Cornell Notes – Best Note-Taking Method

Every note-taking method has its own fanbase. The choice of following a note-taking method varies across categories. Some take structured notes using an outline method while others use mind maps and images to take visual notes.

The 5 R’s of note-taking

Record: The main purpose of note-taking is to record the ideas and meaningful facts in the notes. It’s important to write clearly.
Reduce: The entire lecture has to be summarized into important facts that strengthen memory and make understanding better.
Recite: To study properly you need to recite all the information in your own words.
Reflect: Start forming opinions from your notes. Make them a start to your learning. When you can relate your notes with the lecture, it means the concept can’t be forgotten soon.
Review: You should do a quick review of your notes once in few days to retain the most of what you learned.

One of the different methods of note-taking, Cornell method is a systematic format to take organized notes for students. This unique method is mostly used by high school or college students. During exams, these Cornell notes will make revisions effortless and easy! Let’s now explore more about the origin of Cornell notes, its benefits, and how you can take some great notes using the Cornell method here.


How do you take Cornell notes?

The Cornell note-taking method was devised by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University.
Cornell notes are unique because of their layout:

Cornell notes layout

This is a two-column note. The student divides the notes into 4 with 2 columns, the right column roughly twice the size of the left, a small space of 5-7 lines left at the bottom, and a smaller space at the top.

What makes Cornell notes so important and useful?

  • You don’t just jot notes, you make your own notes in the Cornell method.
  • Long sentences and detailed explanations are avoided.
  • The main motto is to add information that is easy to understand and to review.
  • It’s a proven fact that writing such notes benefits students as they apply their learned knowledge while taking notes.
  • This note-taking is superior to other methods because of its crisp content.
  • These notes help you understand and learn better.
  • When you revise you can easily recollect the lessons.

What’s in the notes?

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If you want to make your own notes and remember it for a long period of time, this is the style of notes for you. Taking notes in the Cornell method is a simple process.

Here’s the Cornel note-taking method:
Main notes
The actual and important notes from the lecture go into the main notes column. You need to record the lecture as fully as possible.
Cue column
The questions, keywords, and highlight points go to the small column on the left. While taking notes you’ll have to keep the column empty. After the lecture, you can add your important points for future reviewing.
The notes on each page have to be summarized into a sentence or two and added to the bottom.
The title is added to the top of the page wherever required. If there’s no title for a particular page, the column can be left blank.

Cornell notes template on Noteshelf

Noteshelf is one of the best digital note-taking apps to take handwritten notes on the iPad. What’s more exciting is it comes with the Cornell notes template which makes your job easier. Noteshelf helps you take notes with ease using other supporting features in the app.

You can change your page to the Cornell notes template from page settings. Here’s the video for your reference:

Make your Cornell notes

Note-taking depends on the way of thinking of a student or a teacher’s approach. The choice is completely yours. Out of the various methods, try this method of note-taking to memorize, and make your learning more interesting.

If you haven’t checked the first article on note-taking methods, the Outline method, do check it out.

The third interesting method of note-taking is on your way. Stay tuned!

Happy note-taking!

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