Note Taking 101: Cornell Notes

Ever looked back through your class notes, only to discover what looks like a jumbled cave drawing meant to be interpreted by skilled archaeologists?

No?

Well, we certainly have. When class is in full swing and your professor is sharing loads of information, it can be hard to jot things down in an organized manner. Luckily, we’ve come across a handy little solution for taking the best notes ever!

Back in the 1950’s at Cornell University, a brilliant education professor named Walter Pauk devised an innovative note taking technique. Introducing, Cornell Notes, a note taking method that focuses on writing down only the most important information for any given class and organizing it in the most readable way.

The way it works:

Divide each page of your notebook into two columns. Take general notes on the right side and then call out any main ideas or keywords on the left side. For the general notes, all you want to take down are key words and ideas, dates, people, places, repeated and stressed info, important things written on the board/projector, main info and ideas from textbook/readings for class, diagrams/pictures, and of course any formulas. During class you should only focus on writing down all these pieces of important information, so when class is wrapping up, you can look back at your notes and summarize them in your own words.

Cornell Notes

When you hand write your note summaries, you’re more likely to be successful on exam day compared to students who take down notes exactly the way the professor wrote them on the board or on presentation slides. It’s far easier to recall how you wrote down the notes rather than how a professor worded them. By summarizing your notes and marking your notes up with general ideas on the left hand side of the page, you can easily flip through your notebook and know exactly where you are, what chapter these notes pertain to, and what questions these notes answer.

Now that you have your notebooks in order and have fully understood the Cornell Note taking method, you will be more than prepared to face any academic challenges for the coming semester!

Written By Guest Blogger Dan H. of Emerson College

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Have you ever tried this note taking method? Did it work for you? Tweet us your thoughts – @Bncollege!

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  1. Umme says:

    ah, interesting! I’ll try this method out -thanks!

  2. back2school says:

    Great ideas and I’ll give it a try instead of just writing, typing and taking pictures of important information whereas at the end, nothing will make sense to me if not organized. Thanks again.

  3. Sohaib says:

    I’ll have to try this. My teacher told me something similar about this

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