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Cornell Notetaking

The Cornell notetaking method is a format for students to condense and organize class notes. The method has a student divide a sheet of paper into two columns- the note-taking and questions/key words/cue columns respectively. About two inches is left at the bottom of the page. An example template is shown below. Links to Cornell Notetaking documents and videos are found at the bottom of this page.

Notes- typically written in short sentences or as symbols or abbreviations- usually consist of the main ideas of the text or lecture. Questions or key words related to the lecture topic are written in the key word (or cue) column. A student should reflect on the material and review the notes regularly (key component!).

The Summary section is filled in within 24 hours of taking notes while the ideas are still relatively fresh. A student writes a brief summary of the notes and questions generated with the intent that this activity within this timeframe will augment a student's understanding of the topic. This format also provides a student with a concise and detailed outlay to study for quizzes and exams.

A common strategy employed to help increase learning is to have the student cover the note-taking column with another sheet of paper and then the student attempts to answer the questions or define the key words or cues in the key word/cue column.

Links to Cornell Notetaking Videos and/or Documents  (University of Ottawa, Canada) (Saddleback College, CA)

Comparison of Two Notetaking Methods in a Secondary English Classroom (pdf file)

Cornell Notetaking System Template (pdf file)

Cornell Notetaking System (pdf file, University of Houston-Victoria)

Cornell Notetaking- Examples from Classes (pdf file, examples begin on page 7)

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