How to Highlight Your Materials

last updated on Apr 17, 2021 Apr 17, 2021

author: Contributor Contributor

How to Highlight Your Materials
  • One of the most common misconceptions about the Ontario bar exams is that you NEED to highlight, so that on exam day, you can quickly locate the answers to questions in your materials. However, given the nature of the exams, highlighting is a much more useful tool for studying and strategically reading.

    The answers to the questions on the Ontario bar exams are designed to be difficult to locate in your materials. Many of the questions require you to find a very obscure piece of information - something that you thought was unimportant when studying and thus, wouldn’t think to highlight. 

    Instead, use your highlighters to keep yourself engaged while reading. There’s a lot of material to work through in a short period of time, and it’s critically important that your mind isn’t on auto-pilot when reading. Develop a highlighting system that works for you and keeps your mind active. Here’s an example of a commonly used highlighting system:

    Green: Cases and statutes
    Blue: Limitations and dates
    Orange: Definitions
    Yellow: General

    To help absorb the material, some people also find it useful to jot down mini summaries of each paragraph in the margins. Again, do what works for you!

    A final thought - make sure you’re not getting bogged down in the minutiae of your materials. Read to gain a general understanding of everything, not to memorize. This will help you navigate through your materials more comfortably on exam day.

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