Cornell Notes

Systematic Way To Take Notes

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Taking Notes

We expect our students to take notes when doing research, watching videos, presentations, etc., but have we ever taught our students how to take notes effectively?

Cornell Notes

Cornell Notes are a proven focused note-taking method. When used appropriately, students will increase their knowledge and deepen their understanding of the material. Cornell Notes are taken during class lectures, class powerpoints, class readings, or videos in which students are responsible for the information.

Students may take Cornell Notes in a spiral notebook or on notebook paper, however, they must use the Cornell Note format repeatedly and review notes regularly.

*This is very similar to the interactive vocabulary notebooks that TMS Students are already using.


Divide the paper into three sections

  • Draw a dark horizontal line about 5 or 6 lines from the bottom. Use a heavy marker to draw the line so that it is clear.

  • Draw a dark vertical line about 2 inches from the left side of the paper from the top to the horizontal line.

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Important information to stay organized

  • Write the date, and topic at the top of each page.
  • Write your name, if using notebook paper, instead of a spiral bound notebook.
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Take Notes

  • The large box to the right is for writing notes.
  • Skip a line between ideas and topics.
  • Don't use complete sentences. Use abbreviations, whenever possible. Develop a shorthand of your own, such as using "&" for the word"and".
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Review And Clarify

Review and Pull out main ideas

  • Pull out main ideas, key points, dates, and people, and write these in the left column.

  • Review the notes as soon as possible after class.

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Put the information in your own words

  • Write a summary of the main ideas in the bottom section.

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Know what to study

  • Re-read your notes in the right column.

  • Study the ideas in the left column and the summary at the bottom. These are the most important ideas.

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Completed Example

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