The Cornell Note Taking Technique, developed by Dr. Walter Pauk in the 1950s, is a popular method for effectively capturing and organizing information during lectures, presentations, and other learning experiences. This system for taking notes is widely adopted by students in high school, college, and university, because of how effective it is in helping them improve their retention of concepts from class encounters. Learning to use the technique is quite easy as you will soon discover. This guide will walk you through the steps of the Cornell Note Taking Technique and provide tips on how to make the most of this method. You will also find a link to download a specimen note taken using the technique at the end of the guide.
I. Divide your note-taking page
The first step in the Cornell Note Taking Technique is to divide your note-taking page into three sections: the main notes section, the cues section, and the summary section. The main notes section is where you record the lecture or presentation content. The cues section is where you write down questions, keywords, or prompts that will help you remember the material later. The summary section is where you summarize the key points of the lecture or presentation.
II. Take notes during the lecture
During the lecture or presentation, take notes in the main notes section of your page. Be sure to use abbreviations and symbols to help you write faster and keep up with the speaker. As you take notes, pay attention to the main ideas and key points.
III. Add cues to your notes
After the lecture or presentation, review your notes and add cues in the cues section of your page. Cues can include questions, keywords, or prompts that will help you remember the material later. Use the cues section to link your notes to your memory, which will help you better retain the information.
IV. Summarize the lecture
In the summary section of your page, write a brief summary of the key points of the lecture or presentation. This will help you review and reinforce the material in your mind.
Tips for success with the Cornell note taking technique
- Use the Cornell Note Taking Technique consistently to develop a habit of active listening and effective note taking.
- Be selective when taking notes and focus on the main ideas and key points.
- Review your notes soon after the lecture or presentation to reinforce your memory of the material.
- Use the cues section to create questions and prompts that will help you remember the material later.
- Customize the Cornell Note Taking Technique to suit your own learning style and needs.
The Cornell Note Taking Technique is a powerful tool that can help students in high school, college, and university improve their retention and understanding of course materials. By dividing your note-taking page into three sections and using cues and summary sections, you can create a clear and organized record of the material you’re learning. With practice and consistency, you can make the Cornell Note Taking Technique an effective part of your study routine.
Find a specimen note here to aid your understanding of how to use the technique.