Q. What is the Cornell note-taking method? I need to take better notes so I get more out of my readings and classes.


The Cornell System is a unique system of note taking that allows you to visually organize your notes and quiz yourself on the material later on without making flash cards. 

To use Cornell, start by leaving a two-inch column on the left-hand side of the page.  You should also be sure to leave a space of 3-4 lines blank at the bottom of the page.  Once these areas have been designated you can take notes on the rest of the page as you normally would.  Don’t be afraid to use blank space to separate and organize new concepts. 

After you’ve finished taking notes for the class you’ll want to go back (immediately, if you can) and use that blank column on the left to write questions that can be answered by the corresponding notes.  Remember to put the question as close as possible to the note that answers it.   Later on, you can quiz yourself by covering the main note section of the page and answering the questions in your own words

Finally, use the blank bottom section to briefly summarize the page in one or two sentences.

The Cornell System helps you make connections and clarify definitions, thereby increasing your ability to retain the material.  This technique also makes it easy to regularly review the material, keeping it fresh in your mind.

The Cornell Note Taking Method is a great way to get your notes organized and to help get you engaged in the course material.

  • Last Updated Jun 12, 2018
  • Views 9404
  • Answered By Kristie Keuntjes, Learning Services Coordinator

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