Javier Leiva

Growing by Learning and Learning by Doing

The Cornell Note-taking System (includes template)

Some time ago, I discovered the Cornell method for note-taking thanks to this tweet:

The idea is to divide a document into several zones, start taking rough notes (Notes column in the tweet’s image), and synthesize them in two stages to end up with a list of key phrases (Cue column) and a summary (Summary column). The tasks of conceptualization and summarization, along with the intellectual process they entail, should allow us to obtain essential knowledge about the subject matter and fix it in our memory.

Walter Pauk, a professor at Cornell University (hence the name) and author of the book How to Study in College, proposed the Cornell note-taking system. Although he proposed it for taking notes in class, I believe the method can be applied to other situations where we need to condense information: reading texts, watching videos or other content, attending conferences, meetings, etc. I created a template for me to use, which, if you’re interested, you can access and copy to your Google Drive through the following link: Cornell note-taking system template (pdf version).

To conclude, I recommend watching the following video in which Jennifer Desrochers explains step by step how to fill out a document like the one I just shared:

Note: This content was initially published in Spanish on March 15, 2018. The content is still valid for the most part, so I translated and only made the necessary modifications to make it current.

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