It’s a pity I only learned of this excellent note-taking method in the final years of my studies; I could’ve had a great advantage from the beginning.
This method is named after Cornell University where it originated.
This method works like the following:
The student divides the paper into two columns: the note-taking column (usually on the right) is twice the size of the key word column (on the left). The student should leave five to six lines, or about two inches, at the bottom of the page. Notes from a lecture or teaching are written in the note-taking column; notes usually consist of the main ideas of the text or lecture, and long ideas are paraphrased. Long sentences are avoided; symbols or abbreviations are used instead. Relevant questions should be recorded as soon as possible so that the lecture and questions will be fresh in the student’s mind, or key words are written in the key word column. The student also writes a short summary on the last four lines.
The student then covers up the note-taking column to answer to the questions/keywords in the key word or cue column. The student is encouraged to reflect on the material and review the notes regularly. The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes.
After the notes have been taken, the student writes a brief summary at the bottom of the page. This helps to increase understanding of the topic. When studying for either a test or quiz, the student has a concise but detailed and relevant record of previous classes.¹
This method has kept all my notes very systematic throughout my university year until that big end exam, where I could easily revise my notes as they were dated too.
You don’t have to manually draw up your own Cornell notes, you can use a generator to make your own custom notes.