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Study Effectively

What is the Cornell Method of note taking?

  • A method of recording, organizing and using the notes you take in in class or from your textbook or readings
  • A time-tested method with a great record of success, developed at Cornell University.

What would I use the Cornell Method for?

  • Recording information from lectures or texts
  • Recording comments, questions, or thoughts about this information
  • Summarizing the main ideas in your notes
  • Integrating notes from lectures and textbooks or readings
  • Studying your notes for tests and exams and testing your understanding.

How does the Cornell Method work?

  • Divide the page into three sections:
  1. a large column on the right side of the page
  2. a smaller column on the left side of the page
  3. a short row at the bottom of the page
  • The column on the right is used for lecture or text notes
    • Record your notes during the lecture as you normally would, and review after the class to add in any missed information
  • The column on the left is the “cue” column
    • Record questions here based on the main ideas in the lecture notes
    • Test your understanding by covering the lecture notes and answering the questions in the cue column
  • The bottom section is used for a summary of the notes on that page

How can I adapt the Cornell Method?

  • Skip the cue column, but summarize the main idea of each lecture
  • Skip the summary, but use the cue column to pose questions related to ideas in the lecture
  • Instead of putting questions in the cue column, record main ideas
  • Use the cue column or summary section to record your thoughts about the material
  • Use the cue column to take brief notes from the textbook or record important related page numbers in the textbook

Example of the Cornell Method of note taking

: Image of a student’s physiology notes in the Cornell note taking style on a lined piece of paper. Page is split into three sections. On the left side of the page is a column with cues related to the notes the student has taken. The remainder of the right side of the page is a column with the student’s notes on the topic. At at the bottom of the page is the student’s summary of the main ideas.

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