Adapted from Cornell Note-taking

Start by setting up your note pages into this format:

Visual depiction of the Cornell note taking method, see button below for full text description

Split your page into three sections. Reserve the bottom 2 inches of the page as the “Summary Column.” Above this, reserve the left two and a half inches as the “Cue Column.” Reserve the remaining main section (six inches wide) as the “Notes Column.”

Summary Column:

  • For top level, main ideas
  • Use as a quick reference area
  • When?
    • After class
    • During review

Cue Column:

  • Main Ideas
  • Questions that connect points
  • Diagrams
  • Study Prompts
  • When?
    • After class
    • During review

Notes Column:

  • Main lecture notes here
  • Use concise sentences
  • Use shorthand symbols
  • Use abbreviations
  • Use lists
  • Put space between points
  • When?
    • During class


  • Write telegraphically: Do not write out every word, use abbreviations, symbols, etc.
  • Write on the right side of the page (Notes section in the above diagram)

Identify the Main Question or Idea

  • Write these on the left side of the page
  • Can be a keyword, phrase, question or diagram


  • Say out loud what you have learned in your own words
  • Cover up the right side of your notes and recite the keywords, phrases, questions until you can answer them or provide detail on your own


  • How does the information fit with what you already know?
  • Make it personal, create examples, analogies
  • After reflecting, add comments, illustrations, and questions in your notes
  • As you reflect you will take OWNERSHIP of the information


  • Review should be regular and routine
  • Use Distributed Practice:
    • The 1st review should occur after working for one hour and after your break – Study, take a break, review
    • The 2nd review should be within one day of the first review
    • The 3rd review should be within one week of the second review
    • The 4th review should be within a month or prior to a test

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