What is the Cornell Method of notetaking and how to use it

Taking notes is essential to any student’s academic success. While there are many ways to take down notes, there are the more systematic and useful ones.

Recommended by most major Universities is the Cornell Method. This article will cover the Cornell Method: What it is, how it works and what could be the perks you can get out of it.

So continue to read below and take a very close, well, note!

What is the Cornell Method?

Designed by Walter Pauk in Cornell University, this method is defined by its way of taking down notes. This showcases dividing your paper into three columns: The left margin should be at least 2.5 inches, the right one around 6 inches and for the last column on the bottom part, it should be at least 2 inches.

How does it work?

It was mentioned that there are 3 columns present on the paper. Let me discuss with you the purpose of each column.

  • Left column: This is the area called the Cue Column. It’s where you put the important terms present in the lesson. Keep in mind that you should not fill this up during class but only while you’re reviewing.
  • Right column: This is the area called the Note Taking area in which you put the significant ideas (non-verbatim) and points your teacher raises. There isn’t any particular or strict way to take note downs in this portion. Just keep in mind to make it telegraphic for it to be shorter but easier to remember.
  • Bottom columns: This Summaries column is intended for you to well, summarize what you’ve learned out of the right portion of your paper. Consider just having two-three sentences to keep it short and direct.


What are the benefits?

Now you know how the Cornell Method is applied, let’s find out the benefits you can reap out of it.

  • It lets you become more organized and systematic with your notes, rather than just scrambling the words you see or hear during the lesson.
  • It forces you to think hard, especially when you need to fill up the left column in regard to the definitions found on the right.
  • It filters out only the most important ideas you need to focus on.

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