If you prefer a visual approach to learning, you may find highlighting to be a very effective tool. Be sure to distinguish the issues from the arguments made by the parties. The citation of your brief can be found with the use of a case digest that covers the specific court. If annotating and highlighting are so effective, why brief?
To the extent that more elements will help with organization and use of the brief, include them. The goal is to remind yourself of the basic reasoning that the court used to come to its decision and the key factors that made the decision favor one side or the other.
Whether you return to a case after a few hours or a few months, annotations will swiftly guide you to the pertinent parts of the case by providing a roadmap of the important sections.
Finally, when you spot a particularly important part of the text, underline it or highlight it as described below. The problem could be an error that the court made or the appellate court may want to take the case because the lower courts in its jurisdiction are not consistent in their decisions.
The rationale in a case brief refers to the series of arguments that directed the judges to derive at a particular decision or holding.
Most professors will espouse the value of briefing but will never ask to see that you have, in fact, briefed. In the issues linked to the case, lay debatable questions that are aimed to be answered by the court.