The Cornell note-taking method is a system devised by Walter Pauk in the 1950′s to help students better organise their note-taking during class.
I only learned of this method in my 2nd year of university and only wish that I learned of it earlier! It’s an easy to use systematic method to keep your notes organised and condense.
- The student divides the paper into two columns: the note-taking column (usually on the right) is twice the size of the questions/key word column (on the left). The student should leave five to seven lines, or about two inches (5 cm), at the bottom of the page.
- Notes from a lecture or teaching are written in the note-taking column; notes usually consist of the main ideas of the text or lecture, and long ideas are paraphrased. Long sentences are avoided; symbols or abbreviations are used instead. To assist with future reviews, relevant questions (which should be recorded as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions will be fresh in the student’s mind) or key words are written in the key word column.
- After the notes have been taken, the student writes a brief summary in the bottom five to seven lines of the page. This helps to increase understanding of the topic. When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes.
- When reviewing the material, the student can cover up the note-taking (right) column to answer the questions/keywords in the key word or cue (left) column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly.
Below is a visual explanation of the system:
Generate Cornell notes
You can generate your own Cornell notetaking method PDF’s.