. No notes anywhere, just a LOT of underlining. It seems like it was the way they kept track of what they were reading. It served no other purpose.
While at first, I didn’t see how that method was useful, I seem to find myself gravitating towards using a similar approach in my casebooks and supplements. I often use color pens to underline important points in my textbooks and then make a note in the margin using the same pen color. For me, this allows me to engage with the text more than if I were to highlight it.
The Electronic Casebook Method
I also have the electronic versions of all of my textbooks, which provides a ton of benefits. Not only do I have my textbooks with me anywhere the internet is available, but they all have the ability to highlight within them. I have the option to create a colorful book brief or use a single color method; it just depends on how I set it up. The significant part about this is the highlights automatically organize themselves into notes, a case brief, and an outline that I can print out or refer to during class as need. I then also can type notes that get color-coded and added to the highlighted section in the margin.
How do you highlight your casebook? Let me know over @The1LLife on Twitter!