Cornell Notes

Cornell Note Taking Example


  • Divide paper into three sections (2-inch column on left - for “cues”; 6.5 inch “main space” on right – to make notes; 2-inch column on bottom to summarize.)
  • Keep notes during class in “main space”. Each time instructor moves to a new point, skip a few lines or turn to a new page.
  • After class, complete phrases and sentences as much as possible then write questions, summary statements or other “cues” in left hand column.
  • To review – cover “main section” with card; say “cue” out loud and then say as much you can; move card and see if it matches what you wrote. If you can say it, you know it!!

Template: Cornell Note Taking Method
~ 2 inches (width)    ~ 6 inches (width)
Reduce (after class)
•    key words, phrases or questions that serve as cues
•    cue phrases and questions should be in your own words    Record (during class)
•    write down facts and ideas in phrases
•    use abbreviations when possible
•    skip a few lines when subject changes
•    with classroom notes covered, read each key word or question
•    recite the fact or idea that comes to mind by the key word or question    Recall (as soon as possible after class)
•    read through your notes
•    fill in blanks and make "scribbles" more legible.
    Review and Reflect
•    review your notes periodically
•    think about what you have learned
Recapitulation (after class)
•    summarize each main idea on the page
    ~ 2 inches in height, full page width
•    if you have difficulty summarizing, use your notes to ask your instructor for help filling in the gaps and finding the “take-home” message

When to use

  • In ANY lecture situation


  • Provides an organized and systematic means for recording and reviewing notes
  • Easy format for pulling out major concepts and ideas
  • Simple and efficient
  • Saves time and effort


  • None