📚 Cornell Notes: Take Effective Notes

We all take courses all the time but the ones who make the most of it go through the process with intent and almost always take notes. And just like a lot of things in life, not all note taking methods are equal - some are bad, some good and then there is the Cornell Method.


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In 2010, a study by Wichita State University found that the Cornell note-taking method is far superior during recall than other (guided note-taking) method (Source). Another study in 2013 states that "Students who were taught CN (Cornell notes) did take better notes than those who were not." (Source)

📚 What is the Cornell Method?

The Cornell Method (CM) is a systematic format for condensing and organising notes.

You start by dividing the page into 3 parts:

  1. The Notes : Key thoughts described in short sentences and abbreviations.

  2. The Recall: Key words or phrases & possible questions that could be of an evaluator.

  3. The Summary: 2-3 short sentences on the key ideas and their scope as explained in the session.

Here is the common format:

It is more than just a format, it is a process

If you want to take effective notes and make the most of a session, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Record: Take notes on the important ideas in the notes column.

  2. Questions: Formulate questions that might be of interest to an evaluator in the recall column.

  3. Recite: Cover the notes column and try and answer the questions in the recall column.

  4. Reflect: Based on your answers self-investigate the topic to ensure comprehension & repeat if necessary.

  5. Review: After reflection, summarise the ideas presented into 2-3 sentences for review.


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I tried this and it changed my learning process

This is one of the best things I learned in the last few years that has helped me gain so much more out of courses or anything that needs to be recalled. There are a lot of blog posts that go into more detail about the method, and a simple Google search should be good enough. (Tutorial 1 & Tutorial 2)

I hope this helps you get more out of your learning hours and if you'd like more content like this let me know in the comments or reply back to this email.

Keep it rational.


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