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Cornell Notes

Invented in the 1950s by Walter Pauk, Cornell notes are a way to summarise information, usually from a textbook or lecture. They organise information in a way that presents the original notes with a summary of the topic and test questions.

The process has two key parts: straight-forward note taking and summary. The summarising process is designed to make you think through your notes and clarify the key points. This reinforces your understanding, but also creates an easy way to test yourself at a later date.

Step one

Draw a vertical line a third of the way across the page, dividing the page into two columns. The line should stop several lines before the bottom of the page.

Write your notes as usual in the right hand column.

cornell notes - just the notes

Step two

Some time in the following 24 hours, review the material and write questions in the left hand column that will test your knowledge of the key points.

Write a concise summary of the information in the space at the bottom of the page.

cornell notes - filled in

Step three

When revising your notes at a later date, cover the right side of the page and try to answer your questions.

You can find out more from the Cornell University website which has a template that you might want to print for reference.

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